28 NOV 2017

Maidstone MP Helen Grant 'furious' at Govia Thameslink service pushback

Pledges to re-examine in one-to-one with Transport Minister

Train operator Govia Thameslink has incurred the wrath of local MP Helen Grant, who has gone straight to the trains Minister to seek redress.

As was widely reported Govia's CEO Nick Brown last week indicated that a service due to start in May next year, to London Bridge and Blackfriars, will now be deferred by 18 months to December 2019.

Mr Brown suggested that the Department for Transport (DfT) are concerned about the scale of simultaneous wholesale changes to timetables right across the South East. Officials allegedly have asked Govia to consider "how best to de-risk the introduction of such a major upgrade", which is the reason Govia have given behind the decision to phase-in the changes instead of doing them in one fell swoop.

Mrs Grant said 'I am furious that Maidstone have been put to the back of the queue for these important service improvements; our County Town deserves better than this. I have today (Monday) had a one-to-one discussion with rail minister Paul Maynard and he has agreed to re-examine the situation regarding Maidstone with me. He has also invited me to meet with the lead officials from the DfT to discuss the changes and will be making arrangements for that meeting forthwith'.

Minister Paul Maynard said "Improving rail services is a priority for this government, which is why we are making the biggest investment in the network since Victorian times - including £7bn expanding the Thameslink network which will transform north-south travel across London and the South East.

I am committed to further developing the implementation of the Thameslink Programme to ensure passengers realise benefits in the shortest possible time."

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