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Old May 28th, 2011, 03:40 PM   #841
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Also forgot to mention the Northern Ireland situation. As with many things they do public transport differently there, most of it being run by a state organisation called Translink (similar to CIE in the republic). Northern Ireland Railways and Iarnród Éireann do run a joint service between Belfast and Dublin, other than that I don't think that any cross border lines exist.
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Old May 28th, 2011, 10:38 PM   #842
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
Does it have to do with the fact National Rail (and formely RailTrack) didn't/don't receive much money for network improvements? I read somewhere (can't recall which site, but it was something serious) that the trackage fees for UK franchises is 4 to 6 times higher than in continental Europe, mainly because heavy improvements like West Coast Main Line widening/refitting/electrification, many fly-overs and costly station renovations were done without as much State payments as in other countries.

The bottom line was that trackage fees are very expensive in UK. Moreover, the use of diesel trains only made it worse as they oil is more expensive now and most continental railways use electricity.
But the train operating companies receive government subsidies from which they then pay Network Rail access fess, so in reality Network rail does receive huge subsidies. The fees received for each additional service informs network rail where it should spend money on new infrastructure.

It just the nature of the fragmented privatised industry has driven up costs.

When Railtrack was taken over by the Government and Network Rail it was supposed to get control of costs but that did not happen. Network rail opaque and unaccountable management structure had made thins worse instead. It's only the last couple of years have they realised they better try an control costs before the government steps in again permanently solves the problem.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 01:08 AM   #843
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But Network Rail is not fragmented at all. They control all network in UK (save, of course, for local dedicated subway lines and some local-only). They coordinate all dispatch and path allocation.

Where I do see a problem is that station management was not transfered to the infrastructure company (Railtrack, now N. Rail) but left to the franchises.

In regard of franchises, I do see a problem with the short term of franchise agreements and the the micromanagement of car length, rolling stock etc. They should allow many more open access carriers on long-term deals that makes them competitive when procuring for rolling stock.

If a new company wants to operate a Manchester-London Euston service, it should be allowed to do so, without many hassles and some proof that it won't affect Virgin Rail revenue.
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Old May 29th, 2011, 05:48 PM   #844
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Virgin Trains to increase Liverpool to London train seats by 25%

VIRGIN Trains will add extra carriages on the Liverpool to London line to boost the number of seats by 25%

The announcement follows a crunch meeting between Liverpool council leader Joe Anderson and company boss Tony Collins yesterday. Ahead of the meeting Cllr Anderson warned Virgin the council will object to the operator winning a renewal of its West Coast franchise – unless it improves its “pitifully infrequent” service to London. The city only has 17 trains per day to the capital, compared to Manchester’s 47.

Today Virgin told the ECHO that from the end of the year two additional carriages will start being added to its trains. The additional carriages will be in standard class, boosting the number of seats on board by 25%. Trains currently have nine carriages, and the additional rolling stock is being manufactured in Italy.

The company hopes all of its trains, including to other destinations such as Glasgow and Manchester, will have 11 carriages within a year.

Arthur Leathley, communications director of Virgin Trains, said: “The meeting was very cordial, we share the same objectives as Cllr Anderson. Over the coming year we will be adding two carriages to trains. “We understand the frustration people have with busy trains, we want everyone to have a seat and an enjoyable journey.”
http://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/liver...0252-28778554/
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Old May 31st, 2011, 02:02 AM   #845
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Just seen this on the BBC news channel, but a 'Deltic' diesel engine will come back onto the UK's Railways to haul freight due to lack of other stock.

News Link (and video)
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Old May 31st, 2011, 09:21 AM   #846
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Just seen this on the BBC news channel, but a 'Deltic' diesel engine will come back onto the UK's Railways to haul freight due to lack of other stock.

News Link (and video)
niiice the world needs more locomotives like that
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 06:21 PM   #847
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Biggest revamp to Cambridge station in 160 years begins

The biggest revamp to Cambridge railway station in its 160-year history has started. Tracks are being cleared to create space for a new 300 metre island platform and other tracks are being realigned.

And this weekend hoardings will start to go up at the north end of the through platform so workmen can start laying the foundations for a new footbridge to connect the existing platform with the new one. If work continues as planned, passengers will reap the benefit as early as this December. The addition of the £16.7 million new platform will put an end to the station’s ‘one platform’ trademark and prepare the city to cope with 30 years of railway growth.

The grade-II listed station building is also poised for a radical £4.5 million makeover of the ticket hall and interchange outside the station which will coincide with the massive cb1 developments in the area.

