South Western Railway Timetable Consultation
Chris Grayling has sent the following - comments are his.
South Western Railway and Network Rail have launched a consultation about their plans for the post-Pandemic timetable from December 2022 onwards. This consultation is based on an assumption that considerably fewer people will be commuting going forward.
The proposals represent a significant downgrading of the pre-pandemic timetable for our line into London Waterloo. They are intending to reduce the number of trains from Ashtead and Epsom in the peak from six trains an hour to four. This would be done by scrapping the services that start at Epsom and making the previous semi-fast service stop at Ewell West and Stoneleigh instead, as well as at all stations further in. At the same time they would make the current reduction in off-peak services permanent.
They will also at the same time introduce the new generation of trains onto our line, which are ten coaches with all of them connected to create an open plan route right through the train. Their argument is that the new trains will have significantly more capacity and will be able to carry as many people as before even with a reduced service. I do not buy that argument.
I have met the company to raise my concerns about the plans, and I think it is much too early to judge what passenger numbers will be in nearly eighteen months time. This level of service would have been completely unworkable with pre-pandemic passenger numbers.
I would encourage everyone to take part in the consultation and to make your view clear. The details are here.