Re-siting of Crewe station defended

NETWORK Rail has hit back at campaign group CREAM’s criticism of its plans to re-site Crewe station as part of a multi-million pound investment to increase capacity and speed on the West Coast main line.

The track and signalling company says such a move would also provide improved rail/road interchange to alleviate the town’s traffic congestion.

The Crewe, Railways, Environment and Manufacture campaign claims that Network Rail’s plan to move the station to Basford, some one and a half miles to the south, will impact on future regeneration and discourage rail travel by reducing interconnection ability. It has enlisted support of the RMT union and environmental, rail passenger and resident groups in calling for an Early Day Motion asking the Commons Transport Select Committee to review Network Rail’s plans.

But Network Rail North West media relations manager Keith Lumley explained the rationale behind the proposal:
“We are planning a £200 million resignalling and track improvement investment to increase capacity and line speed through Crewe by 2017, and the present station layout – dating essentially from the 1800s – precludes this.

“We are currently considering four options on which we will consult fully with the people of Crewe and all interested parties before any decision is taken. A series of exhibitions and road shows is planned for this autumn.”

Mr Lumley explained that, with an 80mph speed limit on its through lines and potentially conflicting and obstructive movements of South Wales to Manchester services across the North to South routes, the present station, with its restrictive layout and large number of bay platforms, cannot meet the needs of 21st century services.

As well as allowing higher speed through the station and increasing its capacity, relocation at Basford could provide an extensive park and ride facility with ready motorway interchange to help solve current traffic problems around the existing station.

“It is not generally appreciated that 42 per cent of passengers use Crewe as an interchange and never leave the station,” said Mr Lumley.

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