News courtesy of Kevin Foster
(MP for Torbay)
Peninsula Rail Strategy Drawn Up
The Peninsula Rail Task Force is drawing up a plan that will be submitted to Government in October setting out a vision for our railway over the next 15 to 20 years. It is vital that the region speaks with one voice if we are to secure the type of investment needed, this means coming together around an agreed plan.
The aim of the plan is to set out a clear vision for what our network needs to deliver, such as links to key markets via Heathrow and enhanced heavy mineral freight opportunities.
The three key points of the plan are that we secure the Dawlish Line, and look to protect it, and consider additional, not alternative, capacity in future to deal with the rising demand for rail travel.
There is a clear recognition of the need to preserve the Great Western Route via South Devon as the mainline serving our region.
Whilst the discussion about the future of the track has naturally been the most high profile due to the issues last year, much of our rolling stock will also need replacement over the period of the plan. The Intercity Trains will be replaced under the deal announced earlier this year, but most local services are provided by trains built in the 1980’s. There is also a need to ensure quicker journey times to a few stations are not achieved by merely taking away stops at others.
The GWR is Back
For those who are sentimental about the golden age of steam and a time when Brunel was setting the gold standard for engineering this week marks the return of a famous name.
Whilst there are still many items on our railway that bear the GWR brand, since nationalisation in the 1940’s it has not officially been used. Yet this weekend the name “GWR” makes an official comeback as the new franchise comes into effect and First Great Western is rebranded. The new name also means a new websit: www.GWR.com and twitter account of @GWRUK
As last year’s storms showed our railway is a critical part of how we are perceived as a region and reviving this famous name reflects the rich heritage it has. The Bid Director for the Franchise does, however, say that the train carriages would not be painted brown and cream in future.
Roads Close and Bridges Open
As the winter months near a range of work is being carried out on our roads that could cause delays to your journey.
You can find a handy list of forthcoming closures on the Herald Express website by clicking here.
This week also sees a significant milestone reached in the work to create the new Junction at Kerswell Gardens that will connect Riviera Way to the new South Devon Link Road. The new bridges adjacent to Hamelin Way will open to traffic for the first time this week, but that means some overnight closures as part of the works.
You can find full details of the closures and related works on the Herald Express website by clicking here – may be worth checking if you are planning an important journey this week.
Torquay and Brixham connections offices will be closing on Monday 5 October and will reopen on Monday 2 November.
During the four week closure information will be gathered on the potential increase in footfall at Paignton Library and Information Centre, where a Connections Service will remain open. Customers that may be affected by the closure of Connections at Torquay and Brixham will also be consulted. All this information will be used to fully understand the implications for customers, council services and the wider community and will inform any future business plan.
Information will be gathered during the trial period and a full online consultation will be available for residents between Monday 5 October and Wednesday 11 November at www.torbay.gov.uk/consultation
Sat 19th Sept: Whiterock Festival of Learning, Whiterock School, Davies Avenue, Paignton, 12-5pm, free to all. Take a look around the school too.
Sat 19th & Sun 20th Sept: Big Beach Clean Weekend, Beacon Cove, Torquay. 3pm-5pm. Contact 0844 474 3366
Sun 20th Sept: Tea with Ann Widdecombe, Queensway Catholic Primary School, Torquay, 1pm-4.30pm, Free entry.
Wed 23rd Sept: BMAD Bike Night, Paignton Seafront, 6pm
Thurs 24th Sept: Revolution Skate, Torbay Velopark, skates can be hired for £2, helmets compulsory, 6-8pm, £3 entry
Thurs 24th Sept: Paignton Society Talks, Gerston Centre, Gerston Place, Paignton (opposite Post Office) Non-members £3. Contact, by e-mail Tony Moss or phone 01803 556989
Fri 25th Sept: Free Fridays at Torquay Library, Lymington Road. Free access to computers and help with Universal Job Match. 10am-12pm & 2pm-4pm
Fri 25th Sept: Macmillan coffee mornings are taking place all over the country, including at my new office (see details at the end of this email).
Sat 26th Sept: 10am-12pm, Film Club at Paignton Library, Great Western Road, 8-13 year olds, free.