Over the last 10 years the number of people travelling between Cambridge and King’s Cross has grown by 20 per cent. The number of people who used the station last year was eight million, up two million from 2004. Yet Cambridge has seen little change to its infrastructure since its opening in 1845.

Apart from a lengthening of the platform in 2009, the station remains remarkably similar to its 1908 shape – the date of its last major remodelling. Its 470-metre platform is the third longest in the country, but it is not enough to cope with the huge increase in passenger numbers.

“We won’t have to do anything more for decades now,” said Rob Fairhead, Network Rail’s project manager for the island platform. "It’s a long-term project. Passenger numbers have been going up and they’re going to keep rising.Trains will no longer have to wait because another train is at the platform because we’ll have two more platforms.”

The route between Cambridge and King’s Cross, London, is one of the busiest routes in the country and rail industry forecasts suggest a 35 per cent increase in passenger numbers over the next 20 years.

The new platforms, 7 and 8, will mean 12-car trains will run on the Liverpool Street route used by National Express - 12-car services can currently run only on the First Capital Connect service between Cambridge and King’s Cross. As well as longer trains, the new platforms will free up space on the existing platforms in time for this December’s timetable change.

Graham Ellingham, duty manager, has worked at the station for 30 years.

He said: “It’s going to help us no end. It’s something Cambridge has been asking for for years. This is definitely the biggest change to the station I’ve seen.” A footbridge, which will have cycle guttering and lifts, will connect the new island platform to the rest of the station - and it will be built in such a way so further expansion is possible.

Russell Spink, a spokesman for Network Rail, said: “It is about more than just the station. These developments will add to the growth of the city. Along with the cb1 developments, when the station is equipped to carry many more passengers and there is still room for expansion it reflects well on Cambridge in general.”

One of the main beneficiaries of the developments will be the commuters on the notoriously-crowded trains to London. Passenger Focus looks after passenger interests across the country. Manager Guy Dangerfield said: “Passengers will warmly welcome this much-needed investment to improve Cambridge station. While works happen it is important that National Express East Anglia ensures that passengers are told how any work will disrupt their travel plans as well as the benefits the work will bring.”

Work on the platform is due to finish by December in time for the new winter timetables. First, the rails will be laid, then the platform will be built. On September 25 at 2am the footbridge will be hoisted in by a crane and put in place. By October the infrastructure should be in place leaving only electrics and aesthetics left to complete.
http://www.cambridgefirst.co.uk/news...egins_1_909844
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Old June 2nd, 2011, 06:32 PM   #848
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Number of rail passengers set to double by 2024 in the North

The number of passengers using rail across the North of England is set to increase dramatically over the next ten and twenty years, according to a report published by Network Rail.

A rise of up to 52% by 2024 could see hundreds of thousands more people a year arriving at stations in Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield and Newcastle at peak times, according to the operator and maintainer of Britain’s rail network. Network Rail has published the final version of it’s Northern Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS) which looks at rail usage over the next ten to thirty years and recommends how best to cope with the extra passengers and freight.

The report, which has been produced in partnership with key stakeholders, makes a series of recommendations for targeted investment in the railways of the north which are needed to cope with the extra passengers, allow rail freight to grow and will support sustainable economic growth.

Paul Plummer, Network Rail’s director of planning and development, said: “Rail in the north continues to be a major success story – but this brings its own challenges, as the RUS sets out. We are already making good progress. Projects already underway like flyovers at Stafford on the West Coast and North Doncaster on the East Coast will mean faster, more frequent trains can run between the Northern cities and London. Electrification in the north west will mean a faster, cleaner and cheaper railway.

“But this RUS shows the challenges don’t stop here. With as many as 52% more passengers flooding into the big cities of the north by 2024, we need to make targeted investments to deal with this, as well as working with stakeholders to make better use of existing capacity.”

Network Rail is proposing a number of schemes to help meet this demand, including:

- Further peak train lengthening or shuttle services to make the most efficient use of capacity.

- The Northern Hub – which would allow 3.5 million more passengers to travel across the North every year, funding for the first part of the Northern Hub portfolio was confirmed in the budget announcement in March 2011.

- New platforms at Leeds, Huddersfield and Manchester Airport stations.

- Upgrading the railway between Immingham, Scunthorpe and Knottingley to support anticipated freight growth.

