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Woking's railways remain completely off track

December 1, 2017 11:39 AM
By Will Forster
Originally published by Woking Liberal Democrats

Woking has been completely ignored in the Government's latest rail strategy. The Conservative Government announced its new rail strategy today, but Woking was not mentioned once - despite Woking being a key transport hub and having some of the most over overcrowded trains in the country.

Woking Train Station

Despite years of debate over Crossrail 2, a new railway line to connect stations in the North of Surrey with Hertfordshire via Central London which is key to relieving congestion in and out of London Waterloo, is still unfunded. A rail link to Heathrow Airport, refurbishment of Woking Station and widening of Victoria Arch were also not referred to in the rail strategy.

Moreover, local people in Cranleigh and Guildford have been clamouring for the reopening of the old railway line between the two towns have been snubbed by the Tories' rail strategy and this potential line was not included in the list of lines being considered for reopening.

For too long the people of Woking and long suffering commuters from other Surrey towns have had their needs ignored by the Government. As a regular train user myself, Woking's trains are completely overcrowded - we urgently need more investment to ease congestion.

I think our railways need improving for current passengers, but with Woking Borough Council expecting around 5,500 more homes to be built in Woking's town centre over the next 20 years, the case for investing in our rail links is even stronger.

Crossrail 2 is the only way to ease congestion between Waterloo and Woking, yet the Government has refused to put its money where its mouth is as fund this new line. After years of talk, the Government is still talking about Crossrail 2 - not starting work. At the earliest, Crossrail 2 could open in the 2030s, that's a huge amount of time for commuters into Waterloo to wait for any improvements.

This rail strategy is a wasted opportunity to fix our local railways, instead the Tories have gone off track leaving Woking abandoned by future investment.

This article appeared originally on Cllr. Will Forster's blog.