Worthing and Shoreham could be served by Thameslink rail services from 2018 under major changes being proposed.
Currently the coastal railway stations are only served by Southern trains run by Govia Thameslink Railway, which has launched a consultation on the ‘biggest timetable shake-up proposed in a generation’.
The rail operator also runs Thameslink services and these are set to run between Littlehampton and London from 2018 calling at Worthing and Hove if the changes are agreed, continuing through the capital to St Albans, Luton, and Bedford.
It will be a new direct peak service from Monday to Friday.
Phil Hutchinson, who is leading the timetable development and consultation for GTR, said: “We are proposing a complete redesign of the timetable by looking at which journeys are most important to passengers.
“We are creating more capacity and new cross London routes with connections to Crossrail and more punctual and reliable services.
“Operationally, each route would be self-contained so that if a problem occurs it does not affect other routes.
“We want passengers and stakeholders to help us shape their future train service so we are consulting, we think, earlier than any train operator has before.
“This is a real opportunity for passengers and stakeholders get involved in an open, honest and transparent conversation about what the train service should be in the future.”
“This is about creating better connections and more capacity. It’s a once-in- a-generation opportunity to restructure the timetable to give passengers more trains and the much better reliability we all want. Ultimately this will put the Thameslink route at the heart of the UK rail network.”
GTR has been mired in a bitter dispute with the RMT union for months over plans to change the role of conductors to on-board supervisors on Southern services.
Under the proposals drivers would open and close train doors instead of conductors.
The union has already called five strikes and during the dispute passengers have had to face constant disruption due to staff shortages.
Mick Cash, RMT general secretary said: “Passengers don’t want to be consulted on how services may improve in almost two years’ time. They want action now to end the daily chaos to their journeys.
“This can only raise suspicions that the Southern spin machine is at full tilt to obscure the reality of cancelled trains services and their plans to get rid of guards in their bid to put profit before safety.”
The consultation runs until December 8.
To comment visit www.southernrailway.com/2018consultation
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