Cornwall

Council sets out aims for Cornwall's rail service

Rail improvements have been suggested as part of a government consultation into the future of Cornwall's service.

Cornwall Council is currently negotiating with train operators about the service's future and considering whether to run the network itself.

The Great Western Franchise, which runs the county's rail network, expires in March 2013 and is being tendered.

Suggested plans include increased services from cities and protecting the Penzance to London sleeper train.

'Desirable alternative'

It is also hoped that smart ticketing technology could be introduced at stations, as well as more frequent services between Cornish towns.

Graeme Hicks, from the council, said: "Our desire is for a much-improved rail service.

"We have to ensure that the railway is a desirable alternative to private car use."

The Great Western Franchise, currently operated by First Great Western, expires in March 2013, with a new 15-year agreement due to start next April.

A second consultation is due to take place in the summer about how the government may devolve responsibility for rail services to the local authority.

In itsCornwall Rail Strategy, the council said discussions with the Department for Transport included "options for phasing within the 15-year franchise", enabling the council to take over responsibilities at a later date if and when decided.

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