CONSERVATIVE councillors have launched a petition to fight for Coventry to retain its three fast intercity trains to London every hour.
It follows the same calls from Labour Coventry South MP Jim Cunningham and Coventry City Council Labour employment cabinet member, Jim O’Boyle.
A government public consultation has proposed reducing intercity services through some stations, which could include Coventry station, on the West Coast Mainline between London and Birmingham, and beyond.
The consultation is led by the Department for Transport (DFT) and runs until August 2. Public views are sought.
It will eventually result in an operator – currently Virgin Trains – being appointed to run the franchise from 2017.
That operator will sign an agreement with the DfT based on the results of the current consultation.
The consultation document suggests the number of trains could be reduced at some stations where demand is lower- improving journey times to higher demand larger stations and cities.
Leading the Tories’ campaign are councillors Gary Ridley (Woodlands) and Ken Taylor (Earlsdon). They will be at Coventry sation with the petition on Friday morning, seeking commuters’ signatures.
The matter is set to be debated at a council meeting on Tuesday July 12, where cross-party support for retaining services is expected.
Coun Ridley, a former council cabinet member who has this year been re-elected to the council, said: “Coventry is located at the heart of the country and it benefits from great road and rail links to the rest of the country.
“However, like many people I’m alarmed at the prospect of a reduction in this service.
“Coventry’s future prospects are heavily dependent on our connections with London and in these uncertain times we need this service more than ever. That’s why we’re collecting this petition which we’ll submit as part of the consultation process.”
Coun Ken Taylor said: “Much of the city’s regeneration around the Friargate initiative is based on good connectivity to London and Birmingham and I’m deeply concerned at any suggestion that the service may be reduced in some way.
“It’s just a consultation at this stage which is why it’s so important to show the DFT just how much support there is for retaining this level of service.’
Conservative Group Leader, CounJohn Blundell, is also backing the campaign and said: ‘It’s really important that we have good rail links with London and Birmingham. With the Coventry City of Culture bid underway we need to be an open and accessible city and that’s why we’ll be asking the council to make strong representations to the DFT on this issue.”
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