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Surrey leader urges Chancellor to make “firm commitment” to Crossrail 2

Surrey County Council leader David Hodge is calling on Chancellor Philip Hammond to signal a “firm commitment” to Crossrail 2 in next Wednesday’s Budget.

Last March the National Infrastructure Committee – the independent body advising the government on Britain’s long-term projects – urged ministers to prioritise developing the cross-London train line, which is set to serve Shepperton, Epsom and Hampton Court in Surrey.

In a letter which was also sent to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, the county council leader (pictured) said: “Surrey’s rail services into central London during peak hours are already chronically overcrowded.

“Projected population growth in Surrey and surrounding areas suggest the strain on the transport network will be untenable by the 2030s unless we plan a proper solution now.

“The Prime Minister’s continued support for Crossrail 2 is welcome. However, I urge you to make a firm commitment on Crossrail 2 in the spring Budget.

“We now need swift and decisive action to get this project off the ground. It has the enthusiastic support of people and businesses in Surrey and beyond – and would be an investment in the economic future of the whole country too.”

Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning Mike Goodman added: “This train link is vital for commuters and businesses, Not only will Crossrail 2 reduce overcrowding and significantly increase capacity, it will boost the economy in Surrey, London and the wider region.”

The county council has backed the planned railway, since it was first mooted because of its economic and passenger benefits.

The full letter is below

Dear Chancellor,

I am writing to you about Crossrail 2 – an infrastructure project of national significance and a particularly crucial scheme for Surrey.

It is almost a year since the National Infrastructure Commission concluded that Crossrail 2 should be “be taken forward as a priority” in order for trains to be running by 2033. The project is now at a crucial stage where it urgently needs the Government’s support to move to the next phase of development.

While the underground section of Crossrail 2 is in London, the project is vital to Surrey and other areas outside the Capital, both to the South West and the North East. Surrey’s rail services into central London during peak hours are already chronically overcrowded.

People travelling in from places such as Guildford and Woking often have to stand for the whole of their journey. Crowding is causing delays and disruption which ultimately damage business, as well as making life steadily harder for Surrey commuters. Projected population growth in Surrey and surrounding areas suggest the strain on the transport network will be untenable by the 2030s unless we plan a proper solution now.

Crossrail 2 would transform capacity and performance on the existing rail network across Surrey and the wider South East. By taking much of the local traffic closer to the Capital off the South West Main Line, it would free up urgently needed space for faster, more frequent services into London – as well as new services to local employment hubs in Surrey and across the region.

TfL’s projection is that overall, Crossrail 2 would help unlock 200,000 new jobs and 200,000 new homes. No other single infrastructure project would tackle so many regional and local problems – in London, Surrey and beyond.

The Prime Minister’s continued support for Crossrail 2 is welcome. However, I urge you to make a firm commitment on Crossrail 2 in the spring Budget and ensure the project’s revised Strategic Outline Business Case, which you and your colleague the Secretary of State for Transport are due to consider shortly, receives a positive response from the Government. We now need swift and decisive action to get this project off the ground. It has the enthusiastic support of people and businesses in Surrey and beyond – and would be an investment in the economic future of the whole country too.

Yours sincerely
David Hodge CBE
Leader of the Council

cc. The Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Transport

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