The RUS also endorses the on-going rolling programme of electrification examined in the Network RUS: Electrification Strategy.
http://www.rail.co/2011/05/31/number...-in-the-north/
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Old June 8th, 2011, 07:45 PM   #849
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North Cotswold redoubling completes first stage of work

Two formerly disused platforms at Charlbury and Ascott-under-Wychwood stations re-opened to passengers for the first time in 40 years yesterday.

These platforms – buried and removed after spending cuts in the early 1970s – will cater to trains running on the extra 4.5 miles of new track between Charlbury and Ascott-under-Wychwood. This also marks the end of an intensive nine-day improvement programme and the completion of the first stage of the North Cotswold redoubling scheme.

The £70m scheme, spearheaded by Network Rail with support from First Great Western and Cotswold’s Line Promotion Group, will enhance capacity and performance of rail services between Worcester and Oxford with an extra 21 miles of track.

Mike Gallop, principal programme sponsor for Network Rail said: “For many years, the North Cotswold line has been suffering from a frustrating bottleneck because of the single track. “This will soon become a thing of the past as we move a step closer to completing the redoubling scheme with the launch of the first phase today. We will continue to work hard over the next two months to complete the scheme, bringing direct benefits to thousands of passengers from Oxford to Worcester.”

First Great Western Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:

“In the past ten years we have seen marked growth in the area First Great Western serves. The combination of improved reliability, better connectivity, and the competitiveness of rail against other modes of transport is increasingly attracting customers to use the railway.This redoubling scheme will allow us to deliver extra capacity, and improved reliability on North Cotswold rail services, which is good news for our customers.”

As part of the first stage of improvement work, an extra track is installed to help remove congestion and increase capacity on an otherwise single line between Charlbury and Ascott-under-Wychwood.

In addition, passengers at Charlbury and Ascott-under-Wychwood will also benefit from a bigger, brighter and accessible stations with improved facilities, including new platforms with step-free access, new lighting and real-time digital passenger information systems. The signalling equipment in the area, including the system deployed at the Ascott-under-Wychwood signal box, is also upgraded to modern standards and will help to improve the reliability of rail services.

Around 1700 engineers were mobilised to work round the clock in the nine days to deliver this programme of work. Work will now focus on the final stage of the scheme to commission the remaining 15.5 miles of track between Evesham and Moreton-in-Marsh during August.
http://www.rail.co/2011/06/07/north-...stage-of-work/
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Old June 9th, 2011, 02:29 AM   #850
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A member of another forum I visit lives close to the line, and has been photographing the progress of this construction through his Flickr account.
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Old June 9th, 2011, 02:42 AM   #851
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Originally Posted by Suburbanist View Post
I have a question, indeed, three:


- how is the regulation about international trains running from Ireland (Republic) into Northern Ireland? Are there agreements in place to accommodate the state-based Irish railways with the British franchise-based rail system?
All I can say is that Northern Ireland Railways is still state owned, and was never part of British Rail. Northern Ireland Railways and Ianród Éireann have equal responsibility for the Belfast-Dublin connection
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Old June 9th, 2011, 09:06 PM   #852
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£2bn profit for Network Rail despite drop in punctuality

Network Rail made higher profits of more than £2 billion last year, even though fewer trains ran on time.

The profits - equivalent to £5.5 million a day - also come as passengers bore the burden of above-inflation rises in fares, with London commuters among the worst hit. The company, which is responsible for track, signalling and major London stations, paid £5.4 million to its top six bosses.

Only 90.9 per cent of trains ran on time last year - down from 91.5 per cent in 12 months, although this was partly due to the exceptionally bad weather before Christmas. The company is not directly responsible for running trains or setting fares but charges rail operators to use its tracks, one of the biggest costs for train firms.

Last year many commuters had to put up with double-digit price rises on tickets with, for example, the cost of a season ticket from Kent to London soaring by more than 12 per cent in January and an annual pass from Orpington to the capital now costing £1,632. Ticket prices next January are expected to rise by as much as 14 per cent again. Network Rail said its operating profits rose from £1.98 billion to £2.02 billion, while its pre-tax profit rise 11 per cent to £313 million.

Meanwhile, the company's spending on tracks and other infrastructure was almost the same as the previous year at £3.99 billion. It culled more than 1,500 employees to save costs, reducing its staff numbers to 35,600.
http://www.thisislondon.co.uk/standa...punctuality.do
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Old June 10th, 2011, 04:26 PM   #853
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Automatic ticket gates bring new jobs to Glasgow

Almost 70 jobs are being created by ScotRail at four Glasgow stations. They are in connection with the introduction of automatic ticket gates at Anderston, Argyle Street, Charing Cross and Glasgow Central’s Low and High Levels.

