With respect to Robin White’s letter (Free Press April 24), I agree with her that WSR, and in particular Chris Austin of WSR, deserve huge credit for obtaining funding for the tourist shuttle and persuading GWR to contribute the necessary resources to effect the service.
But I disagree with Robin’s dis- missive treatment of the Rail Link Group.
I’m not a member, but I am aware of the meetings held by Alex de Mendoza and others with GWR, Somerset County Council and their lobbying at the Department of Transport.
To what extent this may have helped WSR or not, unless Robin has direct knowledge of the outcomes of these meetings, she is not in a position to be able to dismiss the hard work and persistent effort here as “irrelevant”.
I also take issue with Robin’s description of the objectives of the rail group as “fantasies”. The Department of Transport’s report published last year into the future operation of GWR’s rail franchise in the South-West made no less than seven specific references to a renewed Taunton to Minehead rail service.
The Campaign for Better Transport published a report this year suggesting a renewed Minehead to Taunton rail link is “feasible”.
Fantasy? No. Nevertheless, no more than a dream currently.
But surely working towards achieving a dream is better than the nightmare that we all face here as West Somerset’s transport problems get worse.
With more tourists – hopefully – and thousands more homes being built – certainly – we know travel- ling around our region by car, bus or bike can’t get any better. What other option is there?
The issue ultimately is how much will this cost, where will the money come from and how will any new rail service past Bishops Lydeard fit alongside the existing heritage railway?
Given the problems facing the WSR, the large-scale infrastructure investment needed here may be just what it needs to thrive.
Roland Bushell, Minehead. Ian Scott, Blenheim Mews, Minehead