British Rail trims spring timetable
BR is heading for a loss well above last year's figure of pounds 145m and these cuts in service, largely in response to falling demand from commuters, are unlikely to save more than a few million pounds, leaving it still deeply in the red.
Although some services will be reduced, the bulk of Network SouthEast's 4,000 trains a day and InterCity's 780 trains a day will be left unchanged. The cuts, detailed in a letter from Sir Bob Reid, the BR chairman, to Brian Wilson Labour's transport spokesman, include, on InterCity, the withdrawal of the 7.20am Peterborough to London and the return; one less commuter train between Derby and St Pancras in each direction; the merger of the 7am train to Cardiff with the 6.45am to Bristol; the withdrawal of the train in the middle of the day between London and Hull and its return.
On the Gatwick Express, the 4.45am and 5.15am and the returns, and the 8.15pm and 8.45pm and returns will be withdrawn.
However, there will be extra InterCity services from Paddington to Bristol and Swansea.
On Network SouthEast, cuts include: 14 fewer trains a day in each direction on the south central line between London and the Sussex Coast; peak hour reductions on the Hastings, Sheerness and Medway Valley line; the withdrawal of two main line trains from London to Ashford and back; withdrawal of the Watford Junction to Croxley Green service; reductions in early morning services on the London, Tilbury and Southend line and the loss of one off-peak train; while Kent Link services will run hourly on Sundays.
Network SouthEast said: 'The number of commuters arriving in London in the morning dropped from 425,689 in autumn 1991 to 397,354 last autumn, a fall of 6.6 per cent. It is inevitable we cut back some trains. But most of our services will remain the same and have the same frequency.' Mr Wilson said: 'The slim-down for privatisation is just beginning.'
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