Train company Southern is launching a public engagement programme seeking the views of West Sussex and Hampshire passengers about plans to improve the counties’ rail services.
If taken forward, the proposed changes on routes between Brighton and Southampton, and between the Hampshire ports and London via Gatwick Airport, would be introduced in a redesigned timetable next year.
The aims are to improve reliability on all routes and to increase capacity where passenger demand is greatest, with more evenly spaced departure times for passengers.
The biggest changes proposed would double the frequency of services between Portsmouth and London via Horsham and Gatwick Airport, and between Southampton and Brighton, from one to two per hour.
Summary of key proposed changes
- London to Portsmouth services would be extended to Portsmouth Harbour, providing better connections to cross-Solent ferries as well as access to the Portsmouth docks area, rather than terminating at Portsmouth & Southsea as they do now.
- The two-per-hour London Victoria via Horsham and Gatwick Airport trains would serve Portsmouth only, with the two-per-hour Brighton trains serving Southampton only.
- This would mean more even intervals between trains, at new half-hourly frequencies, and would improve reliability on both routes by removing the short turn-round times. Passengers between Southampton and Gatwick Airport would have a short, convenient, same-platform connection at Barnham.
- Quicker journey times on the Southampton-Brighton route, with an extra stop at Woolston, where easy connections with the local bus networks provide easy access to Southampton city centre
- A new, half-hourly, all-stations Brighton to Chichester service via Littlehampton, improving local journeys and providing extra capacity on the busy route between Brighton and Worthing
The proposals build on this year’s popular redesign of the East Coastway timetable, which was also developed in collaboration with local communities and passenger groups and featured increased services between Brighton and Eastbourne.
Jenny Saunders, Govia Thameslink Railway’s Customer Service Director, said: “We’re confident that the reliability and capacity improvements these proposals are designed to achieve would benefit passengers on local and longer-distance journeys across the West Coastway.
“It’s now important that we hear the views of the public so we can make sure these proposals improve services for our passengers.”
The programme is open for comments until Wednesday 27 September.
Photo credit: Southern/ Creative Commons Attribution