Train timetable changes to reduce journey time between Bexhill and London

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Train journey times between Bexhill and London during peak hours could be reduced if timetable changes are brought in by Southern in 2018.

Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Southern services, has launched a consultation on the ‘biggest timetable shake-up proposed in a generation’.

Plans for the East Coastway line aim to improve Monday to Friday peak journey times between London, Eastbourne, Bexhill, and Hastings.

The timetable changes also include options to address overcrowding between Brighton and Ashford International.

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.”

One proposal is to turn the Brighton to Ashford train into two services with passengers having to change at either Eastbourne or Hastings to relieve overcrowding.

Another is to have one peak train an hour from London Victoria continue past Eastbourne and to end the service at Hastings instead of Ore, with the possibility of Southeastern trains to Charing Cross extended to Ore.

Journey times to Brighton would be reduced by not stopping at Moulsecoomb or London Road (Brighton).

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.

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