Southern Railway’s decision to axe train services between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction with just a few days’ notice has been criticised by Elected Mayor of Watford Baroness Dorothy Thornhill.
In a letter to the troubled train company, which has been beset with delays and cancellations, she said she and many Watford residents are ‘dismayed’ at the news.
Baroness Thornhill said: “On behalf of thousands of commuters who rely on this service I am asking you to think again and reinstate the Milton Keynes to Clapham Junction service with immediate effect. While I appreciate the difficulties your company is facing, inconveniencing passengers further with a drastic 100% cut to their service seems wholly disproportionate.”
Southern Railway announced on Tuesday that under its new temporary timetable the service between Milton Keynes and Clapham Junction, which includes stops at Watford Junction and Harrow and Wealdstone, will be removed.
Baroness Thornhill said that Watford residents use the service to get to south and West London, and Gatwick Airport – a vital route for business travellers and holidaymakers. She said: “The service also reduces pressure on Euston at a time when escalator works have already reduced the station’s ability to handle a larger volume of passengers. It is therefore an issue of major concern to me and residents of Watford that this service has been axed entirely with little warning and little explanation as to why passengers on this line must now find an alternative means of getting to work.”
The removal of the Southern service will only increase pressure on London Midland’s services, which are already full at peak times, Baroness Thornhill said. The cuts also reduce the number of trains per hour serving Hemel Hempstead and Milton Keynes – two other popular destinations for Watford commuters, she added.