Cut to train times - but fight goes on


Efforts made by campaigners to cut train journey times between Eastbourne and London have paid off – but Eastbourne MP Stephen Lloyd says there is still a long way to go.

He welcomed the announcement of a new train franchise last week but says he is ‘disappointed’ the reduction in time falls short of the desired cut and has vowed to carry on fighting.

Govia, announced as the winner of the new Thameslink franchise which is being expanded to include Eastbourne and other parts of the South East, has promised to end the practice of decoupling trains at Haywards Heath, which will save five minutes on most journeys to London.

Mr Lloyd said, “I am pleased that some journey time reductions have finally been achieved, since I’ve been campaigning for these since I was first elected. The long wait that passengers endure during the process of decoupling at Haywards Heath is frustrating, and I am glad to see that Southern have committed to ending this practice. It will save some valuable minutes.”

“However, as many people know, I have been specifically calling for journey time reductions of up to 15 minutes, so there is still much work to do. My office has been in touch with senior representatives from Govia to arrange a meeting to discuss how we can further reduce the travel time between London and Eastbourne.”

Polegate MP Norman Baker said the change was requested by him when he was a transport minister, and was then picked up by others, including Eastbourne’s MP Stephen Lloyd.

Mr Baker said, “I am delighted that my intervention has borne fruit and that journey times to my constituency from London are to be shortened, though I believe it should have been possible to shave 10 minutes off rather than five.

“Nevertheless, this important timetable change, which takes effect from next year, will be welcomed by my constituents.”