South West 'the Cinderella region of the British railway network' - MEP calls for fair share of rail investment - La Treizième Étoile: A blog on EU politics
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South West 'the Cinderella region of the British railway network' - MEP calls for fair share of rail investment

Sunday, 10 February 2013
South West Conservative MEP Giles Chichester has welcomed the news of the UK’s government’s investment plans for HS2 which will have little effect on the South West region, by penning a letter to the press.

He joins UKIP MEP the Earl of Dartmouth who expressed similar regrets the region was not to profit from the HS2 development in January 2012 when he said: “This project will cost taxpayers in the South West almost £110 million and will have absolutely no benefits whatsoever for local people”.

Mr Chichester's letter reads:

"The good people of Leeds and Manchester must be experiencing a warm glow now they know the Government is to lavish more than £30 billion of investment on speeding up their journeys to London through the High Speed 2 rail link. It must be nice to be so loved.

The journey between London and the farther reaches of the West Country is just as long and just as important to our economy.

Would it be too much to ask for the Department of Transport to spare a fraction of the cost of HS2 to at the very least electrify our railway links to London? It would, after all, only be bringing us into line with the level of infrastructure the rest of the country has enjoyed for decades. A few extra carriages and locomotives which do not belong in a museum would be nice too.

We have been the Cinderella region of the British railway network far too long. Whitehall has rightly recognised through HS2 the importance of fast rail travel to the economy and to regional prosperity. Now let's have some fare shares.

I fully agree with Mr Chichester, the rail links to the South West are long overdue for investment.

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