Page last updated at 19:54 GMT, Thursday, 12 February 2009

New train fleet needs 'extending'

Computer-generated depiction of one of the new trains
The new fleet of 'super express' trains will only go as far south west as Bristol

A Cornwall MP is calling on the government to re-think plans for a fleet of new trains for the Great Western and East Coast main lines.

The Department for Transport has given the go-ahead for the £7bn funding to replace trains 20-30 years old.

However, Matthew Taylor, Truro and St Austell MP, says south west England will not benefit enough as the trains will only come as far as Bristol.

He has branded the lack of inclusion "calamitous" and wants a re-think.

The fleet, which will create or safeguard 12,500 jobs, will link London with Cambridge, Leeds, Hull, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh and connect London with the Thames Valley, Bristol and South Wales.

The first of the new trains - which are designed to be faster, greener and able to carry 21% more passengers - are scheduled to enter service on the East Coast mainline in 2013, and to be fully operational from 2015.

TravelWatch SouthWest, the public transport passenger watchdog for the region, plans to campaign for more "super express" trains to be built to replace existing high speed trains on other key corridors in the south west of England.

The organisation will focus particularly on routes serving Cheltenham Spa, Exeter, Gloucester, Penzance, Plymouth and Taunton.

Chris Irwin, chair of TravelWatch SouthWest, said: "TravelWatch SouthWest will continue to campaign vigorously for the build of additional new super express trains for deployment on other key routes in the region.

"We will also campaign for the early electrification of the Great Western Main Line and for additional diesel rolling stock to alleviate the terrible overcrowding happening every day on regional and local trains in the South West''.

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