Thursday 30 Mar 2017
South East runs on rail: New figures show the full extent of the rail industry’s contribution to Kent and south east London
- South East
- Network Rail supports around 39,547 local jobs in the South East and last year £1.94 billion was spent with 646 local businesses
- Southeastern employs more than 4,000 people and has raised more than £23,000 for local charity the Dame Kelly Holmes Trust
- Improvements being delivered in the South East include: the Thameslink Programme –which is building a new station at London Bridge; a new station building at Strood in Kent; a new platform at Redhill, and better journey times between Ramsgate and Ashford
- Improvements already delivered since 2014 include a completely new station in Rochester, Kent and new signalling through the Medway Towns
- £100 million is spent every single week by Network Rail on improving the railway in Britain
The rail industry in the south east, including Network Rail and Southeastern, are working together to deliver a record £50 billion plus investment in Britain’s railway. This investment supports jobs, growth and drives development, re-generation and unlocks housing supply in the region.
John Halsall, managing director at Network Rail South East route, said: “As part of delivering record investment in the railway, Network Rail supports around 40,000 jobs across the South East and we are spending money with 646 local businesses.
“We know the railway is vital to economic growth. That’s why Network Rail is spending £100 million every week across the country on our Railway Upgrade Plan.
“Here in the South East we are spending £1.48 billion annually to provide a safe, reliable railway. A great example of this plan in action is the resignalling through the Medway Towns that not only put a new, more reliable control system in place, but also increased capacity and delivered a brand new station at Rochester.”
Mr Halsall added: “We intend to keep contributing to the economy in the South East, working with local businesses and creating jobs for local people on improving the railway to bring more connectivity and even more prosperity to all.”
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators as well as Network Rail, said: “Train companies and Network Rail are working hard together to improve journeys for the millions of passengers who use the railway every year in the South East. The result is going to be more trains running to more places, more often, creating new opportunities and supporting jobs. It will include the massive Thameslink Programme – most obviously with the new station at London Bridge. These improvements will help keep everyone in the South East moving and help to support a growing local economy.”
The delivery of a record, £50billion + investment in Britain’s railway is being showcased as part of a public awareness drive known as Britain Runs on Rail, which aims to increase understanding among taxpayers and passengers about how their money is being spent to improve the railway. Britain Runs on Rail is organised by the Rail Delivery Group, which represents train operators and Network Rail.
Network Rail and Southeastern continue to modernise train stations throughout the south east, bringing in more local work and bringing them back in to the community.
The opening of the new £26m Rochester station in 2015 means passengers now enjoying five more trains to London in the morning and one extra return train in the evening; services which had not previously been able to stop at the old station. They’re also now able to travel to and from a brighter modern station with closer access to the town centre, and tourist hot spots such as Rochester Cathedral.
Last year saw the re-opening of Snodland station after a £1.1million investment. Passenger numbers have increased significantly at Snodland since Southeastern's successful High Speed service was introduced in 2009. This coupled with growth and investment in the area, has resulted in the ticket office being reopened for the growing number of commuters in the area, two decades after it was originally shut down.
Similarly, Herne Hill and Strood will get the new station treatment this year with work starting on improvement programmes at the stations. Work on the £1.5 million upgrade of Herne Hill station began in October and is set to be completed this summer. The build will be completed with the help of the Railway Heritage Trust who will help us to restore and enhance some of the buildings historic features.
Strood station is undergoing a £2.8m upgrade this spring when work starts on the new state of the art station. Part of the National Stations Improvement programme and Medway Council’s regeneration of the local area, the new station - which will replace a 1970’s modular building - will be bright, modern and will compliment the neighbouring Rochester station which was upgraded in 2015.
David Statham, Managing Director at Southeastern said: “We’ve made, and continue to make, investments in the areas our passengers told us are important to them, and our latest National Rail Passenger Survey figures show that these have been noticed.
“Passengers are now more satisfied with our stations (78%), train times and platforms (81%). They’ve noticed a difference in the attitude and helpfulness of our staff which rose from 68% to 77%, and overall satisfaction in the company has risen to 77%. This is a three year high for us and a 7% increase on the previous NRPS, published in June last year.
“Of course, while it is pleasing that our passengers have noticed the improvements we’ve made in these areas, we accept there is still a lot more work to do. Much of that work is already underway, and we’re dedicated to working together with the industry to further improve the experiences our passengers have when travelling with us.”
Southeastern has upgraded Customer Information System screens and placed additional ticket vending machines at stations which have been deep cleaned and repainted. It has made improvements to retailing by launching its first smartcard ‘the Key’ - unlocking the benefits of smart, paperless ticketing and speedy, tap-and-go travel. And made it easier for passengers to claim compensation if/when things go wrong, those delayed by 30 minutes or more can now claim back compensation in cash, cheque, bank transfer or PayPal.
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About Network Rail
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.
Every day, there are more than 4.7 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.
We are building a better railway for a better Britain.