This in from Chris Quirk on behalf of Keep Island Line in Franchise (KILF) Group. Ed
KILF – the cross-party, community-led campaign to Keep the Island Line rail service in the South Western rail franchise – has launched an e-petition on the Parliament website.
Within 24 hours of going live, the petition has already attracted over 500 signatures – and is continuing to grow.
Keep the line within the franchise
The petition expresses concern about the Government’s plans to turn Island Line into a separate self-sustaining business during the life of the next franchise (2017 onwards), saying that the service should instead continue to be supported within a wider network, with the franchisee required to invest in it.
KILF Steering Group Member, Chris Quirk, who created the petition, said:
“Like many small branch lines, Island Line is currently underwritten by the profitable main commuter routes in the wider franchise. Yet under the Government’s plans for it to be self-sustaining, it would have to fend for itself. This model puts its future viability at serious risk.
“The Government’s approach to Island Line is also inconsistent with their support for other small branch lines – such as Lymington to Brockenhurst. We believe our local train service should, like these other routes, continue to be supported within a wider franchise model. The franchise bidders should be required, by the Government, to put forward plans to make the much-needed investment in the service, rather than wash their hands of it.
“Our petition is focused on demonstrating the strength of concern about the Government’s current plans, with a view to persuading them to change their plans and fully include Island Line’s requirements in the forthcoming “Invitation To Tender” for the franchise.”
10,000 signature target
David Pugh added:
“Any British citizens and UK residents can sign the petition; so any mainlanders with an interest in Island Line (or if they are concerned about the precedent which could be set by these plans for other small branch lines) should be encouraged to sign. We are promoting the petition far and wide, as if we can secure 10,000 signatures it will get a response from the Government.
“The petition complements our current preparations for responding to the consultation, as it will help us demonstrate the strength of support for keeping Island Line in the franchise.”
KILF is reminding Island residents that the deadline for submitting a response to the consultation is 9th February. Submissions can be emailed to SouthWesternFranchise2016@railexecutive.gsi.gov.uk