Hassocks commuters call for ‘actions not words’

Nick Herbert discusses railway issues with HAA members
Nick Herbert discusses railway issues with HAA members

Train users travelling to work and school want ‘actions not words’ from railway providers after complaining that services are declining.

Hassocks Amenity Association Rail Group (HAA) say rail users have become ‘increasingly irritated’ by problems with trains, which have been magnified since January.

Rail providers have apologised to customers for not providing a good service and have created an improvement plan.

The HAA stated: “We are pleased to see that the major timetable changes to be made in December 2015 will reflect the lessons learned.

“Nevertheless, what Hassocks residents want is action not words.

“There are some gleams of hope.”

The HAA say services on the Brighton line have deteriorated since timetable changes in January to deal with reduced platform capacity at London Bridge station during an upgrade.

But it added the service has been declining ‘for some time’.

Chairman Catherine Cassidy met their local MP Nick Herbert to explain that the Govia Thameslink timetable consultation, run in October, was inadequate and poorly communicated.

She said it failed to address the needs of local people using the rail service for travel between home, work and schools.

She added key local train journeys between Hassocks, Brighton and Burgess Hill had now either been downgraded or removed.

Other commuter services between Hassocks and London Bridge had also been subject to changes and for many this meant a far longer journey each day.

Finally she said evening services from Brighton to Hassocks had been downgraded, with fewer trains stopping at Hassocks, connections from the West Coastway to Brighton services which stop at Hassocks were poor, and the train from Hassocks would no longer be stopping at Burgess Hill from 4:14-5:36pm.

The group also complained of delays and service disruptions in January.

Catherine said she was grateful to the MP for taking passenger concerns to the transport minister Claire Perry.

Since the meeting rail providers have developed plans to improve performance.

Network Rail, Govia Thameslink Railway and Southern state they are working together to improve performance on one of the most congested railways in the country.

They admit in the plan ‘our passengers have not been getting the service they expect from us and for this we apologise’.

After seeing the plan HAA said: “A resolution of the Downlands School problem is being actively pursued.

“Our request for a stop on the West Coastway service at Hassocks is being taken seriously.

The concerns of Hassocks users have been pushed up the agenda.”

See the full plan at www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/performance-results/performance-improvement-plan