We rely on good train services from Bexley into Central London to get us to and from work and around the capital. However, Southeastern Train's performance needs to get better. The transformation of London Bridge Station as well as investment into track and signalling have been positive but there is more that needs to be done.
That's why I've launched a 'Changing Trains' campaign to replace the current tired 'Networkers' with a fleet of new air conditioned trains . This new Southeastern fleet would help improve punctuality and performance as well as boost capacity and passenger experience.
It's important the decision to cancel the competition for the future Southeastern franchise and to extend the current contract to April 2020 should not change the focus on passengers and delivering improvements. The introduction of 'Delay Repay 15' which means that passengers can claim compensation if their train is delayed by more than 15 minutes should focus attention on greater punctuality. I'm pressing Ministers at the Department for Transport for clarity on the next steps given the need for improvements on our local rail services. This includes new modern air-conditioned trains to see that passenger journeys are upgraded and capacity boosted.
It's equally important that passengers have a choice of Central London destinations and I campaigned to see that services to Victoria on the Bexleyheath Line are maintained. I welcome news that plans to shift these services onto the Sidcup line have been shelved but am monitoring developments carefully.
The regular landslips close to Barnehurst Station have caused huge disruption each time they've occurred over the last few years. This isn't acceptable and I've pressed Network Rail for a long term solution to a recurrent problem. I'm pleased that Network rail have responded to my request and will be carrying out some significant of engineering works to strengthen the bank by the side of the railway. These works will be carried out early next year and are intended to provide a long term fix.
I will continue to challenge Southeastern, Network Rail and the Department for Transport on the need for improvements to our local rail services and ensure the voice of passengers is heard and acted on.