Call to arms for double-track
Wilts & Glos Standard: 12th August 2008
By Andy Woolfoot
COMMUTERS are being called upon to join the fight for better rail services in Gloucestershire.
Rail users travelling to work tomorrow at Kemble Station will be given leaflets and asked to sign petitions supporting Gloucestershire County Council’s campaign to add an extra track to the existing single line railway between Kemble and Swindon.
GCC says the extra track will help trains run on time, provide better business links and boost the local economy and switch more freight from road to rail improving congestion and the environment.
In June the Government’s Office of the Rail Regulator refused to provide funding for Network Rail’s proposals to double the railtrack, effectively putting the scheme on the backburner for several years.
County council bosses hope that this campaign can bring enough pressure on the ORR to bring the scheme back on track.
Cllr Julie Girling, GCC Cabinet member for the environment, said, "We have been lobbying constantly on this issue for many years and yet no-one outside the county seems to be listening to us.
"Without the extra track there is a real danger that the growth in new housing will far outstrip new jobs leading to a slowdown in the local economy, more people commuting out of the area and the inevitable knock-on effect of more congestion and carbon emissions."
In an Adjournment Debate on June 30, Transport Minister Tom Harris confirmed his awareness of the underlying issues and invited the rail industry to re-submit its business case to the ORR.
He also offered the assistance of his officials at the DfT for the re-submission of the case.
To register your support for the campaign visit www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/railpetition or fill in the coupon below and send it to Freepost RRYJ-GCLA-TLHR, Gloucestershire County Council, Environment Directorate, Shire Hall, Gloucestershire, GL1 2TH.