Prime Minister welcomes shared vision for future of rail in North Cotswolds

Monday 15th February 2016

Prime Minister David Cameron has today welcomed efforts made by Great Western Railway to unite business leaders, local authorities, and LEPs at a special event designed to secure long-term rail improvements.

The Prime Minister, and MP for Witney where the meeting was held, attended the half-day conference with delegates from across West Oxfordshire and the North Cotswold's. The meeting was organised by GWR, and supported by West Oxfordshire District Council, to build a case for more local services and improved long distance services to London and Heathrow.

Speaking after the event David Cameron said:

“It was real step forward to bring together local authorities, LEPs and businesses from along the North Cotswold Line today to kick-start discussions on how they would benefit from improved rail.

“I hope that this event has given the rallying cry to join together with a shared vision and as a single voice for the North Cotswold's Line. Let’s keep up this momentum and build on it – ask your friends, family and everyone in your network to get involved and let’s come up with the strongest business case in the country. The challenge has been set!”

To achieve GWRs vision a business case will need to be developed for funding support to cover the cost of infrastructure improvements, such as doubling the line beyond Evesham.

GWR Regional Development Manager Tom Pierpoint said:

“Today’s event was an opportunity to present a vision for the future of rail from Hereford to Oxford towards London.

“The conference provided the opportunity to discuss improvements already committed through to December 2018, including brand new trains and a new station at Worcestershire Parkway; and to set out the potential for more improvements including faster and more frequent services beyond 2018.”

The event marks the starting point working with businesses to demonstrate the benefit for the local and regional economy from a better railway for commuters and leisure travellers alike.

Rail is seen as being a major driver behind future development with an improved service key to boosting economic activity, creating and retaining jobs and bringing international and regional markets within easy reach.

Sir Barry Norton, leader of West Oxfordshire District Council said:

"Rail is vital to the economy of the area covered by the North Cotswold Line and can help create jobs, increase access to international and regional markets and boost tourism.

"Businesses will play a key part in how we go forward and the views we have heard from a wide cross-section of firms and entrepreneurs at this event will help shape future development."

Over 120 delegates attended.