Messy train land – south side of Merton Hall Road footbridge
The first is that after much lobbying, Network Rail have eventually replied to comments about messy train land made in March:
Sincere apologies that you have not received a suitable response . . . works to clear up [Network Rail land at] Merton Hall Road and Chaseside Avenue at Wimbledon Chase has been scheduled to take place in the next two weeks.
And on Tuesday, we have also received the following press release from Sutton Council:
Saving the Loop Line
Thameslink Loop Line campaigners moved a step closer to saving the vital service when they persuaded the Minister of State to demand a review of the plan to sever the line at Blackfriars. Cllr Jill Whitehead, Chair of Sutton’s Environment and Neighbourhoods Committee, joined MPs, including Tom Brake and Paul Burstow, and councillors from neighbouring boroughs to lobby Simon Burns, Minister of State for Transport, at a House of Commons meeting on Monday (26 Nov).
During the meeting Mr Burns said that he had told the Department for Transport to review the decision to cut the line at Blackfriars and report back to him early in 2013.
Cllr Whitehead said: “We are very pleased that the minister has agreed to reconsider this ridiculous idea that would cause massive inconvenience to so many people.
“We will carry on the campaign to save this service because it is crucial to so many people who live in Sutton. It is a vital link to jobs in the City and provides access to the north of England and Europe via St Pancras.
“Expecting commuters to change trains at Blackfriars will cause absolute chaos, especially at rush hour.”
The current plan would see the service – which links Sutton to Luton and St Albans through central and north London, calling at key stops such as the City, Farringdon and St Pancras – severed at Blackfriars Station from 2018.
But it was explained during the meeting that keeping the Loop Line intact would add only 28 seconds to train times and Mr Burns told the meeting the engineering issues at Blackfriars were not insurmountable.
Separately, Cllr Whitehead also asked about the Southern/Thameslink/Great Northern franchise consultation which has been postponed since the Virgin decision earlier this year.
The minister said that he was in talks to get the franchise arrangements back on track by the end of the year.