Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership

Context

The station travel plan covers four stations — Chandler's Ford, Eastleigh, Romsey and St. Denys, all of which are part of the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership (CRP). This pilot brought all four stations together to see if working with a group of stations linked by a CRP had additional benefits to working at individual stations.

Chandlers Ford station was closed in 1969 but re-opened in 2003, and now sees annual increases of 15% in passenger numbers. Situated in the centre of Chandlers Ford, the station has gradually been surrounded by housing and retail, with an Industrial Estate nearby. The station has two car parks, both free, and both full after 0900 on weekdays. There are 10 cycle lockers and 18 cycle racks.

Eastleigh station is in the centre of Eastleigh within a short walking and cycling distance to the shopping centre, bus station and commercial centre. There is a small taxi rank, a bus stop served by two bus operators, a 12 0 pay-to-use car spaces (with a council owned car park nearby) with 10 free-to-use cycle lockers available together with 64 racks. Both car parks are well used and full most working days after 0900.

Need for a Travel Plan

All four stations have seen steady growth in passengers, combined with growth in housing, employment and other activities nearby. This is causing pressure on car parks and creating congestion at peak times.

Description of the process

The process of developing travel plans at the four stations has been carried out in full partnership, led by the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership. For Eastleigh and Chandler's stations, the principal partner has been Eastleigh Borough Council; for Romsey and St. Denys the principal partners were Test Valley Borough Council Southampton Council respectively.

Other key partners were Hampshire County Council, South West Trains and Network Rail. In addition, for each station a number of other organisations were involved in a wider stakeholder group — these were community groups, bus operators, Sustrans, station volunteer groups and others. The same process was followed to develop the Action Plans at each of the four stations:

  • Analysis of information and data using the data collected from the ATOC commissioned survey and the national baseline data as well as ticket information and Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership on-train surveys were used to establish the existing situation at Chandlers Ford.
  • A Site Audit was undertaken by the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership recording existing information and facilities at the station to act as a baseline from which change can be measured.
  • Development of Aims and Objectives was determined, taking into account wider policy objectives and incorporating the findings of the data analysis and site audit. Where practicable and possible, the objectives have been given SMART (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-based) targets.
  • Development of an Action Plan devised specific tasks with sensible timescales and responsibilities, to enable to the targets to be achieved and deliverable.
  • Implementation will be agreed between the partners for a desired delivery up to the introduction of Local Transport Plan 3 in 2012 .
  • Monitoring of progress of the implementation of the Action Plan will be administered at agreed times

Action Plan highlights

  • Improve pedestrian routes to/from the station: Improved surfacing, signing and lighting will encourage potential and existing rail users to travel to and from the station on foot.
  • Improve cycle routes to and from the station: Cycle routes should be safe to use, with dedicated cycle routes, surfacing and lighting. A cycle channel should be fitted to the footbridge to enhance cycle safety and access/egress at the station
  • Increase cycle parking and facilities at the station: Enhanced and increased cycle parking and storage at the station will encourage more people to travel by bike to/from the station. The local Cycle shop will be engaged to act as agent for repairs and maintenance for those using cycles
  • Improve bus stop facilities near the station: Provide improved information and signage to existing bus stops within the station environs. Encourage bus operators to serve the station entrance
  • Improve information for pedestrians, cyclists and bus users: Route maps and timetables will be provided within the station environs and through printed material to encourage sustainable travel to and from the station

Key lessons learned

Positive points:

  • A bringing together of Partners to achieve a common aim of identifying issues regarding access to rail stations, the necessary actions required to implement and introduce improvements and a focus on the station as a local hub in the community
  • Having 4 stations in the pilot and being part of a Community Rail Partnership has assisted with the concept with all partners wanting to work together and not to be left out of the process

Negative points

  • A realisation from Officers of the implications of promoting a Station Travel Plan and the likely financial commitments this brings with it, in times of probable financial cutbacks on transport spending
  • Council Members not wanting to sign up to the ethos of the STP and concern over financial commitments once the Plan has been written
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