Council accused over train timetable changes

Allegedly failed to notify public of service reductions

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Local councillor, Gary Malcolm, has accused Ealing Council of sitting on key information about a planned reduction in local train services.

He alleges that the Council first received documents relating to planned timetable changes in August 2003 and then failed to inform the public of the plans or attend key meetings with First Great Western trains.

Cllr Malcolm, Lib Dem Transport spokesperson, said: “It was sad that the council would not admit that it received documents in August 2003 from First Great Western regarding the proposals to reduce the service. If the council had taken action then the train service may not have been cut.The council did not contact councillors, affected local residents nor did it attend meetings with First Great Western. Lib Dems say this ‘bury your head in the sand’ approach is not what residents want.”

The proposals will mean a 40% reduction at rush hour for stations such as Hanwell. Acton will see a 30 minute gap between inbound rush hour trains.

Cllr Malcolm urged the Council at a recent Acton Area Committee meeting to back the campaign to stop First Great Western trains from being allowed to halve the number of peak trains stopping at many local stations from December. Local MP Steve Pound has already given his support to opponents of the change.

One local resident commented, "I am a loss to explain why the Council has shown such enthusiasm for the West London Tram yet seems to be prepared to sit idly by when our existing public transport provision is decimated."

There is a continuing fear among local residents that a reduction in services at these stations would result in a fall in passenger numbers which in turn would justify the omission of Acton Mainline and others from the Crossrail route. With BAA known to be keen to have the fastest journey times possible from central London to Heathrow many fear they will be lobbying to have the number of stations between Padding ton and the airport kept to a minimum.

October 18, 2004