This consultation closes on 8th December, and here is my submission.
GTR Timetable Consultation
East Side Offices
King’s Cross Station
1st December 2016
RE: GTR TIMETABLE CONSULTATION
As the MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon I welcome the opportunity to comment on the proposed timetable changes on behalf of my constituents.
Since the closure of London Bridge in 2014 and subsequent overcrowding in the Victoria corridor my constituents have shared the disruption across much of the network. With the added complications arising from industrial action my constituents are anxious for improvements to the rail service in terms of speed, reliability and capacity. It is vital therefore that this new timetable delivers the benefits my constituents have been promised.
I therefore welcome the marginal improvements to journey times to London and welcome the commitment to two peak hour trains to London Bridge connecting Eastbourne to the City of London. It is also important to maintain the vital link between Eastbourne and Gatwick Airport.
I would very much like to see a much greater ambition to reduce journey times even further to the 70 minute mark. I know this is the ambition of the Chamber of Commerce and the Borough Council and I entirely share that goal.
Regional links are however just as important and I welcome the increase of services from five to six an hour between Lewes and Brighton and a reduction in journey times of three minutes between Eastbourne and Brighton. Connectivity between the two is very important given our extensive economic and employment links as well as between the campuses of the University of Brighton and our Hospitals. Additional capacity for a four coach train instead of the diesel class 171 is therefore a much welcome addition.
As an important gateway town to the South Downs National Park and tourist destination, Eastbourne’s ability to attract international customers has never been more important. Therefore I would like to see additional capacity delivered on services east of Eastbourne.
I had understood that there were ongoing plans to hybridise Class 377 trains so that they may operate on the un-electrified Ore to Ashford Marshlink Line. This would greatly relieve the capacity problems faced with the existing rolling stock and this is especially important given our shared educational and health service links between Eastbourne and Hastings.
I believe hybridisation is on the only viable option, short of significant infrastructure changes, that can deliver much needed improvements in capacity whilst preserving the semi-fast inter-urban service.
The railway continues to plays an important role in Eastbourne’s economic regeneration and prosperity and I hope these views are taken into account as part of your deliberations to the benefits of my constituents in Eastbourne and Willingdon.
Member of Parliament for Eastbourne & Willingdon