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Network Rail's plans for improvements to the Cotswold line, announced yesterday, are not enough to improve local train services between the county, Oxfordshire and London according to Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff.

The line currently has three long single-track section which lead to huge problems for trains services as even a single delayed train can impact on all other trains using the line for many hours.

Mr Luff, who has campaigned for the re-doubling of the line since his election to parliament 16 years ago, described the plan to redouble just one section in full (between Evesham and Moreton-in-Marsh) and to reduce modestly the length of another (in Oxfordshire) as "a bargain basement proposal that does the bare minimum to begin to improve capacity and reliability." He added, "As such they merit only one cheer."

Commenting in detail, Peter said,

"Of course this proposal will make things better - but not much. A train travelling between Worcester Shrub Hill and Evesham that is running a little late will still cause a delay of up to twenty minutes to a train travelling in the opposite direction.

"So even current users of the line will see only modest improvements. But it gets worse. We are due to see massive increases in house building over the next few years - and perhaps a huge eco-town at Long Marston, near Honeybourne station. To deal with these increases, and if we are to avoid many more car journey being made on our already crowded roads, we will need all three sections redoubled in full and the construction of the Worcestershire Parkway station at Norton.

"This scheme, which doesn't mention Parkway, is not yet even on the list of ones which the government is saying it will allow Network Rail to build.

"This document is six months late and bitterly disappointing. In my meetings with Network Rail just over a year ago they told both me and David Cameron (the MP for the Oxfordshire section of the line) that full redoubling was the most likely outcome. This inadequate scheme is a bitter disappointment. I will be seeking an urgent meeting with Network Rail to get an explanation."

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