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West Sussex County Times Article
In 1900, three express trains an hour linked Liverpool and Manchester, taking just 40 minutes. A century later, it takes seven minutes longer. It took 35 minutes to travel from Portsmouth to Southampton in 1898, compared with 46 minutes today.
In the 1930s, steam expresses regularly averaged more than 80mph. Yet as a West Chiltington resident, Bob Lewis, has pointed out to me, the scheduled average time from Pulborough to London Bridge is now 80 minutes, which represents an average speed of just 37.5 mph.
As Mr Lewis says, "This clearly is not a train service for the 21st century .... We are being forced to use our cars which cannot be the right way to go in this day and age."
Last year there were timetable changes which meant delays when trains divide or are coupled at Horsham. I appreciate that other commuters, from places like Barnham, Littlehampton and Chichester, have benefited with faster trains.
But I do not believe that it is acceptable to discriminate against people who live in the rural villages of the Arun valley and pare back on their service simply because they are in the minority.
Now a new timetable change has massively inconvenienced many commuters by removing some trains to London Bridge altogether.
People commuting from stations like Pulborough are losing around three hours of their day in travel time. They have just been walloped with a fare increase of 6 per cent and are now paying well over £3,000 a year for their season tickets.
Other fares for tickets like cheap day returns have increased by even more, up to 11 per cent. I think the public is entitled to a decent service in return.
Mr Lewis has noted that the train service is now far slower than when he first started using it 30 years ago, when trains ran up the Dorking line rather than via Gatwick. Is this what they call progress?
9 January 2009
"I pledge to work hard for everyone in the constituency, to stand up for local people, and to be a strong voice at Westminster for your concerns"