Wiltshire Council nets £4.25m to boost county's rail services and stations (From The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald)
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Wiltshire Council nets £4.25m to boost county's rail services and stations
Wiltshire Council has successfully bid for £4.25m of government funding to boost railway services and improve train stations in the county.
The Department of Transport announced on Wednesday that the authority has been successful in its application for part of £40m in available funding.
The money, which comes from a mixture of capital and revenue, will be used to create more regular services between Swindon and Westbury, fund improvements at a number of stations and help synchronise bus services with train connections.
Graham Ellis, chairman of the TransWilts Community Rail Partnership, said: "It’s fantastic news. The big thing is not only the money but that everyone is on board, the support behind it.
"We’ve felt that the Department for Transport has been trying to kick us into the long grass for years, so to turn around and give us this funding is fantastic."
Mr Ellis added that the money to improve stations and transport links would be well spent, and that he hoped the remainder would be used to help provide more trains on the TransWilts line in next year’s rail franchise.
At the moment just two trains run each way on the line between Westbury and Swindon, stopping at Trowbridge, Melksham and Chippenham.
Dick Tonge, cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "We are delighted that we have been successful in securing this government funding which will make a positive improvement to our rail services in the county.
"Improved train services and better access to stations will mean less people using the car and a boost for local businesses as the county will have even better transport connections.
"This grant is seed money to get the service started, the long term success of this project will depend on the number of passengers using it.
"We will be entering negotiations with the rail company as soon as we have the details of the grant."