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Welcome response to 'overdue' rail improvement plan
A TIVERTON councillor has welcomed a new report calling on the Government to invest heavily in Devon's rail network.
Cllr Des Hannon, leader of the county council's Lib Dem group, praised his Conservative colleagues for helping to produce the paper, which sets out the 'urgent need' for increased funding to improve the resilience of the network.
Jointly prepared by Devon, alongside Somerset and Cornwall county councils, the report highlights the recent disruption caused by heavy flooding on the main line at Cowley Bridge, near Tiverton, which halted all travel to the far south west for 15 days in November and December and cost more than £3.3 million in delays.
It also includes detailed plans of how to meet the needs of ever-increasing passenger numbers and calls on ministers to commit to a programme of signalling and track improvements to decrease journey times between the far south west and London and Birmingham.
Cllr Des Hannon, who represents Tiverton East, said: "This report is welcome, even if it's a bit late.
“It's nonsensical in the 21st Century to have the south west cut off at Tiverton Parkway every time there's a flood at Cowley Bridge.
“What's more, taking the economic impact of the railway seriously strengthens Cullompton's case for a local station once again.
"I raised the Cowley Bridge issue with Lib Dem transport minister Norman Baker back in November while the floods were still subsiding, so it's good to see the Conservative leadership at Devon County Hall finally following our lead."