His portfolio in government may be defence, but Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood is drawing up a battle plan for the conurbation's rail infrastructure.

Mr Ellwood is to arrange a meeting with a number of organisations to try to get Bournemouth station upgraded and become a better experience as a gateway into the town.

"Bournemouth hasn't been touched for years and even though it's a listed building, I think there's quite a lot that could be done.

"There's a lot of space around the station. I'd like to see better parking and other facilities and it would be great to encourage high tech firm to move to the site. It is something that has been done successfully at Farnborough.

"This part of Bournemouth is changing rapidly with a whole raft of new developments. It's an exciting time and the station area should be included in that.

The MP said he wanted Network Rail, South Western Railway, the councils, BID and Asda to talk part in a bit of 'blue skies thinking.'

He added: "I'd like to see something iconic, colourful and interesting."

Mr Ellwood is in talks with AFC Bournemouth about using the club's colours at Pokesdown station, to help make a gateway for Kings Park and the Vitality Stadium. "I'd like Pokesdown to have a bit of the wow factor. It does need attention.

He also wants to put talk about light railway proposals back on the front burner.

This would include a north-south route linking the airport, railway station, town centre and beachfront and an east-west route across the conurbation from Christchurch to Poole, to ease congestion in the longer term.

"These are big long term projects and if you don't at least start talking about them, they don't happen. There has to be come strategic vision.

"There is national funding available for things like this and potentially you can do them bit by bit. It doesn't all have to be done at once."

The MP said the merger of the three conurbation councils should make this kind of long term planning easier - and more visible nationally in terms of investment.

Mr Ellwood along with other MPs from the south are pressing the government to upgrade Woking. Currently there's a logjam of trains from across the region and journey times to London could be cut by up to 15 minutes if a Woking 'crossover' was built.