Tuesday 21 Mar 2006


Region & Route:
| Southern: Wessex
| Wales & Western: Western
| Wales & Western
| Southern
  • Longer passenger trains
  • Major redevelopment of Waterloo station
  • Hourly service between London Waterloo and Exeter
  • Larger freight containers
  Passengers using the busy routes into Waterloo would benefit from longer trains and a new hourly service between London Waterloo and Exeter, under proposals unveiled by Network Rail today.  These also include enhancements to the line from Southampton, which will allow larger freight containers, and therefore growth in the rail freight market. Launching the ‘Route Utilisation Strategy’ for the south west main line, Network Rail’s Chief Executive, John Armitt, said: “Network Rail is ambitious for the south west main line.  This route has seen considerable growth in recent years, and this will continue in the future.  This strategy recommends improvements that will grow capacity on this section of railway, meeting the needs of passengers and freight operators.” While some improvements will take time to deliver, some that are urgently needed could be achieved in as little as one to three years.  The strategy proposes: Within three years
  • Passenger trains lengthened to eight carriages (where this is not already the case)
  • The introduction of an hourly service between London Waterloo and Exeter
  • Begin the enhancement of the route from Southampton to the west coast main line via Reading to allow larger ‘big-box’ or 9’6” containers preferred by freight operators
  • Improved interchange with public transport and increased car parking at stations
  Within eight years
  • Start the redevelopment of Waterloo station, including longer platforms and bringing the international station into domestic rail service use
  • Platform extensions at suburban stations
  • Commuter trains lengthened from eight to 10 carriages
  For the longer term
  • Passenger trains lengthened  to 12 carriages
  • Signalling renewals and track remodelling at Waterloo, Clapham and Reading  allowing greater capacity and flexibility on the route
  The proposed redevelopment of Waterloo station, including the Waterloo International Terminal, is a cornerstone of the strategy. It will double the concourse capacity and extend all platforms to accommodate at least ten-carriage trains.  Network Rail will invite expressions of interest from developers for this project towards the end of 2006. John Armitt said: “This strategy proposes a range of measures that will make the most effective and efficient use of the capacity on the south west main line.  They have been selected on the basis of value for money and potential affordability across the ten-year period the strategy covers. “The strategy has been produced through close consultation with all key stakeholders, such as: the train and freight operating companies; local authorities; and passenger groups – and it should be viewed as the vision of the industry.”

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We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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