Major shake-up of Southern's timetable proposed
Major changes to Southern's timetable are set to affect services running to and from Chichester and Bognor Regis from 2018.
Rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Southern services, has launched a consultation on the ‘biggest timetable shake-up proposed in a generation’.
Weekday changes would see an extra two services run from Chichester to London Victoria in the morning, and an extra three services from London Bridge to Chichester in the evening, with three less running from Victoria.
Five afternoon services from Barnham to Bognor Regis would be removed, as would the direct service between Bognor and Brighton, but more services to and from both London Victoria and London Bridge would be added for the town.
Meanwhile Emsworth would gain two services to Brighton, five to Chichester and two to Victoria, in turn losing four from Victoria but gaining two from London Bridge.
Southbourne would gain four morning services to Chichester and an extra one to Brighton, while Nutbourne would lose services to London Bridge, Victoria, and Chichester, four in all.
Fishbourne would lose seven services, four to Victoria, two to Chichester and one from Chichester, but gain an extra two from London Bridge.
Meanwhile Bosham would lose two services to Chichester and one to Victoria, and lose six services from Victoria and two from Chichester, while gaining two from London Bridge.
Phil Hutchinson, who is leading the timetable development and consultation for GTR, said: “We are proposing a complete redesign of the timetable by looking at which journeys are most important to passengers.
“We are creating more capacity and new cross London routes with connections to Crossrail and more punctual and reliable services.
“Operationally, each route would be self-contained so that if a problem occurs it does not affect other routes.
“We want passengers and stakeholders to help us shape their future train service so we are consulting, we think, earlier than any train operator has before.
“This is a real opportunity for passengers and stakeholders get involved in an open, honest and transparent conversation about what the train service should be in the future.
“This is about creating better connections and more capacity. It’s a once-in- a-generation opportunity to restructure the timetable to give passengers more trains and the much better reliability we all want. Ultimately this will put the Thameslink route at the heart of the UK rail network.”
GTR has been mired in a bitter dispute with the RMT union for months over plans to change the role of conductors to on-board supervisors on Southern services.
Under the proposals drivers would open and close train doors instead of conductors.
The union has already called five strikes and during the dispute passengers have had to face constant disruption due to staff shortages.
Mick Cash, RMT general secretary said: “Passengers don’t want to be consulted on how services may improve in almost two years’ time. They want action now to end the daily chaos to their journeys.
“This can only raise suspicions that the Southern spin machine is at full tilt to obscure the reality of cancelled trains services and their plans to get rid of guards in their bid to put profit before safety.”
The consultation runs until December 8.
To comment visit www.southernrailway.com/2018consultation
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