WEST Cornwall MP Andrew George has launched a petition which calls on the Government to ensure there is a resilient rail service between Penzance and London.
The St Ives MP, whose constituency includes Helston and the Lizard, is urging people to sign the petition which is pushing the Government to provide the necessary investment needed to ensure the rail service can operate.
It comes after train services between Cornwall and London were disrupted after the storms severely damaged the railway at Dawlish. This week it was said that repairs may not be complete in time for Easter.
After raising the issue of rail investment in Parliament with Prime Minister David Cameron following the recent storms Mr George has held meetings with Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to reinforce his message.
Mr George said: "While Network Rail is battling to restore the rail line at Dawlish, I am pleased that the Government is supporting Network Rail which is undertaking urgent scoping work to explore a long-term and resilient solution which would avoid the kind of disruption we are experiencing now and experienced only 14 months ago when the Cowley Bridge area was flooded.
"MPs across all parties in Cornwall and the South West have not denied communities to the north the investment necessary to allow HS2 to get under way. It is therefore not too much to ask that the Government gives us a fraction of that investment to provide a resilient rail services from Penzance?
"I fear that we may have missed the kind of investment which would have provided us with resilience if it were not for the obsession of some who have sought to cut 15 minutes off the journey time to Paddington. This is a very different type of investment to the kind of works that may be necessary to produce a more reliable and resilient service – something which has always been my priority. I hope that recent history will encourage everyone to acknowledge that our top priorities for our rail service have to be resilience and reliability, with passenger comfort and competitive ticket pricing a close second.
"But attempts to shave a miniscule amount of time off a generally five to five-and-a-half hour rail service is a lower priority.."
Mr George will present his petition to the Government and House of Commons when complete.
To sign the petition go to www.andrewgeorge.org.uk