The Surrey Rail Strategy – Delivering a High Quality Railway to Support Policy Objectives



The Surrey Rail Strategy – Delivering a High Quality Railway to Support Policy Objectives

Authors

Stephen Bennett, Arup, Paul Millin, Surrey County Council

Description

This paper explains how Surrey County Council developed the Surrey Rail Strategy to support sustainable economic growth and to identify rail investment proposals that meet the government’s local economic, social and environmental objectives.

Abstract

Sustainable economic growth is the number one agenda item in today’s post-recession Britain. This was a problem facing the county of Surrey in southern England, as its strong position in the UK economy was jeopardised by a transport network struggling to keep pace with travel demand and no clear priorities for future infrastructure development.
This paper explains how Surrey County Council addressed this issue through the development of the Surrey Rail Strategy study, to ensure that the county has the rail infrastructure needed to support sustainable economic growth and to identify rail investment proposals that meet the government’s local economic, social and environmental objectives.
Since the early 1990s, Surrey’s economy has grown at above the national average rate putting it among the top performers in the UK, with high and stable employment rates and high levels of skills. Being close to London and the international airports at Heathrow and Gatwick has helped Surrey to become one of the most affluent and successful counties in the UK.
The county is already home to many multinational companies, such as BP, McLaren, Pfizer, Toyota, Electronic Arts and Sony, and there are a high percentage of businesses that are knowledge-based, covering key sectors such as creative industries, ICT, advanced engineering and pharmaceuticals.
There is a generally comprehensive rail network and a large number of rail stations in the county, but many services are at capacity and suffer from peak time overcrowding. According to the UK Department for Transport, Surrey has some of the most overcrowded train journeys in England and Wales. Not all parts of Surrey are well served by rail; some towns have no direct connections to London and some rail connections to Heathrow and Gatwick airports are unsatisfactory.
The rail strategy, undertaken by Arup, provides an evidence-based assessment of the problems and identifies the priorities for development to meet local economic and environmental objectives. The strategy study was published in September 2013, following an extensive consultation process (see: http://www.surreycc.gov.uk/environment-housing-and-planning/development-in-surrey/surrey-future/the-surrey-rail-strategy).
Surrey County Council and partners are now working with the rail industry to implement the strategy and deliver an improved rail service for Surrey residents and businesses.
The paper will explain how the strategy was developed, including demonstration of the analysis undertaken, appraisal of options, and development of the strategy for different elements of the rail network, for example the main lines, branch lines, stations, and supporting standards and policies. It will provide an update of progress on the implementation of the strategy.
The paper will also highlight some of the important infrastructure schemes that emerged as priorities from the study, including the proposed Crossrail 2 scheme, southern rail access to Heathrow Airport, and enhancement of the North Downs Line, now becoming known as the ‘Rail M25’.

Publisher

Association for European Transport