Gatwick services should stop at Balham
Published: Tuesday 28th August 12
Wandsworth councillors are calling for some rail services between central London and Gatwick Airport to stop at Balham Station.
The move would enable passengers to avoid heavy congestion at Victoria , Clapham Junction and London Bridge , and would create a new link between Gatwick and the Northern Line.
The proposed timetable change could vastly reduce journey times to the airport for residents in Balham and Tooting and would be a welcome boost for local businesses.
According to councillors, the Government's plan to combine the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise presents a new opportunity to improve access to the airport.
The council has called for the timetable change in its official response to the Department for Transport's (DfT) consultation on the new franchise.
It also calls for Gatwick Express services to include a stop at Clapham Junction - this would enhance the station's effectiveness as south London 's interchange hub.
Wandsworth Council's transport spokesman Cllr Russell King said:
"Improving access to Gatwick has to be a top priority for the Government as it considers major changes to the way the rail system is managed across London and the south of England.
"Introducing a stop at Balham is a simple, inexpensive and common sense step. It would ease congestion at some of London 's busiest stations, provide a shortcut to the airport for south Londoners and create a vital new link to the Northern Line.
"We also want to see Gatwick Express services stop at Clapham Junction so passengers can interchange with cross-London and local routes. If we want to ease congestion in Zone One we have to give people the opportunity to reach our airports without heading through a central terminus."
The campaign for better Gatwick connections is part of Wandsworth Council's Travel Choices initiative which aims to make the borough a better connected place with more transport options for local resident and businesses.
Plans include major upgrades to existing transport infrastructure and introducing new ways to get around like a cycle hire scheme and new tube stations.
Councillors believe that giving people more choice over how they can complete their journeys will spread the load wider and ease the congestion on our roads, trains, buses and tubes.
Find out more at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/travelchoices