PRTF Newsletter | March 2016 | Issue 3.
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Peninsula Rail Task Force News
Welcome to the first newsletter of 2016 from the Peninsula Rail Task Force.
Following on from the interim report published in October 2015, the Task Force is currently working closely with Network Rail and the Department for Transport on the final report; due to be submitted to government in July.
The report will focus on the essential strategic improvements to the rail network, backed up by our economic case for investment. The Task Force is undertaking a number of work streams, as outlined in the interim report, which will provide the required detail for the final report. These work streams are progressing as planned. More details on the individual work streams are available in the interim report, which can be downloaded from our website:
GRIP 2 study for journey times between Penzance and London
On February 9th the Department for Transport and Great Western Railway announced that funding had been sourced for Network Rail to progress the GRIP 2 study into improving journey times. Potential improvements to the existing track, signalling and other options will be explored as well as ways to maximise the benefits of the Hitachi trains when they are introduced in 2018. 

The study is essential for the Peninsula Rail Task Force’s final report and the support from Great Western Railway enables the Task Force to fulfil its joint commitment to build a detailed and rigorous final report.
During the consultation period for the draft final PRTF report, stakeholders will be able to access advanced information about the findings. These will then be finalised prior to submission of the full report to Government.
The Task Force would like to thank the Department for Transport, Great Western Railway and Network Rail for their commitment in sourcing the funding for the study, our Members of Parliament for pursuing the matter and our stakeholders for their continued support.
On the 28th January the PRTF were fortunate to have Mark Carne, CEO of Network Rail, in the South West to discuss the difficulties and needs of the railway. He took the opportunity to see the seawall and cliffs between Teignmouth and Dawlish from the cab of a Great Western Railway train. Mark was supportive of the aims and objectives of the PRTF and saw great potential in improving journey times for this route.
Planned stakeholder meeting
The PRTF Stakeholder Advisory Group is due to meet once the first draft of the final report is ready. The Task Force will update the group on the full report, the status of PRTF work streams as well as the forthcoming consultation.
The Stakeholder Advisory Group informs the work of the Task Force with members of the group including MPs, train-operating companies, bus service operators, community groups and special interest groups.
All-Party Parliamentary Group on South West Rail
In the most recent APPG meeting held on January 12th, South West MPs and peers met with Network Rail in Westminster to discuss the work of the Task Force and the implications of the Hendy Report on the peninsula’s rail network. Consequently, funding was the main focus of the meeting and as a result South West MPs vowed to maintain the pressure on government to ensure that Dawlish and other rail improvement projects in the peninsula do not fall behind.
Speaking with one voice, the APPG aims to maintain the pressure on the government for investment into the rail network across the peninsula. Oliver Colvile MP (Con) chairs the group, Ben Bradshaw MP (Lab) is the Vice Chair, Lord Berkeley (Lab) is the Secretary and the Treasurer is Lord Teverson (LD).
The Peninsula Rail Task Force supports the work of the APPG. More information can be found: or follow the APPG on Twitter @APPGSWRail.
Consultation responses
PRTF have responded to a number of consultations recently including South Western Trains, CrossCountry Direct Award and Crossrail 2. A response on Hendy replanning is also in progress. The responses are available on the key documents page on our website, please visit if you would like to access these.
Rail options for the Hinkley Point C project
The Hinkley C nuclear power facility is a 10-year construction project. The plan is that the first reactor will be generating power by 2025. It will be the largest construction site in Europe, bringing 25,000 new employment opportunities throughout. As there will be no car access to the site, all staff will use a park and ride bus service from designated sites around Bridgwater. Somerset County Council, supported by the Task Force, is currently looking at the potential freight and passenger options that exist for rail access.
Key dates
  • The stakeholder consultation period for the final report will take place in late April through to late May
  • The final report will be presented to the Secretary of State for transport in early July.
The Peninsula Rail Task Force is a partnership of local authorities and LEPs that has come together to campaign for greater investment into the rail network for Cornwall, Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay. The Task force has been campaigning for three specific priorities for the rail network: resilience and reliability with faster journey time, better connectivity and sufficient capacity and comfort.
More information about the work of the partnership can be found here:
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