Surrey County Council’s recently appointed Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, John Furey, has written a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport, Justine Greening, asking the minister to help increase rail capacity in the county, arguing that less congestion and more trains would help businesses grow and stimulate job creation. This was reported in Surrey News:
John Furey, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport and Environment, said: “Surrey’s trains are already overcrowded and they will become more so as the demand for rail travel increases in the coming years. We need to reduce bottlenecks and build more platforms at key junctions such as Guildford or Woking, as well as introducing the latest signalling technology.
“Good transport links are vital to the economic recovery. Surrey contributes around £28 billion to the UK economy which is more than anywhere outside London.
“We’ve written to the Secretary of State for Transport to ask for support in addressing the demand for increased rail capacity, which would help Surrey further contribute to Britain’s economic recovery.”
Surrey County Council’s letter to the Secretary of State for Transport outlined four key priorities:
* More capacity, faster journeys and reduced overcrowding
* Improved rail access to Heathrow Airport from the south
* Changes to the Gatwick Express so it no longer displaces commuters onto the Brighton main line
* The need for more train services from Reading to Gatwick Airport via the North Downs line.
Surrey County Council is developing a rail strategy to help tackle these issues. By increasing rail capacity, some of the burden would be lifted from the county’s roads, which according to Department for Transport figures are the fourth busiest in Britain.
The obvious question to John is what is Surrey County Council’s strategy to create parking solutions to cope for this increased rail capacity. Where will they all park? It is clear that the operator of the rail franchise, South West Trains, is not interested in the parking aspect, as outlined in the letter from The Haslemere Society to The Haslemere Herald last week.
SW Trains have announced that they will not be building a multi-storey car park (MSCP) at the station because they cannot make a satisfactory business case for it and are instead going to create some extra ground level parking capacity on land north of the station. Without a MSCP Haslemere’s parking problems will never be resolved.