A MAJOR shake up of rail timetables could strip some stations of their direct services to London - but other commuters could enjoy faster journeys to the capital.

South Western Railway has launched a public consultation to introduce new timetable changes in December 2018, which will change the frequency and times of trains across the county.

Proposed timetable changes, intended to come in from December 2018, could halve direct trains between Weymouth and London Waterloo.

Direct services to the capital could be discontinued from New Forest stations including Totton, Sway, Ashurst and Hinton Admiral.

However, services could be enhanced between Southampton and Portsmouth with a new half-hourly service between the two cities.

Alongside this, St Deny's in Southampton will also gain a regular service into London Waterloo twice an hour while journey times between Southampton and London will be six minutes faster, with ten-car trains on most services.

South Western Railway, which is owned by FirstGroup-MTR, took over the South Western franchise in August having been operated by Stagecoach-owned South West Trains for 20 years.

In their franchise bid, FirstGroup-MTR pledged to deliver new and better trains, more seats, improved service frequencies and quicker journey times for South Western Railway passengers.

The consultation, which opened earlier this month, will run until Friday, December 22 to allow users to voice their opinions on the planned timetable changes.

Andy Mellors, managing director for South Western Railway, said: "We really want to encourage as much feedback as possible on our proposals so that we can implement a timetable that truly meets the requirements of our passengers and the communities we serve."

But Stephen Joseph, chief executive of Campaign for Better Transport said: "The train operators need to spell out in concrete who will benefit from this new consultation and who will lose out.

"Passengers will hope the new franchisees can make real improvements in the SWT services."

To have your say on the proposals, please visit southwesternrailway.com/timetableconsultation.