7-year wait for longer trains and platforms at some stations

Plans to ease congestion at local rail stations by running longer trains could be delayed until 2014 at the earliest.


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Local trains are currently limited to eight cars because of insufficient platform size at smaller stations.
While new ten-car trains are promised for the Windsor line in 2010 these services will only stop at Putney and Clapham Junction in the borough.

In addition to extending platforms rail authorities also need to invest in improved power supplies and depot facilities. Progress on upgrading other parts of the suburban network for ten-car trains is dependent on the outcome of Network Rail's five-year plan for the period from 2009-2014.

The plan, which follows publication of last month's rail white paper, sets out the company's response to the Government's proposals for coping with rising demand for rail services. The white paper forecasts a 20 per cent increase in demand for peak hour rail travel into Victoria by 2014 and 16 per cent for Waterloo.

Network Rail's plan will be submitted to the Office of the Rail Regulator in October. His job will be to decide whether the money is available to implement the Government's proposals

"It is impossible to say when stations like Wandsworth Town and Earlsfield will get some relief, " explained executive member for transport Guy Senior.

"We know that the lines from Reading and Epsom are considered a priority for extra carriages but they are dependent on ministers making the cash available. Rush hour trains are full to bursting which can make it impossible to get on at some stops. Local commuters cannot wait until 2014 for the extra capacity."

The council will urge ministers and Network Rail to ensure investment in additional capacity on suburban lines in South London is given the highest priority.

August 9, 2007