Friday, 18 August 2017

The SouthWest continues to get a bad deal for its railways

There have been complaints for some time about how the SouthWest is being marginalised when it comes to spending on rail:
Futures Forum: HS2 and the South-West
HS2 billions should be diverted to rebuild south-west railways, say MPs | UK news | The Guardian

Meanwhile, tonnes of cash are being thrown at the HS2 infrastructure project:
Government refuses to publish report into scrapping HS2 | Daily Mail Online
“The £104bn HS2 cover-up: Government refuses to publish report into whether the controversial rail route should be scrapped” | East Devon Watch

A lot is also going on the London Crossrail project:
Crossrail 2 sparks anger in regions | Railnews | Today's news for Tomorrow's railway

This all means that there's less to spend elsewhere:
DfT scraps electrification schemes | Railnews | Today's news for Tomorrow's railway

Including the Great Western line out of Paddington, as reported by the Telegraph last month:

Government ditches plans to electrify three major railway lines

Jack Maidment, political correspondent 20 JULY 2017 • 4:46PM

The Government has scrapped plans to electrify three major railway lines in a move described by Labour as a “betrayal” of train passengers.

Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, announced plans for new trains which can run on both electricity and diesel to operate on the Midland Main Line, Great Western Main Line and in the Lake District.

The Department for Transport said the introduction of so-called “bi-mode” trains meant that long-awaited electrification works between Cardiff and Swansea, Kettering, Nottingham and Sheffield, and between Windermere and Oxenholme, were no longer needed.

Government ditches plans to electrify three major railway lines

The 'bi-mode' trains are also promised for lines to Exeter - but these will not be fully electric:
Test runs for Devon's new high speed trains carried out | Devon Live

Last week, investment in Devon trains was given the thumbs-down:

'Disappointment' as plans for first new South Devon rail station in decades gets red light

By TinaCrowson | Posted: August 09, 2017 Comments (4)

The latest bid in the project to create a Devon Metro frequent train service linking Exeter with other parts of Devon has been refused.

The decision not to give the funding go ahead to the proposed new station at the gateway to Torquay comes after a similar scheme at Marsh Barton on the outskirts of Exeter was also refused funding.

Edginswell would be the first new rail station in the resort for decades and is earmarked for woodland and open space alongside the railway and between Newton Road and Riviera Way.

Torbay MP Kevin Foster said it was disappointing that the bid for the latest round of new stations funding failed.

He said: "While this is a set-back, all is not lost as the letter confirming the outcome made clear that it had proceeded beyond the initial stage of consideration. It also invited those working on the project to meet with Network Rail and the Department of Transport to discuss how it could be further developed. One issue is the significant cost added to the scheme for track alignment work that needs to be undertaken before a station can be built at the location selected."

'Disappointment' as plans for first new South Devon rail station in decades gets red light | Devon Live

And to
day the Times got very angry about how rail fares just keep going up:

The government’s inflation trickery is ripping us all off

august 18 2017, 12:01am, the times

Nobody likes being ripped off. And there is something particularly distasteful about being fleeced by your own government.

But that is precisely what is happening. Rail fares are set to rise at a much faster rate than employee earnings, with annual season tickets of over £5,000 an increasingly common sight. And interest charges on student loans in England will rise to 6.1 per cent from the autumn.

From students to commuters, the cost of living in the UK is on the rise. And some of the biggest cost increases are in areas where the government sets the terms.

Both rail fares and student loans are linked, under government policy, to the retail price index measure of inflation, long ago discarded by economists as a flawed…

The government’s inflation trickery is ripping us all off | Comment | The Times & The Sunday Times
Government ripping us off – again | East Devon Watch

With mixed messages for fare prices from Waterloo:

Trains from Exeter to Waterloo set to increase in franchise takeover | Devon Live
Rail fares set to be capped between London and Exeter

Yes, there is some investment happening in the SouthWest:
Plymouth gets cash to build new £40m railway station | Plymouth Herald

But it's clear that services are not that good:
Stagecoach lose South West Trains franchise - ITV News

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