Rail Minister Theresa Villiers visited Basingstoke signalling centre to meet staff from the South West Trains/Network Rail alliance. The signalling centre is responsible for controlling the movement of almost 600 passenger and freight trains, every day. It controls the strategic junction on the South West main line from London at Basingstoke with the key routes linking the West of England and Southampton to the Midlands.
The alliance was formed in April to create one management team responsible for both trains and track in the south and south-west of England with the objective of delivering better rail services for passengers.
Tim Shoveller, Managing Director of the South West Trains/Network Rail alliance, said: “I am pleased the Minister of State for Transport has been able to get a personal insight into how our staff are working together to deliver a better service to our customers on a daily basis.
“The alliance aims to cut delays for passengers, provide better customer service, deliver more effective management of disruption, and improve the efficiency of the railway through more collaborative working and better decision-making. By bringing together train and track we are also helping to improve the service for freight operators.”
Jim Morgan, Infrastructure Director of the South West Trains/Network Rail alliance, added: “Looking ahead, all our customers will benefit by this close collaboration as we will be able to plan for the long term development of the route.
“We have already seen massive growth of freight and passenger users and this is predicted to continue. We have to be able to cater for this growth while minimising the disruption to our customers. This can only be done by working together and finding efficient and cost-effective ways of delivering a railway with more capacity.”
Rail Minister Theresa Villiers said: “The Wessex Alliance represents industry rising to the challenge of the Government’s rail command paper, issued in March 2012, which called for closer co-operation between operations and infrastructure.
“Basingstoke is a really impressive example how on a practical level the creation of one management team can work to deliver a more efficient and a better railway with real benefits for both passengers and freight customers and the community in general.”