Richard Burningham MBE, the Manager of the Devon & Cornwall Rail Partnership, says:“It's very good news for the Tamar Valley Line - the full existing service is safeguarded, including the early weekday train, the additional train introduced in December 2008 and the all year Sunday service. Thanks to all of you who contributed directly to the DfT Consultation.
In the spirit of giving the franchisee more flexibility, the specification does not lay down the number of seats that need to be provided on specific trains. There is a minimum number of seats that have to be provided on trains arriving in Plymouth between 07:00 and 09:59 - 617 on non-London trains, 1,134 on London trains. I've not yet done the totting up but I hope this means the 08 17 arrival (from Bere Ferrers) remains a two-coach train as a matter of course. I'll flag up the 16:38 from Plymouth (to Bere Ferrers) as a necessity for a two-coach train with the bidders, too.
The specification also asks bidders to give a price to provide eight additional trains a day between Plymouth and Tavistock, making it clear that they will not be reducing the specification for the existing line. As you know, there is still a lot of discussion about the best way of providing the Gunnislake and Tavistock services when Tavistock opens and my preferred option is still Plymouth - Tavistock near hourly with a shuttle between Bere Alston and Gunnislake, which would be more frequent than the current service. I'd also like to see a cross platform connection, too (which would be possible). The main thing now though is that Tavistock is there and mentioned in the specification. It's on page 116 of the main Invitation to Tender document.
The Tamar Valley Line service specification is great news, almost all we could have hoped for at this stage, and a great success for all of us.”