28 MAR 2017

Continuing the fight for better rail services

Helen Grant MP met with Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP in Parliament recently with her Kent colleagues. The meeting follows up on earlier discussions where Kent MPs have been urging the Minister to take further action on Southeastern and Network Rail failings.

Maidstone and the Weald MP Helen Grant has been working on rail issues since becoming MP for the area in 2010. In advance of this most recent meeting, Helen brought to the Minister's attention a number of the concerns that her constituents have raised with her, most notably regarding the recent reduced capacity of some of the early morning services from Maidstone East into London Victoria. In addition to this, Mrs Grant also reiterated her belief that there should be stricter performance indicators and this should be featured in the competition process for the new franchise in 2018.

During the meeting the Minister made clear that increasing the capacity on the Southeastern network was a priority, explaining that he was in talks with the operator about how this could best be delivered.

Subsequent to the meeting, Mr Maynard wrote to Helen outlining the strategy for future service improvements, including a planned service direct from Maidstone to London Bridge. He confirmed that as part of the competition for the new franchise potential bidders would be asked to address the key challenges facing the network, most significantly by suggesting how they might cater for the increasing demand for rail travel in the South East.

Helen said, 'The service provided by Southeastern and Network Rail to residents of Maidstone and Weald continues to often fall below the standard we expect. I am pleased that the Minister has committed to prioritising the need for increased capacity across the Southeastern network. I will however, continue to apply pressure to the Department for Transport to ensure that the commitments that have been made translate into notable service improvements for train users in my constituency. I would encourage people to contribute to the public consultation to ensure their views are heard.'

The public consultation into the future of rail services in the Southeast is now open and can be accessed here.

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