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Peer calls for Boxing Day trains
8:23am Monday 9th December 2013 in News
Boxing Day train services should be offered for travelling Albion fans and sales shoppers, a Peer has argued.
Labour Peer Lord Bassam said it made “no sense” there were no trains on the most iconic sporting day and busiest shopping day of the year.
He called for the service to be introduced to cover the Seaford-Brighton line as a new franchise agreement is negotiated for the South East.
Lord Bassam said “The Albion’s record for encouraging fans to use sustainable transport is unparalleled.
“However for fans to use sustainable transport it must be available, and it makes no sense there are no trains on one of the most iconic sporting days in the calendar year, and one of the busiest days in our shopping centres.
“The renegotiation of the franchise agreement in the South East is an ideal opportunity to correct this anomaly.”
The Department of Transport recently announced the Southern Trains Rail Franchise in the South East would be merged with the Thameslink and Great Northern Franchise, with an agreement being drawn up and bids being submitted.
Brighton and Hove Albion has backed the call for Boxing Day services for fans and shoppers alike.
Albion executive director Martin Perry said bus and train services were “superb”– with the exception of Boxing Day.
He said: “This of course denied our fans one of the most traditional and iconic fixtures, and makes no sense to us.
“Boxing Day has always been a traditional day for football matches as well as a key date for other sports.
“We question the need to make people use their cars. We would prefer to encourage people to use sustainable transport at every opportunity and think this is one of those occasions when we should change our thinking and travel behaviour.”
The club said more than 80% of supporters usually use sustainable transport on match days.
A spokesman for the Department for Transport said: “The Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) Franchise specification includes a minimum requirement for train services on the Brighton main line for Boxing Day. This specification does not include services to the train station situated near the football stadium.
“Brighton and Hove Football Club is free to engage the successful TSGN bidder, which is expected to be announced in May 2014.”
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