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Coulsdon residents unite to fight changes to train services

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RESIDENTS' Associations in Coulsdon have joined forces to fight reductions to the town's train services.

Thousands of leaflets calling for services to be maintained were handed out to passengers at Coulsdon South station on Monday, and more still were distributed at Woodmansterne Station and Coulsdon Town during the week.

Charles King, chairman of East Coulsdon Residents' Association, said the town stands to lose its direct off-peak services to London Victoria in December 2015, while the Tattenham Corner branch off-peak shuttle, which serves Coulsdon Town, will be scrapped, meaning a reduction in service by a third. The changes were revealed in proposed timetables published earlier this summer by transport company Govia.

Their new franchise, Govia Thameslink, replaced First Capital Connect on September 14, and is due to incorporate the South Central franchise, operated as Southern and Gatwick Express, when it expires in July 2015.

The leaflet says: "Unfortunately in the detail of the timetable, Coulsdon is the one place on the network that will have a worse off-peak service."

It also says the associations will lobby Govia and the Department for Transport against the changes.

Mr King, who is also chairman of East Surrey Transport Committee, said it didn't make sense to cut the service which most people wanted to use. "London Travelwatch did a survey a few years ago, and that came up with the figure that 65 per cent of passengers at Coulsdon South want to go to Victoria.

"It's all very well having services to London, but there's no point if they're not going where people want to go."

Coulsdon West councillor Mario Creatura said he "fully supported" the efforts of the campaigners.

A spokeswoman from Go-Ahead, Govia's parent company, confirmed there would no longer be off peak services from Coulsdon South to Victoria. "During the off-peak period there will still be four trains an hour to central London stations, as at present. Two of these off-peak services will run to London Bridge. The other two will run from Gatwick to Bedford, bringing passengers new links to Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras (for Eurostar).

"We will be undertaking a public consultation during this autumn on our detailed plans for the December 2015 timetable change.

"Once the Thameslink Programme is complete in 2018, passengers from Coulsdon South will have far better connections to the rest of London."

The leaflet, which asks for residents to back the campaign by contacting Croydon South MP Richard Ottaway, Govia CEO Charles Horton and Croydon and Sutton GLA member Steve O'Connell, is supported by East Coulsdon Residents' Association, Old Coulsdon Residents' Association, Hartley and District Residents' Association and Coulsdon West Residents' Association, along with Coulsdon Chamber of Commerce.

Coulsdon residents unite to fight changes to train services


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