TravelWatch SouthWest plea to Cornwall Council on rail

A rail group has warned Cornwall Council to carefully consider the implications of running the county's rail service.

In a report the council said it was "considering options of taking on devolved powers for the local railway".

The council's scrutiny committee is discussing the proposal which would include setting train times and prices.

TravelWatch SouthWest said the council must be aware of the financial implications before investing.

'Reduce cost'

Gordon Edwards from TravelWatch SouthWest said: "I support the paper, this is an option worth exploring, but I think we have to think what the government is prepared to put on the table."

In a statement the Department for Transport said: "We will shortly publish our command paper on rail reform which will set out our strategy for working with the industry to reduce the cost-base of the railway, producing benefits for taxpayers and farepayers."

Matthew Sidney, a council transport manager, said: "It's all about trying to deliver better local provision, having the ability for the local services in our area.

"You would then work within the budget and you would be responsible for raising revenue to support those services."

He added that the council would "look very carefully" at the benefits before investing.

The Great Western Franchise, currently operated by First Great Western trains, is due to expire in March 2013, with a new 15-year agreement due to start next April to run the county's trains.

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