Network Rail Asked To Review Thameslink plans

Rail minister asks them to think again

Rail minister Simon Burns has asked Network Rail to think again about 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.

Campaigners have been 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.

But rail minister Mr Burns has asked Network Rail to reconsider their position on this issue and once this has happened bring their recommendations to him for a decision. He revealed this during a meeting with Wimbledon MP Stephen Hammond, Richard Tracey, local AM member and local councillor Chris Edge.

Mr Hammond (right) said: "The initial Network Rail proposal would have caused significant problems for local people. I have long held a pledge with Wimbledon residents that I will always fight for trains to continue to run past Blackfriars and onto other destinations. Simon Burns' announcement is the first small step in what will hopefully be a good deal and a good announcement for my constituents, which is always my first interest."

Councillor Edge, who represented Merton Council’s Conservative group said: "I was pleasantly surprised when the Minister of State for Transport, Simon Burns, agreed to meet us following my letter of representation during the recent consultation on Network Rail's proposed changes to the Thameslink service. Despite being new to the Department of Transport, the Minister was not only well briefed, but had already asked Network Rail to re-consider the issue of through trains between Wimbledon/Sutton and Bedford."

Mr Tracey added: " This concerns my constituents in both Merton and Wandsworth. Many need to travel through Blackfriars to their daily work and others wish to get to St Pancras or Luton Airport to go on holiday. We are pleased to hear the previous idea of curtailing the service at Blackfriars is being seriously reviewed. I trust and hope it will come out right. "

December 2, 2012