Southeastern carriage extension ‘only one part of change needed’ says MP
PUBLISHED: 12:58 18 September 2017 | UPDATED: 13:21 18 September 2017
Nearly 70 new carriages have been added to the network
More change is needed on the Southeastern rail network, despite the introduction of 68 carriages from today, a borough MP has said.
From today (Monday), the rail firm will begin adding new carriages that will see services on the Bexleyheath, Woolwich and Sidcup lines lengthened from eight to ten carriages, while some six-car trains will lengthen to eight.
Southeastern expects to create 5,000 additional seat for morning-peak commuters to London by adding the carriages.
Later this month the government is expected to start accepting bids to take over the rail network when it changes hands in December 2018.
James Brokenshire, MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup, has called for more improvements, saying: “Overcrowding on rush hour services has been one of a number of complaints I’ve campaigned to see addressed. I welcome the positive news that we will see extra train carriages in the coming weeks to provide more comfortable journeys in and out of London.
“But I know that this is only one part of the change needed to deliver greater reliability and the sort of passenger focussed railway people expect. With the tender to run our local train services from 2018 expected to be published in the coming weeks, the new contract offers the ability to deliver even more improvements.
“I will continue to urge potential bidders to set out how they would deliver the changes passengers want to see.”
David Evennett, Bexleyheath and Crayford’s MP added: “This is something I have campaigned on tirelessly with my parliamentary colleagues and local councillors. The announcement will be warmly welcomed by local commuters and will help overcome the issues of overcrowding on our lines.”
In July, the latest survey on passenger satisfaction revealed Southeastern as the joint-third worst in the country, but 10 per cent more passengers were happier with the service than a year ago.
Erith and Thamesmead MP Teresa Pearce added: “We all know the historic issues of delays, overcrowding and cancellations on the current Southeastern service. With our part of London experiencing so much in new development and growth, now more than ever passengers and commuters need a rail service fit for purpose.
“The news that there will be more Southeastern train carriages will be welcome relief for the majority of commuters who regularly experience overcrowding on the lines, and I hope that it will have an immediate impact.”