Transport

Urgent need for an increase in rail capacity

John Furey, Surrey County Council's Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment.

The Government has been asked to help address an urgent need for longer trains, faster journeys and more platforms at railway stations, to reduce overcrowding and boost the economy.

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport Justine Greening, Surrey County Council asked the minister to help increase rail capacity in the county, arguing that less congestion and more trains would help businesses grow and stimulate job creation.

John Furey, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “Surrey’s trains are already overcrowded and they will become more so as the demand for rail travel increases in the coming years. We need to reduce bottlenecks and build more platforms at key junctions such as Guildford or Woking, as well as introducing the latest signalling technology.

“Good transport links are vital to the economic recovery. Surrey contributes around £28 billion* to the UK economy which is more than anywhere outside London.

“We’ve written to the Secretary of State for Transport to ask for support in addressing the demand for increased rail capacity, which would help Surrey further contribute to Britain’s economic recovery.”

Surrey County Council’s letter to the Secretary of State for Transport outlined four key priorities:

* More capacity, faster journeys and reduced overcrowding
* Improved rail access to Heathrow Airport from the south
* Changes to the Gatwick Express so it no longer displaces commuters onto the Brighton main line
* The need for more train services from Reading to Gatwick Airport via the North Downs line.

Surrey County Council is developing a rail strategy to help tackle these issues. By increasing rail capacity, some of the burden would be lifted from the county’s roads, which according to Department for Transport figures are the fourth busiest in Britain.

ENDS

Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at james.oxley@surreycc.gov.uk.

Notes to editors

* Gross value added is a measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area, industry or sector of an economy.

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