Rail services under the spotlight

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RAIL services in Billingshurst are under the spotlight.

A working group set up by Horsham District Council’s Scrutiny and Overview Committee is examining and seeking a solution to the additional disruption, delays, noise, traffic and pollution caused at the level crossing in the village.

The council says the problems have occurred as a result of the changes by Southern Rail to the rail service provided in the Horsham district.

Findings from the working group acknowledged that Billingshurst train station and the surrounding area was notoriously busy as a result of several existing factors.

One of these factors is the Tesco Express store, which has limited customer parking, located immediately next to the station and receives deliveries at peak times.

Solutions to relieve congestion such as the provision of additional parking were discussed and Tesco has agreed to review its delivery arrangements to see if deliveries can be moved to outside peak times when congestion occurs.

Surrounding the train station is a busy residential area and the Weald School is in close proximity to the station. It was noted that the level crossing had additional congestion as a result of school students using the level crossing during peak times, rather than using the passenger footbridge.

Horsham District Council has been in discussion with West Sussex County Council about waiting and loading restrictions in the area of Billingshurst Station, which is currently being evaluated as part of its review of traffic management throughout the village.

Southern Rail advised the working group of key benefits to the changes in the rail services such as a maintained or improved rail service for eight out of ten passengers, faster trains between Chichester and London and by attaching and detaching trains at Horsham, more journeys can be done with the same number of trains.

Following from the findings, the recommendations to Horsham District Council’s cabinet member for living and working communities were:

. Pursue the potential solutions discussed with Tesco and West Sussex County Council to help alleviate the problems faced in Billingshurst at the level crossing

. Approach the Weald School with a view to educating students to use the footbridge rather than the level crossing.