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
We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 40,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 19 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.
Every day, more than 4.6 million journeys are made in the UK. 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.