MP asks: Where’s our station?
The new(ish) MP for Somerton & Frome voiced the concerns of residents of Langport and Somerton in Parliament yesterday. She was responding to a statement by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, Jacob Young MP.
In recent months concern has been growing about the fate of a proposed station for the Langport/Somerton area. It is on the largest stretch of track without a station on the West Country network. A feasibility study has been completed and submitted to the Department for Transport. Since when the silence has been deafening.
So a statement from Jacob Young was a golden opportunity to raise the issue. And a couple of other long standing gripes too.
Sarah Dyke asked: “I thank the Minister for his statement. I am disappointed that that levelling-up fund bid submitted by Somerset Council for the much-needed regeneration works in the rural market towns of Frome and Wincanton has not been successful. In the Somerton and Langport area, we have been without a train station since the 1960s. The Langport Transport Group’s joint proposal with Somerset Council has not received an update to their bid to the restoring your railway fund since July 2022. Will the Minister provide an update and support me to bring much-needed rail connections to the area?”
Unfortunately “joined up” is not a phrase you could use for the way modern government works. The Minister easily deflected her observation: “I am responsible for many things, but not the restoring your railway fund; I ask the hon. Lady to contact the Department for Transport for assurances on that. However, I assure her that across the Dorset and Somerset region, we have been able to fund five projects to the tune of £87 million.”
He has a point, but it would be a stronger point if anyone at the DfT ever felt like updating the good folks of Somerton and Langport.
Have they been waiting a long time? Well here’s a photograph from 2014 with then Conservative candidate David Warburton, Minister of State, Phillip Hammond and Christopher Martin. They’re on the remnants of the old Langport Eastover Station platform discussing the possibility of a station.