A few people have asked me about the potential ticket barriers that may be installed at Brookwood Railway station and I’ve been gathering some facts before doing anything else.
South Western Railways rightly want to protect their income from the people that bunk the trains. I wholeheartedly agree with SWR doing that. They’ve also made a commitment to the government as part of the franchise that they will improve their performance at collecting fares. This has led them to figuring out where they are most losing money and putting in infrastructure to resolve this. Brookwood station is one of the stations they have identified that they know has a high level of evasion.
Their proposals have pros and cons. I’ll outline the proposal first.
A bank of barriers will be installed diagonally inside the current ticket hall. The existing double entry doors into the hall will be permanently locked. A mechanism will be installed at the cemetery entrance and the ramp entrance on platform one to prevent access with an intercom system in place to allow access. A new entrance will be opened up next to the outside telephone box.
SWR are obliged to man the station from 06:00 to 22:00 where there are barriers. I do not know if this includes Sunday.
Enabling works are scheduled to begin in January with the actual ticket barriers being installed around March.
The only positive I can think of is that the station will be manned for 16 hours a day which may prevent some anti-social behaviour and is certain to stop the visiting drug dealers from using Brookwood as a distribution hub.
My obvious concerns are regarding access to the cemetery, access for people with mobility issues and people with push chairs. I’m also concerned that the Victorian nature of the station won’t be taken into account as some carbuncle is bolted on to the front of the station. I suspect the capacity of the barriers will fail to quickly accommodate half a train alighting at Brookwood from Waterloo and that a significant queue will build during peak hours.
WBC are very concerned about access to the cemetery as are the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. The cemetery is Grade I listed and recently won the Large Cemetery of the Year award (who knew?) as WBC’s intention is to restore the cemetery to its Victorian roots as a Victorian park land. A jolly fine job is being done of that by the way.
I am in regular contact with the Regional Development Manager at SWR and have emailed him my extensive concerns. I have also raised my concerns with WBC and to that end, a meeting has been planned between various stakeholders, including representatives of SWR for the 31 October to have a more detailed chat.
That’s everything I know at the moment and I have raised a number of questions regarding the long term viability including a few ‘what happens if’ type questions.
I’ll report back here after the meeting next week.