Queenstown Road Platform and SWR train

South west London residents combat SWR proposed service cuts

South west London residents have banded together to combat proposed cuts to South Western Railway (SWR) services across the area. 

SWR released a consultation document on their December 2022 timetable which is open for responses from the public until Sunday. 

Reduced services made in this document have caused rail passengers of Earlsfield, Queenstown Road and Wandsworth Town to object. 

Wandsworth Councillor Adrian Flook said: “To me and many others, it looks as if they are looking after themselves rather than looking after the paying passengers who want to use their services.”

In this area, the most opposed changes are during off-peak hours. Queenstown Road station will go from eight to four trains every hour, Wandsworth Town from eight to six services per hour, and Earlsfield reduced from 16 to 12.

Part of SWR’s rationale behind slashing Queenstown Road’s services was the opening of two new tube stops in Battersea on Monday. 

Flook claimed significant cuts in off-peak hours are misguided since in-office hours have become more flexible and people will travel outside of rush hour more. 

He said: “If they’re using 2019 statistics to prove points about 2022, they are surely misguided.”

He added that more people would be moving to the Earlsfield and Wandsworth area as a number of redevelopments are being constructed, notably the Springfield Hospital Site in Tooting. 

Dr Rosena Allin-Khan, Tooting MP, tweeted about her concern with the cuts.

Earlsfield Councillor Angela Graham contacted voluntary community campaigner and previous resident of Earlsfield, Tom Mytton, to help spread the word to Earlsfield travellers. 

Mytton said that his agenda was to inform people of the cuts and their chance to push for a decision change. 

He said: “I’m hoping we get as many people locally as possible engaged with the consultation so that their view can be gauged.”

Flook was concerned by how few people knew about the cuts and explained that people were shocked when they found out. 

Flook said: “They’re somewhere between surprised, dismayed, and gobsmacked.” 

While Mytton is hopeful that the people’s voice will impact the SWR decision, Flook thought the consultation period was just a form of notification. 

An SWR spokesman said: “The timetable we are proposing from December 2022 will represent a significant increase on our current service levels and provide 93% of our pre-COVID capacity. With customer journeys forecast to return to 76% of pre-pandemic levels, it is appropriate that we right-size our services to match demand, improve reliability for our customers and reduce costs for the taxpayer.”

Currently, SWR services are running at 86%.

SWR is introducing a fleet of Arterios, trains that don’t have dividers between carriages, to accommodate more people per train.  

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