A PROPOSED new timetable could see direct services to London scrapped from smaller stations as new operator South Western Railway (SWR) launches a public consultation.

The changed timetables, intended to come into effect in December 2018, plan to halve the number of direct trains between Weymouth and London Waterloo.

To facilitate this move, SWR is proposing to discontinue direct services to the capital from Sway, Hinton Admiral, Hamworthy, Holton Heath, and Moreton, as well as other stations further afield in Dorset and the New Forest.

Passengers from these stations will have to get the new Portsmouth stopping train and change at Southampton.

In the plans, peak morning services from Poole to London Waterloo will take longer.

Afternoon and evening peak trains from London stopping at Branksome and Parkstone are set to be cut from two an hour to just one.

However, off peak passengers travelling to London from larger stations could see services from Bournemouth run seven minutes faster.

Wool station will see two trains stop every hour all day in the proposed timetables.

South Western Railway also say the vast majority of fast services will now run as 10-car trains between Waterloo and Bournemouth providing additional off-peak capacity and evening capacity.

Currently SWR run two trains an hour from Weymouth to London.

However, subject to the public consultation, SWR propose to maintain only one direct service to London which will miss out smaller stations including Sway, Hinton Admiral and Hamworthy.

The second London service will be replaced with the stopping service from Weymouth to Portsmouth.

North Highcliffe and Walkford ward councillor Sally Derham Wilkes, whose ward includes Hinton Admiral, said it was disappointing to see the proposed loss of the direct service to London.

"One part of me says it's good for Christchurch to still have its service, but for places like Hinton Admiral to lose that commuter line direct to London is going to be a big problem for some people and changes are going to make their journey longer," she said.

"For me it is surprising and disappointing to hear.

"I feel sorry for those who will be affected by the proposed changes if they are put into place."

New Forest District Council member Steve Davies said any journey which requires changing adds uncertainty for passengers.

"By not having a direct service there is always an element of risk with a change," Cllr Davies said.

"You are never sure your train is going to be there and if it's going to be on time.

"It does concern me, especially for elderly and infirm people in our community and those with young children and buggies or passengers with large bags.

"It's important that everyone takes up the opportunity during the consultation to make their views known."

The South Western franchise was taken over by FirstGroup-MTR in August after being operated by South West Trains for 20 years.

Rail passengers now have until December 22 to voice their opinions on the planned timetable changes.

To have your say visit www.southwesternrailway.com/timetableconsultation.