Scott has been campaigning for better and faster railway links in and around North Cornwall to boost tourism and business since he was first elected in 2015.
The collapse of the sea wall at Dawlish in 2014 illustrated the vulnerability of the rail network in the South West. It cost the economy tens of millions of pounds and caused a lot of disruption to passengers. Working alongside colleagues in Devon, Scott has helped to deliver the return of mainline services to Okehampton - a move that has been warmly welcomed in Bude and Launceston. He has also worked hard on a campaign to bring mainline rail connections back to Bodmin General station.
Scott and fellow South West MPs are campaigning hard to safeguard the region's railways which are vital for all constituencies in Devon and Cornwall.
Railways in North Cornwall
Scott is currently supporting the following projects which have been proposed or have the potential to become a reality:
- Extension of the line from Boscarne Junction to Wadebridge
The Bodmin and Wenford Railway Trust is looking to reinstate the line which once ran to Wadebridge alongside the River Camel. Although now a cycle trail, the proposal would see the return of steam trains between Bodmin and Wadebridge with a trail running parallel for cyclists, walkers, and horse riders. The Camel Trail is a vital part of both North Cornwall's recreational and tourism industries. Scott wants to see trains returning to Wadebridge, but not at the expense of bikers, walkers or horse riders. This line could be hugely beneficial for Wadebridge in terms of transport links for locals as well as extra visitor footfall.
- Mainline services to Bodmin General
Bodmin is currently served by Bodmin Parkway for mainline rail services, but the station is located outside of the town on the A38 which is prone to closure because of road works or accidents. Bodmin Parkway is also located just across the constituency border in South-east Cornwall. The return of a mainline service to Bodmin General would provide a year-round link to Bodmin Parkway which is only a short walk from the town centre. Although tickets are now available to Bodmin General from mainline stations, mainline services themselves are not. Being a preserved steam railway, there are few services in the winter, but a mainline service would avoid this and form part of a consistent rail link for Bodmin residents and visitors. In 2019 Scott helped deliver a feasibility study to reconnect Bodmin General with the mainline.
- Better connectivity between Bude and the national rail network
Bude and Stratton used to be served by a railway branch line but this was sadly closed as part of the Beeching Axe. Scott is a founder member of the local pressure group 'Connect Bude' and he has campaigned since 2015 to help Bude become better connected to the national rail network. Part of that plan was backing the reinstatement of the Okehampton to Exeter line, which reopened thanks to £40 million of funding delivered by the government in the 2021 budget. The Okehampton line could not have been reopened without the hard work undertaken by Members of Parliament, the local council, and groups like Oke Rail in Devon. Scott believes in a pragmatic solution to Bude's transport connectivity and understands that the reconnection of rail services is a long-term aspiration. In the short to medium term, he supports public transport enhancements and better bus services to ensure that Bude has links with services in other parts of North Cornwall.