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East-West Route

Volume 580: debated on Thursday 8 May 2014

2. What consideration he has given to extending the proposed east-west route from Oxford to Bristol or Cardiff. (903891)

Passenger train services that could use the east-west route could be extended to Bristol. However, additional capacity on parts of the Great Western main line is likely to be required to accommodate the additional services.

I thank the Minister for that encouraging reply. Before long, we shall start to look at the specifications for the next Great Western franchise, and services along that route could stop at a reopened Corsham station. Given the importance of our ambitions for Corsham in the strategic economic plan, how should we go about including those services in the next franchise?

I am well aware of my hon. Friend’s aspiration to reopen Corsham station, which closed in 1962, even before the Beeching cuts. We are reopening 45 miles of the Oxford to Bedford line, and I believe that the long-term aspiration is to extend it to Peterborough, which would possibly include reopening Corsham station. However, when it comes to aspirations, I think we are looking at the next decade.