A PETITION started by North Cornwall MP Dan Rogerson seeking to bring railway services closer to east and north Cornwall has been backed by hundreds of local people.
The petition supports the plan to reopen the line between Plymouth and Exeter via Tavistock and Okehampton and asks Network Rail to explore the options for extending it into Cornwall.
Launched on February 11, by Monday nearly 2,000 people in the Bude, Launceston and Camelford areas had signed the petition, as had others from Cornwall, the UK and even as far afield as France and Germany.
The Cornish Guardian has joined forces with the Western Morning News in calling for the Government to halt its £30bn HS2 upgrade of the line between London and the Midlands and use the cash to bypass the storm-wrecked stretch of track at Dawlish which has severed the Paddington-Cornwall route.
Mr Rogerson said reopening the line via Okehampton and Tavistock would bring rail services much closer to North Cornwall.
"At the same time I'd like to see Network Rail explore the options for extending and connecting the Okehampton line to communities in North Cornwall that don't currently have a rail service," he said.
"Hundreds of local people have already backed the petition, as have people from across the country who want to see better connections to help them visit the area to see family, friends or come on holiday.
"The more signatures there are, the stronger our case to Network Rail will be as we ask them to look at bringing back railways to our area."
The petition can be found at http://bit.do/NorthCornwall- Railways
Jade Farrington, Cornwall councillor for Launceston South and a fellow Lib Dem, said the response in her town had been phenomenal.
"I urge as many Cornish residents as possible to put their weight behind the campaign by signing the petition," she said.
Malcolm Mitchell, a resident of Marhamchurch who has been supporting the campaign, said: "Due to the horrendous weather and the devastating damage caused to the only rail link into the South West, there has never before been such an urgent and intensive cross-party dialogue into providing an alternative and reliable inland rail route.
"We have here a golden opportunity to put ourselves back on the national railway map after some 50 years of isolation, and with that would come the inevitable boost for the whole area in tourism, commerce and social mobility."