Spelthorne Liberal Democrats has read with deep concern the hastily contrived cuts to train services on the main line through Staines and Ashford and the even more drastic reductions on the Shepperton branch, all taking effect from Monday 17 January 2022. This coincides with significant increases in train fares introduced earlier this month. Long suffering commuters and travellers are in effect suffering a double blow of yet again paying more for a worse service.
The main line from Reading has always been heavily used and rush hour trains are often crowded. However the even more drastic reduction on the Shepperton Branch is totally unacceptable. The halving of the service to one train an hour, apart from a condensed period in rush hour and withdrawal of all peak hour trains via Richmond, makes travelling on this line difficult and distinctly unattractive even more so than before.
As we come out of the Omicron peak with Plan B restrictions to be reviewed shortly, the timing of this rushed and unjustified decision needs an urgent rethink. We will be taking significant steps to return to a fair degree of normality very soon, with people steadily returning to the office and leisure travel also increasing. The expectation is that passenger numbers will steadily increase again.
We call upon SWR to look again at what they are doing, particularly on the Shepperton Branch to restore the justified half hourly service on this line at the earliest opportunity.