On Track sets out the vision for the peninsula and the first steps needed to achieve the programme of work, which will improve the network over the next 20 years.
Chair of the Peninsula Rail Task Force, Councillor Andrew Leadbetter said: “We have been campaigning and pressing the Government to deliver a programme of improvement for the South West rail network, creating greater resilience, faster journey times and increasing capacity. Our priority is to achieve a railway fit for the 21st Century, fit for our residents, commuters and visitors.
“Last night’s incident at Dawlish with the train evacuation because of the severe weather is a timely reminder of just how urgent this situation is becoming. The rain was heavy, and the sea was not calm, but our rail network needs to be able to withstand a summer storm without issue. We cannot afford to take these situations lightly – and it is all the more reason that our campaign needs to keep up the pressure on the Government to invest.
“The Department for Transport has asked us to work with Network Rail to look at what might be needed to achieve our goal and to set out the individual projects required. This is a demanding body of work to undertake, so we are planning to complete by next summer.
“Given the game changing nature of our proposals, it is important that we provide an update on our progress so far, so that everyone has the opportunity to understand the plans, and we can also ensure that these proposals will meet the needs of our communities.
“I would urge everyone with an interest in travelling, working and living within the Westcountry to let us have your views. We need to keep challenging Government to invest in the West and commit to connectivity here, and we can make a far better case with support from our communities and businesses, so please do get involved.”
The consultation will be open until 25th September before the report is presented to Minister Claire Perry in October.