Report news now! Text pictures & video to 80360, starting message with WITNESS then leave a space
Council hails backing boost for Surrey's Crossrail 2 strategy
11:00am Saturday 31st August 2013 in News
Calls for the major new Crossrail 2 service to come to Surrey have received a boost from influential groups across the county.
Surrey County Council, which wants the local 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, has said its rail plan has won the backing of local councils, special interest groups and residents.
The council's new long-term rail plan has stressed Crossrail 2 as being a “top priority to maintain economic growth.”
If the major scheme goes ahead and includes Surrey, Crossrail 2 could serve Shepperton, Hampton Court, Epsom and Surbiton, and also allow more trains to run in and out of Waterloo station.
Council chiefs say this would be a substantial improvement for Surrey rail-users even if they do not use Crossrail 2.
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, and engaging with all partners to improve airport access, such as through a potential rapid transit to Heathrow.
The council said other preferred options in the Surrey Rail Strategy include 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.
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 over-all strategy's proposals, while the remainder dealt with specific elements of the strategy.
The council said of the 24 respondents who 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.
The council added other frequent requests were for better access to stations, improved car parking capacity at stations and more direct rail access to London from Camberley, Frimley and Bagshot.
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.”
Coun Furey said: “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 Wednesday, September 11.
The council’s cabinet will then discuss the next steps on September 24.