Lack of rail improvements will deepen transport pit
THE South West's rail services to London have been in limbo for longer than I can remember so a few more years of rail franchise delay is hardly going to make any great difference to Plymouth and its under-performing economy.
Unlike elsewhere in the country there are going to be no new trains or infrastructure in this part of the railway world for the foreseeable future. Just a new coat of paint and new staff uniforms probably to reflect the corporate image of the eventual new Great Western franchise and its train operating company.
The best we can hope for are some newer second hand diesel trains released by electrification elsewhere in the country possibly cascaded post electrification Midland main line/Great Western main line Meridian class 222 inter-city trains (similar to the current Crosscountry Voyager trains) and Thames turbo class 165/166 local trains respectively. In the meantime it will be the same old British Rail trains simply refurbished (both high speed and local) running virtually to the same old 1980s schedules while much of the rest of the country get electrification and newer faster trains.
The Prime Minister announcing the Government's latest £9billion rail investment package in Derby said that as a result of its latest £9billion investment package that no less than 75 per cent of rail journeys made in Britain from 2019 will use to quote the Prime Ministers words "faster, cleaner electric trains" and on upgraded rail infrastructure as well.
BRAND NEW FORD B-MAX ZETEC 1.0 ECOBOOST FOR ONLY £7685*View details
DRIVE AWAY A BRAND NEW FORD B-MAX ZETEC FOR ONLY £7685.
1.0 100PS Manual
Electric Windows & Mirrors
Quickclear Heated Windscreen
15" Alloy Wheels
Bluetooth with Ford Sync
*Drive away from only £7685 and then pay nothing for 24 months!
Contact: 01626 240583
Valid until: Sunday, June 30 2013
You have not got to be an economic genius to work out the consequences of all that on Plymouth. Throw in HS2 the proposed North/South high speed rail link as well and you really see the transport pit that Plymouth is sinking into. The far South West is effectively on the way to becoming the nation's heritage railway in the 21st century with little real incentive for business to look further west than Exeter.
A few extra three-hour rail journeys to Paddington even if we can get them and an extra early morning arrival from London Paddington are not really going to fundamentally change the economic imbalance that now so favours Exeter's booming economy.
No major inward investor of consequence in their right mind is now going to bypass Exeter now just two hours plus rail journey time from Paddington, at the end of the M5 and with a decent airport to set up in Plymouth a further one hour rail journey time beyond Exeter, connected with a sub standard A38 dual carriageway and with no airport either. Even Newton Abbot/Torbay with the soon to be built Kingsteignton bypass and only 20 minutes by rail beyond Exeter will be more favourable for economic development than Plymouth connectivity wise.
Like it or not Plymouth has been well and truly stuffed economically thanks to its poor connectively and lack of investment in vital transport infrastructure over many decades by governments and councils alike whether publicly or privately funded.