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Call to push on with Saints railway link
A SOUTHAMPTON councillor was calling during crunch talks today for a timetable to be put in place for a rail link for Saints' Friends Provident St Mary's Stadium.
Cabinet member for environment and transport Councillor Richard Williams was urging his counterparts on Portsmouth City Council and Hampshire County Council to start "physically" putting together detailed plans for a £32m rail link.
The rail link would enable thousands of football fans to get a train direct from Southampton Central to the ground - with the old Northam train station, just a goal kick away, a possible terminus.
The Daily Echo has been among those campaigning to see Northam train station - closed in September 1966 - reopened for use on match days and as a possible link to Southampton Docks and Ocean Village.
The government has allocated £1.6 billion to improve transport in the county over the next ten years.
Councillor Williams said: "I want the meeting to get a timetable sorted out as to how we can physically push ahead with the rail link, among many other transport projects. We have the money in place. Now it's about making things happen.
"The meeting represents a cross-council working group which is keen to improve transport links for everyone in Hampshire. The rail link would be a clear improvement."
Cllr Williams says the rail link would not cost much more than it did to build the football stadium and that the fact that tracks are already in place makes a link even more feasible.
Earlier this month, a new document published by council bosses - The St Mary's Design and Development Framework - highlighted a possible Saints rail link as an idea that would help rejuvenate one of the city's less-well-off areas.