Don Foster MP*
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Foster leads Fight for Increased Investment in South West Rail Services
Bath MP Don Foster today spoke out in the House of Commons about the state of the rail network in the South West.

Main ImageIn an adjournment debate this afternoon, Don Foster attacked Transport Minister David Jamieson. Don Foster comments: “The Government keeps promising us ‘jam tomorrow’ – but all we see is bigger and bigger jams today – on our roads, and now our rail networks.

“The South West infrastructure has had a very bad deal from the Strategic Rail Authority and Network Rail.

“Bath is blighted by traffic congestion, and commuters round Bath are forced onto the roads by a failure to invest in the smaller stations.

“The Government’s sudden announcement about a dramatic reduction in the Oxford-Bristol line has badly undermined the future for Bath, Keynsham, and Oldfield Park stations, and killed off the 18 year fight to reopen Corsham station.

“We are the SRA’s blind spot. The SRA has already rejected the rail improvement proposals contained in the Government’s Multi-Modal Study into traffic management for the South West.

“All the South West’s train operating companies are seeing delays rise, by an average of 29.2 % - that’s a 120% increase on delays in 1997. And train cancellations for the South West are up by 50 % on 1997 levels.

“I’m baffled by the SRA’s decision to allow Virgin Cross-Country to double its services – and halve the size of its trains. Firstly, this expansion is squeezing important local commuter services run by Wessex Trains. Secondly, if we want to relieve an overburdened infrastructure, then surely train capacity should be increased.

“If we had track dualling for ten-mile stretches, or track ‘loops’, then the capacity of the line between Bristol and London would be improved, cheaply. In addition, these services could be improved by dualling the lines into Paddington and Waterloo – creating, through competition, a better, faster deal for customers.”

ENDS.

Notes for Editors: Don’s speech will be available from https://www.parliament.uk/hansard/hansard.cfm tomorrow morning.

Printed (hosted) by David Bellotti on behalf of Don Foster (Liberal Democrat) both at 31 James Street West, Bath BA1 2BT. _blank

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