Waterside Railway investigations
Hampshire County Council is looking into whether the Community Rail Partnership model could be used to investigate re-opening the railway line serving Marchwood and the Waterside to passenger services.
According to the Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) one of the main challenges facing the railways in Great Britain over the next five years is the need to deliver extra capacity. One of the ways ATOC feels this could be tackled is to re-open lines for passenger services — and it ranked the Waterside line, which currently caters for freight traffic, as a strong candidate. The line closed to passengers in 1966.
Councillor Mel Kendal, Executive Member for Environment at Hampshire County Council, said: ““If we are to encourage more people to travel by train then we need to make it easier and more convenient. Re-opening the Waterside railway line would mean thousands of residents in the New Forest would have access to a local train station for work and leisure travel.
“Having an operational passenger railway line for the Waterside would not only ease the pressure on Southampton Station but also on local roads such as the A326.
“This is at the very early stages and there is a lot of work to be done if it is to become a real prospect. We need to get together the community, local authorities, rail companies and other interested parties to examine all the issues and gather evidence on passenger numbers and travel patterns and to look at the cost implications. This is why I believe a Community Rail Partnership could act as a catalyst in galvanising the parties involved to achieve the desired goal of bringing passenger services back to the Waterside
Community Rail Partnerships have been successful in making improvements to a number of lines including Lymington to Brockenhurst and each has its own remit but broadly they look to increase the use of current train services , develop public transport links to and from the railway, improve station facilities and environment, and contribute to the development of agreed long-term strategies for local railway.
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