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South Downs Society lobbies for better weekend rail services

Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates the Southern Rail franchise amongst others, is consulting on possible changes to its weekend timetable for 2018. The Society responded to GTR’s earlier consultation on weekday services and has now pressed for more frequent weekend stopping services at Amberley and Southease, two stations in the national park, close to the South Downs Way. At both stations many trains pass through without stopping: with little impact on the overall service it would seem reasonably straightforward  for all trains to stop, encouraging greater use by residents, walkers and other visitors to the national park. Our response appears below:

These are the comments of the South Downs Society, the national park society for the South Downs National Park. The Society has nearly 2,000 members and its focus is the conservation of the special qualities of the national park and its quiet enjoyment. Satisfactory rail access, during the week and at weekends, plays a vital role in enabling local people and visitors to enjoy the national park by means other than the private car. This provision is a key element in this Society’s programme of walks aimed at encouraging enjoyment of the park by more environmentally sustainable means. Other groups, and many individuals– some with, some without access to a car — also rely on rail access, and weekends are a very important part of the week in this respect.

We will focus our comments on the timetables for Southease and Amberley stations, both of which provide ready access to the South Downs Way national trail and other local recreation facilities including the Southease youth hostel and the Amberley Museum. 
The service on this line on both Saturday and Sunday is half hourly but only alternate trains stop at Southease, providing an hourly service.  If all trains stopped at Southease, providing a half hourly service, this would surely create no significant issues for the overall service but be a boon for walkers.
The same remarks apply to the Saturday service at Amberley. If all trains on this line stopped at Amberley there would be a half hourly service, of much benefit to local residents, walkers and other visitors.
We trust you will afford suitable weight to these comments.
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