Politicians and local leaders show support for rail vision

Government ministers, MPs, local leaders, universities and businesses gathered in Westminster today to show their support for a vision to improve rail services across the South West.

The Western Gateway 2050 Rail Vision, was launched this year in partnership with Transport for Wales and the Western Gateway Sub-national Transport Body.

The aim is to show how the area could nearly halve current journey times between cities in the area and drastically improve journeys to London and the rest of the country.

It brings together all planned work and ambitions from across the area to highlight where additional programmes are needed.

It also highlights the many organisations across the area that are working to develop the next generation of trains.

Since the launch of the vision, support has grown amongst local authorities and businesses.

The Parliamentary event saw MPs and Peers from across the area getting behind the vision alongside representatives from Network Rail and Great Western Railway.

Katherine Bennett CBE, chair of the Western Gateway, said: “This is not about asking for instant investment or building a new high speed train line.  What we have is a long-term vision which is supported by a cross party group of local leaders which is deliverable, transformational and ready for investment.

“With the support of the Western Gateway All Party Parliamentary Group, we’re looking for support for this vision of the future which can help direct the lasting public and private investment we need in our communities.  Our area has huge potential to deliver the UK’s sustainable and net zero future economy and I look forward to continuing our work with partners to unlock a greener, fairer future.”

Robert Buckland, MP for South Swindon and Co-chair of the Western Gateway APPG, said: “This vision highlights the incredible organisations from Swansea to Swindon that are working to develop faster, better train services.  I am proud to support this vision which shows how cross border collaboration can find solutions to level up access to opportunities across both Wales and England.”

By securing support at a local and national level, this pan-regional vision aims to encourage investment in the area from both public and private sources through showing investors a cohesive plan for the area.