A call for a major new rail service to come to Surrey has received a boost from influential groups across the county.
Surrey County Council wants our rail network to be connected to the potential Crossrail 2 project, which could run from the county into London from the 2030s if it receives Government approval. If the scheme goes ahead and includes Surrey, it could serve Shepperton, Hampton Court, Epsom and Surbiton. The scheme would also allow more trains to run in and out of Waterloo station, which would be a substantial improvement for Surrey rail users even if they do not use Crossrail 2.
Now local councils, special interest groups and Surrey residents have supported the county’s new long-term rail plan, which says Crossrail 2 is a top priority to maintain economic growth. The Surrey Rail Strategy Report, drawn up by council consultants Arup, also recommends:
· Providing more frequent services serving Waterloo, Windsor and Brighton
· Electrifying the diesel North Downs Line between Reading and Gatwick Airport to provide faster and more frequent services
· Engaging with all partners to improve airport access, such as through a potential rapid transit to Heathrow
Other preferred options in the Surrey Rail Strategy included longer trains on the Reading-Gatwick North Downs Line and connecting it to Bedford via the proposed East-West Link from Reading. The report also recommended engaging on providing two new stations at Merrow and Park Barn by 2019 to serve employment and population growth in Guildford, plus more frequent services from Woking to Alton and Guildford.
John Furey, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, said:
“Within 20 years, Surrey’s population and job numbers will grow by 9% and 11% respectively and there will be 25% more passengers commuting to Waterloo, so we need significant rail investment to keep pace with our flourishing economy.
“We will use this Surrey Rail Strategy to continue to push forward on our hard work with Government, train companies and other partners to make Crossrail 2 and other important rail projects a reality for Surrey commuters and businesses.”
Surrey County Council’s Environment and Transport Select Committee members will debate the Surrey Rail Strategy Report and consultation responses on 11 September. The council’s Cabinet will then discuss next steps on 24 September.
NOTES TO EDITORS
The report was sent to every parish, town and district council, residents’ association and special interest groups. There were more than 150 respondents, of whom 35 welcomed the overall strategy’s proposals and the remainder dealt with specific elements of the strategy.
Of the 24 respondents that specifically mentioned Crossrail 2 as part of wider comments, 18 were in favour of it in principle, while the rest of the comments were neutral. Other frequent requests were for:
· Better access to stations
· Improved car parking capacity at stations
· More direct rail access to London from Camberley, Frimley and Bagshot