05 JUL 2018

Thameslink Trains

The rail chaos up and down the country in recent weeks has been appalling. Words of apology and resignations are frankly rather hollow gestures for passengers whose livelihoods depend on a decent service. Rightly, Govia Thameslink's franchise is now under threat, but if that came to pass would their successor make any difference, and what would it mean for Maidstone?

It matters to us because, although Thameslink trains don't currently run from stations in Maidstone and the Weald, we are due to receive a new Maidstone to London City Thameslink service late next year (delayed by almost two years – forgive the pun). If it is run by a good operator this will be a major filip for our County town, providing a 55 minute direct route into the City of London and onward to Cambridge

I have been doing my upmost to ensure that the introduction of this service is delayed no further and I have now received assurances both from the Government and senior rail operators that the trains should start running before the end of 2019.

Given the disastrous way in which the recent timetable changes have been introduced, I am seeking to ensure that when our Thameslink services commence, we are not hit by similar delays and cancellations. I have therefore written to the Secretary of State for Transport to ask him what lessons have been learned well ahead of time.

Of more immediate concern, my mailbag continues to bring persistent complaints about some of the existing services provided by Southeastern. Accordingly I have arranged to meet with their managing director David Statham in the coming weeks. I will be putting your comments and views to him and please do get in touch if you have a specific issues and any helpful suggestions you'd like me to raise too. Email: helen.grant.mp@parliament.uk.

Back to all posts

Helen's column

02 AUG 2018

Grass Roots Sport

Every now and then a sporting Champion emerges with a humility that belies their achievement. I'd include people like Sir Andy Murray, Sir Steve Redgrave and Dame Kelly Holmes in that category;...

26 JUL 2018

Plastic Pollution

Ever since last year's Blue Planet series, which so movingly and graphically depicted the impact that plastic is having on our oceans, the issue has never been far from the news agenda. There is no...

20 JUL 2018

Post Brexit Trade

Back in 2005 I spent two weeks travelling around India developing new international business for my UK legal practice. It was a somewhat daunting step into the unknown, having never been to India...