Minehead Rail Link Group has been campaigning for the introduction of a new community rail link between Taunton and Minehead for 5 years. The Group believes the investment this represents will significantly enhance the quality of life for all West Somerset residents, and bring enhanced wealth and prosperity to one of the UK`s most overlooked and economically deprived areas of natural beauty. The group intends to achieve its aim by undertaking:
- To co-ordinate a major fund raising effort to finance a full and unbiased research project evaluating the potential for a new rail link between Taunton and Minehead for all West Somerset residents and businesses.
- To continue to raise public and commercial awareness of all relevant issues in context by engaging with local and regional media on a regular basis, and social media as appropriate.
- To use the results of the proposed research report to develop further working relationships with existing and potential new stakeholders at local, regional and national level to stimulate the necessary investment needed to ensure the rail link is developed as quickly as possible.
- To commit to the protection of the local environmental and economic ecosystem by ensuring all potential areas of dissension and danger are fully explored in the public domain and resolved.
- To commit to the protection of the region`s most recognisable and valued capital asset – West Somerset Railway and its heritage line service – and to ensure any new community rail service integrates fully with existing WSR operations.
- To promote the integration of all new and existing bus services in the region with a new community rail service as and when this becomes possible.
West Somerset`s roads struggle to cope today. In 10 years time, the population of West Somerset is expected to grow by a further 20%. With more visitors anticipated as well, the need for more infrastructure investment seems obvious. But the Group recognises that many will have concerns about a possible new rail link. Letters to local media regularly highlight some of the contentious issues here – not the least being the possible threat this may represent to the interests of West Somerset Railway. But the Group believes that the proposed new link can be managed in such a way as to actually protect the interests of West Somerset Railway, and present it with opportunities to build on its fantastic achievements to date. We hope and believe that the outcome of any independent report will confirm this.