The Conservatives on Wokingham Borough Council have received cross-party backing for demands that South Western Railways (SWR) improve journey times between Earley and London Waterloo.
At a Full Council meeting on 21st July 2022, councillors from the administration backed calls from the Conservative Opposition for quicker journeys on the railway line running through key areas in the Borough.
A motion, submitted by Cllr Charles Margetts, Shadow Executive Member for Highways and Transport, saw the Council agree that SWR should implement measures to speed up journey times.
At the meeting, Cllr Margetts noted that journeys are now slower than they were in 1975.
He added that longer journeys are causing people to avoid taking trains, with a negative impact on economic investment and air pollution.
At the same time, the Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership believes that reducing journey times could add tens of millions of pounds to the local economy.
Cllr Margetts was supported by the Wokingham Borough Partnership Executive Member leading on transport, who encouraged administration councillors to support the Conservatives.
Cllr Margetts said: “I’m pleased that the administration supported this motion to speed up journeys on the Waterloo line.
“It sends a really powerful message when there is cross-party consensus on measures that will improve the lives of residents.
“I’d be happy to meet with representatives from SWR to discuss what more could be done, and help them to work with the Council on making improvements.”
- The Reading to London Waterloo line has stations at the following locations in the Borough: Earley, Winnersh Triangle, Winnersh and Wokingham.
- The distance from Wokingham to London Waterloo via the railway line is approximately 36 miles. Current journey times stand at around one hour and 11 minutes, up from 45 minutes in 1975.
- Research from the Berkshire Local Enterprise Partnership in 2014 concluded that reducing journey times by 15% would bring an economic benefit of up to £51million to the local area. A 25% reduction in journey times could add a benefit of up to £91million.
- Proposals have previously been explored by Network Rail to reduce journey times to under an hour. This could be achieved by having some services avoid stops between Twickenham and Waterloo.