Corfe Castle Parish Council Object To New Timetable
This is the response of Corfe Castle Parish Council to the proposed new timetable by South Western Railways for the South Western mainline from Dec 2018. It is being copied to other Councils in the Purbeck area as the loss of 50% of the direct services to London from Wareham has significant implications for the peninsula. The objection is to the loss of the second off peak direct service to London, which is being replaced, by a stopping service to Portsmouth. London is the main destination for passengers travelling beyond Southampton not Portsmouth.
It is noted that you have already received a considerable number of objections on this issue and further revisions are under consideration. There needs to be further consultation on any revisions with adequate time for consideration.
Firstly we of course welcome the proposed reduction in travelling time in the one hourly direct service remaining. However this gain is far outweighed by the loss of the second service, which will add to door-to-door times. When frequencies are reduced the passenger has to allow extra time to ensure traffic delays (in London or here) do not mean the hourly train is missed. For the considerable number of people who travel to London for business meetings or arranged events more time will be wasted by the lower frequency. Overall it makes travelling to London by train a less attractive option
Secondly it will have implications for those travelling to Purbeck on business or leisure. Corfe Castle and its village already have over 300,000 visitors a year. Purbeck is a growing tourist area and some passengers already make day trips from London. Reduced frequencies make this less likely or passengers will make the decision to use cars.
Thirdly it must have implications for the Swanage Railway link via Corfe Castle. The link has been created with over £5 million of public money and the viability of the service depends on maximising the potential market including serving passengers from beyond Southampton towards and including London. A once an hour service is almost certain to mean large waits at Wareham either for the up or down London train or both. Swanage Railway has to decide whether and at what frequency the link is operated in 2019 and your proposed change is a negative factor in this decision.
Fourthly the loss of the second direct service means the loss of the direct link to Basingstoke (for transfers elsewhere on the network including Reading etc) and Clapham Junction (useful for Gatwick Airport or transfers to the rest of the network).
Lastly we note the lack of any early train to London on Sundays. This affects passengers with events in London or seeking to transfer to Eurostar/other trains.
We would of course welcome any changes which speed up the service provided those affected have a good alternative. However the status quo is preferable to the proposed changes.
We would wish to be involved in any further consultation.