Polegate MP given new railway responsibilities

POLEGATE and Seaford MP Norman Baker has been given new ministerial duties, including rail performance, in a change to responsibilities at the Department for Transport.

Adding to his current portfolio that includes 98 per cent of roads, buses, walking and cycling, alternatives to travel, and the natural environment, Mr Baker will now also be responsible for overseeing the performance of the rail network and of Train Operating Companies (TOCs).

This will include train punctuality and performance, the management of rail franchises and contracts, accessibility for passengers and railway stations.

Over the years the MP has campaigned for better rail services on both a local and national level including increasing the frequency of services from Lewes and Polegate to London, minimising bus replacement services and better train punctuality.

He said, “I have long seen rail travel as a mode of transport that is invaluable to our country both economically and environmentally and I am certainly excited by the prospect of getting my teeth into these new aspects of my portfolio.

“As someone who regularly uses the trains, not least from Lewes to London, I am very keen for our rail network, locally and nationally, to be a reliable and good quality one.

“We need to encourage greater use of trains, not least to achieve our target of cutting carbon emission by 80 per cent by 2050, and this can only be done if passengers receive a good service, and ensuring that their needs are put first.

“I am resolutely committed to doing that and will be championing their cause at every opportunity.”