Page last updated at 11:40 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Study puts cost of Kemble to Swindon rail plan at 52m

Line meging down to one track
The track from Kemble to Swindon is part of the Stroud Valley line

The cost of converting the railway line between Kemble and Swindon into a dual track will be about £52m, a Network Rail feasibility study has shown.

The estimate is £7m over the amount of cash already committed to the project by the government.

Conservative MP for the Cotswolds, Geoffrey Clifton-Brown, said he is concerned the shortfall will delay the scheme.

The Department for Transport has yet to comment on Mr Clifton-Brown's claims.

The MP has called for an adjournment debate in the Commons to press for an early decision on the work.

"I had [information] from Chris Mole, the transport minister, which indicates that Network Rail's latest costing is £52.4m and the committed funding is £45m, so theoretically there's a 7m gap," he said.

"I am deeply concerned that the government are not going to find that money and are going to leave a decision on this till after the election.

"If we don't get a decision to get this slotted in now, the cross rail project's going to start, the upgrading of Reading station's going to start and I think all the money and skills will be committed to those very big rail projects, so this is very serious."

Doubling the line from single-track to a two-way service will remove the bottleneck on the Cheltenham to London route.

A spokeswoman for Network Rail said: "We believe that the Swindon-Kemble project offers good value for money and our proposal has a robust business case.

"We want to maximise the benefits for passengers and we will continue to work hard on seeking full support from the government."

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