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Network Rail takeover of Guildford station

3 minute read
Network Rail takeover of Guildford station

Published at 11:49am 11th April 2018.

Rail users have been told "it's business as usual" following Network Rail's takeover of Guildford station. 

It took over from South Western Railway earlier this month in preparation for major planned changes - which could go beyond the life of the operator's franchise in 2024.

Network Rail has also taken over managing Clapham Junction for improvement works.

South Western Railway, which operates the majority of rail services in and out of Guildford, has reassured passengers that nothing will change.

Head of stations for SWR, Jenny Saunders, said: "It's business as usual for the teams operating these busy stations and we will continue to run the trains while Network Rail focuses on the redevelopment proposals."

The multi-million pound development plan for Guildford station was given the go ahead by the Planning Inspectorate in January.

It includes 438 new homes, new office spaces and a new station entrance.

Guildford Borough Council initially turned down the plans but the developers, Solum, appealed that decision.

Leader of Guildford Borough Council, Councillor Paul Spooner, was a vocal critic of the plans.

Speaking in January he said: "We're talking about a very, very large scheme with very little benefit for the train user in Guildford."

Solum claims that the station will improve the entrance, make pedestrian access easier and add 230 more bicycle storage spaces.

Network Rail’s chief operating officer for the Wessex route said the takeover is the starting point for the development.

Jason Bridges said: "This is an important milestone in our work to give passengers a railway service fit for the 21st century as part of our Railway Upgrade Plan.

"We will continue to work closely with our colleagues at South Western Railway and other train operating companies so that passengers will continue to experience the same day-to-day operation of both these stations."

But the handover last week did not go entirely to plan - causing a rather embarrassing Twitter exchange for Network Rail on Twitter.

Network Rail’s Twitter account responded to a number of complaints about Guildford Station last week saying the station was South Western Railway’s responsibility - only for SWR to reply to remind them about the switch over.

 

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