James Brokenshire has told Southeastern Trains and the Department for Transport that this week’s travel nightmare for rail commuters can’t be allowed to happen again. Trains from Bexley into central London were subject to cancellations and severe delays on Monday when weekend engineering works at London Bridge over-ran.
Network Rail is carrying out a significant upgrade programme at the station including laying new track to increase capacity at the key interchange. Further significant works are planned for many months to come.
At a meeting on Tuesday with Charles Horton, the Managing Director of Southeastern Trains and John Macquarrie of the Department for Transport, James said that it was essential that Network Rail got to grips with precisely what had gone wrong as Monday’s disruption was simply unacceptable. James also said that information provided by Southeastern was poor with passengers on crowded trains not knowing when their journeys would be continuing or not.
Network Rail has launched an urgent review of the incident and has postponed some similar works until they have resolved the issues that caused these problems.
Commenting James said:
“Monday’s journey into work was a complete nightmare for many commuters who rightly expect a better service than this. Whilst it’s absolutely right that investment is made to improve capacity at London Bridge, this can’t be at the cost of poor reliability and cancelled services whilst the works are being carried out.
“With further significant engineering works planned there needs to be clarity on precisely what went wrong to ensure that this week’s chaos caused isn’t repeated. Network Rail needs to get a grip.”