Winchester & Chandler's Ford MP Steve Brine says he is 'troubled' by a consultation put out by South Western Railway on a new timetable it hopes to bring in next year.
The MP has been contacted by a number of constituents who are concerned at possible changes, especially their impact on Shawford and Micheldever Stations. The plans could see morning services from Shawford reduced from eight London bound trains to six while services from the capital back to Micheldever in the evening would stop more frequently adding even longer to the daily commute.
Steve says; "SWR have done a lot to make us aware of the consultation, via on-train publicity and announcements as well as constant tannoy messages on the platform. However, I am not convinced enough rail users, and especially my fellow commuters who are likely to be most affected, are aware of what's being proposed and have responded to the consultation.
"Some of the proposals bring increased rush-hour services, including to Winchester itself and they're welcome but others trouble me particularly where they impact on smaller rural stations. Passenger data for-instance, shows that Shawford is one of the stations on the South Western franchise that has increasing numbers using it so I think more work needs to be done by SWR before they make a move which could push people away.
"Micheldever is also a valuable part of the local transport infrastructure and we need to be very careful about displacing its' part in that or the impact will be felt adversely in Winchester and Basingstoke which is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul. The parking situation at both smaller stations, especially Micheldever, is still unresolved and my fear is we are seeing some fallout here from the knee-jerk reaction earlier this year to dump new parking regulations in the village that were right in themselves but should have been part of a more strategic plan.
"I am speaking regularly with SWR's senior team and meeting afresh with them and Winchester councillors in the New Year because we cannot keep kicking this can down the road."
Steve Brine also said the new operator were at risk of losing public confidence after a difficult start to their operation of the South Western franchise; "They took over in the midst of the major works at Waterloo and then suffered the disruption of an unnecessary politically motivated strike. Neither were their fault or causing but, taken together with a number of issues around punctuality and now the timetable consultation, I think there's a risk to how they are viewed by my constituents. First impressions count and those of us who regularly use the service have noticed a dip in punctuality especially during the latter part of this year."
The MP said he would, as promised during the franchise process, be holding an ASKSWR event with senior managers from the company in early 2018.
He is urging constituents to respond to South Western Railway before their timetable consultation closes on Friday 22nd December.
You should go to www.southwesternrailway.com
Steve Brine is active right across his Winchester & Chandler's Ford constituency. You can now see news specific to where you live via our community pages.