Cooksbridge should have an hourly train service, and the planned 2015 changes to the timetable give the opportunity to achieve this.
That was the message Lewes MP Norman Baker gave Southern’s head of timetable Planning, Paul Hutchinson, and Yvonne Leslie, the company’s stakeholder relations manager, at a meeting in his office on Wednesday.
The meeting was also attended by the Lib Dem county councillor Rosalyn St Pierre (Ringmer and Lewes Bridge), and representatives from Hamsey Parish Council, Ian Ginn and Kevin Froude.
The parish council representatives pointed out that Cooksbridge has a worse level of service than any other Southern station anywhere, with the exception of Pevensey Bay.
After a long campaign Norman has been successful in reducing journey times on one of the two hourly trains between Lewes and London by five minutes, and believes that the opportunity now exists to add an hourly stop for Cooksbridge throughout the day.
Southern confirmed that improvements to signalling and other timetable rationalisation will themselves speed up journeys and eliminate many of the delays experienced at Keymer Junction, where the line from Lewes joins the main Brighton line.
This means, according to Norman, that an extra stop could be incorporated into the timetable without lengthening the time of the slower train each hour.
Norman explains: “I have long argued that we need both a faster train once an hour between Lewes and London, and a service that gives Cooksbridge and Plumpton the services they deserve.
“After much campaigning, Plumpton now has an hourly service, and I want to see the same for Cooksbridge.
“Now we have the new franchise awarded, the focus moves from the Department for Transport to the rail company.
“If we are to make progress, it will be via Southern, which is why I arranged for their head of timetabling to meet me and the parish council.”