Union says pledges to repair South West infrastructure as “nothing less than hot air”
The RMT has pledged an all-out fight over rail investment in South West England after the Transport Secretary cast doubt on the scale of investment in the Plymouth region’s railways by admitting this week that just £40million has been promised – despite calls for a £7billion package.
The union branded the backsliding over urgent investment by the government as a “complete and utter betrayal of the South West despite all the posturing and promises after the resilience of rail services was exposed in last year’s floods and storms.”
The line into Plymouth continues to be beset by delays and cancellations as the failing infrastructure struggles to cope.
In last week’s Autumn Statement, the government said it will “support Network Rail in its work to improve the resilience of the railway at Dawlish” and will ask NR to “examine wider issues surrounding connectivity to and within the South West peninsula” including considering “alternatives to the current mainline route to the South West via Dawlish”.
The RMT says these pledges are “nothing less than hot air.”
Network Rail has estimated that it will cost up to £659 million just to strengthen the existing railway with additional links costed out at much more, possibly as much as £7 billion. The total committed so far, enabling only short term repairs, is just £40 million.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The government’s pledges on rail services in the South West, services which clearly need additional investment and development on a huge scale, have been exposed as pure political posturing. That is nothing short of a complete and utter betrayal of the region.
“RMT has pledged today to launch an all-out fight for the resources and investment needed to build resilience into a rail link which is still struggling to cope despite all the hot air from ministers. This shambles cannot be allowed to drag on any longer.”
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