Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Transport Geoff Brown has welcomed the announcement by Network Rail that it has completed the upgrade of mainline signalling enhancements that will allow a twice hourly mainline rail service between Plymouth and Penzance.
The completion of the signalling is the latest step in a £400 million-pound project that will enable GWR to not only provide the more frequent service between Plymouth and Penzance but will also allow faster journeys, with more seats between London Paddington and the South West.
To further encourage the wider use of public transport the current bus operations and timetables are also being reviewed and enhanced to support a wider integrated approach to transport, providing a viable alternative to the car.
Cornwall Council Portfolio Holder for Transport Geoff Brown said: “Good public transport connections are vital to growing our economy and connecting communities. This is why we are working with partners to provide a One Public Transport System for Cornwall - a fully integrated and sustainable public transport network which will link bus, rail, ferry and airport timetables.
“As a Council we are committed to delivering this project to provide regular, convenient, reliable transport for residents and visitors. Passenger numbers in the south west are growing faster than anywhere else in the UK. Working with partners to improve the public transport infrastructure is a priority and the completion of the mainline signalling project by Network Rail is a key element.
“Ultimately, we want to deliver an integrated SMART ticketing system for bus, rail and ferry to make it as easy and convenient as possible for residents and visitors to use all forms of public transport.”
Tim Styles, Lib Dem parliamentary candidate for St Austell and Newquay added: “This is fantastic news for rail users, Cornwall and the environment. More trains equal fewer cars on the roads but the faster we move away from diesel to electric trains the better.”
The £400m programme of improvements for rail services in Cornwall is the result of a partnership between Cornwall Council, the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership, the Department for Transport, GWR and Network Rail.