LETTER: Rail service at appalling level

I am writing in exasperation at the most recent developments and the poor service from Southern Rail. Irrespective of the planned industrial action by both the RMT and ASLEF unions, the service from Southern on non-strike days has deteriorated to a new appalling level in recent weeks.

Southern are claiming they have insufficient staffing levels to run scheduled services on non-strike days, however it is only an overtime ban they have to contend with on those days. Overtime is not compulsory, it is optional, and it is no reason for Southern to not run a decent service. Southern clearly have insufficient staff numbers and we are paying the price for their incompetent management. The service from Eastbourne to London on the last three Saturdays – all non-strike days – has been abysmal. This cannot continue.

MP Caroline Ansell has expressed her reluctance to campaign for Southern (Govia Thameslink Railway) to be stripped of its franchise in this newspaper – and I suspect that is because she is unwilling make a stand against the Government and the Department for Transport in their continued backing of the rail company. Well, as the service has sunk to new levels I believe it is now time for Mrs Ansell to make a stand for her constituents. Other local MPs have done just that – including a fellow Conservative MP in Maria Caulfield – so it is possible to represent your constituents whilst disagreeing with your Government.

Please, Mrs Ansell – confirm to us you will no longer allow this treatment of local train users to continue without questions asked of both GTR and the Department for Transport, and please confirm you will represent your constituents and now campaign for the franchise to be replaced.

MARK NIGHTINGALE

Durrell Close

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