LETTER: Dismayed and disappointed

I have written to Caroline Ansell MP (and Caroline Lucas MP) about the cancellation of the one train an hour from Clapham Junction to Watford which will affect many of her constituents. I will not be able to visit my daughter if this goes ahead, as I am elderly and disabled .

This train is always packed with passengers from the Eastbourne to Victoria who change at Clapham Junction to get this connection, so it is a stupid decision. I hope she can do her best to get this plan changed .

I and many others are deeply dismayed and disappointed by the proposal, contained in Southern’s draft timetable consultation document, to withdraw the Watford Junction to Brighton service and replace it with services terminating at Clapham Junction. We regard this as more than a local timetabling matter, and one that requires Ruth Kelly MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to intervene. In fact we believe that her department may be partially responsible for these proposed cuts. Many people will lose their jobs because of this proposed change.

We regard the loss of services south of Clapham Junction as a hugely retrograde step when demand on this line is strong and growing. The proposal is made all the more regrettable by the absence of a robust justification for it. Our main concern about terminating at Clapham Junction is that it will massively increase the numbers of rail passengers making the difficult and potentially hazardous interchange at Clapham Junction’s Platform 17, which is completely unsuitable for this function. Even when lifts are installed, it will remain completely inaccessible for disabled passengers who currently enjoy reasonable facilities at other stations. It will also result in the loss of an important link between major destinations like Watford, Wembley Stadium and Gatwick Airport. The service is used by many residents across London, Hertfordshire, Surrey, and Buckinghamshire and further afield. Every effort should be made to preserve the service to Brighton, or at the very least, to Gatwick Airport.

This transport franchise doesn’t listen to anyone, and is only interested in making and saving money.

Dorothy Forsyth

Meads Road

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