Campaign to save village train services

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A campaign has been launched to save a village train service amid plans for cuts by rail operators.

Residents in Amberley have formed an action group in a bid to get a half-hourly service introduced at peak times and to safeguard the Amberley Station’s hourly off-peak service.

Meanwhile local residents have been urged to send protests to Govia Thameslink Railway which is consulting the public on the changes - part of a new Southern Railway timetable planned to be introduced next year.

They are seeking the backing of Arundel and South Downs MP Nick Herbert, along with West Sussex County Council and parish councils.

In a public appeal, the action group says: “Amberley Station is used regularly by residents of Amberley parish as well as neighbouring Houghton, Bury, Madehurst and parts of Storrington. It is used by tourists wishing to access the South Downs National Park, use local pubs and cafes, and visit the Amberley Museum.

“It is the only train station that is directly on the South Downs Way, making it a natural gateway for walkers.

“A frequent train service during peak times helps to attract working age residents to the area. Likewise, a regular train service during off-peak times increases tourism and benefits local businesses and attractions.

“Reduction in service to every two hours is still a real risk until the timetable is finalised. In general, a regular and reliable train service increases the accessibility of the area and has a knock on impact on the attractiveness of investment.

“This is the biggest overhaul in decades and timetable changes could likely be in place for up to 10 years. Eroding services to Amberley sets a dangerous precedent, particularly as attempts to close Amberley station have happened in the past.

“As members of the community, we need to protect our village station.”

Villagers are being asked to make their views known to rail operators by emailing gtr.timetableconsultation@gtrailway.com by July 27.