TOWN leaders say a cut in rail services to the county could impact on tourism in Fowey and are making moves to prevent it.
Fears have been raised after the Government confirmed that one-third of direct train services between Cornwall and London are under threat as it unveiled details of the new Great Western rail franchise last week.
The Paddington to Penzance service could fall from nine to six daily, but Cornish MPs insist they will be fighting to retain the current number.
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers has said Cornwall would continue to get nine “journey opportunities” from London, plus the much-cherished sleeper. But only six are guaranteed direct or “through” services, with the remaining three requiring passengers to change in Devon.
Although a mainline railway does not operate out of Fowey, the town council has sent a letter to Ms Villiers expressing its concerns.
Councillor Norman Mason, who proposed it be sent, said any cut in rail services was not sufficient for Cornwall, or for Fowey.
He said: “I feel very strongly that we need to do everything we can to make sure visitors can come to Fowey.
“It is not just tourism, it is business too. How do we travel to London? We are supposed to be ecological, that is what the trains are for.
“It is already bad enough trying to get trains now, so it will only get worse. It is in demand.”
The Department for Transport (DfT) last week issued its invitation to tender, which sets out what the Government expects from the four shortlisted bidders wanting to take control of the 15-year franchise from July. The deal was originally slated to start three months earlier.
The DfT has asked bidders to provide costs for nine direct services, and will decide on any cuts when bidders submit their plans. This is expected in October with a new operator appointed in March.
Train firms will also be required to provide costs for a new service every 30 minutes from Penzance to Plymouth or Exeter – which Cornwall Council has pressed for as a replacement for possibly losing the three direct trains.
Vice-chairman of Fowey Chamber of Commerce, Stever Beresford, said he fully supported the move by the council and Mr Mason.
“It cannot possibly be good news,” he said. “Our main stance has got to be about businesses. Tourism is our lifeblood. People should be encouraged to come here, not discouraged.”
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