Surrey must lobby for more involvement in Crossrail Two to reap the benefits for local rail users, according to the county council’s draft rail strategy.
The multi-billion pound project could help increase capacity on the overburdened South West Main Line by up to 40% at peak times, easing overcrowding with an extra nine trains per hour into Waterloo.
The current preferred Crossrail Two route spans from the north east to the south west of London, taking in Shepperton, Epsom, Hampton Court and Chessington South stations on its southern tip.
But with no Government funding yet allocated for the project, the county council’s rail strategy raised concerns that an alternative route could be selected that remains within the London boundary and not reach Surrey.
John Furey, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “Clearly Surrey must be part of Crossrail Two and this is reflected in the fact we are currently included in the preferred route. But with no funding yet allocated, we must lobby hard to ensure Surrey remains part of the plans.”
Mr Furey added: “Our position on Crossrail Two is part of our overall rail strategy, which will provide the evidence we need to bid for Government funds to improve our railways and other transport infrastructure. This is vital when convincing the Department for Transport to invest in Surrey instead of elsewhere in the country.
“Both Surrey and London are economic powerhouses that together drive the UK’s economy. Almost 20% of our working population commute daily into the capital. Without improvements to the railways, Surrey risks losing out on global investment and jobs to better connected areas of the capital and the South East.”
The county council’s draft rail strategy forms part of the work of Surrey Future, an organisation bringing together business leaders, the county council and district and boroughs, with the aim of helping the county’s economy thrive. A key focus will be tackling overcrowding on trains.
The draft strategy suggests Surrey’s three main rail priorities should be Crossrail Two, improvements to the North Downs line and improving access to Heathrow and Gatwick airports.
It found that longer trains and more services could be squeezed into Surrey’s already overburdened railways to increase capacity and reduce overcrowding, but urged that longer term improvements are vital.
A consultation into the draft rail strategy runs until June. People are encouraged to give their views by visiting www.surreycc.gov.uk/surreyrailstrategy.
Media requiring more information can contact Surrey County Council senior media relations officer James Oxley on 0208 541 7259 or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Kevin Richardson on 02085 417267 or at email@example.com.