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TRANSPORT MINISTER Simon Burns has agreed to meet a delegation of local MPs to discuss the future of the Cotswold Line franchise, as a full review of the West Coast Mainline and rail franchising gets underway.

MPs from Herefordshire and Worcestershire have banded together to make the case for an improved service between London, Worcestershire and Herefordshire.

The route takes in the notorious Cotswold Line which is partly single-track, overcrowded and infrequent for both commuters and tourists.

MPs Harriett Baldwin, Peter Luff, Jesse Norman, Robin Walker and Bill Wiggin have all signed a joint letter calling for ‘a faster and more frequent train service’ criticising the franchise tender documents published last July for ‘a lack of ambition’.

The MPs will meet the Minster on December 4 to discuss the franchise requirements and to see if the Department can specify a better service for the area.

Harriett Baldwin commented: “The Cotswold Line is a crucial link for businesses and urgently needs improving to help the growth of our local economy.

“At the moment, many of our constituents travel on the West Coast Mainline and to Warwick Parkway to avoid the slow and unreliable service on the Cotswold Line.

“The pause in assessing the West Coast and Great Western bids allows us time to renew our call for an improved service for Herefordshire and Worcestershire commuters and a Departmental commitment to invest in the infrastructure.”

Peter Luff, whose Mid Worcestershire constituency includes the site of the proposed Worcestershire Parkway station, added: “Worcestershire is probably the least well connected county in England when it comes to rail travel. But it has the potential to be much better.

“The Worcestershire Parkway station could help change that with faster and more regular trains.

“But to get the most out of it the government also needs to sanction the redoubling of the tack between Evesham and Norton Junction, something that was bizarrely omitted for the major redoubling scheme between Evesham and Oxfordshire.”

Worcester MP Robin Walker added: “I am determined to get better and faster rail connections for Worcester. This would benefit my constituents and local businesses as well as help the whole County to attract inward investment.

“It seems crazy that it was quicker to catch a train to Worcester from London one hundred years ago than it is today and we need to see real change fast to improve the situation.

“The pause in bidding the Great Western franchise provides and opportunity to secure change and it is absolutely right that Worcestershire MPs should work together to secure it.”


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