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Wilton Parkway Station - Statement of Opinion

Snapshot

Providing an expert opinion and supporting evidence of the viability of a new station at Wilton, near Salisbury, together with options for further developing these aspirations.
Client: Wilton Town Council, TransWilts cic (formerly TransWilts Community Rail Partnership), The Wilton Estate
Working Partners: Wiltshire Council, Swindon and Wiltshire LEP, SYSTRA, Fereday Pollard Architects, Rail Aspects
SLC team: Ian Baxter, Alex Waller

Background

Wiltshire has a high growth economy and its population is increasing faster than the national rate. To the north of the county, Swindon provides the economic focus and is very well served with trains to London. To the south, Salisbury also has good rail connections but the city suffers from bad traffic congestion, particularly in the area around the station. As a result, many people living in rural areas are choosing to drive substantially further to pick up alternative train services.

Wilton is an historic town that lies on both the Salisbury-Exeter and Salisbury-Bristol routes. There were aspirations locally to reopen one or other of the town’s stations, which were closed in the 1960s, building on the site of the existing park and ride.

The Study

Wilton Town Council, together with local landowner, The Wilton Estate, and TransWilts Community Rail Partnership, commissioned SLC Rail to evaluate the business case and provide a considered, evidenced statement of opinion.

The SLC team began by analysing demand. This started with a high-level review of the Local Plan, Swindon and Wiltshire LEP’s Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) and goals, as well as local transport policies, Network Rail route studies for the region, census data and travel surveys.

By analysing timetables alongside the Network Rail Route Study, the team were able to explore constraints and opportunities in the network and in services. This allowed them to clearly identify where the train operators might be able to add or extend services, and where this would have conflicted with longer-term strategic goals, such as shortening journey times to London.

Once the viability of the station and train services had been established, the team built a business case for the proposed Wilton Parkway station. This used a proven model assessing the economic value of a new station, developed by SLC Rail and Systra, following guidelines in the Passenger Demand Forecasting Handbook (PDFH). In addition, the capital expenditure and additional operational costs of providing the new services were calculated and set against the increased ticket sales.

To support the council in discussions and local consultations, outline architectural drawings were produced. These were created in an architecturally neutral form, designed to make the concept more tangible, without pre-empting proper option selection and development.

Next steps

Presented with this compelling evidence of demand and economic value, the scheme’s promoters are continuing to develop it further.

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