Eastbourne MP criticises ‘appalling’ rail service

editorial image

Eastbourne MP Caroline Ansell has criticised Southern for ‘appalling’ services to London ahead of a major meeting between politicians and rail bosses this month.

Mrs Ansell said Southern Railway and Network Rail must do more to improve its services to London after numerous delays and engineering works during the Christmas period.

The call comes after Network Rail finished a 10-day improvement project, which caused major delays for commuters travelling to London Bridge and Victoria as well as to trains to Gatwick.

While the major improvements – at Purley near Croydon – were completed on time, commuters were immediately faced with fresh delays due to signalling problems this week.

Mrs Ansell said, “It is good news that there have been improvements to the line and I hope this leads to a better service, but the amount of disruption over Christmas has been considerable and many passengers are probably not feeling the benefit,

“Both Network Rail and Southern must do more to make this service better with more money spent on the track, rolling stock and signalling. Commuters are fed up with delays and late trains and that is on top of the already appalling slow times into London from Eastbourne in the first place.

“This is a malaise not just affecting Eastbourne – it is all over East Sussex - and I will continue to work with my local colleagues to take up the cause for better train services with the Rail Minister Claire Perry.”

Mrs Ansell’s criticism of the rail service comes as Sussex MPs prepare to meet with Network Rail and representives of Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), the company which runs Southern Railway.

The meeting, on January 18, will see the rail operators face questions on a number of ongoing problems such as service delays due to a shortage of drivers and trains.

The rail service has already come under heavy criticism from a number of MPs including Conservative Nicholas Soames, Green MP Caroline Lucas, Labour’s Chuka Umunna and Lewes MP Maria Caulfield.

Last month, during Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station, Mrs Caulfield said it was “almost quicker to fly to space station by rocket than get home to Lewes by train.”

Mr Umunna, MP for Streatham, described the service as an “appalling joke” during a parliamentary debate on December 17 last year.

Don’t miss out on all the latest breaking news where you live.

Here are four ways you can be sure you’ll be amongst the first to know what’s going on.

1) Make our website your homepage at www.eastbourneherald.co.uk/

2) Like our Facebook page at Text to display

3) Follow us on Twitter @Eastbournenews

4) Register with us by clicking on ‘sign in’ (top right corner). You can then receive our daily newsletter AND add your point of view to stories that you read here.

And do share with your family and friends - so they don’t miss out!

The Eastbourne Herald - always the first with your local news.

Be part of it.