A key train service for Hassocks commuters heading into London is set to be restored after being cut earlier this year.
A direct morning peak service from the village to Clapham Junction was dropped by Govia Thameslink Railway as part of its May 2018 timetable changes, despite objections from passengers and politicians.
Clapham Junction is a key interchange to other parts of London and other major destinations meaning Hassocks commuters who relied on the route saw their journey time extended by as much as 40 minutes.
But GTR, which runs Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express trains, has announced that from Monday May 20 a direct Southern service will be reinstated between Hassocks and Clapham Junction at 7.10am and a return from London Victoria at 5.24pm.
Catherine Cassidy, chair of the Hassocks Rail User Group, said: “It is very good news that the direct Hassocks to/from Clapham Junction peak service is being reinstated. When this peak service was removed in May 2018 the effect on commuters from Hassocks who used this service was very disruptive and had a serious adverse impact on their working and personal lives.
“Working with the local commuters affected, and supported by our MP Nick Herbert, the Hassocks Rail Group has been in regular dialogue with GTR. We hope this will lead to further direct Clapham Junction peak services being reinstated but are extremely pleased that GTR have listened and reinstated a direct service from May.”
Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has lobbied for the restoration of the peak-time services for Hassocks since the changes last year.
He said: “I am very pleased that GTR listened to our concerns and that a peak-time direct service to Clapham Junction will be restored for Hassocks commuters.
“I will continue to work with the Hassocks Rail Group and in Parliament to represent the concerns of my commuting constituents and press for improvements to the service.”
He will meet with bosses from GTR and Network Rail on Wednesday (February 27) to discuss rail issues.
Patrick Verwer, chief executive officer of GTR, said: “We are happy to work on identifying improvements with local stakeholders wherever possible, so we are really pleased we’ve been able to make progress on this key concern raised at Hassocks.”
The problems caused by removing the direct peak service from Hassocks to Clapham Junction was raised by passengers as early as July 2017.
Graham Horner, a Hassocks commuter who helped raised awareness about the plans to drop the direct Clapham Junction peak services, said: “This is good news, a definite step in the right direction, thanks to the combined hard work of the Hassocks Rail Group and the support of our MP and county councillor.
“There is clearly still more to be done to get us back to the level of direct services we had prior to the timetable changes - unfortunately, the one direct return service in the evening at 1724 is too early for me to use and won’t work for all commuters.
“Hopefully, however, by continuing to all work together, more direct peak services will be reintroduced in the near future.”