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Demonstrators 'mourn' loss of South London Line service

image captionResidents say they will lose direct links to Victoria and London Bridge

Residents in south London have held a demonstration to mark the end of a rail service which began in 1867.

The South London Line service between Victoria and London Bridge via Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye will stop from 9 December due to upgrades on Thameslink.

A new London Overground service will stop at Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye, but will not go into central London.

Southwark Rail Users' Group welcomed the new service but said the loss of the link would be a "major blow".

Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes and London Assembly Members Valerie Shawcross and Caroline Pidgeon joined the demonstrators.

Transport for London said talks were ongoing with the government for a new South London off-peak service from 2014.

'Reinstate service'

The services are being withdrawn as part of a £6bn upgrade to Thameslink, which will see a revamp of London Bridge station and work on tracks and signalling equipment in south-east London.

Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill, Clapham High Street and Wandsworth Road stations will lose their services to Victoria, and Denmark Hill will also lose its direct link with London Bridge.

The Overground service linking Clapham Junction and Surrey Quays will have four trains an hour stopping at these stops, but the trains will not go in to Victoria or London Bridge.

Eileen Conn, chairperson of the Southwark Rail Users' Group, said: "While the new London Overground service will bring benefits there can be no escaping the fact that the withdrawal of the South London Line will be a major blow to many, many people.

"Although on 8 December we will mourn South London's loss, we celebrate the South London Line's success and will campaign for the service to be reinstated once the rebuilding works at London Bridge are completed in a few years' time."

Southern Railway, which ran the South London Line service, said: "The withdrawal of our services comes as a consequence of one of the terms of our franchise agreement which stipulates that we would not provide these services beyond December this year."

A statement from TfL said: "The Mayor and TfL are in discussion with the government regarding the creation of a new South London off-peak service from 2014, between Bromley South and Victoria via Peckham Rye and Denmark Hill, to mitigate the withdrawal of the London Bridge to Victoria service."

The Department for Transport said: "Plans to provide additional rail services between London Victoria and Bellingham via Denmark Hill and Peckham Rye were withdrawn after a request from TfL who wanted the resulting savings diverted to the East London Line extension.

"Any decision on introducing a new off-peak South London service is a devolved matter for TfL."

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