Page last updated at 13:08 GMT, Tuesday, 22 September 2009 14:08 UK

Rail changes 'neglect' commuters

Commuters at London Bridge station
From May trains will stop at Forest Hill station rather than London Bridge

Rail passengers in south-east London have said they feel "totally neglected" by plans to reduce a commuter service.

From December trains from Forest Hill station will no longer stop at Charing Cross and in May they will be cut from six trains per hour to four per hour.

Commuters said the service will become "even more hellish" and the Forest Hill Society wants the plan to be scrapped.

Rail operator Southern said the changes were necessary to enable other rail operators to use those routes.

Southern confirmed trains from Forest Hill will stop at London Bridge rather than Charing Cross, and it plans to reduce the number of daytime and peak rush hour services from Forest Hill by a third.

I am used to having my face in someone's armpit. This is going to make things even worse
Elizabeth Brown

Passenger Elizabeth Brown said this would make it difficult for many commuters to travel to and from work.

She said: "Even as it is I'm often not able to get on two trains because they are too full. When we get on the train we are like cattle - I am used to having my face in someone's armpit. This is going to make things even worse."

She added: "South London is totally neglected for transport links and this is just another example of it."

Passenger Michael Abrahams, 35, who lives in Forest Hill, said: "Everybody is very disappointed - we were promised they would not cut any more services."

He added: "These services are already very crowded - and they are going to become even more hellish."

A spokesman for Southern said it reduced services through London Bridge in order to make timetables by other rail operators "viable and workable".

He added: "If the train paths were available we would want to continue our service to Charing Cross but it is a case of simply not enough pathways available to us given the new high-speed service from Kent which will start in December."

Southern added that passengers would be able to get another rail service to Charing Cross from London Bridge after its changes took place.

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