Railways should allow people to access education and highly skilled, well paid jobs, and of course enable them to socialise. I therefore welcome that the Government is taking action to bring about much needed change.
From 1st March, the Northern Rail franchise will be taken into public ownership and the Government will begin operating Northern services through the public-sector operator, the so-called operator of last resort (OLR). The franchise system is being reviewed by the Government and all options are being considered to ensure that the railways work for passengers.
The Government is determined to see tangible improvements for passengers and I understand that the Pacer replacement programme will continue. I have been very glad to see that from December 12th of last year, the Barnstaple to Exeter line has received new trains to replace the frankly inadequate, older carriages.
Rail is absolutely key to our economy and we need better rail links in the South West and for North Devon in particular. I have already had many meetings to see what the Government can do to improve our railways and to improve North Devon’s infrastructure more broadly.