HAMPSHIRE Chamber of Commerce has backed plans to restore the Waterside Railway line back to serving passengers.

The move follows a recent consultation about the future of railways across Southern England.

A Chamber representative said: “When Chandler’s Ford station was re-opened in 2003, the rail service was intended to run to Marchwood and Hythe on the Waterside Line.

“Although recent studies by Hampshire County Council have rejected the re-opening (for a low sum of circa £16m when compared with other transport schemes), it is essential a fully-costed project be investigated, so as to provide an economic and affordable passenger service that will reduce road congestion on the western Solent, creating a proper alternative to the motor car and improved access to the eastern edge of the New Forest National Park.”

County Councillor David Harrison, the member for Totton South and Marchwood, responded: “I can't think of a more influential body that understands the business case for restoring a passenger service along the Waterside.

“It's time now for Hampshire County Council to change tack and to start pushing this project forward.”