NICK HERBERT: Proposed rail timetable changes make no sense

Nick with the 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Wrath
Nick with the 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Wrath

The House of Commons is currently in its summer recess, but my work in the constituency continues.

On Saturday I held my ‘advice’ surgeries in Arundel. One of the meetings was with Amberley Rail SOS, a new community group fighting to maintain rail services in the village.

Nick Herbert

Nick Herbert

Southern Rail’s proposed new timetable would mean fewer trains stopping at Amberley. I have received emails about this from a large number of concerned constituents, evidence itself of the demand for the rail service.

Amberley station serves a wider community than the village, and the service should not be reduced. It is also one of the gateways to the South Downs National Park, and there are local businesses and attractions such as the Amberley Museum which need a healthy tourist trade.

On the other side of my constituency, in Hassocks, there are also proposed timetable changes to Thameslink trains which will mean fewer trains from the village to London Bridge. Hassocks is a growing village with many commuters and, again, reducing the service does not make sense.

There are also no proposed additional peak time trains from Hassocks, despite overcrowding on the service. On top of this, the new station is frequently closed and the ticket machines are often out of order, too. This has gone on for two years.

I and commuters keep raising this with Southern, and it’s intolerable that the situation continues. It’s not rocket science to have ticket machines that work and to staff ticket offices properly, and it’s time Southern sorted this out. Passengers have faced enough disruption for over a year without these problems as well.

I have written to Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR, to ask that this situation is dealt with, and I have also raised my concerns about the proposed timetable changes.

This is a transport-focused week and I am also having meetings about the Arundel bypass with Highways England and others. The public consultation on the bypass routes, which will include public exhibition events, begins on August 22.

On Sunday I went to the Sadcase (Storrington & District Classic & Sportscar Enthusiasts) show at Storrington where I had the pleasure of seeing Winifred, a lovely 1952 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith.

When this car was made, Churchill was Prime Minister, The Queen succeeded to the throne, and Humphrey Bogart won his only Oscar for best actor in The African Queen. As his character, Charlie Allnut, said: “Things are never so bad they can’t be made worse.”

If you would like to get in touch with me, please email me at nick@nickherbert.com

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