RAIL bosses have admitted they did not have the full details when they decided to axe services.

In a meeting in Parliament, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) said its timetable changes were based on inaccurate ticket sales data and not the number of people who actually use Preston Park Station in Brighton.

The new timetables, which caused chaos when they were implemented in May, have reduced services to and from Preston Park by about 30 per cent, and mean Gatwick Express trains no longer stop there.

However, the data used to plan these changes failed to take into account the many people who travel from Preston Park with season tickets which start from Brighton.

This is a popular tactic as a Brighton season ticket is no more expensive but offers greater flexibility to commuters.

Caroline Lucas, who called the meeting with GTR, Network Rail and the Department for Transport (DfT) last week, pressed the rail companies to admit who would hold responsibility for reinstating cancelled services.

The MP for Brighton Pavilion was told that to reinstate services, GTR would have to recommend the changes to Network Rail, which would then have to approve them.

Ms Lucas said: “It should never have taken months and months of campaigning for commuters to finally be told where responsibility for their misery lies.

“GTR, Network Rail and the DfT are keenly aware of the distress they caused with May’s timetable chaos and it’s vital they change their processes to prevent future problems.

“Rail bosses and their ministers should be bending over backwards to clean up this mess and take immediate action to restore Gatwick Express services.”

A Govia Thameslink Railway spokesman said: “We are working with Caroline Lucas and Preston Park commuters to assess their rail service needs and how best to improve them.

“Currently Preston Park has 16 northbound services in the morning peak.

“Nine start at Littlehampton, with Preston Park as the tenth stop, and seven start from Brighton, Preston Park being the first stop.

“Gatwick Express services, intended as premium airport services from the major centres of London and Brighton, were withdrawn at Preston Park to allow enough capacity to increase Thameslink services for commuters.

“Reinstating them would increase congestion and the risk of severe disruption on the Brighton Main Line.”