Local commuters must come first
Published: Thursday 31st March 11
An alliance of local councils, GLA members, MPs and passenger groups is calling on the rail authorities to rethink plans to sever a key cross-London rail service.
Currently, the Thameslink Loop Line provides direct trains from south London to major stations north of the river including Farringdon, Kings Cross and Luton Airport.
Under changes proposed by Network Rail this line would be cut at Blackfriars meaning thousands of passengers travelling from stations like Tooting, Streatham, Mitcham and Wimbledon would be forced to change trains to complete cross-London journeys.
The curtailment is being considered to allow more trains arriving from outside of the capital to travel through central London.
The Thameslink Loop Line Campaign Group, which includes Wandsworth Council, is fighting the proposal. It argues that Londoners should be given priority over long distance commuters when it comes to using the capital's rail infrastructure.
Wandsworth Council's transport spokesman Ravi Govindia said:
"People in the south of our borough could have an extra half hour added to their daily commute if these changes go through and would lose a vital connection to the north of the capital.
"It's difficult to see why trains carrying passengers from miles outside of London are being given right of way over short distance commuters. Surely we should be encouraging sustainable working patterns rather than making it easier to travel vast distances at the expense of local routes.
"Together with our campaign partners we will be pressing Network Rail and the Department for Transport to rethink these plans and to secure the future of this vital cross London service."