A SHAKE UP of rail services in Hampshire has been described as a “nightmare” by commuters from two rural villages near Winchester, writes Gareth Newnham.

South Western Railway are currently running a consultation on the timetables at stations across Hampshire including those in the villages of Shawford and Micheldever.

New plans could see morning services from Shawford reduced from eight London-bound trains to six, while services from the capital back to Micheldever in the evening would stop more frequently along the route making an already lengthy daily commute, even longer.

Micheldever resident Ylva De Sousa said that her husband was already so disappointed in the service that he was considering driving to London.

“It’s putting his job in jeopardy. We moved to Micheldever Station so that he could walk to the station and have an easier commute but the service has been awful. It sounds like its going to get even worse.”

Winchester MP Steve Brine, a regular rail traveller, said: “Some of the proposals bring increased rush-hour services, including to Winchester itself and they’re welcome but others trouble me particularly where they impact on smaller rural stations.

“Passenger data for-instance, shows that Shawford is one of the stations on the South Western franchise that has increasing numbers using it so I think more work needs to be done by SWR before they make a move which could push people away.

“Micheldever is a valuable part of the local transport infrastructure and we need to be very careful about displacing its’ part in that or the impact will be felt adversely in Winchester and Basingstoke which is simply robbing Peter to pay Paul.

“The parking situation at both smaller stations, especially Micheldever, is still unresolved and my fear is we are seeing some fallout here from the knee-jerk reaction earlier this year to dump new parking regulations in the village that were right in themselves but should have been part of a more strategic plan.”

South Western Railway’s timetable consultation closes on Friday, December 22.

To take part visit www.southwesternrailway.com