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New hope Thameslink services through Sutton will not be axed

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HOPES have risen that Thameslink rail services from Sutton through London will not be cut.

Under present proposals for 2018, Thameslink passengers from Sutton, Carshalton and Hackbridge would have to change trains at Blackfriars to continue their journey to the City, Farringdon, St Pancras International and Luton Airport.

But now following a meeting between transport minister Simon Burns, Sutton's two MPs and a delegation of borough councillors, there is new hope the direct link could remain.

Mr Burns said to the group that he had told the Department for Transport and Network Rail to review the decision to cut the line at Blackfriars and come back with an update early next year.

Tom Brake, MP for Wallington and Carshalton, said this week: "This was a positive outcome because there was a risk that the engineers have come up with a solution which is a huge disbenefit to passengers."

He said stopping the trains at Blackfriars would have freed up space to allow extra trains on other parts of the Thameslink network, such as services from East Croydon.

But the result would have been that passengers from Sutton and Carshalton, perhaps carrying heavy luggage to get to St Pancras or Luton, would have faced long and uncertain waits for trains at Blackfriars.

Mr Brake said: "Now there is scope for reopening the debate on the future of the services and hopefully putting passengers' views first."

Councillor Jill Whitehead, chair of Sutton's environment and neighbourhoods committee, said: "We are very pleased that the minister has agreed to reconsider this ridiculous idea that would cause massive inconvenience to so many people.

"We will carry on the campaign to save this service because it is crucial to so many people who live in Sutton."

She added: "It is a vital link to jobs in the City and provides access to the north of England and Europe via St Pancras.

"Expecting commuters to change trains at Blackfriars will cause absolute chaos, especially at rush hour."

The news has also been welcomed by Steve O'Connell, Sutton's London Assembly member, who has urged Mayor Boris Johnson to put pressure on the Government to get the plans changed.

Mr O'Connell, who admitted he was "miffed" about not be invited to join the delegation, said he was pleased with minister's decision.

He said: "We are all pushing together on this."

New hope Thameslink services through Sutton will not be axed


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