Article date 11 July 2011
Revised 19 April 2018
Rail services for Camberley are currently poor. There is no direct service to London for most of the day. The rail service provided runs from Ascot to Bagshot, Camberley, Frimley, then on a single-track line to Ash Vale, then Aldershot where the train takes some minutes to change direction, then to Ash, Wanborough and terminating at Guildford. Passengers from Camberley for London have to change at Ascot for London Waterloo or at Ash Vale also for London Waterloo.
As a result of our investigations into a possible Orbital railway around London, at one stage anticipated to run via Camberley, we investigated railway lines in the vicinity of Camberley. Although we are no longer actively proposing an Orbital railway around London, we do wish to actively propose a new railway line in the Camberley area which would seem to benefit from a plausible case for being constructed and which would benefit the residents of Camberley.
The RailAble proposal is for a new railway line from Frimley to Brookwood. From Frimley the existing line runs under the South West Main Line, i.e. the line to Basingstoke, then turning south-eastwards before turning southwards to run to Ash Vale. The proposal is that the new line would branch off from this line i.e. south of Frimley and after passing under the South West Main Line. The new line would run eastwards from here requiring a strip of land from the Aldershot military lands and connect onto the existing line from Ash Vale that runs onto the South West Main Line at a grade-separated junction to Brookwood and Woking. On this new line, it would seem reasonable to suggest a new railway station at Mytchett alongside Frimley Lodge Park. This would provide us with a route Ascot, Bagshot, Camberley, Frimley, Mytchett, Brookwood and Woking to London Waterloo.
RailAble has coined the term Mytchett Link for our proposed new link line from Frimley to Brookwood.
An alternative would be to re-open the former Sturt Road chord (also known as the Sturt Lane chord). However, whilst this readily provides a route from Frimley to Brookwood, it does not provide a route in the opposite direction except by traversing the fast lines of the South West Main Line or by some form of tunnel or bridge. We suggest our proposed Mytchett Link is a better proposition, also offering the possibility of a station serving Mytchett.
CrossCountry runs train services from Bournemouth via Basingstoke and Reading to Manchester also to the North East and Scotland. We would like to suggest a replacement route to the line from Basingstoke to Reading (with no intermediate stops), being a route via Camberley. This would have the advantage of serving additional centres of population en route notably Farnborough, Camberley and Wokingham. Additionally, there would be no need for a change of direction at Reading. A proposal for a bridge over the South West Main Line at Basingstoke, enabling services from Reading without traversing the fast lines, would then become redundant. Basingstoke to Reading might then become a light rail route.
To enable this route, a connection would be needed from Farnborough (Main) to Frimley. A chord that used to provide this is located on land that has not been subject to development and re-opening this chord would seem to be straightforward. In the opposite direction, a means would be needed without traversal of the fast lines of the South West Main Line, a possibility being via Mytchett and illustrated above. Additionally, an Ascot bypass would be useful.
RailAble wishes to propose Aylesbury Interchange as a station on the High Speed 2 railway line (article : Proposal for Aylesbury Interchange on High Speed 2 ). A route from Bournemouth, whether the existing route or a replacement route via Farnborough, Camberley and Wokingham, could serve Aylesbury Interchange.
With an Ascot bypass, the Mytchett link would enable a service from Reading via Camberley and Woking to Waterloo. This would provide us with an alternative route to Waterloo from Reading, Martins Heron and intermediate stations.
It is not known whether this would result in a reduction in the frequency of services via Sunningdale. We note the potential for services both from Reading and from Ascot via Camberley and Woking to Waterloo. Alternatively, these might be combined into a single service from Reading by provision of an additional station Ascot South on an Ascot bypass.
Airtrack is a proposal for services from Heathrow to Waterloo, Guildford and Reading. A technical issue with the proposal for services from Heathrow to Reading is that this would result in increased frequency of usage of a level crossing to the east of Sunningdale station. It is not known whether this technical issue could be resolved by flexibility in the frequency of services via Sunningdale, that is, on the basis of a route from Reading to Waterloo via Camberley and Woking becoming available.
An unlikely scenario might be a service commencing at Sunningdale via Ascot and Woking to Waterloo.
The potential for east west rail (Cambridge to Oxford) services via Reading and Camberley is discussed in our article Oxford to Cambridge by rail : southern options for the central section
Since this article was written, the Airtrack proposal has effectively now been replaced by a Heathrow Southern Access proposal. We understand this will make a connection with the Windsor to Staines line and also continue to a further connection in the vicinity of Chertsey.
Plans for Crossrail 2 are being progressed. It is understood that Crossrail 2 will have the effect of making additional paths (space/time slots) available for services on the South West Main Line.
Our proposal for a Mytchett link remains unchanged. With the advent of Crossrail 2, this would seem to be a good time to progress improved connectivity for Camberley.