ROTHER District Council is backing a campaign to save a vital train service relied upon by thousands of commuters.
Southeastern has announced plans to divert the 0639 Ore to Cannon Street service to Charing Cross, blaming rebuilding works at London Bridge which are due to run from 2015 to 2018.
As well as the diversion, the service will not call at London Bridge.
The train company is currently consulting on its draft timetable for January 2015 to August 2016, which includes the change to the 0639 service.
But Rother chairman Cllr Ian Jenkins is concerned the ‘temporary’ diversion could lead to a permanent change and has backed a campaign by Hastings Borough Council to protect the service.
Cllr Jenkins said: “The direct service to Cannon Street is vitally important to people living in our district and we need to step up our campaign to safeguard it.
“The 0639 is the busiest Cannon Street train of the day, which takes commuters into the centre of London. Our concern is that Southeastern will use the temporary diversion to make a permanent change to the route – causing longer journeys and inconvenience for our commuters.
“Commuters are already being asked to pay more to travel by train, but are not being offered the service they need. Those residents travelling into the city to work will face an additional cost to travel from Charing Cross to their place of work - something that has not been taken into account in the cost of their season tickets.”
Cllr Jenkins added: “Transport is the heart of what we are doing to improve the infrastructure in the district. Without appropriate transport links, residents living in the area may be forced to move elsewhere – this could be a disaster for our local economy, which we are all doing our best to boost.”
Commuters have until February 7 to comment on the consultation at www.southeasternrailway.co.uk. A final decision on the revised timetable will be made by the Department of Transport.