When I fought (and won) my first ever political campaign I was seeking to represent the Penzance Central Ward on Penwith District Council. I remember the emphasis of that election campaign well. I argued that Penzance should not be considered as just the ‘end of the line’ and that there was reason to behave as if we are the start of something good.
Taking this quite literally, the meeting last night jointly organised by Robin Turner and myself to explore the possibility of putting freight back on the rails from Penzance to London, was a step in this direction. We brought a number of businesses together with senior representatives of the rail industry to look at the feasibility of transporting locally produced goods, mainly food and drink, right into the heart of London on a daily basis. Work is being done to increase the demand for goods produced in Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly.
As we succeed we must ensure adequate means of ‘exporting’ these goods exist. No-one will welcome more freight on the A30. The idea of freight on the rails is as old as the rail industry itself but modern logistical challenges are not easily overcome. However, if we can’t load a carriage or two with good local products to reach London and beyond every day by rail we have a challenge ahead if we are serious about creating more better paid jobs.