A PUBLIC transport watchdog is alarmed at cuts to Chiltern Railways services that leaves some quieter stations with just one train an hour.
London TravelWatch is to raise its concerns with the Department for Transport and the train operator that the new summer timetable, which came into effect on Sunday, reduces from every 30 minutes to every 60 minutes the frequency of services calling at Northolt Park and Sudbury Hill Harrow.
Sharon Grant, chairwoman of London TravelWatch, said: "While we recognise that Chilterns new timetable aims to improve reliability it does so at the expense of those passengers who rely on the half hourly stopping service [from London Marylebone] to High Wycombe.
"One overcrowded train an hour is really not acceptable. We have been campaigning for improvements on this route so the introduction of the new timetable is very bad news."
Neighbouring stations Wembley Stadium will retain a twice-an-hour service although, according to a London TravelWatch spokesman, "Sudbury and Harrow Road previously had an hourly service and commuters from this station could at times face more than an hourly wait".
Campaigning commuter Graham Larkbey, a regular user of Sudbury Hill Harrow station, said: "While Chiltern's Evergreen route upgrade project has benefited longer distance passengers, it hasn't benefited north-west London users, whose services have got worse, not better.
"Until the timetable change, Sudbury Hill Harrow had basically an hourly service all day Monday to Friday.
"It still has a long gap [to wait for trains] to London in the morning, but it's shifted, meaning you can't arrive in London on an off-peak fare until nearly 11am. But worse, it now has a yawning two-hour gap towards Ruislip and Wycombe between 10.30am and 12.29pm.
"Sudbury and Harrow Road still only has nine trains a day, Monday to Friday rush hours only, and still therefore the worst-served station in the whole of the London area, despite having been virtually rebuilt over the past year at considerable expense."
Chad Collins, general manager (south) at Chiltern Railways, said: “We continue to provide the level of service as specified in our franchise agreement with the Department for Transport.
"London TravelWatch, along with other stakeholders, were consulted about the changes and a detailed analysis of passenger use over a number of months where it was found that an average of 2.5 passengers use each off peak service from the station.
"While the off peak service will reduce to hourly, the peak time service will continue on a twice hourly basis.
"Chiltern Railways receive no government subsidy and we hope that you appreciate that activity outside of that priced into our franchise agreement is entirely at our commercial risk and is at the cost of passenger fares income upon which we rely.
"I am sorry and can appreciate that this is difficult news for off peak passengers.”