WILL MAIN LINE ELECTRIFICATION BE BAD NEWS FOR WORCESTERSHIRE RAIL USERS?
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WILL MAIN LINE ELECTRIFICATION BE BAD NEWS FOR WORCESTERSHIRE RAIL USERS?

Concerns that electrification of the Great Western main line to Oxford, Bristol and South Wales could be bad news for Worcestershire rail travellers were raised today by county MP Peter Luff.
Commenting on news that the government intended to electrify the line by 2016, Peter said,

“I have two fears – how much disruption will be caused during the process and what trains will serve Worcestershire on a line that will remain unelectrified?

Peter was talking against a background of current and planned disruption to train services from Worcestershire, including:

• The summer closure of the Cotswold line to permit redoubling from April 2011
• Significant remodelling of Reading station to improve through services to and from Paddington
• Resignalling of the line between Didcot and Worcestershire
• The construction of Crossrail between Maidenhead, London and Essex.

Peter explained,

“Most of these projects – except Crossrail – will bring real benefit to Worcestershire rail users, so they are worth the short-term pain. But, however well it is done, electrification of the line to Oxford will bring disruption and no benefit. Indeed, it risks relegating stations between Oxford and Worcester and on to Hereford to a second class service. And just how much disruption will the travelling public put up with?

“I am worried that, while services from London to Oxford, Bristol and South Wales will get brand new trains to replace the ageing High Speed 125s, there will be no obvious rolling stock for Worcestershire services – except for tired old inadequate diesel multiple units. The government must treat our rail travellers seriously and guarantee suitable new rolling stock for us too – that means buying diesel versions of the same new trains that will run to South Wales and Oxford..

“I know electrification is wonderful news for the lines that will be electrified – but will it make the line to Worceserstershire a Cinderella line? That is my real fear.”

ENDS


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