|Eurostar Change could be boon for Putney Commuters|
Extra platforms at Waterloo may boost local rail services
Plans to switch the Eurostar terminal from Waterloo to Kings Cross could open up the prospect of a much improved local train service. In addition the possibility of a direct link from Clapham Junction to Heathrow has been raised.
Currently services at Putney, Barnes and Barnes Bridge station are limited by the bottleneck at Waterloo which results in the high levels of delay. The changes could create an extra five platforms at Waterloo and an additional track from Queenstown Road.
Wandsworth council's cabinet member for regeneration and transport Guy Senior says the extra capacity could be the key to relieving overcrowding on local rail services. He said, ""The council has been campaigning for extra services that could make travelling conditions more bearable for local commuters. Until now South West Trains have said they just don't have the room at Waterloo. All this could change in 2007 when Eurostar moves out. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for the Department for Transport and Network Rail to tackle these long-standing capacity problems."
Increased demand from local residents for rail services is straining existing capacity and Mr. Senior said it would be 'unforgivable' if Ministers passed up on this opportunity to alleviate the problem. The report on the matter by Ove Arup points out that with South West Trains franchise up for renewal in 2007 providing an enhanced service could form part of the new tender.
New platforms at Waterloo would also make it possible to runs an Airtrack service to Heathrow via Clapham Junction and Staines. Currently there is no direct link from Clapham Junction - rail travellers instead having to take a bus from Feltham or join the Tube at Earls Court.
The re-routing of international rail services will also mean the closure of the Eurostar depot at North Pole Junction near Willesden. Trains currently reach here using the West London Line. The council is now calling for the extra capacity to be used to provide more frequent services between Clapham Junction and Watford Junction. It is currently considering its formal response to the Arup report into the future of Waterloo International.
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