Rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) confirmed yesterday that no services will run in or out of Brighton next Saturday – the same day as the city’s Pride parade and the headline performance by Black Eyed Peas.
Locals took to social media to express their concern and anger at the train company for making the decision at such short notice.
Sandra Harper wrote on Twitter that getting to and from Brighton will be a “nightmare” as a result of the cancellations, while Debbie Moon also expressed concern and said: “Bloody hell, this is going to be chaos.”
One user on Reddit described the decision to cancel services as “devastating and disgusting”.
“Pride takes months to organise and now loads of charities won’t be able to attend the parade that they have spent so long organising and paying for,” they said.
“I don’t see how anyone outside of Brighton will be able to attend.”
Brett Mendoza said: “This news is a big clusterf**k for the city of Brighton and businesses around the station area and Pride route hoping for a bumper trade.”
Natalie Loudoun also raised fears for local businesses and said: “I don’t think people understand quite how much money Brighton Pride brings in for the city.
“It’s disgusting behaviour from GTR and causing hard-working businesses to lose out on income.”
GTR said that the “difficult decision” to cancel services had been made with “a heavy heart” over safety concerns due to an overtime ban by train drivers.
Samantha Facey, safety, health and security director for GTR, said: “We completely understand and share people’s frustration and disappointment. We are devasted.
“This isn’t something that was taken lightly at all, and every possible option to keep trains running was explored.
“We have a long-standing relationship with Pride and have long supported the LGBTQ+ community, which of course includes many of our own colleagues, so we’re just incredibly sad to have to make this call.
“We are so very sorry to everyone that will be impacted by this but we simply can’t put anyone at risk knowing in advance that there would be such severe overcrowding and thousands of people stranded on Saturday evening with nowhere to stay.
“Unfortunately, this does mean that people planning to travel to Brighton Pride on Saturday, August 5 will need to make alternative plans, as unfortunately there will be no trains in and out of the city. Services on Friday, August 4 and Sunday, August 6 are unaffected.”