Transport Secretary shows the importance of cycle-rail in Ewell West

Transport Secretary Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP opens Ewell West cycle hub
Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling who is also the local MP for Epsom and Ewell, took the opportunity this Friday (25 November) to officially open Ewell West station’s latest cycle hub.

Part of a wider South West Trains £3.8m investment which will deliver an additional 1,400 cycling spaces by the end of the year, Ewell West’s cycle hub means the station now enjoys 110 new spaces, up from the 20 it had before. It was developed in partnership between the Department for Transport, Rail Delivery Group, Epsom and Ewell Borough Council.

Built by Cyclepods, a Dutch owned company specialising in cycle parking,  the hub has gone green featuring a “living roof” with a special layer of vegetation. Spaces are on two tiers, and a bike stand with tools and track pump for last minute tune ups and repairs is readily available. No car parking spaces were lost in the building, and in fact its construction has allowed for a new disabled parking spot to be created.

Accessible at all hours round the clock, security both for the cycles and their owners, the station has installed 24/7 CCTV. Cyclists will also be able to monitor train arrivals and departures through a live information screen which also gives a 12hr weather forecast for the surrounding area. 

Chair of the Cycle Rail Working Group Philip Darnton welcomed the Transport Secretary's appearance at the opening, describing how cycle-rail has shown the "the largest growth area for cycling and has done much to help Government meet its manifesto target of doubling cycling" as the wider rail network facilitated 50 million journeys over the last year. Darnton added that "The demand does not stop, and we'd like to double cycle parking from our target of 75,000 spaces for 2017 over the next five to seven years - it's very cost effective and works extraordinarily well."

Highlighting cycle-rail's high value for money, its positive impact in terms of congestion and enabling journeys to the station, Darnton pointed out to Grayling that this had happened largely down to Government investment and that future contributions were still uncertain, as he said, "We are holding our breath for the future." 

The demand does not stop, and we'd like to double cycle parking from our target of 75,000 spaces for 2017 over the next five to seven years - it's very cost effective and works extraordinarily well."

Philip Darnton, Chair of the Cycle Rail Working Group

The Transport Secretary recognised the clear benefits of the cycle hubs springing up across the rail network, and how Ewell West was already seeing the benefit with a cycle-hub already close to capacity despite only just opening, as he said, "More people are travelling, and we need more capacity. We need a facility like this - it's already well used so I can see us looking at it again in the near future." He added that the cycle-hub “will make it much easier [for travellers] to store bikes before catching a train.”

Funding fears

The Transport Secretary also addressed the Chair of Cycle Rail Working Group's concerns about funding as he said, "I look forward to discussing the funding issues in the future."

Managing Director of Customer Experience at the Rail Delivery Group, Jacqueline Starr, who attended the opening outlined how across the rail network total cycle spaces at stations are set to rise to 75,000 in 2017. She explained the benefits were being felt already saying, “Better facilities for cyclists at stations and on trains have led to record numbers of people getting on their bikes as part of their rail travel - there were 50 million cycle-rail trips last year across Britain.”

Cycling UK’s Policy Director Roger Geffen welcomed the opening of the Ewell West cycle hub and urged the Transport Secretary to ensure the Department for Transport renewed its investment in cycle-rail in the forthcoming Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. He said:

“Providing cycle parking at stations is an inexpensive but incredibly cost-effective way to increase both cycle use and rail patronage, easing the pressures on station car parks and giving people a door-to-door non-car option for longer journeys. It is typically almost full within a couple of days, providing immediate proof that it is popular locally and needed more widely.

"Yet the Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy currently has an empty budget line for cycle-rail investment. After seeing the benefits in his own constituency, we hope the Transport Secretary will reconsider this omission and enable similar solutions to be installed at many more stations around the country.”