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Theresa Villiers met staff at signalling centre
RAIL minister Theresa Villiers has visited the Basingstoke hub which controls nearly 600 passenger and freight trains every day.
The MP met staff from South West Trains/Network Rail Alliance, which 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 aim of delivering better rail services for passengers.
The Basingstoke signalling centre is responsible for controlling the junction on the south-west mainline from London at Basingstoke, with the key routes linking the West of England and Southampton to the Midlands.
Mrs Villiers, minister of state for transport, said: “The Wessex Alliance represents industry rising to the challenges 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 of 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.”
Tim Shoveller, managing director of the alliance, said its aim is to cut delays for passengers, provide better customer service, deliver more effective management of disruption, and improve the efficiency of the railway through collaborative working and better decision-making.
He added: “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, said: “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.”