The platform capacity at Littlehaven railway station will be doubled as part of a £4.5million investment project, the County Times can reveal.
It follows talks between Network Rail and Horsham District Council (HDC).
Littlehaven’s platform will be lengthened and widened to increase the number of train carriages from four to eight.
Helena Croft (Con, Roffey North), HDC cabinet member for communication, Horsham town and special projects, said: “I am extremely pleased to have heard personally from Network Rail about their plans to refurbish and double the platform capacity of Littlehaven station.
“Investing £4.5 million in this well used and important station for local residents confirms their long term commitment to not only maintain but improve the service. Something which as a local member, I am avidly fighting for.”
Work is due to start as soon as Saturday September 21 with a completion date of April 2014.
Councillor Andrew Baldwin (Con, Holbrook East), told the County Times: “We had a very positive and worthwhile meeting with Network Rail.
“I am delighted with the considerable investment going into Littlehaven station. It proves that Network Rail are committed to the future of the station which is excellent news for many local residents.”
Jim Rae (Con, Holbrook East), added: “Great to see Network Rail yet again actively and positively engaging with officers and members of HDC and West Sussex County Council over Littlehaven Station, the £4.5m project to lengthen and widen both platforms at the station shows Network Rail’s real commitment to the residents and commuters of North Horsham now and for decades to come.”
Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook West) added: “This is indeed good news for local passengers. The work to be completed by March 2014 will increase the station platform length so as to enable passengers to embank and disembark over eight carriages and not four as is currently the case. Although clearly that will not assist the twelve carriage trains this will of course be a significant improvement.
“This work is being done on grounds of health and safety. All passengers at station will agree that this work is long overdue due to the dangerously cramped platform with passengers standing at least three deep in the morning. It’s a miracle that no one has had a serious accident.
“North Horsham Parish Council have been lobbying for this necessary safety improvement for well over a decade and particular thanks must go to them for their success.
“But these safety upgrades at Littlehaven station must not be confused with the downgrade of fast train services to and from London at Littlehaven station if the North Horsham development proceeds.
“Our director gave advice to local councilors on this last week saying that ‘the platform extension works are detached and unrelated to any draft HDPF proposals and should not be confused with this’.
“One of the many reasons I am opposed to Horsham District Council’s draft policy for the North Horsham development is because the building on the proposed Horsham Parkway station with 600 parking spaces will mean that Littlehaven’s fast train services will cease with the result that people’s commutes to London will be an extra three hours per week on the stopping service. That’s no good for hard working people who rely on fast trains to Gatwick, Croydon and London to work to pay their mortgage.
“The draft policy in the District Council’s proposal is to place the new North Horsham Fastway station less than 30 seconds up the track from Littlehaven station and the 500,000 sq. ft. industrial park would wrap around it. That will be great for the new community of 2,500 homes or more but the net effect of the council’s North Horsham proposal will mean taking something away for the existing community in Holbrook and Roffey and I cannot support that. We must build and enhance communities, not destroy them.”