Leaders make demands for more investment in county’s railway system

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A TOP-level rail summit was held to launch a campaign for more long-term investment in Hampshire’s railways.

Rail bosses, MPs, and council leaders met amid concerns that rail infrastructure is unable to cope with continued growth in passengers and freight.

Councillor Roy Perry, leader of Hampshire County Council, hosted the meeting in Winchester to lobby for a fair share of government investment to improve frequency and reliability on some of the most congested sections.

Cllr Perry said: ‘For a long while there’s been limited investment into the network serving Hampshire. That’s why we want a united voice to encourage government to recognise the economic significance of rail capacity, and to support the Local Enterprise Partnership strategies to collectively make this investment happen.’

Among schemes out for consultation include new double-decker trains, electrification of the line to Salisbury, 125mph on some sections of track, flyovers at Woking and Basingstoke, extra platforms at Southampton Central and Guildford, and the development of cab-based signalling.

More than 37 million rail journeys were made from stations in Hampshire in 2013 – up 116 per cent since 1995/96.

Cllr Perry said: ‘The network improvements we’ve had outlined for us are a multi-billion investment, which is similar to what has already happened in other parts of the country, while this area has missed out.’