A hard-to-reach area is to get a £146 million rail improvement package, Prime Minister David Cameron has announced.
The cash injection, for Cornwall, is designed to lift the local economy, create new jobs and provide faster train journeys.
The deal means:
:: The interior of the Night Riviera Sleeper trains, which run between Penzance and London – one of only two sleeper services in the UK – will be completely overhauled;
:: The Long Rock train maintenance site at Penzance will be expanded to maintain Cornwall’s sleeper trains, safeguarding jobs and creating new training opportunities;
:: A major programme of signalling improvements will start five years earlier than planned, providing faster journeys between Penzance and Totnes and paving the way for the potential introduction of half-hourly services on the Cornish mainline.
Mr Cameron said: “Ensuring that we have first-class infrastructure across Britain is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create jobs and provide a brighter future for hard-working people.
“This investment, which will boost the local economy and improve connectivity, is great news for Cornwall, the South West and beyond.”
The package includes £9 million of funding from the Department for Transport (DfT), £29.6 million secured through Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), £103.5 million from Network Rail and £4.5 million from train operator First Great Western (FGW).
Bert Biscoe, Cornwall Council’s cabinet member for transportation, said: “This announcement is great news for Cornwall. We have been working closely with the LEP and FGW to improve our rail services and are delighted that the Government is supporting our plans.
“This is a real opportunity to develop Cornwall’s public transport network. Enhancing the main line signalling in Cornwall is just as important as dualling the A30 and building the Tamar Bridge in keeping Cornwall connected.”