Agenda Item 8

Report to the

Date: 30 June 2009

Report by: Geoff Hobbs, Senior Transport Planner,
Hampshire County Council

tel: 01962 857440 email: geoff.hobbs@hants.gov.uk

Subject: Vision for Future of Rail in Urban South Hampshire

Purpose of the Report

To introduce a paper identifying priorities for rail infrastructure investment within the sub-region over the next 30 years. This has been prepared to inform a stakeholder consultation by Network Rail, who are developing a London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy (RUS). The RUS will set out recommendations for investment in or other interventions rail capacity or capability up to 2039 on commuter routes into London termini from the South East and East of England regions. In turn, this RUS will seek to influence the Department for Transport's (DfT) spending plans for the period 2014-19, and also influence the post-2014 round of rail franchises. Transport for South Hampshire (TfSH) has a key role in highlighting gaps and shortcomings in the local rail network, to be addressed, if rail is to play a positive role in supporting planned growth within the sub-region. The paper attached as an Appendix sets out a vision for rail in South Hampshire and suggests a number of interventions that would make rail more attractive for local journeys and address current and future capacity constraints.

Recommendations

Background

Public Expenditure on rail up to 2014

1. The outputs required from, and the level of public expenditure to be invested in the railway network is determined by the Department for Transport every five years, within a document termed the High Level Output Specification (HLOS) which is accompanied by a Statement of Funds Available (SOFA). The HLOS specifies the outputs that the DfT wishes the railway to provide and it is willing to fund over the five-year period April 2009 to March 2014. This five year period is known by the rail industry as Control Period 4 (CP4).

2. The HLOS seeks sufficient passenger capacity to accommodate an average 14.5% growth in annual passenger rail journeys in England and Wales during this period. Between 2009 and 2014, much of HLOS funding commitments are geared towards increasing capacity for commuting into central London, in order to tackle the worst overcrowding and to accommodate the 14.5% growth.

3. In CP4, the DfT has made commitments to fund several major rail projects within the south east, including two cross London routes (Thameslink and a proportion of the cost of Crossrail), as well as train and platform lengthening at peak times on many routes into London. On the South West Trains franchise, by the end of CP4, most London suburban trains running in the peak hours will have been lengthened from 8 carriages, and the provision of additional rolling stock should ensure that most longer distance peak trains will be able to run at their maximum permitted length. Freight train enhancements are also planned, including the loading gauge enlargement between Southampton and the West Midlands for completion by 2011 and by 2014, a new passing loop for northbound trains is planned at Basingstoke.

Purpose of Network Rail's Route Utilisation Strategy process

4. Network Rail has a duty to produce Route Utilisation Strategies (RUS) to cover the whole rail network. The purpose of each RUS is to take a strategic look at a geographical section of the rail network and to identify where gaps exist between the existing and required capability of the system. Where shortfalls in capability are identified, the RUS will identify options for addressing them. These options may involve interventions ranging from low-cost timetabling changes to significant capital investment. To address the requirements of funders and stakeholders, a RUS seeks to balance capacity, passenger and freight demand, operational performance, infrastructure maintenance and costs.

5. So, far Network Rail has produced 11 out of its programme of 19 RUS. Of these, 17 cover geographical parts of the network and two are network wide. The RUS of relevance to South Hampshire include the South West Main Line (SWML), published in 2006 and the Freight RUS, published in 2007.

6. The early RUS, including the SWML RUS only looked forward by a ten year time horizon. Since then, the benefits of looking further ahead, using a 30-year time horizon, as advocated by the Department for Transport (DfT) in its 2007 White Paper Delivering a Sustainable Railway, have been recognised. Existing RUS are to be updated and revised to recognise this longer term horizon, together with the remaining strategies.

Network Rail Consultation on a London and the South East RUS

7. In mid-2010, the DfT will start work on a new HLOS covering the five-year period from April 2014 to March 2019, known as CP5. The level of funding expected to be available in CP5 is anticipated to be less than during CP4. However, there are expected to be funds available to enable Network Rail to carry out project development work on schemes for delivery in subsequent years.

