Overcrowded rail services to get more seats
By Western Morning News | Wednesday, November 23, 2011, 08:01
Thousands of extra commuter seats have been laid on to ease overcrowded rail services in parts of the Westcountry.
Two additional carriages will serve branch lines at peak times – one from Truro to Falmouth in Cornwall and the other between Paignton, Exmouth, Exeter and Barnstaple in Devon.
The £29 million investment in a total of 48 carriages on the Great Western network has been underwritten by the Government and rail operator First Great Western (FGW).
Unusually, Devon County Council and Cornwall Council have also stumped up £120,000 between them, and Devon and Cornwall Community Rail Partnership has added cash to the pot.
Passenger numbers have doubled on the Truro and Falmouth line after an EU-funded passing "loop" was installed in 2008. The new carriage will add an additional 2,100 seats during the day.
The carriage in Devon adds 270 seats through rush hours, alleviating overcrowding, notably at Paignton.
MPs and FGW hailed the investment, but Liberal Democrat Cornwall councillor Lord Robin Teverson said local authority handouts underlined "everything that is wrong" with rail franchises.