Rail commuters should see improved service by Christmas, rail minister tells Brighton and Hove MPs

First published Thursday 28 May 2015 in The Argus

SUSSEX commuters should see an improvement in service by Christmas, a rail minister has told Brighton and Hove MPs.

Rail minister Claire Perry has set a six month target for progress on an improved service along the Brighton Main Line after meeting with Brighton and Hove’s three MPs as they continue to press for improved services for the city’s commuters.
Mrs Perry has also announced she is building an action plan to tackle the chaos at London Bridge and Blackfriars stations following a “root and branch” review of Network Rail’s plans.

Brighton Kemptown MP Simon Kirby, Hove MP Peter Kyle and a representative for Caroline Lucas MP all met with rail minister at a specially arranged meeting on Wednesday.

Mrs Perry, who was made rail minister last summer, told the MPs that reliability had declined and that signal failures rather than trespasses on the line was having a negative impact on train performance.

She has now set a six month target for progress and will chair weekly meetings between franchise operators, regulators, and a passenger representative organisation, to monitor progress.

Franchise operators will be set a number of targets to meet during this six-month intervention in the upcoming days.

In a joint statement, the three MPs said while their individual views on rail policy may differ, they were united in their determination to deliver a better deal for commuters.

They said: “We know our commuters are not getting the service they deserve. Right across our city people voiced frustration during the election campaign at the lack of progress made to commuter services to and from Brighton and Hove.

“Our task going forward is to ensure government makes good on its commitment and that commuters enjoy noticeable improvements in their service by Christmas.

“We will continue to work together on this issue to bring maximum pressure to bear on passengers behalf.”