Thameslink: Local MP Gives ‘Half-Marks’ to Government Decision

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna has said the government deserve half-marks on Thameslink as the government bow to community pressure to keep a through-London service running but rule out running more trains per hour.

Mr Umunna has been campaigning on the need to improve and maintain the Thameslink service since 2008, before he was elected as the MP for the Streatham parliamentary constituency, when he set up the Save Our South West London Thameslink Services campaign to protest against the proposals.

This Summer Mr Umunna appealed ‘to as many members of the community as possible to respond to the government’s consultation’ as part of a final push to secure the future of Thameslink services. The government revealed today that 2,200 people had responded to the consultation to say they were in favour of retaining the through-London service.

Mr Umunna set four key tests for the government to meet on the future of Thameslink services, saying that the status quo was not acceptable. Whilst the government announced good news that the through-London service would be maintained, there will also be disappointment at the government’s announcement that the frequency of Thameslink services running through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon loop will not be increased.

  1. That a through London Service be maintained so that commuters from Streatham, Tulse Hill, and the other stations along the Wimbledon loop do not find that their trains terminate at Blackfriars
  2. That the frequency of Thameslink services running through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon loop is increased to increase capacity.
  3. That longer trains can run through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon loop, to decrease overcrowding.
  4. That new trains are provided for services running through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon Loop.

The government is yet to announce whether new or longer trains will be provided for services running through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon Loop.

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, said:

“This announcement today will be brilliant news for every member of our community and an absolute relief for all those who took part in the massive community campaign to maintain our through-London service. The possibility that our through-London service might be cut was always an absurd proposition so the most I can give the government for this announcement is half-marks but what we really need is newer, longer, more frequent trains.

“The fact that the government ignored all calls for extra trains to run from the station, and they still haven’t come forward as to whether we’ll get the longer, new trains that would help reduce overcrowding, is not satisfactory at all. However, I don’t want to take away from all those who campaigned so hard since we started this in 2008.

“Our community should celebrate this victory of sorts but I won’t stop campaigning for newer, longer, more frequent trains. I hope the government is starting to learn they can’t treat the transport needs of my constituents with the contempt they’ve shown up to now.” 

Click here to read the government announcement.