Thameslink Petition Backed By Wimbledon Residents

Plans to teminate Wimbledon Loop at Blackfriars

Hundreds of Merton residents have backed a petition against plans to terminate Thameslink trains on the 'Wimbledon loop' at Blackfriars.

The Department for Transport is currently consulting on the specification for the new seven-year Thameslink franchise.

Lib Dem campaigners are concerned about Network Rail's recommendation that trains currently serving Merton on the 'Wimbledon loop' should terminate early ending the direct link to the City, St Pancras International and Luton Airport.

Liberal Democrats from across South London, including Councillors in Sutton, Lambeth and Merton submitted petitions, along with residents' responses to Transport ministers on Thursday (August 23). They are pictured below.

After handing in the petition, Merton Councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes said: "We're calling on Network Rail and the Department for Transport to listen to residents' concerns. We need to retain direct trains from Merton to the City, to St Pancras and the Eurostar Terminal and to Luton airport.

"So many people have told us they've bought homes and put down roots in local communities based on the train services along the Wimbledon Loop. We shouldn't be cutting local transport services, we should be improving them.

"The proposals would cause further hardship and delay for passengers especially with considerable overcrowding at Blackfriars station if passengers have to change trains. Many residents living near to Thameslink stations do not have access to other services or the Underground.

"This cut would be devastating to many who chose to live in Merton because of easy access to the City and other locations via Thameslink."

Wimbledon Chase resident and local campaigner Anthony Fairclough said: "Local shop owners told us that Network Rail's proposals would also damage their business - many have employees or customers that come from beyond Blackfriars to Merton. Making it more difficult to get here isn't going to encourage them to come.

"We've been fighting these proposals since last year, and we won't be giving up just yet - the next stage of the campaign will begin after officials make their recommendations to ministers."

The Department for Transport has announced that the consultation would be extended until September 14 - "due to the general high level of interest in this consultation".

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August 30, 2012