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The Wessex Route Study has been in development since December 2013 and following a 90 day consultation has now been published in its final version.
Key industry parties as well as wider local stakeholders with an interest in the Wessex route have assisted in the production of the study; these include train operating companies such as South West Trains, First Great Western, LOROL, CrossCountry Trains, and all major freight operating companies. In addition other industry stakeholders such as the Department for Transport (DfT), Transport for London (TfL), the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) and Transport Focus have all provided an input to this process.
The study sets out a strategy for the development of the Wessex Route to meet capacity and connectivity conditional outputs identified in the Market Studies, published in October 2013. Geographically the study covers all services as far as Weymouth that utilise the South West Main Line (SWML), services to Portsmouth Harbour which use the Portsmouth Direct Line, services to Alton and services from Exeter using the West of England Line. The study also covers a large suburban network using the Windsor Lines to destinations such as Reading and Windsor & Eton Riverside, as well as Main Suburban services to destinations such as Kingston, Hampton Court and Epsom.
The Wessex route is also a significant generator for freight with key intermodal freight facilities located in the Southampton area transporting goods to the North and Midlands. In addition to intermodal traffic the route also supports other freight flows such as construction materials and oil traffic.
The study identifies a number of constraints across the network, the most significant of which is on-train crowding and capacity on peak services into London Waterloo. Other constraints examined include regional and suburban connectivity, freight capacity and access to diversionary routes.
The study identifies a range of choices for funders for Control Period 6 (2019-2024) which seek to address these constraints through additional services to accommodate the growth in passenger and freight services whilst maintaining performance, as well as through national programmes such as the Electrification Programme.
In the longer term the Long Term Planning Process proposes a strategy to address the challenge of accommodating the projections for growth, outlined in the four Market Studies, for passenger and freight services through to 2043.
Choices suggested for delivery and funding in Control Period 6, including Woking Flyover, will now be developed further to provide an input into the Initial Industry Plan (IIP). The IIP is due to be submitted to Government in September 2016 and will form the basis for Control Period 6 funding discussions.
Wessex Route StudyWessex Route Study - draft for consultationConsultation responses