Blame game over South London Line

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Thursday, 23 July 2009   South London Press

FEUDING transport bosses are blaming each other for the scrapping of a vital train line.

The Department for Transport (DfT) said the funding of the South London Line (SLL) is “a matter for Transport for London (TfL) to consider and fund”.  Meanwhile, TfL told the South London Press the decision on whether to pay for a replacement line “is one for DfT, not TfL”.

The South London Press is calling on the Government and TfL to reverse plans to axe the SLL – a train service which runs from Victoria to London Bridge through the heartland of our boroughs.

It is due to be chopped in 2012 because it is being squeezed out of London Bridge by an increase in the number of Thameslink trains running through the station.  A planned £24million replacement service, which would have travelled from Victoria to Bellingham through many of the same stations, has also been scrapped to pay for the East London Line (ELL) extension instead.

Residents’ groups, King’s College Hospital in Denmark Hill, MPs and politicians have joined together to demand the authorities listen to the needs of South London.

Eileen Conn, from the Southwark Rail Users’ Group, said: “We have heard this before from the DfT and TfL. They are both part of a Government system and how they find the money is up to them. But there is a flaw in how the transport needs of South London have been assessed and it needs to be reviewed. A total of £24million over 10 years is not a lot of money to be asking for for a vital train service.”