Rail Action Meeting highlights train users concerns

Local passengers vented their frustrations over the reliability of train services at a meeting in Sidcup on Thursday night. The event, chaired by Old Bexley & Sidcup MP James Brokenshire, gave Bexley commuters the chance to voice their concerns on performance, reliability and capacity with Southeastern Managing Director, David Statham and Network Rail’s Area Director, Ellie Burrows.

As well as looking at network-wide issues on performance, capacity and the ongoing transformation works at London Bridge, the discussion also took in a number of local concerns, including the impact of the wholesale removal of trees and foliage between Bexley and Albany Park stations and levels of litter on the railway banks at a number of other stations in the constituency.

David Statham underlined Southeastern’s aim to improve punctuality and overall passenger performance. He said that he recognised the need to get the basics right, including providing timely and accurate information when there was disruption. He also highlighted proposals which were being submitted to the Department for Transport to ease overcrowding through the provision of additional train carriages.

Ellie Burrows from Network Rail underlined the scale of the works being conducted around London Bridge, with miles of new track being laid as well as expanding London Bridge’s capacity to meet demand for decades ahead. She also committed to investigate complaints from residents in Bexley Village that pruning of line-side trees and vegetation had been conducted recklessly and caused significant damage to local wildlife.

Commenting at the end of the meeting, James said:

“This evening’s meeting was a useful opportunity for train users in this area to highlight their concerns to senior management at both Southeastern and Network Rail”

“For me, the discussions reinforced a number of key issues on which I continue to press both organisations and the Department for Transport. These include the need for additional rolling stock to ease congestion and underlying issues of reliability and punctuality.”