Rail Minister to hold meeting over poor performance

Following the continued poor performance of Southern Rail’s operation of the Uckfield line, the MP for Wealden has raised the concerns with the Rail Minister.

Southern’s parent company, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) blame the reliability of the new diesel trains they acquired.

Nus Ghani MP trains

Ms Ghani said:

The only thing you can depend on Southern for is an unreliable and temperamental service.  My constituents deserve better than the frequent cancellations and poor communication, and there has been no sign of improvements in recent months.

Moreover, Southern deem it acceptable to undermine the service on the Uckfield Line to meet their timetable elsewhere. This is unacceptable.

I have raised this with the Rail Minister, along with the concerns of the thousands of constituents who have contacted me about Southern, and intend to meet with him and GTR to push for a reliable and acceptable service.

It is not ok that in the 21st century my constituents are unable to rely on the timetables published by Southern.  I will continue to push hard to ensure that Southern provide a service fit for the needs of Wealden.  Starting 2018 with a poor service and impending strike action once again explains why the Uckfield line is often branded the ‘misery line’.

In response to Nus Ghani’s comments, a spokesperson for GTR said:

We would like to apologise to passengers.  The Uckfield branch line, unlike almost all the rest of our network, is not electrified and we have only a limited fleet of diesel trains which has caused trains to run with fewer carriages if one fails while others are undergoing maintenance.

The diesel trains we acquired to provide extra capacity required a complete overhaul to make them compatible with our network but despite substantial work by our engineering team have proven less reliable than our existing diesel trains. We are working hard to improve this by recruiting more engineers and training more of our current engineering team to maintain this fleet.  We have carried out additional maintenance and brought in specialist technical support from our suppliers.

Paul Maynard has confirmed that he will be convening a meeting with Govia Thameslink Railway, at Nus’ request, and has invited Nus to attend.

Ms Ghani added:

I am pleased that the Minister has agreed to convene a meeting with GTR to secure an explanation of the poor service, woeful management and lack of staffing and planning on a service which has deteriorated.  The future of the Uckfield line is dependent on electrification and I will continue to campaign for the full implementation of the Gibb report recommendations.

Have Your Say:

Are you a regular passenger on the line?  What has been your experiences recently?  Do you agree with Nus Ghani that the electrification is the key?  Chris Gibb felt it is not necessary to redouble the route.

Click to see a summary of the recommendations in the Gibb report.

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6 comments on “Rail Minister to hold meeting over poor performance
  1. I’m thankful I’m not a commuter on this line, but an occasional user. It does need redoubling at Cowden and electrifying. Why on earth not in this day and age? How could Southern ‘acquire’ new diesel trains that performed worse than the current fleet? Even preserved railways can do better than that. One thing positive: if you get a seat, I find them more comfortable than those on SouthEastern.

    • How many years is it now since the crash at Cowden? It was supposed to be done immediately after that and you are all still waiting!

    • I didn’t think redoubling was an official recommendation after Cowden. The Wealden Line Campaign warned there could be a head-on collision between two trains on single track sections. (Correct me if I am wrong.) After the disaster Secure Cab Radios began to be introduced and the Train Protection and Warning System to prevent signals passed at danger.

  2. I now drive 25mins to hildenborough as I simply can’t rely on Southern. When they’re not cancelled they’re short formed. When they leave on time from London, they get held up due to the ‘slow running east grinstead service’ 9 times out of 10 or held at hever awaiting an upcoming train to pass on the single track. They stop at east croyden meaning on the way home you have to get there before the train pulls in or risk not getting a seat for the hour long journey – adding 15mins to the commute time. This is despite only one train per hour to uckfield but multiple trains to East croyden and from east croyden to uckfield via oxted flyer. Appalling all round.

  3. without doubt the worst service and worst company operating in the UK – the sooner they shut the doors on Southern Rail the better – they simply don’t care and the service gets worse. Electrify the line and rather than double up the line just have a few extra passing points – its not difficult – are we a 3rd world country? – no – so just get on with it !!

  4. A fortune spent on platform extensions to take longer trains. All we get is longer delays, cancellations, break downs mid journey. It’s a sad fact when travelling on the Uckfield line that it beomes a pleasure when a train actually makes it to its destination. On top of this I cannot understand why there is an half hour service during the afternoon which changes to one an hour during the rush hour after 5p.m. I am sure this line is a real thorn in the side for Southern and I apologise on behalh of all users of this line to Southern for being such an inconvenince to you.

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