AN MP has called for one of the town's railway routes to be doubled in size.

Laurence Robertson, a Tory MP for Tewkesbury, wants the railway track between Swindon and Kemble to be expanded and has demanded that the Government speeds up work to improve rail services in the area.

"There's a train only every one hour and 52 minutes," Mr Robertson, pictured, told the House of Commons.

"On a lot of the trains you have to change if you want to come to London.

"The cost of an open return is £139.

"This really is a very, very poor service between a very important area of the country and London."

Mr Robertson's demands have also been backed by fellow Gloucestershire MPs.

Stroud MP David Drew said he had been campaigning on the issue for 10 years and redoubling the track was greatly needed.

Cheltenham Liberal Democrat MP Martin Horwood said that doubling the line would deliver benefits for his constituency as well.

With rising passenger numbers this was just the sort of scheme which should be given priority by Network Rail, he said.

Junior Transport Minister Tom Harris said the single track limited the number of trains that could be accommodated on the route.

As reported last month, the Department For Transport is looking into running higher capacity trains through Swindon as part of its development strategy for the south west's rail network.

It comes after figures showed that about 41,000 trips are made on the south west's rail network on an average weekday.

Passenger rail journeys in the region have increased by 42 per cent between 1995 and 2003 -- a slightly higher level of growth than the national average.

The heaviest demand within the region is on the route from Bristol to Bath.

There is also sizeable demand for travel between Swindon and Bristol.

As a result, one of the main objectives from the Department For Transport is to introduce higher capacity trains between London and the south west to meet the forecast growth in demand.

The plans focus on London, Swindon, Bristol and Bath.

But the report says minor infrastructure enhancement may be required between Swindon and Kemble for the South Wales services at Swindon and this is classed as a medium and long-term priority.

Network Rail's business plan said redoubling the track between Swindon and Kemble is being evaluated as the first phase of the Swindon-Gloucester-South Wales line upgrade, for delivery in 2008-09.

A Network Rail spokesperson said: "We are currently carrying out a feasibility study to double the track between Swindon and Kemble.

"This study is in its earliest stage.

"Once completed, this will give us an indication on the business case and costs for redoubling part or all of the line."