RAIL BOSS RICHARD BOWKER VISITS CORNWALL TO SEE START OF MAIN LINE IMPROVEMENTS
Chairman of the Strategic Rail Authority (SRA) Richard Bowker is visits Cornwall to see at first hand the £14.3 million major improvement project at Probus – Burngullow, which will transform the capacity of Cornwall’s main rail line.
The aim is to restore double track to 7.5 miles of railway between Truro and St. Austell, removing a bottleneck which causes train delays and limits the frequency of services.
The start of construction this month marks a successful collaboration between Cornwall County Council, the SRA, Network Rail, the Objective One Programme for Cornwall & the Isles of Scilly, and Government Office for the South West, with the support of train operators Wessex Trains, First Great Western and Virgin Cross Country.
Cornwall County Council has long championed the need for this improvement, and looks on Mr Bowker’s visit as an endorsement of the project’s importance to the whole Great Western Main Line.
Robert Hichens, Cornwall County Council’s Executive Member for Strategic Planning and Transport, says, “We are pleased to welcome Mr Bowker to Cornwall, and to the Probus - Burngullow project. Restoring the original dual line to the existing rail bed will improve mainline services, helping to draw inward investment into Cornwall and build investor confidence.”
Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, adds "The Objective One Programme has invested £3 million in this vital rail infrastructure project because fast and efficient transport links are vital to supporting our growing economy. Objective One invests in projects that will make a real long term difference to Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly, and this is an excellent example. I’m delighted that work is now underway."
The project team is ensuring that work on this major engineering project is dovetailed with existing programmed maintenance work on the main line, so it will cause only minimal line closures itself.
Richard Bowker was appointed as Chairman of the SRA in 2001, having a respected business background. He has responsibility for overall development of Britain’s railways and the regulating of passenger train services. The former commercial director of Virgin Group and co-chairman of Virgin Rail, he has spent most of his working life in the financial wings of the rail industry and London Underground.