MP Says Sleeper Service Secure But Upgrade Needed

Scilly's MP, Andrew George

Scilly’s MP says he’s reasonably confident that the Government will step in to help upgrade the London to Penzance sleeper service.

The service is safe, because it’s built into the franchise arrangements for the future, but he wants the operator to be able to invest more in it and he feels that the 15 year-long franchise will allow the contractor to do that.

Andrew George is proposing a 7-day a week operation and more berths.

Currently anyone catching the Scillonian III to Penzance from Scilly on a Saturday misses the last train to London, which leaves at 5.40pm and there’s no sleeper on that day.

Andrew feels the argument for the Government subsiding the sleeper train, over the cost of putting in superfast train infrastructure that other regions have benefitted from, is compelling. He said the cost of upgrading the sleeper service is a tiny fraction of the huge sums needed for high speed lines.

Andrew says the service is always popular and, from his own experience, is often fully booked.

And he says the Government has made the right decision in offering a 15-year franchise, which will allow the winning company to invest in the service.

Andrew met Transport Minister Theresa Villiers off the overnight train when she visited Penzance recently and she was receptive to his argument that there needs to be support to improve the sleeper service.