Loss of trains to Clapham Junction would be '˜devastating' for Hassocks

Losing direct trains to Clapham Junction during early mornings would be '˜devastating' and '˜utterly unacceptable' for Hassocks commuters.

Friday, 21st July 2017, 5:25 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th September 2017, 11:51 am
Graham Horner, a Hassocks commuter has been raising awareness about the effect of proposed timetable changes on the village's train services (photo submitted).

Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs Southern, Thameslink, and Gatwick Express services, is currently consulting on major timetable changes due to be introduced in 2018.

The rail operator claims that as a result passengers will have faster, easier, and more seamless journeys into and across central London.

However commuters from Hassocks have opposed the removal of direct services to and from Clapham Junction during peak times, with peak trains to both East Croydon and Brighton also due to be reduced.

Catherine Cassidy, chair of the Hassocks Amenity Association Rail Group, said: “Although the off-peak timetable at Hassocks will be improved from three trains an hour to four trains an hour with two Thameslink trains and two Southern trains, the loss of the direct morning peak trains to Clapham Junction will be devastating for those commuters who have to change at Clapham Junction for London Waterloo or to destinations such as Wimbledon, Richmond or Reading, many of whom have purchased homes in Hassocks because of the direct train link to Clapham Junction.

“GTR are presently running a consultation for customers to feedback their comments but it seems that many are not aware of this or the changes which are proposed.

“The consultation ends on 27th July 2017 so it is important that any feedback is made before then, which can be done via the link on Southern and Thameslink websites.”

Graham Horner, a Hassocks commuter who travels through Clapham Junction on his daily commute, is one of several residents who been raising awareness about the changes and is urging fellow train passengers to respond to the consultation.

He said: “Admittedly, there seem to be more off-peak services from Hassocks but this seems completely out of tune with the population’s needs: Hassocks station is primarily a commuter’s station.

“Peak services are what really matters. Hassocks has been slated for huge housing development – the recent approval of 90 homes at Ham Fields and more applications going through such as Friar’s Oak.

“The need for more, not fewer, peak services is only going to increase.”

Mr Horner explained how Hassocks is an important station serving not only the village itself but Hurst, Ditchling, Henfield, and even Patcham.

Another commuter who contacted the Middy explained how removing the direct services to Clapham Junction would be ‘utterly unacceptable and will inconvenience a large number of commuters from Hassocks’.

In an email to GTR he said: “Please ensure our direct services from Hassocks are retained so I can get to work along with many other commuters joining at Hassocks.”

A spokesman for GTR said: “Under the current proposals for Hassocks station, in the peak it will be served by Thameslink to / from East Croydon with up to 4 trains per hour (tph); we are aware that there is a reduction to Clapham Junction and also from Brighton.

“Unfortunately, in the planning of the timetable we have been unable to accommodate a stop at Hassocks by the West Coastway services from Littlehampton. However, we will review this following the consultation to see if any change can be made.”

To comment email [email protected] or visit the consultation’s website.