West and Wales
Quarter 2 Update
'As we see more and more signs of recovery from this pandemic, I am determined to ensure our services are ready and able to help our customers and communities as we build back a better transport service for everyone.
This region is blessed with some of the best coastlines and tourism destinations in Britain, and our train services are well placed to support the staycation holidaymakers, day trips and weekend adventurers as they travel for leisure and pleasure. Since the ‘stay at home’ message ended and restrictions were reduced in line with the government’s roadmap, we’ve seen a steady increase in the numbers travelling, including the return of limited business and commuting journeys. As this continues, we will ensure we maintain the expected measures to keep everyone safe when travelling.
And we’re not just looking to build back what was there before. Alongside our industry colleagues and local stakeholders, we’ve been looking closely at and helping proposals that could lead to lines and stations reopening; returning to places that have been disconnected from the railway network for many decades. The first of these at Okehampton in Devon is on track to resume regular passenger services later this year, where connections to our trains at Exeter will provide journeys for tourists to Dartmoor.
Collaboration really is the rail industry’s focus. We’ve been working alongside other train operators to spread the word about work at Bristol by Network Rail in July and August, to make the railway more reliable so we can run more trains on time. And when schools and colleges reopened, we worked with GWR and Devon and Exeter councils to inform them of the best ways to travel while meeting the requirements for social distancing and face coverings. So much more can be done when you work together, and I’m excited about this new spirit of cooperation.
Building back is not just about the trains and tracks, but also about how we work with the people and communities we serve, to ensure they have the best chance of rebuilding their economic and social foundations. I am proud to support the works of seven Community Rail Partnerships in my region, covering communities in Devon, Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Hampshire and Surrey. We’re already talking with them about our funding some great projects across the region, and I look forward to updating you in future news.'