Thameslink VICTORY

Thameslink photoGreat news – it’s just been announced today that the battle to save the Thameslink service through London has been successful.

This follows the huge campaign against Network Rail’s plans to cut the direct link between south London, the City and central London, commonly known as the ‘Wimbledon loop’, after the Thameslink upgrade is completed in 2016.

Thousands of residents signed petitions and submitted comments to the consultation and in particular there was a key visit by a delegation including councillors and MPs from Merton and Sutton to see the Rail Minister – you may have read about our local campaign in the Wimbledon Guardian

This press release  went up today on the Department for Transport website.

Lib Dem councillor Mary-Jane Jeanes said:

This is absolutely fantastic news – we’re really pleased to have helped people get their views across through our petition and campaigning, and that ministers have listened.

During the campaign, so many people told us they’d bought homes and put down roots in local communities based on the train services along the Wimbledon Loop.

The proposals would have caused hardship and delay for passengers especially with considerable overcrowding at Blackfriars station if passengers had to change trains.

Thanks to everyone for their help and support.


Messy Train Land Blogger’s Review of 2012

2012 was a busy year for us hear at the Messy Train Land blog, we had some success and some setbacks – but we made a difference. Here are the highlights:

With the Mayoral elections fast approaching, January 2012 kicked off with a 5-point plan to make public transport more affordable. The plan included proposals for ‘One Hour Bus Tickets’ allowing passengers to “hop on and off as many times as necessary within an hour”, early bird rates, part time Travelcards and the reinstatement of the Zone 2-6 Travelcard. Travelling to work is a big expense for people.

Sadly Boris was re-elected, and so we’ve been lumbered with inflation-busting fair rises again this year. Read the rest of this entry

Bookswap at Wimbledon Station has a new Facebook page.

Books at Wimbledon station bookswap Jan 2013You can like it at

Founded in 2009, leave your old books in the waiting room on platforms 5 / 6 at Wimbledon Station – and take any books that you fancy for free.

Two bits of good news

Messy train land - south side of Merton Hall Road footbridge

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). Read the rest of this entry

Blue badge holders at Wimbledon Station

An alert from tells me that there’s now a new and prominent sign taxi drivers to keep the right-hand lane of the slip road clear, so that blue badge holders can access the disabled parking bays.

You may remember the problems with accessing these parking bays because of taxis stopped in the taxi rank.

The wider issue of assistance given to disabled passengers was recently highlighted by Lib Dem London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon, in the context of support at Heathrow Airport. She said:

Heathrow airport is the gateway for people coming to London, if not the UK. If disabled people are facing a poor service travelling through this airport it can send out a terrible message about the status of disabled people in London and throughout the country. In the year that London hosted the most successful Paralympic Games ever to be held we should be moving forward in the delivery of accessible transport, from the tube to international air travel.


Clearing up Raynes Park station

According to the notes from the September Raynes Park community fourm,

[Network Rail] has agreed to clear more than 200 tonnes of material from the embankment in October. They will also be painting the railings. There will be a programme to lengthen the platforms in 2013 starting with platforms 1 and 4 in January lasting 4 weeks and then 2 and 3 in July.

Which is good news. However, despite promising some form of response to our complaints raised in March about the state of other bits of Network Rail-owned land in Merton, there still hasn’t been any sort of reply.

London Mayor on changes to ‘Wimbledon Loop’ trains

I oppose all Wimbledon Loop services terminating at Blackfriars without adequate mitigation being provided for passengers wishing to travel beyond Blackfriars. Network Rail must ensure that whatever solution they adopt does not compromise the capacity and reliability of the railway once the Thameslink project is complete.

Mayor’s Question Time written answers, 17.10.2012, p 18.

Future of London’s transport

London Assembly Member Caroline Pidgeon came to Morden to discuss the future of London’s transport, as part of Crossway resident Nazir Malik’s Talking Politics series.

You can see more here.


Hundreds back petition against plans to terminate Thameslink trains at Blackfriars

The Wimbledon Guardian reports that hundreds of people have backed a petition against plans to terminate South London’s Thameslink trains at Blackfriars Station.

The Department for Transport is consulting on the new seven year Thameslink franchise, and Network Rail has recommended that trains serving Merton on the ‘Wimbledon Loop’ should terminate early. This would mean the borough will have to direct link to the City, St Pancras International and Luton Airport.

Liberal Democrats from across South London have been campaigning on this issue since last year, and submitted a petition to ministers on Thursday.

Nine Merton stations would be affected by these proposals to downgrade the service, St Helier, Morden South, South Merton, Wimbledon Chase, Wimbledon, Haydons Road, Tooting, Mitcham Junction and Mitcham Eastfields. You can sign the online petition against the proposals here.

“Leave a Paralympics Legacy Too” [updated]

Letter published in the Evening Standard:

Transport for London are right to be concerned about some of the congestion challenges that the capital will face during the Paralympic Games, especially following the brilliant news that ticket sales have been so high. (‘Transport warning as Paralympics clash with start of new school term’ 21 August 2012).

However, there is actually an even more important transport issue that faces the Mayor and Transport for London.

If we are proud to host the Paralympics we must ensure that permanent improvements to access to transport are secured for disabled people. One small step would be ensuring that this Summer’s initiative of  providing ‘temporary’ ramps at 16 Tube stops becomes permanent.  It would be shameful if these ramps were removed as soon as the Paralympics are ended.

Caroline Pidgeon AM
Leader of the Liberal Democrat London Assembly Group

Update: on 31 August, it was announced that TfL will try to keep and even expand a network of accessible ramps for disabled passengers.