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Beckenham residents fight plans to cut 'vital' rail links to central London
Beckenham residents have called on Bromley Council to fight to save “vital” rail services to central London.
Copers Cope Residents’ Association (CCRA) has written a letter to the authority following the announcement of a new Thameslink and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise that looks to be cutting local links.
It comes after transport company Govia was awarded the new setup in May, which it will begin operating in September.
Govia says it is expected from 2018 trains from Beckenham Junction, servicing the likes of Kent House and Penge, will stop at Blackfriars and not run to the Thameslink core.
A spokesman told News Shopper: “The current limited peak service from Beckenham Junction to stations in the Thameslink core and beyond will continue in the new TSGN franchise until 2018.
“At that point, it is expected that these services will operate as far as Blackfriars as part of the Southeastern franchise.”
Govia added current travel from the Wimbledon Loop is set to continue.
The Department of Transport confirmed it intends to safeguard the Wimbledon Loop ahead of south-east lines, despite Network Rail previously recommending transport is shared across the south.
A DfT spokesperson said: “In order to successfully roll this (new Thameslink programme) out, it has been necessary to make some changes to the timetable.
“The services from Beckenham to St Pancras are guaranteed to run for another four years, after which passengers can easily change at Blackfriars to one of the scores of Thameslink services running through central London.
“This will mean improved services, faster journeys and more flexibility for passengers.”
A spokeswoman for CCRA says the capital’s south-east has been given a bad deal.
She told News Shopper: “It’s a vital link into London – we’ve been sharing the service with Wimbledon.
“Why should it be that we get nothing anymore? People build their lives around these trains.
“It could be really damaging.”
Now, as St Pancras and beyond looks like it will be unreachable without changing, the group has asked the council to lobby for its commuters.
Deputy leader Colin Smith said: “The Council, along with Southeastern and other south east London boroughs, were surprised by the then rail minister’s announcement.
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