Preston Park residents have come together to create a Facebook group in order to fight against the recent timetable changes.
‘Preston Park Train Campaign’ was created by locals in attempt to protest against train timetable changes, that have left them with massively reduced travel options and caused enormous disruption to commuters to those wishing to travel to and from Preston Park Station.
These changes were initially implemented as part of RailPlan20/20, which has been named as one of the biggest modernisations of the railway since the Victorian era – but clearly things aren’t going as smoothly as intended.
“The significant reduction in trains is making commuting almost unfeasible from Preston Park station and is generally making life miserable for everyone who is attempting to get to / from London.” – Liz Mattos, Preston Park commuter
The group was only created yesterday, on the 4th June, by one particularly upset local resident, Liz Mattos, in order to create a place for all those affected to come together and create a united protest against Southern Rail’s recent changes. According to posts in the group, commuting from the station is now completely “unfeasible” as well as claims that the changes are “making life miserable for everyone who is attempting to get to / from London.”
Brighton Journal spoke to Mattos, who described how she’s now had to completely change her daily commute due to the timetable changes. “I’ve been working from home Monday, and now I’ve travelled to London Bridge with my suitcase and I won’t come back until Friday.”
Mattos also made it clear that commuters were hardly informed of the changes prior to them coming into place – there was no notices around the station, nor were passengers able to pick up any copies of the new timetable.
These changes have also meant that the Gatwick Express service, which offers the quickest trip into London, no longer stops at Preston Park, instead of the previous two trains per hour. This means that commuters have to make the decision between making the extra journey to Brighton main train station, or take a far longer trip from a closer station.
The resident’s outrage has been echoed by Caroline Lucas, MP for Brighton, who according to Mattos is “furious about the Preston Park issue” and has been “really really favourable” towards the campaign. Lucas has already been working towards helping those affected by the changes, which she announced in a tweet last week:
I’m meeting Transport SoS Monday to demand redress for all those caught up in southern/network rail timetable chaos. Will also be repeating calls for franchise to be removed & for railways to be brought back into public ownership. @ABCommuters #southernfail
— Caroline Lucas (@CarolineLucas) June 1, 2018
These changes to services were initially intended to create space on for an enormous 50,000 more commuters on trains in and out of London, but have so far resulted in far more disruption that improvements. According to Govia Thameslink Railway have stated that these changes are ongoing, and their website claims that they will “publish details of any further alteration as soon as possible by updating journey planners”. They also advise anyone travelling by train to re-check timetables immediately before leaving.