Campaigners celebrate major victory for Sutton's commuters as Wimbledon Thameslink loop saved
Campaigners are celebrating after the government promised to safeguard the future of the Wimbledon Loop.
Passengers travelling to central London on the Wimbledon Loop faced the prospect of having to change trains at Blackfriars station from 2018 under proposals put forward under the Thameslink Programme.
However, after consultation with stakeholders and local rail users, the Department for Transport has worked closely with Network Rail to make sure the route continues to operate as part of Thameslink’s core services.
This is good news for Sutton's MPs Tom Brake and Paul Burstow who along with Councillor Jill Whitehead met with rail minister Simon Burns at the end of last year to highlight local opposition to the plans.
Carshalton and Wallington MP, Tom Brake, said: “Clearly that’s fantastic news. We have been campaigning really hard on the issue for the last couple of years.
“Many hundreds of people expressed their support for maintaining the service and I’m really pleased the government has listened to their concerns.
“Commuters will be able to maintain the good links they have to international services and North London.
“I think it is a major victory for commuters.”
Steve O'Connell, London Assembly Member for Croydon and Sutton, said:
"This is such good news for our residents who live around the Loop in Wimbledon and Sutton.
"I pay tribute to Stephen Hammond for his constant campaign towards this result. I am glad that we have been able jointly with councillors to persuade the Rail Minister to tell Network Rail to continue the through trains to St Pancras, the City, and Luton Airport.
"Moreover when Crossrail is completed in 2018, it will connect with Thameslink at Farringdon. This plan would have severed that connection for Sutton residents."
Sutton and Cheam MP, Paul Burstow, said the next step is to keep the pressure up and to make sure we take advantage of the opportunity of more frequent services.
Councillor Jill Whitehead, chairwoman of Sutton Council’s environment and neighbourhoods committee, welcomed the decision and said: “Good rail services are vital for the economic prosperity of the area. Residents rely on the train to get to work and employers insist on good transport links when deciding where to locate.”
Currently, four trains run every hour from Wimbledon Loop stations serving Merton, Morden, Sutton, Carshalton, Mitcham, Streatham and Tulse Hill, through to St Pancras International and beyond.
Under the new proposals eight Thameslink trains will run per hour via Elephant and Castle, including the four Wimbledon Loop trains, two from Sevenoaks via Bromley South and Catford, and two from Maidstone East via Bromley South.