Ranil Jayawardena signals support as Government confirms local railway improvements are on track

Ranil Jayawardena has welcomed the announcement from the Transport Secretary that the Woking Capacity Enhancement Scheme and the Western Rail Link to Heathrow are to be included in the largest rail modernisation programme since the Victorian times.

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, confirmed the Conservatives’ commitment to both the Woking Capacity Enhancement and the Western Rail Link to Heathrow, while giving evidence to the Transport Select Committee in Parliament last Wednesday [16th October].

Commuters in North East Hampshire will see benefits from both schemes, which will transform rail services in our area.

  • The Woking Capacity Enhancement Scheme is a major infrastructure and station enhancement scheme, currently under development by Network Rail, which aims to unblock some of the capacity constraints at Woking where services on the Portsmouth line affect services on the Southampton Mainline. This is expected to help improve services to Fleet, Winchfield and Hook on the Main Line by enabling up to eleven trains per hour through Woking at high peak time.
  • The Western Rail Link to Heathrow (WRLtH) is a proposed new 6.5km rail link, which will enable direct rail services from Reading to Heathrow Airport. This helps people get more easily from our area to Heathrow, compared to the current bus from Reading Station, or by car, reducing highway congestion and pollution along the M3/M4/M25.

For the first time, a new Decision to Develop was also announced, under this government’s plans, for minor signalling enhancements to improve operating performance for train services using Waterloo International Terminal. These enhancements were recommended by Sir Michael Holden as part of his South Western Railway review and, subject to a value for money case and Decision to Deliver later this year, the works could be delivered next spring.

This Conservative Government is currently investing a record £48 billion in the nation’s railways – improving reliability and punctuality, upgrading trains and allowing passengers to benefit from quicker, more comfortable journeys.

Commenting, Ranil Jayawardena MP said:

“Faster, better, longer trains are part of ‘Our Plan’ for a better North East Hampshire – one of our top priorities to make our constituency an even better place to live and work.

“I know the level of service on our railways hasn’t been good enough recently, so I am delighted that this government, led by Boris Johnson, is prioritising track infrastructure and signalling improvements as part of our plans to upgrade the railway – this will help make rail services more reliable and have clear benefits for the community here in North East Hampshire too.

“Fast, reliable trains are vital, not just for boosting local growth, but to making areas like ours attractive places to live and start a business. Support for this project will be welcomed around the constituency.

“Boris Johnson and the Conservatives are ensuring no part of this country is left behind, and no business is held back, because of poor infrastructure. We will level up opportunities and renew the ties that bind our communities together.”