Tuesday 12 Jul 2016
Work to boost rail capacity and accessibility at Virginia Water set to begin
Network Rail will begin work to extend the platforms and install a new, accessible footbridge at Virginia Water station on Sunday (17 July), providing better journeys for passengers as part of the organisation’s Railway Upgrade Plan.
The work to extend the platforms is just part of an £800m investment in the railway running into London Waterloo, the UK’s busiest railway station. It is the biggest package of improvements for passengers travelling to and from the central London hub for decades.
Catherine Oldham, project sponsor at Network Rail said: “Since 1996 the number of passenger journeys on routes into and out of London Waterloo has increased from 108 million to over 230 million making it one of the most intensively used sections of the railway network in Britain, so we’re really excited to be delivering more capacity and better journeys for passengers on this route.
“Between now and April 2017 we’ll be extending the platforms at Virginia Water to accommodate longer trains, and during this time we’ll also be installing a fully accessible footbridge as part of the government’s Access for All (AfA) fund. There will be some disruption to weekend services as a result so I’d like to remind all passengers to check before they travel while works are ongoing.”
The work begins as Network Rail launches its Spaces and Places for Everyone campaign to improve journeys for disabled passengers. It has today published research stating that, out of the two-thirds of disabled people who travel by train (67%), a quarter do not feel that their journey will be an easy one (24%), while a third (33%) said they would use the train more if it were more accessible to them.
Network Rail, which is responsible for managing 20,000 miles of railway and some of Britain’s biggest and busiest stations, is committed to ‘inclusive design’ – which means putting all passengers at the heart of the design process rather than adding on provisions at a later stage .
Renowned disabled comic, Francesca Martinez, has teamed up with Network Rail to launch the campaign. Commenting on the launch, Francesca said, “As a disabled passenger, I often feel as though my needs are invisible to the rest of society and that sometimes people like me are seen as a burden rather than as valued passengers. Most people consider taking the train just a part of everyday life, but there are millions of people like me who need to carefully plan their journeys so they can get around without difficulty.
“This is why I am supporting Network Rail in its campaign to make the railway more suitable for the modern world and accommodating of every single passenger, regardless of their needs.”
Mark Carne, chief executive at Network Rail said, “We are committed to doing what is necessary to make sure that inclusivity is deeply embedded in our culture. Only then will our railway be a place where everyone can travel equally, confidently and independently.”
The improvement works at Virginia Water will complete in April 2017. Virginia Water is one of ten stations that will benefit from longer platforms, which will allow ten-car trains to operate, rather than just the current eight-car services.
The new, longer services will be introduced in 2017. This is part of the Waterloo & South West Upgrade which will include the introduction of five new platforms through remodelling of the former Waterloo International Terminal. The upgrade will also see the delivery of 150 brand new carriages across the region’s rail network.
About Network Rail
Network Rail owns, manages and develops Britain's railway - the 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations (the largest of which we also run). In partnership with train operators we help people take more than 1.65bn journeys by rail every year and move hundreds of millions of tonnes of freight, saving almost 8m lorry journeys. We employ 38,000 people across Britain and work round-the-clock, each and every day, to provide a safe, reliable railway.
About the Railway Upgrade Plan
The Railway Upgrade Plan is Network Rail's investment plan for Britain's railways. It makes up two-thirds of Network Rail's £40bn spending priorities for the five years to 2019 and represents the biggest sustained programme of rail modernisation since the Victoria era. It is designed to provide more capacity, relieve crowding and respond to the tremendous growth Britain's railways continue to experience; passenger numbers have doubled in the past 20 years and are set to double again over the next 25 years - so we need to continue to invest in building a bigger, better railway. For passengers, that means:
- longer, faster more frequent trains;
- better, more reliable infrastructure; and
- better facilities for passengers, especially at stations.