CHIPPENHAM MP Michelle Donelan called on the Department for Transport and the South Western Railway to reverse planned cuts to direct rail services from Bradford on Avon to London Waterloo.
In a hard-hitting note to SWR CEO Claire Mann, she urged her to reconsider the “appalling decision” to cut direct services scheduled for December.
She also lobbied Transport Secretary Grant Shapps to demand that this “disastrous decision” be reconsidered and that the much appreciated and important road be restored.
The MP said: “I was very upset to learn that the South Western Railway had decided to cancel the popular direct train from Bradford on Avon to Waterloo.
“This proposed change will have a direct impact on my constituents who rely on this service for both leisure and business purposes.
“I strongly urge the Managing Director of South Western Railway to reverse this appalling decision and restore this vital route between the South West and London.
“I am pressuring the Secretary of State for Transport to work closely with South Western Rail to reverse this cancellation proposal. ”
Graham Ellis, West Wiltshire Rail User Group board member, Melksham RUG vice chairman and TravelWatch South West board member, has previously urged local MPs to support the fight to save the service.
The Transport Department accepted SWR’s proposals to cut direct trains from Bristol, Keynsham, Bath, Bradford-on-Avon and Trowbridge to London Waterloo via Salisbury in December.
If direct service is discontinued, rail commuters will be forced to travel to Bath or Salisbury on their way to London for work or leisure.
Miss Donelan said: “This is totally impractical as the wait for change in Salisbury is usually one hour.
“Additionally, service to Bath / Salisbury only goes to Paddington – which does not have the same number of transport links as trains to Waterloo currently.” This will dramatically increase the price and travel time for voters at a time when they can least afford it. ”
Mr Ellis held a meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday October 20 at Bethesda Baptist Church in Gloucester Road, Trowbridge.
So far, more than 1,780 people have signed his petition to save the service to London Waterloo. To sign the petition, go to https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/598397/signatures/new