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Surrey County Council and Great Western Railway join forces to press for North Downs Line investment

The county council and Great Western Railway have joined forces to press for investment in fully electrifying the North Downs Line. Click image to download

Surrey County Council has joined forces with Great Western Railway to press for investment in fully electrifying the North Downs Line.

The county council and rail franchise operator have agreed to use their collective clout to drive forward the case for upgrading the final 29 miles of track between Reading and Gatwick.

It comes after the council’s Cabinet Member for Planning and Environment Mike Goodman wrote to Great Western Railway (GWR) managing director Mark Hopwood with a request to discuss how to step up their joint efforts.

The pair now plan to meet up to talk about the best approach to securing government funding to electrify the final two sections of the line used by five million passengers last year.

At a GWR event last month, Mr Goodman revealed the upgrade would generate 8,000 jobs and £1.8 billion for the economy.

Mr Goodman (pictured) said: “Investment in the line would significantly boost the local economy, create jobs across the region and swell the government’s coffers.

“Not only would electrifying the route promote growth, it would give passengers faster and more frequent services and that’s why we’re joining forces with GWR to try to secure funding sooner rather than later.”

Mark Hopwood, Managing Director of GWR, said: “I am pleased to be working with Surrey County Council as we set out our common aspiration to further improve this vital line.

“We know the value that rail brings to the national and local economies and completing electrification on all sections of the line from Reading to Gatwick will be a step change in the level of service we can offer, benefitting customers, the wider community and the economy of the region.”

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