Brighton and Hove Pride organisers and politicians hit back at ‘devastating’ train cancellations on event day

Revellers hold signs at Brighton Pride 2022

The leaders of Brighton and Hove Pride have expressed deep disappointment at the decision to cancel all trains to and from the city on the day of this year’s event.

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) said no trains will run to or from Brighton station on Saturday 5 August, the main day of Pride, due to the event requiring “significant extra capacity” while a ban on overtime meant there were “far fewer services running than usual”.

Paul Kemp, the managing director of the event, said he and other Pride leaders “don’t agree” with GTR “cutting off Brighton and Hove” during “such an important weekend for our city”.

He added: “Many Pride visitors have already booked and paid for Saturday-night accommodation locally. They will now have to change plans or find an alternative way to get to the city. It’s truly devastating news for everyone.”

Chris Fowler, the network operations and performance director at GTR, said the company was “bitterly disappointed” to have to make the decision, the BBC reported.

The train company usually runs additional services during Pride, including late-night trains. But because of the overtime ban, the later services would not be possible as that would risk leaving people “stranded” in Brighton, GTR said.

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“GTR has very sadly concluded that it cannot safely run any services as it would be impossible to avoid severe overcrowding and present a considerable risk to passenger safety,” Fowler explained.

In a letter published on Twitter, Brighton council leader Bella Sankey, and London mayor Sadiq Khan said the rail disruption would have a “disastrous” impact on Pride.

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Writing to the train company, they said: “It would also deeply undermine your reputation as a company committed to the LGBTQI+ communities. GTR will be well aware of the timing of Pride each year and [we] would expect your company to have planned ahead, have mitigated possible risks and put in place suitable provision.”

Kemp said this year’s Pride – headlined by Black Eyed Peas and Steps – comes at a time when the celebration and protest is more important than ever. 

“The LGBTQ+ community is facing the threat of its hard-fought-for rights being eroded, while we are still a long way from equality,” he added.

Up-to-date travel information is available on Brighton and Hove Pride’s website.

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