Surrey Advertiser 13th June 1997
'We're not giving up fight to re-open line'
A RAILWAY pressure group has pledged to win
a re-think on scrapped plans for the re-opening of the Cranleigh
to Guildford railway line.
Members of the Waverley Partnership Area Transportation
Sub-Committee last week recommended abandoning work on the project.
It follows a study by Surrey County Council and Railtrack showing
ticket sales would not cover the costs of rebuilding the track
and running services.
But determined to keep the project on track,
the Railway Development Society (RDS) now plans to lobby Transport
Minister Gavin Strang and his EU counterparts in Brussels.
The RDS North Downs chairman, John Lillywhite,
protested: "It was apathy that killed the line in the first place
with no real support for the people that tried to keep it open.
Apathy must not be allowed to kill the line a second time. Let's
give the next generation a chance not to use the motor car."
The Waverley sub-committee's recommendation
will now be passed on to Surrey County Councilís transportation
committee along with the recommendation to be made by the neighbouring
Guildford sub-committee which meets next month. The county council
is unlikely to make a final decision until September 10.
The study indicated that even if the capital
cost of around £14 million did not have to be repaid, a re-opened
line with one train an hour would only start making a profit after
four years. And a line with two trains an hour would still be
in the red after 15 years.
A postal survey of nearly 4,000 residents in
Cranleigh, Bramley and Wonersh (which drew only 887 responses),
found that only 12% of trips from the area made were to Guildford
or London, with 60% of trips being made to other parts of Surrey,
many of which would not be directly accessed by re-opening the
Researchers found that a large number of current
bus users would switch to rail, but there would be high resistance
of car drivers doing the same.
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