MP presses for Leighton train service to be restored

Southern train

Southern train

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Leighton Buzzard’s MP has made a protest on behalf of the town’s rail commuters over the withdrawal of a train route into the capital.

Andrew Selous has this week written to the Rail Minister Robert Goodwill to express his anger at the cutting of the Southern Rail service from Leighton Buzzard to Croydon through West London.

Speaking on Tuesday, the South West Beds MP said: “The withdrawal of this service was raised with me yesterday and I will do everything I can to get it restored as soon as possible.

“I know how important good railway services are for everyone in our area”.

Southern Trains announced on Monday it had suspended their weekday services between Milton Keynes Central and Clapham Junction. The move came as the firm axed hundreds of services as part of an amended timetable prompted by months of disruption.

Parent firm Govia Thameslink said the “more reliable” timetable, with 341 fewer daily services, would operate on week days “for the foreseeable future”.

Fellow rail operator London Midland, which runs the route between Northampton and London Euston, will be stepping into the breach – but this may mean that some of its services are more full than before.

On affected days London Midland will be accepting ‘Southern only’ and ‘via Kensington Olympia’ tickets on its trains between London Euston and Milton Keynes Central.

London Midland is also adding extra stops on some services to reduce gaps in the timetable between certain stations, to make passengers’ journeys as simple as possible.

However trains are still expected to be busier than normal, in particular London-bound services that previously followed one of the Southern services.

Steve Helfet, London Midland’s head of West Coast Services, said: “We are doing all we can to make journeys as simple as possible for those who regularly use Southern and for our existing passengers.

“We will be reviewing our arrangements when the amended timetable starts to ensure they are working in the best interests of our passengers.”

One furious commuter, Katherine Wood, said: “There is absolutely no indication of when this service is likely to resume. How has this been allowed to happen?

“In parts of the country where Southern Rail is the primary train operator, local MPs have organised for representatives from Southern Rail to speak to their constituents and be held accountable for the disruption in rail services.

“I have contacted my local MP and I’m waiting for a response but when is the Minister for Transport going to do something about this?

“When rail commuters across the country pay an exorbitant amount of money to travel on services that are invariably delayed, cancelled or overcrowded, this is totally unacceptable.”

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