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Autumn Statement: huge investment in transport

Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced a new National Productivity Investment Fund of £23 billion to be spent on innovation and infrastructure over next five years.

Setting out his first Autumn Statement, Mr Hammond said the fund will "directly contribute" to raising Britain's productivity.

The new funding commitments include an additional £1.1bn of investment in English local transport networks.

Details of allocation are yet to emerge - so it is not yet clear how the West Country will actually benefit, and no guarantees that this extra funding will come our way.

However, a hint dropped by the Prime Minister to a South West MP could mean that the West Country is likely to receive more support for its rail infrastructure.

It was a timely announcement - the region is still suffering from a 48 hour disruption on the trains to and from the South West after a spate of bad weather caused flooding and debris on rail routes.

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Westminster debates West Country railways

Credit: ITV West Country

South West MPs are to debate the future of the West Country's rail services in parliament today (8 February). They say its an opportunity for them to challenge the lack of investment in the regions rail network compared to other parts of the UK .

Discussions come after Network Rail revealed that the biggest ever upgrade to the region's rail network will be up to four ye​a​r​s​ late.

It means a promise to end overcrowding, and speed up journey times has again been delayed.

Residents say promises made two years ago after storms caused damage to the line have yet to be met.

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Rail minister 'proud' of women-only carriages idea

Rail Minister and Devizes MP Claire Perry says she's "proud" to have suggested women-only train carriages last year as a way of making the railways safer.

Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn has come in for a string of criticism for suggesting the same thing in a speech last night. He said the idea could provide a solution to the rise in assault and harassment on public transport.

In an interview with Ian Axton, Perry said she wasn't embarrassed that she came up with the idea and commissioned research into it from Middlesex University - research which changed her views.

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Completing rail electrification is a 'top priority' Government says

Completing the electrification of the Great Western line between London and the West is a top priority, the Transport Secretary has announced.

It means that two other major schemes - in the Midlands and across the Pennines - will be delayed.

Patrick McLoughlin told MPs that delays and problems, which have seen the costs treble to £1.7bn, "could and should" have been foreseen by Network Rail, whose chairman is being replaced.

Later, he told Bristol East MP Kerry McCarthy there were "big engineering challenges" but new trains should be operating on the electrified line in 2017 or 2018 (a year later than originally planned).

11 year old girl hit by train in Camborne

Girl hit by a train at Camborne Station Credit: ITV News

An eleven year old girl was hit by a train yesterday evening after falling onto the tracks at Camborne railway station.

She was taken to the Royal Cornwall Hospital with minor injuries.

The British Transport Police are investigating but officers are currently treating this incident as an accident.

90 passengers evacuated from train

Train stuck in flood water in Corsham Credit: ITV West Country

A train traveling from London Paddington became stuck in floodwater at Pound Pill in Corsham in the early hours of this morning. 90 passengers were on the train, which came to a halt in a cutting where water was up to a metre deep in places.

All the passengers were rescued from the train by 0600 this morning.

The train is still blocking the track causing major disruption to rail services in the region.

Services to and from Bristol Temple Meads are unable to call at Chippenham. Trains are being diverted via an alternative route, adding around 45 minutes to journey times.

We are trying to arrange rail replacement trains and tickets will be accepted on local transport and other trains.

– First Great Western
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