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August 23 2016.

Local residents are calling on Chris Grayling MP to take action as there are still only a handful of Seaford-Brighton train services running despite the fact that Southern Rail’s “emergency timetable” was supposed to end on the 7th of August.

Protest organisers will deliver the nearly 2,000-strong petition to the Department for Transport today in the hope that the Government will start standing up for their interests.

The Government allowed Southern Rail to bring in an “emergency timetable” cutting 81% of services for a planned 4-6 weeks from the 11th of July due to its inability to manage industrial relations. Around 2,000 people lined the streets of Seaford to protest against this timetable, but there has been no announcement about the reinstatement of the previous half-hourly train service.

The service cuts are having a devastating impact on the local economy, tourism and road traffic. Football fans can’t get to Brighton & Hove Albion and walkers can’t get to the iconic Seven Sisters. Things are set to get worse with people returning from summer holidays in the next few weeks. Those commuting to work and college in Lewes/Brighton/London will all be affected, as will many staff at the Brighton universities.

Protest organiser, commuter and mum Fiona Lewis, 37, said:|“We want to send a clear message that Chris Grayling and the Department for Transport can’t keep passing the buck to Southern Rail or blaming the RMT. This situation is affecting the lives and livelihoods of thousands of people and suffocating our local economies. People move here because of the great rail links to Brighton, Lewes and London. We can’t choose to use a different train service. We are stuck with the expensive, inadequate and sometimes non-existent services that Southern Rail deigns to provide. The Department for Transport either needs to make things work with Govia or bring in a new train operating company and ensure that this can never happen again.”

Protest organiser and student relying on the rail services, George Taylor, 16, said: “This can’t go on. My education is on the line. My fellow students can pass any subject if we can’t get to college. As a young person not being able to get the train limits my independence and makes every day of my life difficult. When is the Government going to listen and take action?”

Sign the petition HERE.