His call, as the Voice of the Westcountry in his paper’s editorial column, came on the back of a Rail Passengers’ Committee report on the impact of decades of little or no investment in the regions railways.
The paper ran a front page article and three pages inside to cover the story – as well as the editor’s Opinion piece.
Barrie said: “Shameful neglect of Brunel’s Great Western Rail network threatens to put the south west back at what the Rail Passengers Committee call ‘the declining fringe of Europe’.
“Three words – lack of investment – sum up what has been allowed to happen to the rail network serving the South West and South Wales. And there is only one answer – money.
“No one body can come up with the level of investment that’s required.
But the Government, the successor to railtrack and the train operating companies – like Great Western Trains – can and must.”
He said it should never have come to this, but said the truth about running down stock and the network had been ignored for years.
The Passengers’ Committee warned that millions of pounds was needed to halt the decline, in its report What’s Happening to Brunel’s Railway.
It found that much of the signalling and other structures that allow the network to run within the Great Western zone will need renewing within the next ten years.
It concluded the legacy of Brunel has become the “Cinderella line” of Europe’s railways.
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