The jobs boost coincided with ScotRail unveiling the new gates at Charing Cross. The so-called ‘ring of steel’ will be introduced at Anderston and Argyle Street later this month and at Glasgow Central Low Level by the end of July.

The automatic ticket gates will result in 42 full-time and 27 part-time customer service posts to cover the gatelines. Since the start of the franchise in October 2004, the number of jobs at ScotRail has increased by more than 25% – from around 3,400 to more than 4,400.

Steve Montgomery, ScotRail’s managing director, said: “We are delighted to be creating more jobs across Glasgow city centre. In addition, the gates are expected to save us around £1million-a-year year in lost revenue. This level of reinvestment will add to the future prosperity and growth of the rail industry within Scotland.”

As well as reducing ticketless travel and increasing revenue protection, the new gates will improve station security and discourage anti-social behaviour, ScotRail say.
http://www.rail.co/2011/06/08/automa...bs-to-glasgow/
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Old June 10th, 2011, 09:12 PM   #854
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Network Rail announce preferred contractor for Reading station

A Costain/Hochteif joint venture has been named preferred contractor for Network Rail’s rebuild of Reading station. The contract will see five new platforms constructed at Reading, relieving congestion on the Great Western Main Line and spelling an end to the familiar experience of waiting outside the station for a platform.



The contract, worth approximately £80m, is one of the biggest that will be awarded as part of Network Rail’s £850m project to transform Reading’s railway. Network Rail project director Bill Henry said: “The five new platforms we’re building at Reading will increase capacity, enable us to get more trains through and mean better journeys for passengers.

“The new station will be more accessible, more modern, and improve the experience of the 14m people that travel through every year.This is just one part of a massive upgrade of the railway through Reading. We’ll work closely with our contractors to make sure we get the job done with as little disruption as possible to the railway and people using the station.”

Improvements for passengers at Reading station will include two new entrances and a new footbridge with lifts and escalators to all platforms. The station environment will be substantially improved with a new roof, new lighting, and new retail and customer facilities.

Contractors will start work on site this summer and the first new platform, on the southern lines to Gatwick and London Waterloo, will open at the beginning of 2012. The remaining new platforms, new entrances and footbridge will be completed in spring 2013 and station works will be completed in 2014. The redevelopment of Reading station is part of a wider project to upgrade the Great Western Main Line through Reading.

This will see the construction of a viaduct to take fast main lines over slower freight and relief lines, along with associated changes to track and signalling designed to increase capacity and cut delays.
http://www.rail.co/2011/06/09/networ...ading-station/
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Old June 12th, 2011, 12:47 AM   #855
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Network Rail unveils plans for Leeds station

Leeds passengers are set to benefit for a better station under plans unveiled today by Network Rail. The ‘masterplan’ combines eight separate projects that together will ease congestion, provide better facilities and improve the overall environment of the gateway to Leeds.

Plans include a new entrance and concourse on the south side of the station, a better choice of shops and restaurants on the north concourse, improvements to the New Station Street entrance and 350 extra car parking spaces for passengers.

The first phase of work begins on the South concourse in June to reduce congestion on the concourse and on the North concourse a new Sainsbury’s will open in August this year. Metro (the West Yorkshire Passenger Transport Executive) has secured funding for the new Southern Entrance, which it is hoped will open by mid 2014. A new multi-story car park and improved short-stay and drop-off facilities are also due to be completed by mid 2014.

Passenger numbers in Leeds are set to rise by 16% by 2014 and by 62% by 2029. These upgrades, planned in partnership with Metro and delivered in partnership with commercial developers, will make sure that Leeds is able to cope with future demand and provide a welcoming environment for travellers.

Gavin McKechnie, head of retail at Network Rail, said: “The continued success of the railway has enabled us to make these investments. We are committed to improving stations for passengers, and these planned projects at Leeds Station will do just that – providing a gateway Leeds can be proud of and a destination for people to eat, meet and shop.”

Richard Lungmuss, route director for Network Rail, added: “Leeds station is the gateway to the city for visitors and businesses alike. Thousands of passengers already pass through each day. “With passenger numbers in Leeds predicted to surge by 63% by 2029, these value-for-money investments and upgrades are essential to make sure we provide the best possible station and are able to cope with future demand for rail services.”
http://www.rail.co/2011/06/07/networ...leeds-station/
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Old June 12th, 2011, 12:49 PM   #856
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Network Rail made higher profits of more than £2 billion last year, even though fewer trains ran on time.

