A new railway station for Wokingham

 

          For all too many years I have been trying to persuade people to build a new railway station for Wokingham, and to sort out the traffic chaos at the station roundabout and level crossing.  The Council has been supportive. Many constituents have agreed. First Railtrack, then Network Rail damned my proposals with faint praise. They never ruled  them out, but they never got round to finalising plans themselves. As the main landowner and the station owner, that was something of an impediment to progress.

            I have  held various informal and formal meetings with Ministers and Shadow Ministers over the years, with the Council and with the rail industry to try to find a way through. I sketched plans which were self financing in the good days for property development and private finance. Still there were delays and obstacles.

            I was therefore delighted this week to hear from the Network Rail management that they are going to let contracts to build a new station this month. They aim to complete the works by March 2013. The plans look good, and the new station will represent a huge improvement on what we have today. I am now concentrating my attention on the road links and railway crossings, as we need to sort them out as well.

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6 Comments

  1. Sue Doughty
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    So does that separate road traffic from rail traffic with a bridge or something?

    Reply Network Rail are promising an underpass in due course to take road traffic under the tracks

    • James Sutherland
      Posted January 16, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      Excellent news – impressive that once finally propelled into action, they believe they can deliver in just over a year, after so many years of resistance. I just hope their belief is not misplaced; in my own local station (which I think is ScotRail’s responsibility rather than Network Rail’s?) just refurbishing the lavatories somehow took several months of construction and disruption!

      I am a little torn here; I’d like to think John’s noble efforts were not in vain, but I’d also like to think this may be replicated nationally rather than unique to Wokingham. The use of an underpass is also a welcome surprise; I’ve seen all too many existing pedestrian underpasses under roads, allowing pedestrians to cross without delay to themselves or traffic, replaced with traffic lights imposing delays on both parties.

  2. Chris
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    This is very good news and thank you for your efforts. It seems that the road system in Wokingham has been plagued by the same indecision and delay in action as the station project has suffered. I have lived in the area for over 30 years and Wokingham continues to be spoilt by bottlenecks and poor road design and planning and there is apparently no respite in sight. Can you update us on this, if possible, Mr Redwood?

    Reply: The Council have said they will review phasing of lights at Winnersh (Councillor UllaKarin Clark). Network Rail have said they are now planning an underpass at the station junction for the road.

    • Simon Cutler
      Posted January 16, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      I agree that this is good news in theory. However, having commuted to and from Wokingham station for the past 12 years, where similar promises have been made in the past, quite frankly I will believe it when I see it. That is not to say that Mr Redwood’s lobbying on our behalf is not appreciated, just that building a new station (possibly relocating it too?) with the associated underpass in the timeframe suggested seems a little optimistic. If an underpass is indeed planned, for goodness sake, please ensure that both station and underpass build occur at the same time to minimise what will be considerable (but well worthwhile) disruption. For too long now, the first sight that greets visitors to the lovely Market Town of Wokingham is the current eyesore, so please do not dally and get this right!

      Reply: I have been assured by Network Rail they are letting the station building contract this month. They have said the underpass follows the building of the station, as I think they need the money from the new shops to pay for the road improvements.

  3. Matt
    Posted January 14, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Several times on this blog you have expressed your concern at the continued public sector spending on infrastructure when there is such a budget problem. Is this not one of those projects?

    I wonder how much credit you can really take for something that is part of a national programme ongoing for many years. Also I understand that the station building is unrelated to any changes to the traffic problems and this element has yet to be agreed. Are you optimistic or poorly informed?

    Reply: The station for Wokingham comes from within the amounts in the b udgets for railways. I do not wish to rule Wokingham out from its share of spending because I think the total of all spending are too high! Network Rail have said they intend to do the udnerpass after the station building. I report what I am told. I have pressed for both projects.

  4. Chris Skeet
    Posted February 14, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    A new station with underpass will be a significant improvement for Wokingham. Well done for all your efforts!

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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