Local Rail Services

Constituents are rightly furious with the performance of Southern Rail. As a daily commuter to Parliament, the state of our railway personally impacts me as well so I want to assure constituents that I not only understand but I experience it too and have done so for the last ten years as a season-ticket holder. Due to the appalling service which we are receiving, I spend a huge amount of my Parliamentary time in rail inquiries, meeting with those with influence and responsibility, speaking up for commuters in the House of Commons chamber and in taking other action in Parliament to put pressure on those responsible to give constituents the service which they pay for. My national role on the Transport Select Committee allows me to get to the heart of this matter and challenge those responsible in public and recorded proceedings. Our committee is in the midst of five separate inquiries on rail. Constituents can be assured that, at evidence sessions with Government Ministers, Southern Rail managers and rail union leaders, I champion the cause of improved Southern Rail performance at every turn.

In order to explain fully to constituents what I am personally doing to campaign to resolve the matter I have added below a chronological menu containing all of my constituency rail updates, my Transport Select Committee evidence sessions, speeches given in the chamber and copies of letters to and from those responsible for this matter. I invite constituents to review the news below and then come back to me with any specific issues which I may not yet have covered.    

 

News

Faster Journeys for Local Passengers

The Department for Transport has today (Wednesday 29 November) published the Invitation To Tender (ITT) for the next South Eastern Franchise. The document set out a plan for high quality, frequent and reliable services, for a railway which is fit for the future and which ensures that South Eastern rail services contribute towards supporting economic growth and opportunity.
The document sets out how faster services will operate between London and Hastings, Rye, Bexhill and Battle. The ITT also explicitly encourages bidders for the next franchise to put forward ambitious and innovative proposals to deliver High Speed services between London St Pancras, Rye, Hastings and Bexhill.

Southern Strike Deal: MPs Hail End to Disruption

Local MPs, Amber Rudd and Huw Merriman, have today warmly welcomed the decision by train drivers from the Aslef union to bring to an end their 18 month strike action on Southern Rail.

Back on track with Southern Railway

Having used this column to grapple for optimism, or bemoan the latest setback, I am delighted that the 09.17 Southern service has now left 'hopeful' and arrived at 'resolution'. Yes, an end really is in sight for the terrible industrial relations afflicting Southern Rail.

Summit signals progress towards High Speed

On Friday 6 October Amber Rudd MP’s fourth Hastings Rail Summit set out a clear plan to deliver high speed journey times between London St Pancras and Rye, Hastings and Bexhill.

Parliament hears of local road and rail needs

This week, I did my best to ensure that the needs of our local road and rail network were brought to Parliament and aired before the Road and Rail Ministers respectively.

Initial Response to Gibb Report on Southern Rail

Last year, the Government commissioned Chris Gibb, a rail expert with decades of experience, to produce a review of the performance of Southern Rail. The aim of the report was to identify causes of performance failure and make recommendations to urgently improve the service.