Commuters protest against Thameslink cuts

END OF THE LINE: Anthea Massey, right and Tim Gaymer centre, from Loughborough Junction Action Group with a commuter last night

Angry commuters have started a petition against plans to scrap train services from Tulse Hill, Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction to central London.

They object to plans by the Department for Transport to terminate trains on the Wimbledon Loop at Blackfriars station by 2018. The trains currently run through the city to St Pancras and beyond but rail bosses say congestion on the line means they may have to cut services as part of a new franchise.

Anyone who objects has until August 23 to respond to the consultation.

Commuter Cath Malone said: “This is an incredibly cynical decision to terminate the Wimbledon Loop at Blackfriars.

“Thousands of us commuters use City Thameslink and, more recently, have found the wonderful convenience of linking up with St Pancras. Just when we were getting some improvement to our service, having put up with dreadful overcrowding and poor service for years.”

HALT: Services from Herne Hill could also be stopped

Chuka Umunna, MP for Streatham, appealed to members of the public to respond to the government consultation.

“It is essential that we all act together to retain the links between Streatham, the City and North London,” he said.

“It is incredibly important for the convenience of everyone living here, as well as our local economy and the job prospects for local residents.”

A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “This is a consultation document and we welcome any views on the best option to take. We encourage people to provide responses.”

To object to the changes email, and sign the online petition here.


  1. 1 – Herne Hill / Tulse Hill / Loughborough Junction [Thameslink/First Capital Connect]: this is the formal statement on the Thameslink programme web-site (, a part of First Group:

    [FAQ] “I have read that trains from the Wimbledon Loop are going to terminate at Blackfriars station in 2018. Is that true?”

    Answer: “It is anticipated that the new Thameslink trains will be introduced onto all of the FCC Thameslink routes from 2015 alongside the existing rolling stock. However the final Thameslink train service specification has yet to be agreed, and this will be determined as part of the re-franchising process for Thameslink services.

    “The Department for Transport has announced a consultation on a review of franchise policy, and this will inform the Government’s decisions on how rail services are specified in the future, with a view to improving outcomes for passengers and facilitating private sector investment in the railways.”

    Translation: “er, usual ‘bullshit’ for this is our next good idea”

    [FAQ] “Why is there a proposal that suggests terminating Wimbledon Loop trains at Blackfriars?”

    Answer: “Basically, it is a measure designed to simplify train movements, keeping trains from crossing one another’s paths, helping to reduce delay and improve reliability. It would also help to achieve the target of up to 24 trains per hour from Blackfriars through central London to St Pancras and beyond.

    “Thirty-two trains per peak hour are currently planned to approach Blackfriars from the south when the Thameslink Programme is complete, from December 2018. In total, 24 trains per hour will go through to St Pancras and beyond, and eight per hour will terminate in new bay platforms on the western side of the layout at Blackfriars.

    “The view of the team that compiled the South London Route Route Utilisation Strategy, a view also adopted in the London and South East Route Utilisation Strategy, was that the success of the 24 trains per hour operation will depend upon a very high level of operating performance. To give it the best chance of success, train paths should therefore cross one another as little as possible – because if one train is held up it will affect another.

    This suggests the best arrangement is therefore for the 18 trains per hour from London Bridge that approach on the eastern side of the tracks into Blackfriars, and the six that come from the Denmark Hill direction ‘up the middle’ should be the 24 trains per hour to go through to St Pancras and beyond, while the eight trains per hour that approach from Herne Hill on the western side (which includes the Wimbledon Loop trains) should be the ones to terminate in the bay platforms.”

    Translation: “expensive to run Thameslink/FCC trains on the Sutton Loop, which has operating restrictions. Government pays the train operator for losses on the route. Blame for this money-saver being dumped on Network Rail, whose ‘Route Utilisation Strategy’ (route-by-route rail investment blueprint) published this”

    2 – South London Line (Southern Railway) Victoria & London Bridge via Denmark Hill

    Best explained by following this link:

    Translation: “this is a mix of major works on the main line at London Bridge station, which reduces the station’s capacity to hold trains, and the introduction of the Clapham Junction – Surrey Quays segment of the Overground network. The implication is that either one alone couldn’t justify withdrawal of the service so its the other operator’s fault, guv”

  2. Grateful to you for publicising this issue. It is Network Rail which wants to terminate our services at Blackfriars, not because of congestion but to give priority to services from outside London.
    It’s important to point out that this is a cross-party cross-borough issue, affecting commuters and travellers in four boroughs (Lambeth, Wandsworth, Merton and Sutton).
    We as Streatham Lib Dem councillors organised last week’s consultation meeting at Streatham’s Hideaway Club addressed by Department of Transport officials and attended by 120 people, from affected areas, including the Loughborough Junction Action Group and Lib Dem, Labour, Conservative and Green councillors and activists from across the area.
    The officials were left in no doubt as to the strength of feeling about the threat to this vital cross-London service.
    There are now several petitions running as a result of this growing campaign. Including the Downing Street e-petition set up by Tulse Hill residents and already signed by 472
    Thameslink is our north-south Crossrail. Cutting our service off at Blackfriars means we will lose a service we have enjoyed for almost 25 years. And we will be cut off from the Farringdon interchange with the future east-east Crossrail for which we are paying heavily in our taxes.

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