Ahead of a major overhaul of the network
The future of the 'Wimbledon Loop' on the Thameslink rail has been safeguarded ahead of a major overhaul of the network, Rail Minister Simon Burns announced.
Passengers travelling to central London on the Wimbledon Loop had faced the prospect of having to change trains at Blackfriars Station from 2018 under proposals put forward under the Thameslink Programme.
However, after a cross-party campaign from local politicians, as well as rail users, and following an official consultation, the Government announced on Monday (January 21) that the route will continue to operate as part of Thameslink's core services.
Mr Burns said: "The Wimbledon Loop provides a vital service for thousands of Londoners every day, and we have worked hard to safeguard its future after listening to the concerns of local people and stakeholders.
"The Thameslink Programme is having a huge impact on improving rail services across London and beyond, but the department was always concerned that the initial proposals for this route were not quite right.
"I am therefore extremely pleased that Network Rail have relooked at the plans and am confident this decision will provide benefits to rail users for years to come."
Richard Tracey, London Assembly Member for Wandsworth, said: "This is such good news for our residents who live around the Loop.... I pay tribute to Wimbledon MP 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 local residents."
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 (peak only) from Maidstone East via Bromley South.