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EM3 provides innovative funding package to support sustainable transport in the Blackwater Valley

Last updated 02 October 2023
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Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (EM3 LEP) has awarded £895,000 in grant funding to Network Rail and Great Western Railway to facilitate its North Downs Line Level Crossings Improvements project.

The ground breaking funding package, directly linked to service enhancements, is believed to be the first time a LEP has ever allocated funding to a Network Rail project which is directly linked to an uplift in services. A brand new innovation, it demonstrates how the public and private sector can work closely in partnership to deliver packages of improvements.

The project will see several minor level crossings on the North Downs Line close, and the installation of a footbridge at the Shere Heath Bridleway as well as a stop light at East Shalford. The improvements will support a plan to increase capacity on the lines between Reading and Redhill, making extra room for passengers.

 Dave Axam, EM3 chair, said: “This funding will help both Network Rail and Great Western Railway deliver a better service and additional capacity along the North Downs Line, supporting the local economy along this key corridor linking the Blackwater Valley and making it easier for people to access job opportunities.”.

 “I am delighted to be able to help with this funding, which is another example of EM3 LEPs strong commitment to supporting sustainable transport and I look forward to seeing more frequent services between Reading and Redhill.”

GWR Head of Fleet Production John Murphy said:   “An awful lot of hard work has been done to make sure people feel that they can travel safely, and that includes running more trains and carriages to make extra room. 

 “This news shows we have not stopped looking at ways to further improve our service for customers by adding extra capacity to our network.”  

From 1 April 2024, the responsibility for LEP functions across the Enterprise M3 LEP region has transferred to Hampshire County Council and Surrey County Council.

The Enterprise M3 Board met for the last time in March 2024 and Enterprise M3 LEP is no longer operating as an organisation.

For any enquiries relating to economic development across the counties of Hampshire and Surrey, please visit the Hampshire County Council website and Business Surrey respectively.

Please note that Enterprise M3 LEP staff have transferred to Hampshire County Council to continue to deliver services and activities in Hampshire, including the Growth Hub, the Careers Hub, work on key business sectors, and trade and investment.  

They can be contacted by emailing and respectively. Alternatively, please contact the

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