It came as a bit of a shock to Cranleigh’s borough and parish council when they heard that Waverley’s councillor for Hambledon & Witley is meeting rail bosses next week in a bid to bring the railway line back to Cranleigh. Now its the turn of Cranleigh ‘New Town’s business leaders to jump on the bandwagon.
Is this MP Anne Milton’s worst nightmare coming true? She has stated publicly that she believes that if the line is re-opened the massive expansion of Cranleigh will continue – unabated.
Cllr Holder, a former borough councillor for Dunsfold told his Waverley colleagues he meets the Managing Directors of Network Rail SW Trains and Foreign Secretary, MP for SW Surrey Jeremy Hunt. at Westminster on Wednesday, October 9. They will be discussing the borough’s “infrastructure” issues including the introduction of the Cranleigh to Guildford railway line. A line axed in the 60’s but the route of which forms the Downslink and which has now been protected by the borough council in its Local Plan Part 2, should it return.
No doubt the parish council will be writing to Cllr Holder in the hope that he may enlighten him before the residents of Cranleigh start buying their season tickets in the hope of jumping on the new Cranleigh Express? Perhaps they are in talks with the Chamber of Trade too?
We hope they tell Bramley’s By-Pass Byham too, who may need a heart by-Pass if faced with the prospect of telling his constituents, who may foam at the mouth when they hear that trains could be heading their way?
Councillor Holder will also be rattling rail bosses cages, due to concerns that passengers travelling from Haslemere/Witley/Godalming are forced to stand on their journeys to and from London!
Aren’t we all? Particularly the poor devils like us at the WW who travel to the city, and arrive worn out before the working day even begins and then do the same at the end of a hard day’s work, including writing the Waverley Web in our lunch-hour, because we can’t get a seat on the train!!
Now the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce has jumped on the train wagon. In its latest missive it says:
Should the railway between Shoreham and Guildford, through Cranleigh, be reopened?
That’s the question being posed by the English Regional Transport Association (ERTA).
They are a voluntary membership-based, pro-public transport improvement association with its main projects initially in the Bedfordshire and surrounding regional areas, but now increasing its remit since several projects had a nation-wide positive benefit and impact.
Membership of ERTA is now open to all.
One of its proposals is to reopen the railway that used to run between Guildford, Cranleigh and Horsham, where much of the old trackbed survives.
ERTA will be holding a public meeting (forum) to-day Saturday 6th October 2018 from 1pm to 4pm at the Rodboro Buildings, 1-10 Bridge Street, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 4RY. Members of the Cranleigh Chamber of Commerce have been invited to attend.
Commenting on the proposals, we said:
“The Chamber of Commerce will watch with interest the proposal to reopen the line. However, it will take considerable local and national political will and a large government purse to overcome the logistical and cost challenges presented in face of the most optimistic forecasts of passenger numbers.
“Recognising these challenges we recently commissioned research from Sustrans to work out the costs of upgrading the line to an all-weather surface allowing shared use for walkers, horses, the disabled and cyclists. The costs to bring the track up to the standards of other shared greenways across the UK are a tiny fraction of the cost to reopen the line to rail.
“We would encourage the county councils of Surrey and West Sussex to seriously consider upgrading the whole Downs Link from Guildford to Shoreham.”
Presumably, the footfall predicted from 1,700 new homes now under construction is not enough for Cranleigh businesses? Or are they, like Councillor Holder, hoping that the Chinese will be arriving on Cranleigh’s Platform 1 to jump on The Flying Scotsman sometime soon?
Here’s his shock announcement.