Latest Rail News


Passenger groups raise concerns over proposed GTR timetable

Passenger groups have put their concerns about Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) services to company executives as part of the consultation into the operator’s proposed timetable changes.

Representatives of four passenger groups from the area served by GTR met with company executives at Cooden Beach Hotel in Bexhill-on-Sea on 9 November.

They discussed their responses to a consultation on planned timetable changes after the Thameslink programme completes in May 2018.

The Bexhill Rail Action Group expressed concern about GTR proposals to create a stand-alone Victoria to Hastings service, saying this could suffer from the same random service curtailments at Eastbourne as the current service.

Hugh Sharp, chair of Bexhill Rail Action Group (BRAG), said: “It was a very constructive meeting, and we are grateful to GTR for this opportunity to put forward our views. Both the Ashford and Victoria services are vital to the local economy of our region. At the same time, we recognise that specific services do suffer from overcrowding, and we have put forward a number of ideas as to how this might be managed.

“We also want to see timetables that are robust, and outlined our concern about the frequent and unplanned short-termination of trains at Eastbourne in the event of late-running.”

As part of the proposals, GTR said it would cut Southern services to Ore. It has proposed replacing them by Southeastern, another Go Ahead Group service, extending its Charing Cross service to cover the station.

However, in its response to the consultation, BRAG pointed out that Southeastern cannot offer a commitment to extend its service because the franchise will expire in 2018. It also said it was “disappointing” that GTR had not considered running separate Hastings/Eastbourne and Littlehampton to Victoria services.

Trevor Davies of Ore Transport Group expressed that it was “encouraging” GTR executives had indicated at the meeting that the proposal was “likely to be dropped”, given the increase in passengers at Ore in recent years.

To tackle the issue of overcrowding on Southern lines, BRAG told the consultation that Southern should provide additional rolling stock, such as two additional Class 170s or hybrid Class 377s, or reform the Southern diesel fleet to three cars.

It also said Southern should relieve overcrowding on the Brighton–Ashford service by adjusting stopping patterns and timings on the busiest diesel and electric services.

Martin Woodfine, of St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement, said his group was concerned that there was no planned capacity increase between Eastbourne and Ashford. He accused GTR of focusing on “appeasing the Gatwick-Victoria corridor” at the expense of other routes.

Stuart Harland of the Marshlink Action Group said his group “would like to see” later night-time services from the Marshlink to London. The last train currently leaves at 21.37.

A GTR spokesperson said: “Our meeting with the Bexhill Rail Action Group is part of a comprehensive engagement programme with a wide range of stakeholders to discuss our proposals for 2018 and we’re pleased that BRAG found the discussion constructive.

“We believe we have gone out to consultation earlier than anyone before us, in recognition of the significant changes we are proposing across the entire GTR network.”

They added that anyone who wants to respond to the consultation should visit the Southern or Thameslink websites.

A recent Transport Select Committee report was critical of the decision to amalgamate Southern, Gatwick Express, Thameslink and Great Northern into one franchise operated by Govia, which has contributed to ongoing disruptions of Southern services.

(Image c. Andrew Matthews)

Have you got a story to tell? Would you like to become an RTM columnist? If so, click here.



There are no comments. Why not be the first?

Add your comment

Rail industry Focus

View all News


The challenge of completing Crossrail

05/07/2019The challenge of completing Crossrail

With a new plan now in place to deliver Crossrail, Hedley Ayres, National Audit Office manager, major projects and programmes, takes a look at ho... more >
Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

04/07/2019Preparing the industry to deliver trains for the future

The move to decarbonise the rail network involves shifting to cleaner modes of traction by 2050. David Clarke, technical director at the Railway ... more >

Most Read

'the sleepers' blog

On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

29/06/2020On the right track, Sulzer is awarded RISAS accreditation for Nottingham Service Centre

Following an independent audit, Sulzer’s Nottingham Service Centre has been accepted as part of the rail industry supplier approval scheme (RISAS). The accreditation reinforces the high-quality standards that are maintained by Sulzer’s... more >
read more blog posts from 'the sleeper' >


Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

24/06/2019Andrew Haines, CE of Network Rail, tells BBC News his organisation could issue future rail franchises

Andrew Haines, the Chief Executive of Network Rail, has told the Today programme on Radio 4's BBC’s flagship news programme that he would not rule out his organisation issuing future r... more >
Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

08/05/2019Advancing the rail industry with management degree apprenticeships

In answering the pressing questions of how current and future generations of managers can provide solutions to high-profile infrastructure projects across the UK, Pearson Business School, part of... more >