Hartlebury MP to challenge minister over rail issues

First published in News

HARTLEBURY’S Westminster representative will be in a delegation of Worcestershire and Herefordshire MPs meeting a transport minister next month to discuss rail issues.

Conservative Peter Luff and party colleagues Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire), Jesse Norman (Hereford and South Herefordshire), Robin Walker (Worcester) and Bill Wiggin (North Herefordshire) will meet Simon Burns over the future of the Cotswold Line franchise, as a full review of the West Coast Mainline and rail franchising gets under way.

During the meeting on Tuesday, December 4 the MPs delegation will make the case for an improved service between London, Worcestershire and Herefordshire, discuss the franchise requirements and see if the Department for Transport can specify a better service for the area.

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

The two counties’ MPs have signed a joint letter calling for “a faster and more frequent train service” and criticising the franchise tender documents published last July for “a lack of ambition”.

Mr Luff, whose Mid Worcestershire constituency includes the site of the proposed Worcestershire Parkway station, said: “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.”

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