MP Bangs Heads Together Over Boat Race Transport Debacle

MP Justine Greening frustrated by lack of local train service

Following confirmation that there will be no train services at Putney on Boat Race day due to a bridge replacement at Wandsworth Town, local MP Justine Greening has worked with the Chair of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy, to ensure that alternative transport provision is in place for people wanting to watch the University boat races start from Putney and that local businesses don't see trade disrupted.

Over a quarter of a million people regularly attend the annual event but this year there will be no trains at stations serving the local areas along the route such as Putney, Barnes, Barnes Bridge and Chiswick. The race is taking place on Sunday 27 March.

Justine told this web site, “It is hugely frustrating that Boat Race day coincides with a disrupted train service locally, even more so now we have a women's race as well as the men's. I worked regularly with Peter Hendy when he headed up Transport for London and I'm concerned to make sure that we still have a fantastic day in Putney. It is a huge occasion - for residents, businesses and visitors alike - as well as for the millions of people across the world who watch the race on TV and I’m determined that people can still travel to the area and see that Putney is open for business.”

Alternative transport provision will include:
• Rail replacement buses running between Clapham Junction and Barnes, calling at Putney. This service has been doubled for race day and there will be 12 double decker buses operating continuously between Clapham Junction and Barnes, plus additional standby buses at each end.

• South West Trains will be running extra services to and from Barnes, Barnes Bridge, Chiswick, Kew Bridge and Mortlake although these will be travelling via alternative routes so will take longer than usual. Mortlake and Barnes will have direct services but passengers will need to change at Barnes for Barnes Bridge, Chiswick and Kew Bridge.

• London Underground services to East Putney, Putney Bridge, Hammersmith and Ravenscourt Park.

• London Bus services that provide Putney services will be clearly shown.

Ms Greening added, “Sir Peter has also assured me that Transport for London are going to make sure there are clear signs around to help people get to Putney High Street and the boat race from East Putney tube station and Putney Bridge train station. In addition, Network Rail will now be meeting with the Town Centre Manager to talk directly with our local traders. These measures should help to make sure Boat Race day for Putney is a big success and that residents and visitors can have a fantastic day enjoying the world's most famous rowing event.”

Nicola Grant the Town Centre Manager for Putney told this web site, "I was not aware that the trains would not be running on race day. Neither were any of the boat race team as we had our final safety advisory meeting yesterday (Wednesday 2 March)."

Thamesfield councillor Mike Ryder said, "I do appreciate the train companies have to do engineering work at quieter periods, but Putney seems to have borne more than its share of problems when all the delays to completing the mainline station refurbishment are included. And South West Trains never seem to publicise these shutdowns in a big enough or early enough way."

SWT have advised travellers to avoid Clapham Junction over the Easter weekend as trains will not run between Clapham Junction and Barnes for all four days. This is due to the four day project to replace Fairfield Street Bridge near Wandsworth Town station.

SWT web site states, "Clapham Junction Station is expected to be busier than usual and you may wish to avoid the station – particularly on Sunday, the day of the boat race."

A spokesperson for Network Rail said, “We are improving the railway for passengers but to do that we have to make changes to train services over Easter. From new track to new signals, this work will play an important part in increasing the reliability of the railway. As part of this work, we are undertaking major bridge replacement work at Wandsworth Town Station, work which has been planned for over three years. We have been working closely with South West Trains to ensure spectators are aware of alternative travel arrangements so that they can continue to enjoy the boat race. We have been in contact with the organisers of the event to make them aware of alternative travel arrangements.”

Rail replacement bus stops at Clapham Junction:

Clapham Junction- Grant Road Exit - For South West Trains Customers travelling to Barnes
Clapham Junction - St John's Road Exit - For Southern Customers travelling to London Victoria
Wandsworth Town- Swandon Way Stop B
Putney- Upper Richmond Road G
Barnes- Queens Road Ride Stand

March 24, 2016