James pushes for Southeastern improvements

James Brokenshire has met with Southeastern Managing Director, David Statham, in order to highlight once again the need for action to be taken in order to make better progress against current performance and punctuality targets and the importance of ensuring that passengers are properly advised on alternative routes during the Christmas closures of Charing Cross, Cannon Street and London Bridge.

Punctuality & Reliability

Performance on the Dartford via Bexleyheath and via Sidcup lines stuck at 80.7% and 82.0% respectively, there is a clear need for reliability to be improved significantly. It is unacceptable that passengers can expect to be late on average once a week. In addition, some trains during the am peak into Cannon Street are delayed around 50% of the time. Southeastern highlighted a “ten point plan” for improvement, but said they would review the circumstances of the particular trains with such poor on time performance.

Commenting on this issue, James said:

“Being able to get to and from home and work on time is one of the most important aspects of running a railway and these performance figures are simply not good enough. It is astonishing that some trains into Cannon Street are late half of the time. I am clear that Southeastern must look at every aspect of their operation to improve the number of trains that arrive on time for their customers. ”

Capacity

Capacity is an issue that is regularly raised by Southeastern passengers, particularly those currently boarding the Cannon Street bound trains in order to access London Bridge during the transformation works. Whilst Southeastern are working to maximise the available rolling stock, there is a clear need for additional carriages and James has pledged to continue to lobby the Department for Transport to transfer some of the Class 319 and Electrostar trains to Southeastern when they are released from Thameslink over the next eighteen months.

Christmas disruption

James raised his concerns and those expressed by constituents about the Christmas closure of there of the major London termini which serve the Southeastern network – Charing Cross, Cannon Street and London Bridge – between 8pm on 24 December until 4 January. These changes will severely disrupt the commute of those working in Central London between Christmas and New Year and, as such, James has asked Southeastern to make every effort to ensure that passengers are properly informed about alternative routes.

Speaking about the upcoming closures, James said:

“Network Rail and Southeastern have both underlined the necessity of these closures in order to connect the new track which has been installed to the East and West of London Bridge. Whilst it is disappointing that passengers will have to suffer this disruption over the festive period, the important thing now is to make sure that the alternative travel arrangements agreed with Transport for London are made clear and accessible to customers to alleviate some of the inevitable inconvenience and disruption this will cause.”

 

James is due to meet with representatives of Network Rail over the coming weeks in order to discuss infrastructure failures and trespass incidents on the Sidcup and Bexleyheath lines.