Train reinstated is ‘wrong one’ for Hassocks students says family

Downlands Community School in Hassocks. Picture: Google Street View
Downlands Community School in Hassocks. Picture: Google Street View

A morning train from Wivelsfield to Hassocks which has been reinstated as part of a new rail timetable is the ‘wrong train’ for students attending Downlands Community School, a family has said.

Around 130 students at the school in Hassocks were having to arrive either too early or too late due to timetable changes introduced in May.

However Govia Thameslink Railway decided to reinstate the 8.28am train as part of its new interim timetable which came into force on July 15.

Nicky Wickwar, 41, of Stirling Court Road, Burgess Hill, currently drives her daughter to the school because there is currently no ‘reliable train’.

“It is not the right train and in my eyes it is not enough of an improvement,” she said.

“If that train is delayed then the kids will be late for school and the trains are so unreliable. It needs to be ten or 15 minutes earlier to allow for any delays.”

Nicky’s father Stephen MacCarthy, 68, an assistant curate at St John’s Church in Burgess Hill, helps out with driving his granddaughter to school.

He said: “The train they have reinstated was always the last resort for students. If it is late then they might have to run to school at the other end.

“It is the wrong train. And the only other option the students have is the 7.28am train which is far too early for them.”

A Govia Thameslink spokesman said: “We appreciate parents’ concern and have been pleased to reinstate the 08.28 school train.

“Any further changes to the timetable would need to dovetail in with the other trains running on this, one of the busiest routes in the UK.

“However, early indications are that the interim timetable from last week is producing a more robust and reliable service.”

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