Cuts to local train services

Closures will affect West Brompton, Olympia and the new station at Imperial Wharf, says Lib Dems.

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The Liberal Democrats have written to the Strategic Rail Authority opposing their proposed cuts to the Watford-Brighton service by having it end at Clapham Junction. The SRA claims that the cuts will reduce delays and increase services to central London.

However, Lib Dems oppose this cut in services and the continuing failure to invest in our rail network. In their submission to the SRA, the Lib Dems explained that this service provides a vital north-south link so that
residents and other rail users do not have to travel through central London.

The SRA is conducting a consultation exercise as part of developing its Route Utilisation Strategy for the London-Brighton Line, one of the busiest in the country. The SRA claims that terminating the Watford-Brighton service at Clapham Junction would allow more services
into central London and reduce delays on the West Coast Mainline filtering into the south-western area. The RUS specifically states it wants to increase capacity by avoiding any increased spending on infrastructure improvements.

Hammersmith & Fulham Liberal Democrat spokesman Jon Burden said: "It is crazy to cut services in west London, where we are suffering the effects of endless congestion. The SRA is fixated on the old model of radial travel from suburbs to central London, but business and resident's
travel patterns are changing.

"The services the SRA propose to cut better match where people travel today and reduce pressure on already overcrowded central London transport. We needed more orbital routes that by-pass central London, not fewer. Lib Dems believe that we should be investing in the rail infrastructure to improve services, not reducing some services to improve the few that
remain."

Lib Dems on the Greater London Assembly plan to raise this issue with Mayor Livingstone at the end of October.

Jon Burden continued: "We want to make sure London Government fights for the travel needs of all Londoners, not just those going to central London."

The submission by the H&F Liberal Democrats to SRA says that the service:

a. provides a vital transport link to north and south London for residents in Hammersmith & Fulham. The stations affected would be the new station at Imperial Wharf, West Brompton and Kensington Olympia.

b. reduces the need for residents to travel into central London to make connections. This saves them time as well as reduces the pressure on already overcrowded tube and bus routes in central London

c. provides an important north-south link which avoids having to  change in central London or having to travel through central London.  There are few orbital rail routes around London. The few that exist  should be expanded upon so as to meet people's changing travel needs.
d. provides connections to various other transport links (Bakerloo  Line, District Line, Central Line when a station is built at Shepherd's  Bush). This provides increased travel opportunities for train users and  reduces the need to travel by car to West London
e. the direct link to the north and south helps disabled passengers  who find changing in Central London difficult. Disabled passengers also  cannot change easily at Clapham Junction.

October 9, 2004