8. Network Rail had planned to commence work on a new SWML RUS in Spring 2009, but has revised its approach in light of the need to make a robust case for rail investment for CP5 in the new HLOS. Network Rail have instead decided to take a strategic look at capacity available at all the London terminals, alongside Waterloo and to develop a 30 year RUS covering London and the South East (L&SE). Work on the L&SE RUS commenced in Spring 2009, and draft recommendations on the main gaps in capacity will be set out within a consultation draft, to be published in early 2010. The final RUS will be published in late Summer 2010. Network Rail can then use the RUS as a key part of its' evidence base to the DfT in bidding for railway investment funding for the period 2014-2019...

The Regional Transport Board position

9. A report on suggested regional rail priorities went to the April meeting of the South East Regional Transport Board (RTB). The purpose of the report was to set out a long list of potential regional rail priorities, which could then be taken forward and seek to influence:

10. Within South Hampshire, suggested priorities on the long list included:

(i) Portsmouth to Southampton (via Netley);

(ii) Southampton to Brighton and Gatwick Airport services; and

(iii) Portsmouth to Cardiff services.

11. These would be achieved by line speed improvements or fewer intermediate stops:

12. The report considered that there may be an opportunity in the period after 2014 to shift the focus of rail enhancements from increasing capacity for commuting into central London towards supporting the economic growth of regional hubs and growth diamonds within the South East, including South Hampshire.

TfSH rail infrastructure priorities

13. As part of the process of compiling the London and South East RUS, Network Rail is seeking the views of key stakeholders, such as Transport for South Hampshire, Transport for London and other regional bodies. This will help to identify the most important gaps for the RUS to consider and help Network Rail to gain a better appreciation of the aspirations of TfSH for the future development of rail within the sub-region over the next 30 years.

14. Officers from the TfSH authorities have worked together to propose 11 priorities for future rail investment as set out in the Appendix. These aspirations are currently unfunded, and will require a combination of funds from a number of different sources if they are to come to fruition. It is envisaged that the majority of funding would come from Government rail investment budgets set by the DfT.

15. The 11 priorities set out in this TfSH rail vision paper, complement and reinforce the RTB's regional priorities and focus on the important contribution that rail plays for local journeys at the present time and the opportunity for rail to increase its' modal share as planned housing and employment growth is delivered towards 2026. The paper aims to help Network Rail to better understand the scale of planned growth and to highlight the synergies between rail, bus, and the emerging BRT network for South East Hampshire. The plan included at the end of the Appendix seeks to show how rail investment aspirations can support planned growth.

16. One of the 11 priorities seeks to re-introduce passenger services on the Fawley freight only line, with new stations at Marchwood and Hythe. This scheme was also recently identified by the Association of Train Operating Companies in its' report Connecting Communities (published on 15 June 2009) as having the strongest cost-benefit ratio out of the 14 potential rail line re-openings in England examined within the report.

17. The vision paper draws upon earlier work including several of the 2008 sub-regional transport studies that were commissioned to inform decisions on Regional Funding Advice Refresh submissions and transport infrastructure priorities to unlock growth at the Strategic Development Areas at North/North East Hedge End and North Fareham.

18. The appendix is a revised version of the rail vision paper that was submitted to Network Rail as an officer view in early May, which incorporates a number of minor amendments, including making reference to the ATOC report referred to in paragraph 16. The Joint Committee is invited to endorse this paper as a formal vision for rail in South Hampshire. Following the Joint Committee, a revised version of the paper will then be sent to Network Rail.

Future Work

19. It is planned that the rail vision be taken forward and developed into a Rail Strategy for South Hampshire, which could form part of the emerging Local Transport Plan 3.

Section 100 D - Local Government Act 1972 - background papers

 

The following documents disclose facts or matters on which this report, or an important part of it, is based and has been relied upon to a material extent in the preparation of this report.

 

NB the list excludes:

 

1.

Published works.

 

2.

Documents which disclose exempt or confidential information as defined in the Act.

TITLE

LOCATION

Appendix: Vision for the future of Rail in South Hampshire (Memo dated 06 May 2009 to Network Rail, entitled: "Officer level contribution on the Vision for the future of rail in South Hampshire: towards 2040")

Appendix

2076Rpt/GH