At the beginning of April we wrote about the study commissioned by the county council last year to look into options for improving Camberley’s rail service to London.
More specifically, the study aims were:
“1) To assess the options for improving rail service frequency and journey times from Camberley to London via the SWML. [South West Main Line – ie the sevice through Farnborough.]
“2) To assess the costs of each of these options, and thus estimate the benefits that would need to be achieved in order to produce a positive business case. The costs that will need to be established for each option will consider infrastructure and other capital costs.”
At the outset, the study’s report was due to be completed by the end of 2015. But this was probably always a somewhat optimistic target. However, it is taking a long time for the report to surface. The latest forecast is that, if all goes smoothly, the report and accompanying action plan will be available to the public in early June.
The interesting thing is – as we pointed out in April – that the report will be accompanied by an action plan, which we think is beyond the scope of the original study. However, we’re all in favour of action plans; studies on their own are of limited use. But what’s of particular importance is that – and this is our limited understanding – rail funding proposals operate on a five-year cycle. Which means that any case for significant expenditure on Camberley’s rail system really has to be submitted by this summer. Any later and it’ll miss the boat for the 2019 – 2024 investment programme. So fingers crossed that the study identifies at least one promising option, and that a suitable proposal can be submitted in time. Otherwise, we’ll probably be stuck with our poor quality train service for many years to come.