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New rail strategy to tackle some of the country’s most overcrowded trains

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Surrey County Council has commissioned a rail strategy to tackle an urgent need to reduce overcrowding and boost economic growth through improvements to the railways.

The announcement comes after it was revealed that the 7.32am train service from Woking to London Waterloo is the second most overcrowded in England and Wales.

According to the Department for Transport, the commuter service has a load factor of 164%, which means there were 64% more passengers stuffed onto what is already considered a full train.

Surrey County Council’s rail strategy will examine ways to reduce overcrowding, increase capacity, make faster journeys and run longer trains, while boosting economic growth. It will also look at train access to Heathrow and Gatwick airports, Crossrail 2 and the latest signalling technologies.

John Furey, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “It is awful feeling like a sardine packed into a train carriage. Our rail strategy will look at ways to tackle overcrowding, reduce bottlenecks and build longer platforms to cater for longer trains. Nothing is off the table.

“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, so it is vital this county’s rail network meets rising passenger demand.”
Surrey County Council’s rail strategy will be informed by the views of organisations across the rail industry, including train companies, Network Rail, passenger groups and the Department for Transport.

Key aims of the strategy will be to:

* Provide evidence of the benefits of rail investment in Surrey, to be used when applying for funding
* Set out how rail improvements will boost economic growth and create jobs
* Set out how Surrey’s railways will be affected by increases in housing, employment and population growth
* Explore how overcrowding can be tackled.

The strategy will be written by Arup and will be ready for publication in the summer.

ENDS

Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley at james.oxley@surreycc.gov.uk or on 0208 541 7259.

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