A group of Kent and South East London MPs have presented a joint letter to the Transport Secretary today calling for a new fleet of trains on the South Eastern Network to ease overcrowding, improve reliability and enhance passenger journeys.
The joint letter comes following the decision to withdraw the competition for the award of a new South Eastern franchise and current uncertainty over the future operation of the network.
In their letter the MPs call for significant improvements to local rail services including the introduction of a new fleet of modern air-conditioned trains to improve passenger journeys and reliability. This is especially needed given the age and performance of the current fleet of ‘Networkers’ and overcrowding on a number of services (including the high speed routes).
In their letter the MPs call for:
(1) arrangements are put in place to provide certainty of operation of the South Eastern network beyond April 2020 at the earliest opportunity;
(2) any new arrangements should provide for new train rolling stock across the network and be of a suitable duration to enable the ordering of new trains; and
(3) the Department will take all appropriate steps to see that new trains are introduced as quickly as possible.
The signatories of the letter include Rt Hon James Brokenshire Member of Parliament for Old Bexley and Sidcup, Rt Hon Sir David Evennett Member of Parliament for Bexleyheath and Crayford, Rt Hon Damian Green Member of Parliament for Ashford, Rt Hon Greg Clarke Member of Parliament for Tunbridge Wells, Rt Hon Sir Michael Fallon Member of Parliament for Sevenoaks, Huw Merriman Member of Parliament for Bexhill and Battle, Tom Tugendhat Member of Parliament for Tonbridge and Malling, Gareth Johnson Member of Parliament for Dartford, Bob Neill Member of Parliament for Bromley and Chislehurst and Tracey Crouch Member of Parliament for Chatham and Aylesford.
Commenting, James Brokenshire who led the meeting with the Secretary of State said:
“We rely on good train services between Kent and the South East into Central London for work and leisure and we need to see improvements to passenger journeys. A key part of this is the introduction of modern new air conditioned trains.”
“We’re calling for certainty over the future of the South Eastern Network to secure the necessary investment for the benefit of passengers.”