MP James Brokenshire says Southeastern ‘on borrowed time’
PUBLISHED: 13:56 19 January 2015 | UPDATED: 13:56 19 January 2015
He made the comments ahead of a meeting with Rail Minister Claire Perry
James Brokenshire will tell Southeastern Trains that their franchise is on ‘borrowed time’ unless there are significant improvements on local rail services through Bexley.
The Old Bexley and Sidcup Conservative MP has promised to underline the frustrations of commuters and the impact of disruption when he meets senior managers from Southeastern and Network Rail at a summit convened by Rail Minister Claire Perry in Westminster later this week.
The news comes after passengers using London Bridge saw significant disruption as a result of the Thameslink upgrade and the station transformation works at this key interchange. The work is set to last until from now,until August 2016. The new timetable introduced at the start of this month means that services to Charing Cross won’t stop at London Bridge until work is completed next August.
Southeastern’s performance continues to be a source of significant frustration for local rail travellers. It has continued to perform poorly in passenger satisfaction services, languishing at the bottom of the table.
The company has promised to invest £70 million in their network and make major improvements to customer service, passenger satisfaction and train punctuality.
Mr Brokenshire said: “Unless Southeastern can quickly translate their latest promises of improved performance into reality, their franchise is on borrowed time. I’ve consistently underlined to senior management that current services fall short of the rightful expectations of passengers.
“Clear commitments on punctuality and service levels have been provided by the company and these need to be upheld. I know that the Rail Minister has been clear with Southeastern that financial penalties are available if performance doesn’t improve.
“It’s also essential that Network Rail demonstrate significantly greater grip of their project management of the transformation of London Bridge Station. I’ve gone behind the scenes to see the engineering works at London Bridge for myself and I am in absolutely no doubt that the station’s transformation will deliver huge benefits for passengers in the years ahead.
“However, Network Rail needs to give everyone much greater confidence that they can deliver this landmark project without causing significant disruption to passengers while these extensive works are
being carried out.”