Munira met with South Western Railway (SWR) management and Network Rail representatives to highlight constituents’ concerns about planned cuts to train services. SWR is running a consultation on proposed permanent changes to local rail services which closes on 19th September. The changes will impact almost all stations across the constituency, with the majority seeing service reductions.
Following the meeting, Munira said: “Of course, commuter patterns will change as a result of the pandemic but it is far too soon to make permanent service reductions. I urged SWR to delay any decisions until commuter patterns settle down as we emerge from the pandemic.”
Munira also sought clarity on what the proposals mean for the local area. Here is a summary of the station-by-station impacts:
- St Margarets is set to be hardest hit with services halved during off peak times from four services per hour to two per hour, to and from Waterloo. This is due to the Hounslow Loop no longer running between Twickenham and Waterloo.
- Whitton will also lose the Hounslow loop service to Waterloo off-peak, thus reducing from 4 to 2 direct trains per hour to Waterloo. However, the loop will still run to Twickenham (ie. 4 trains per hour from Whitton to Twickenham), where passengers wanting a stopping service will need to change. Whitton will also lose one of its extra peak time trains from Aldershot.
- Teddington and Hampton Wick will see a reduction from 6 to 4 trains through the morning peak time period, resulting in a 15% reduction in seat capacity.
- Strawberry Hill will see a reduction from 8 to 6 trains through the morning peak, although the introduction of longer trains will result in a 5% overall reduction in seat capacity.
- Twickenham will also lose the 2 trains per hour to Waterloo which previously completed the Hounslow Loop service. These trains via Brentford will terminate at Twickenham.
- Hampton and Fulwell services are unchanged
Munira also expressed her dismay at the timing of the consultation.
“SWR has launched a consultation on significant timetable changes over the summer when many people are away. There has been very little publicity, and with people working from home, the majority of commuters will be unaware of the proposals. To make matters worse, the documentation produced by SWR is very difficult to interpret.
“The justification for the proposed changes is a need to reduce the number of services into and out of Waterloo, with the aim of improving service reliability and reducing the number of trains delayed and cancelled. It is clear from the small print of the consultation document and discussions, however, that SWR is under pressure from the Department for Transport to achieve cost savings by cutting services.
“The Government is using the pandemic as cover for permanent train service cuts which will be detrimental for the environment, cause overcrowding at stations and on trains, and is another example of their agenda to level down London”.
Two things you can do to help save our train services:
- Respond to SWR’s consultation here: : https://www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/timetables/timetable-consultation-december-2022
- Share your views with me, so that I can ensure I fully express local views when I respond to the consultation and continue to challenge both SWR and ministers. You can do so via this form on my website: https://www.munira.org.uk/news/share-your-thoughts-south-western-railway-timetable-changes/