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Storms prompt dailies to launch bid for new rail line

Two sister dailies have launched a campaign calling on the government to fund a new rail line for the South West in the wake of the storms which have hit the line at Dawlish.

The Western Morning News and Plymouth’s The Herald are asking the government to ditch plans for the HS2 link between London and the North in favour of a new route into the region which is more resilient to the weather.

The Local World papers have made the call after the rail line at Dawlish was closed last week when storms destroyed part of the sea wall, causing a stretch of railway on the main route to Plymouth to collapse into the sea.

Under the campaign, the two newspapers are calling for the government to prioritise a Great Western 2, GW2, to complement the Dawlish line with a “dual” service.

In a story to launch their campaign, the WMN said: “Today the Western Morning News leads demands for the Government to end years of rail misery in Devon and Cornwall by funding a service fit for the 21st century.

“In a potentially significant move, the Government yesterday announced a ‘rigorous review’ of alternatives to the coastal line at Dawlish in Devon, which now hangs by a thread after – once again – being battered by storms.

“Against at least six weeks of disruption, which will cost the region’s economy dearly, MPs argue it is time to end the South West’s Cinderella rail status and build a new route more resilient to extreme weather.

“They say just a fraction of the £42bn earmarked for HS2 – the high speed link between London and the north – would pay for an alternative to the luckless coastal route.

“The WMN therefore wants the Government to prioritise a Great Western 2 – or GW2 – to complement the Dawlish line with a ‘dual’ service.”

The rail line at Dawlish is expected to take at least six weeks to repair and the campaign calls for all options to be considered for an alternative route into Devon and Cornwall.

During a visit to Plymouth, Prime Minister David Cameron defended the HS2 scheme but said the government would look at all options for a resilient rail route to serve the South West.


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  • February 14, 2014 at 8:40 am

    Surprised The Cornishman didn’t grab the opportunity to jump on the publicity bandwagon on this one….

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  • February 14, 2014 at 11:41 am

    Great campaign idea. HS2 is a £50 billion solution to an IMAGINED need while GW2 would serve a REAL need. The only problem I see is that vested interests have already slavered too much over the prospect of HS2 billions that they will not let them slip from their grasp without an almighty battle. But GW2 has a great advantage. It is demonstrably a better idea and would be supported by more of the public than the hated HS2 which seems almost universally detested.

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