Network Rail has announced a new £2m funding boost to improve the railway structure across Hampshire.
The money will be spent between 2019 and 2024 across the route, which runs out of London’s Waterloo station, and represents more than a 20% increase on the existing five-year budget.
The funding will be focused on renewing and maintaining existing infrastructure to stop it failing, giving people more reliable train journeys in the future.
Becky Lumlock, route managing director for Network Rail’s Wessex route, said: “We now have more money than ever before to invest in this route and make a real difference to people’s journeys - that’s great news for the people of Hampshire.
“With almost a quarter of billion passenger journeys a year, this part of the railway is under enormous pressure. The next five years are about making sure our tracks, our signals, our bridges and everything in-between, are in first-class condition and can support this growing demand.
“We know we still have much to do to improve train performance on our route and, working with South Western Railway, this funding will help us do that for the communities we serve.”
The Wessex route budget has been set out in the Office of Road and Rail’s (ORR) final determination. This confirms what Network Rail will spend to provide a safe, reliable and efficient railway.
The work in Hampshire will see ageing infrastructure replaced and will improve the resilience of the power supply. This will give passengers in the county a more reliable, safer train service by reducing the number of times the infrastructure fails, while avoiding speed restrictions being put in place. They will also be improving safety at level crossings and installing digital ready equipment, laying the groundwork for a future digital railway.
The work will also include track renewal at Shawford station, as well as Eastleigh, Petersfield, Haslemere, Farnborough and Worting.
Steve Brine MP said: “Any additional investment in our struggling railway is of course welcome and something local MPs have been arguing for.
“What we need however, is an ambitions long term plan that not only arrests the poor performance we’ve seen in the past year but builds a bigger railway because demand is rising and the current system just cannot cope.
“I am working closely with our new all party group to make this case to Treasury and follow through on the many serious issues identified in the recent Holden Review.”
Pictured; Steve Brine discussing the local rail service with Transport Secretary Chris Graying recently.
More information ...