End of line for rail service
IPSWICH'S innovative Crosslink rail service to Basingstoke in Hampshire is to be scrapped from September.Anglia Railways introduced Crosslink in May 2000, selling it as a way of reaching Heathrow airport and the south of England without having to travel across the capital itself.
By Paul Geater
IPSWICH'S innovative Crosslink rail service to Basingstoke in Hampshire is to be scrapped from September.
Anglia Railways introduced Crosslink in May 2000, selling it as a way of reaching Heathrow airport and the south of England without having to travel across the capital itself.
However it relied on funding from the Strategic Rail Authority. This ran out in last month and the SRA has decided not to renew the funding.
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"It is not economic to run the service without the financial support from the SRA, they have decided that the service will cease from the end of the summer timetable in September," said Anglia spokesman Peter Meades.
The service leaves the East Anglian main line at Stratford and uses the North London Line to reach Kew in south west London from where trains continue to Basingstoke, where passengers can change for Southampton, Salisbury, and Exeter.
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When it launched, Anglia hoped the service could eventually be extended to provide a full service from Norwich to Southampton.
In its current form, it never attracted enough passengers to be commercially viable and now it is closing.
"The SRA is looking hard at issues of capacity in the London area and wants operators to concentrate on their core area," said Mr Meades.
A spokeswoman for the SRA said the funding had not been renewed because not enough people used the service.
"We carried out a cost-benefit analysis, and the simple fact is not enough people were using the Crosslink service to make it viable," she said.
"It failed to meet the expectations we all had when it was launched."
Crosslink fell victim to major problems on the railways – within months of its launch the Hatfield disaster prompted a winter of speed restrictions which badly affected its long-distance trains.
Passenger numbers on this service, provided by Anglia's Turbostar diesel units, never recovered sufficiently despite a high-profile marketing campaign.