Rail jobs boost for Cornwall


The Royal Albert Bridge spanning the River Tamar. Photo: Paul Harris

Major signalling improvements to railway infrastructure in Cornwall announced today will provide a welcome jobs boost for engineers and technicians in the South West.


The Government has brought forward a £146 million programme of signalling work by five years to deliver faster train services between Totnes and Penzance, bringing the possibility of new half hourly services on the Cornish mainline.


These improvements are part of a railway investment package worth over £146 million that will not only improve services for passengers and boost tourism but also benefit the local economy and create employment in construction. The package, announced by Prime Minister David Cameron, includes expansion of the Long Rock train maintenance shed in Penzance to maintain Cornwall’s Night Rivera sleeper trains.


“This investment will boost the local economy, create engineering jobs and improve connectivity and is great news for Cornwall and the South West,” Mr Cameron said.


Network Rail is putting forward the majority of the funding (£103.5 million) with nearly £30 million committed by Cornwall Council and the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership. The Department for Transport and train operator First Great Western will make up the balance.


Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin added: “Rail travel in Cornwall is growing rapidly and investing in the rail network here is crucial to securing long term economic growth. These improvements will also safeguard and create jobs.”


Cornwall and Isles of Scilly LEP chairman Chris Pomfret said: “Transport connectivity is always one of the first issues identified by the business community as a barrier to Cornwall’s economic growth. This investment makes a major step forward in addressing this issue.”