Fully electrifying the North Downs Line between Reading and Gatwick would create 8,000 jobs and generate almost £2 billion for the regional economy, according to Surrey County Council.
The local authority is pressing for 29 miles of non-electrified track in two sections to be upgraded by 2019. It argues that the cross-country route has suffered from a lack of investment, with poor-quality stations through the Blackwater Valley.
The area is expected to receive significant new housing and commercial growth, and Surrey Council believes that services should be increased from two to three trains an hour, and eventually to a service every 15 minutes with new rolling stock and longer platforms.
“My challenge to Great Western Railway is to stop talking and start acting,” said Mike Goodman, Surrey’s Conservative Cabinet Member for Environment and Planning. “It takes forever to get things done on the railway.”
- For more on this, read RAIL 801, published on May 25.