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2009-05-26 NET-002
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Sussex rail strategy signals improved capacity and facilities


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RUS



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Network Rail

Sussex rail strategy signals improved capacity and facilities
_______________________________________________________________


date
26 May 2009 12.30
source Network Rail
type Press release



The Sussex route utilisation strategy (RUS) analyses current demands and predicts future trends to make recommendations for a bigger and better railway in the Sussex and east Surrey area.

With rail passenger growth in the region expected to increase by 26% between 2007 and 2019, capacity and overcrowding is a significant consideration within the RUS. Forecasts predict significant population growth in the Sussex and East Surrey area, with towns including Brighton, Horsham, Chichester and Crawley expected to show some of the most significant expansion.

Owing to the high number of trains operating across the route, there are few options to run additional services, particularly on routes into the capital which are the most congested. However, there are opportunities to run longer trains on key routes, which will result in extra seats and reduced overcrowding for passengers.

Fiona Taylor, Network Rail’s route director for Sussex, said: “Four out of five commuters travelling into London from Sussex travel by train. The Sussex route currently carries around 146m passengers a year. This is expected to continue to grow, so it is vital we have a clear strategy for the future. Capacity is at the top of our agenda, but we are also putting a lot of effort into making the railway more accessible and reliable to continue improving passenger journeys.

The RUS also makes recommendations to improve access to the railway. A number of stations have already been identified for enhancement under the national stations improvement programme and Access for All schemes. In addition, there are plans to provide more car parking spaces at stations. As part of an ongoing seven-day railway initiative, Network Rail is exploring ways to allow more consistent and frequent access to train services during evenings, weekends and public holidays, in addition to peak commuter services.

The RUS highlights that within the next 30 years, other actions are likely to be needed to meet the expected increases in passenger demand. Various options have been identified for further consideration, including constructing new lines to relieve major constraints on the current route. Any of these long term options would be extremely challenging to implement, very expensive and would need to be analysed thoroughly to make sure they were feasible and offer the best solution.


Note to editors:

1. The RUS process involves Network Rail, train operating companies (Southern, First Capital Connect, First Great Western), Freight Operating Companies (DB Schenker, Freightliner), Department for Transport, Transport for London, Passenger Focus, London Travelwatch, Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC), local authorities and elected representatives.

2. The document for consultation can be downloaded from:
http://www.networkrail.co.uk/browse%20documents/rus%20documents/route%20utilisation%20strategies/sussex/sussex%20rus%20draft%20for%20consultation.pdf

3. The Sussex RUS covers the Brighton Main Line into Victoria, London Bridge and Blackfriars. In addition, it includes routes along the West and East Coastway (between Havant and Bexhill), the Arun Valley line (between Arundel and Three Bridges) and services operating on the North Downs Line (between Reading and Gatwick Airport). It has been developed in conjunction with the South London RUS, Kent RUS and Freight RUS.

The South London RUS focuses specifically on improvements to the suburban portion of the Sussex and Kent routes. In the context of Sussex, the South London RUS covers stopping / slow-line services towards London from Purley on the Brighton Main line and Horsham on the line via Sutton, as well as the routes to East Grinstead and Uckfield.

4. The RUS strategy includes detailed recommendations covering the period up to 2019, within the context of a 30 year plan.

5. The Sussex RUS is published for consultation on 26 May 2009, with the final strategy scheduled for publication in autumn 2009.

6. A number of significant schemes are already planned for delivery between 2009 - 2014. The impact of these schemes on the RUS area has been factored into the process prior to the analysis taking place. These schemes include:

- In May 2010, a significant timetable change will be required as a result of the East London Line Extension Phase 1 services between West Croydon, Crystal Palace and the existing East London Line at New Cross Gate.
- 12-car operation of East Grinstead to London Bridge and East Grinstead to Victoria services.
- 10-car operations on a number of inner suburban services
- Passengers on the Brighton Main Line will benefit from increased train lengths, from eight cars to 12 on a number of peak Thameslink services
- Alterations to track and signalling in the Gatwick Airport area

In addition, between 2014 – 2019, Network Rail will be increasing capacity through London Bridge. Once complete, this will allow a greater number of longer trains to operate between the Redhill corridor and London Bridge.

7. Further initiatives recommended by the RUS include:

- Lengthening trains from eight cars to 12 on selected peak services between the Redhill corridor and London Bridge and the Redhill corridor and Victoria. Additional trains between the Redhill corridor and Victoria during the peak.
- Increasing the length of trains running on peak services on the Uckfield line to eight cars between 2009 – 2014, and to ten cars between 2015 – 2019.
- Lengthening Caterham and Tattenham Corner services north of Purley to 10 or 12 cars.
- Aside from the London commuter market, cases exist for lengthening the following specific peak trains: Services between the West Coastway and Brighton; services into Chichester; some services on the North Downs / Redhill route.
- Between 2014 and 2019, the RUS recommends extending some trains on the Brighton Main Line during the shoulder peak to 12 cars and operating up to three additional services across the three hour peak between Brighton / Coastway routes and Gatwick Airport, East Croydon, Clapham Junction and Victoria.
- Building an additional platform at Redhill on the western side of the station.
- Reducing signalling headways to increase capacity at the northern end of the Arun Valley line
- Notable schemes at several congested stations include: rebuilding Blackfriars, Farringdon and London Bridge (as part of the Thameslink programme); remodelling of the concourse at East Croydon; redevelopment of Victoria station.
- Enhancements to car parking facilities at the following stations: Barnham, Burgess Hill, Horsham, Lewes and Three Bridges.
- Enhancements at East Grinstead and Horsham as part of the National Stations Improvement Programme (NSIP).
- Provision of step-free access between the station entrance and platforms at Hassocks and Horley, funded through the Government’s Access for All programme.



For more information contact:
Media Relations (London & South East)

t: 020 3356 9166 / 9164
e: mediarelations@networkrail.co.uk


About Network Rail


Network Rail is the 'not for dividend' owner and operator of Britain's railway infrastructure, which includes the tracks, signals, tunnels, bridges, viaducts, level crossings and stations - the largest of which we also manage

We aim to provide a safe, reliable and efficient rail infrastructure for freight and passenger trains to use

Our website: http://www.networkrail.co.uk


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