Cotswold MP Geoffrey Clifton-Brown is today celebrating the news that the Swindon to Kemble redoubling project has finally been given approval by the Government.
Following a long and vigorous campaign, led by Mr Clifton-Brown, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP, confirmed in today’s Budget Statement that funding for the project is now in place.
It had been thought, following the Comprehensive Spending Review, that Government funding would not be available until 2014 at the earliest. However, after the announcement by the Government that the electrification of the Great Western Mainline would take place it became clear that diversionary routes, including the Swindon to Kemble line, would have to be brought up to scratch in order that they can take on additional trains as a result of the closure of the Severn Tunnel, which would occur at some point in the electrification process.
Crucially, Network Rail recently submitted a new GRIP 4 feasibility study to the Department for Transport on the Swindon to Kemble project, which demonstrated that they could complete the project for a much reduced cost of £41.7 million, instead of the original £52 million.
Additionally, the Cotswold Line redoubling project is progressing well and all the skills and equipment can be quickly and easily transferred to the Swindon to Kemble project.
The result is excellent news for the long-suffering rail users who will now have a far more regular, faster and more punctual service between Swindon to Kemble and through to Cheltenham and Gloucester.
Commenting on the news Mr Clifton-Brown said:
“I am absolutely delighted at this news. I have fought long and hard for this project for seven years and I am thrilled that all of this hard work has now paid off.”
“All of the pieces of the jigsaw have finally come together and persuaded the Chancellor to find the necessary money.”
“The case for the redoubling project is clear and it will bring an enormous amount of economic benefit for the people Gloucestershire.”
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