Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert has welcomed news that Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the Southern and Thameslink operator, will undertake a public consultation to add direct peak-time train services from Hassocks to Clapham Junction.
The MP met with Patrick Verwer, chief executive of GTR, in Westminster last Wednesday (November 28), to discuss his concerns about the Hassocks service, after direct services were dropped in May with the introduction of the new GTR/Southern timetable.
He was told by Mr Verwer that GTR will formally consult next month on adding a stop at Clapham Junction for trains from Hassocks.
He said: “I have repeatedly raised concerns about this issue since the new timetable was introduced, including in parliament, directly with ministers and with GTR bosses, so I am pleased that the company is now looking again at the need for a direct peak-time service from Hassocks to Clapham Junction.
“This is taking too long, and unfortunately any change would not happen for a year, not least because following the chaos of last May’s new timetable introduction the industry clearly requires longer lead-in times to make changes.
“But at least a direct Hassocks to Clapham Junction service is now being considered formally, with an opportunity for the local community to submit their views.”
Mr Herbert and the chairman of Hassocks Rail User Group, Catherine Cassidy, have pressed hard for the restoration of peak-time services between Hassocks and Clapham Junction.
In an e-mail to the Hassocks Rail User Group on Friday (November 30), Mr Verwer said: “We have been in regular contact with the Hassocks Rail User Group and Nick Herbert MP and have listened to the concerns raised about adding a direct service between Hassocks and Clapham Junction.
“As a result we will arrange a public consultation in January 2019 which will include several proposals, one of which will be stops added at Clapham Junction.
“We will release more details about the consultation in due course.”
A decision on whether to reinstate the Hassocks to Clapham Junction service would be expected in March 2019, Mr Herbert said.
He said this will be too late for inclusion in the May 2019 timetable, meaning that any change would first be reflected in December 2019.