The profits - equivalent to £5.5 million a day - also come as passengers bore the burden of above-inflation rises in fares, with London commuters among the worst hit. The company, which is responsible for track, signalling and major London stations, paid £5.4 million to its top six bosses.
That's obscene... tantamount to a hidden tax on rail travel as NR are state-owned, made all the more galling by the fare rises. I think that amounts to approximately £2 for every journey made.

Why not reduce charges to the TOCs by £2bn and avert fare rises at a time when inflation is running at over 4% and the economy fragile? ...Or is the government looking to sell off NR again?
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Old June 12th, 2011, 01:37 PM   #857
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It's an accounting thing. The 'profits' posted are all reinvested in the railways.

They could also post a lot of those investments as 'costs' and run £0 profit, I'm sure.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 12:30 AM   #858
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The "expenses" do not account for capital expenditures like track widening or opening of new stations, nor for outflows to pay PPP contractors of capital projects like WCML quadrupling.
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Old June 13th, 2011, 02:17 AM   #859
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Rail freight traffic shows sharp rise

Rail freight traffic has risen sharply in the past quarter, easing fears over a slowdown in retail spending and bolstering government attempts to shift the transport of goods off Britain’s roads and on to trains.

Rising demand for consumer products, building materials and electrical components led to a 16.6 per cent rise in the volume of freight moved on the rail network in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the same period last year, according to figures from the Office of Rail Regulation. The biggest increase is in consumer goods such as clothes, furniture and food, where rail is taking market share from hauliers. About a quarter of imports from ports in the south-east are now carried by train across the UK.

Freight is often considered a bellwether industry, as demand rises and falls according to wider spending patterns in the economy. But soaring fuel prices and improvements to cargo infrastructure – including a new coal terminal at Ellesmere Port and a new freight facility at Doncaster – are accelerating the shift from lorries to trains.

The government has committed £200m to improving the rail freight network by 2014 as it seeks to ease congestion on Britain’s roads and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Rail accounts for 11 per cent of UK freight, and Network Rail, the not-for-profit infrastructure owner, has said this could increase by more than 140 per cent over the next decade.

Pointing to figures that show cargo carried by trains produce 70 per cent less carbon dioxide emissions than the equivalent road journey, Phillipa Edmunds, of Freight On Rail, an industry campaign group, called on the government to continue long-term investment in the network. “There’s a lot of unsatisfied demand we need to cater for. We need planning permission for more interchanges [connection points between road and rail] if the government is going to meet its ambitions of reducing transport’s carbon emissions by 80 per cent by 2050.”

Government proposals to allow longer lorries would also undermine consumer rail freight, she added, as well as increasing the likelihood of accidents and increasing congestion on the roads. Four operators have dominated the market since privatisation in the 1990s – DB Schenker, Freightliner, Direct Rail Services and First GB Railfreight – and although most were forced to park up trains during the recession, volumes have since improved.

John Manners Bell, analyst at Transport Intelligence, a consultancy, said it made economic sense to invest in rail. “The improvement in the economy will be a huge factor behind the rise in rail cargo, but the additional investment over the past few years will also have made it more economic for goods to travel by train than road, and this has been compounded by the recent increase in the price of fuel.”
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/8dffc...#axzz1P5ae1EC7
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Old June 13th, 2011, 12:08 PM   #860
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New multi-storey car park opens at Southampton Airport Parkway

South West Trains opened a new multi-million pound five-storey car park on Friday 27th May, conveniently located just a stone’s throw away from Southampton Airport Parkway station and the airport terminal check-in area.

The new facility has the capacity to hold 575 cars and marks the final phase of South West Trains’ car park investment programme which has seen the addition of 2000 parking spaces across the train company’s network since the beginning of its franchise.

The new multi-storey car park at Southampton Airport (Parkway) Station is fully lit by energy efficient lighting and covered throughout by monitored CCTV cameras for improved passenger security. Cashless Pay and Display machines will allow payment by debit and credit cards, making parking even more convenient for passengers using Southampton Airport Parkway.

In addition, extensive improvements have been made to the road network to facilitate better vehicle access and parking which will help to ease traffic congestion around the station. A new taxi rank and bus interchange facilities have also been created within the station forecourt and an additional 50 bike spaces have been installed, taking the number of cycle spaces at the station to 160.

Network Rail has delivered the project on behalf of South West Trains using principal contractor Sir Robert McAlpine.
http://www.rail.co/2011/06/07/new-mu...rport-parkway/
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