Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Thameslink Loop Line Campaign Group Acts

As Chairman of the Thameslink Loop Line Campaign Group I have just written to Theresa Villiers, Minister of State for Transport. In my letter I have asked her to clarify a statement that she made last year that no decision has yet been made on the way Wimbledon loop services will operate after the completion of the Thameslink Programme.
The Loop Line through service is a long established service that is used daily by hundreds of Sutton commuters and it would be a huge loss if this service was cut. People from Sutton and elsewhere in South London use the service to get to work in the City and central London, to catch the Eurostar and to join domestic rail services at St. Pancras and Kings Cross, as well as getting to Luton Airport and other destinations on the route. If the route is cut we will also lose our direct connection to the proposed CrossRail station at Farringdon when this is completed – a real slap in the face for Sutton residents who will see hundreds of thousands of pounds siphoned off from planning developments in our area to pay for CrossRail!
Misled by Network Rail

Despite consulting local people on the South London Route Utilisation Strategy in 2008 the final version of Network Rail’s consultation report didn’t explicitly contain proposals to cut our direct route to Luton Airport off at Blackfriars. These came out of the blue in the final report.

Time to act is now

There are mixed messages about the future of the Loop Line coming from Network Rail and the Government. Theresa Villiers MP, Minister of State for Transport has said that no decision has yet been made on the way Wimbledon loop services will operate after the completion of the Thameslink Programme. But Network Rail say that the route will cease after the Thameslink upgrade is completed in 2016, What is really clear is that we need to fight to keep the route now!

But is there an alternative?

Yes there is. It is my understanding that this proposal has been made for operational reasons due to the track re-configuration at Blackfriars, but that it will still be technically possible to run through trains from the Loop Line.

What is the Thameslink Loop Line Campaign Group?

The Thameslink Loop Line Campaign Group is a new lobby group that has formed to represent the interests of passengers using the Sutton / Wimbledon Loop Line of the Thameslink network. The group is made up of passenger groups, Councillors, local MPs and GLA Members as well as senior officers of the London Boroughs on the Loop Line.

The primary aim of the group is to campaign to retain cross-London services on the Loop Line after the completion of the Thameslink Programme. We are extremely worried by the proposals to cut off our Loop Line services at London Blackfriars and London Bridge after 2016.

Useful links:

Sutton Guardian


Fraser said...

I am very annoyed about this as a commuter from tooting / Streatham every day. What can I do to help or campaign?

Anonymous said...

This is a real threat so I would urge you all to look into it and get campaigning now!

Colin Hall said...

Hi Fraser, it would be very useful if you would take it up with your local councillor and make sure that they are aware of the threat to the service.

Councillor Nigel Haselden is the Cabinet Member for Transport and aware of the issue. Councillor Jeremy Clyne, who represents Streatham Hill and Councillor Jane Pickard attend the Campaign Group meetings.

Good luck and thanks. Let me know how you get on.


Anonymous said...

The trouble is that the trains on the loop run from Luton to Luton via Sutton and this is a long journey - about 90 miles - and cross central London twice on the way. This causes punctuality problems and is why Network Rail (understandably) don't like it. The route should be where all trains (4 an hour)run to Epsom via Streatham, Mitcham Junction and Sutton (calling all stations en route). This makes the route shorter, more reliable and more likely to be acceptable to Network Rail. I know some stations will miss out but these, such as Morden South, Wimbledon and Tooting are much closer to an Underground service. While some stations, such as Mitcham Eastfields, Hackbridge, Carshalton and Sutton see an improvement - and these stations are the ones furthest from the Underground and, therefore, rely on the cross LOndon services the most.

Andy Brown - amb442@tiscali.co.uk