Farcical scenes for Brighton commuters as Southern Rail scrap all-off peak trains to London Victoria

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Just when you thought it couldn’t any worse and somebody was possibly playing a cruel joke Southern Rail announced plans yesterday to scrap all direct off-peak trains from Brighton to London Victoria until ‘at least 2022’, in a move that has been described as ‘a setback for commuters’. “Set back” being the diplomatic word here .While going to copy on this I could  easily find more expletives to describe what is going on with Southern Rail which only be described as farcical.
From May 17th, passengers travelling outside peak times will be forced to use the more
expensive Gatwick Express service or change at Haywards Heath.
GTR, which operates Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services, has claimed that
the changes are necessary while a £150 million upgrade of the station at Gatwick Airport
takes place.
However, the announcement has been met with outrage from off-peak commuters, those
likely to be most affected by the changes, who face the prospect of paying approximately
one third more for a direct train to London or adding time to their journey by changing.
Brighton Kemptown MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle has been particularly vocal in his criticism of
the proposed changes, describing them on Twitter as ‘a back-door way of increasing ticket
prices’.
The Labour MP pointed out that the changes will ‘directly hurt disabled people in Brighton’,
who will face the stress and difficulty of having to rush to make a connection at a busy
station.
He also posted a letter from GTR outlining the changes, in which the company claims it has
‘no option’ but to adapt its timetable while the work at Gatwick takes place. During this time,
GTR say, ‘a 30mph speed restriction will be in place and platforms will be unavailable’
meaning that ‘the railway running through Gatwick Airport can accommodate fewer trains per
hour’.
In an attempt to mitigate the impact of fewer trains, GTR claim that Gatwick Express and
Thameslink trains running between Brighton and London ‘will be longer wherever possible’.
They also say that the new timetable ‘has been designed to deliver a punctual service’ so
that passengers who still wish to travel at Southern off-peak prices can rely on connections
at Haywards Heath, but could not confirm whether the direct service from Brighton would
ever return.
GTR has also made clear that services to London Victoria from Littlehampton via Hove and
Hastings via Lewes will not be affected.

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