Passengers call for more through trains between Bay and London
TORBAY residents are being urged to lobby if they want more through trains to London.
Of those who responded to a survey of Torbay Line Rail Users Group, 34 per cent want more through trains between Torbay and London Paddington and 18 per cent more to London Heathrow.
But the group is warning that the instructions that the Department for Transport has given to bidders for the Great Western franchise are that it is up to them, the bidders, to choose whether to run through trains or not, as long as they provide trains to Torbay from Newton Abbot.
A spokesman said: "All the evidence from our survey shows that what Torbay people want and need is through trains.
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"Residents should lobby the bidders, our MPs, our councillors and the Department of Transport itself to make them understand the crucial importance of through trains to all our activities."
Sixty two per cent of those surveyed want a good rail service between Torbay and Plymouth, just over half wanting through trains, clearly preferred to a connection of about five minutes, the second-best option.
Respondents also wanted more through trains to Cornwall (22 per cent), to Bristol and Birmingham (20 per cent).
They were also asked about through services to Cardiff and South Wales, to Manchester and to the North East each of which gave percentages between 10 and 14 per cent.
A spokesman for the group said: "Through services are important. People don't like changing trains.
"They worry about getting their connections, about how long they may have to wait, about having to find another platform.
"We asked respondents whether they travelled with heavy or bulky luggage, with a cycle, with a disabled person, with children or simply with another person. All of these can present problems when changing trains.
"We found that 41 per cent usually travel with heavy or bulky luggage, seven respondents with children and seven with a disabled person, three with a wheelchair and one with a non-folding bicycle.
"A third of respondents usually travel with another person."
Asked what would encourage respondents to use the trains more, out of several suggestions, a third of respondents agreed more frequent trains and a third through trains.
Members distributed 475 questionnaires were distributed and the response rate was 23 per cent.