£20m Fund To Improve Southern Rail
1 September 2016, 12:28
A £20 million fund has been announced by the Government as part of a drive to improve Southern rail services and "get to grips'' with problems on its network.
A new review board will also work alongside the train operator, the Department of Transport and Network Rail.
It follows months of disruption to Southern services because of a dispute over the role of guards, and staff shortages.
Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said: "I want the Southern network to be run by a team of people who work together to make sure passengers get decent journeys and that problems are dealt with quickly.
"This review will suggest how we achieve a joined-up approach to running the train and tracks and make things work better for the public.
"We also need to get to grips with things that go wrong on this part of the network. That is why we are putting in place a #20 million scheme to tackle the cause of breakdowns that too often cause frustrating and damaging delays on the network.
"I now urge the industry, the train operating company and unions to work together to improve services for passengers.''
The package includes £2 million to be spent on more rapid response teams to fix faults more quickly, located close to known hotspots; £2.5 million on accelerated train maintenance; #800,000 investment in extra signal supervisors; and £900,000 in a series of measures to minimise the impact of bridge strikes.
Charles Horton, chief executive of Southern's owner, Govia Thameslink Railway, said: "We welcome the benefits this £20 million improvement package will bring for passengers, tackling some of the key infrastructure challenges on the network.
"Network Rail and Southern will continue to work closely together to ensure this investment delivers real, tangible benefits for our passengers and the new project board will ensure the programme is effectively delivered.
"This investment complements our existing programme of improvements which is bringing in new trains and changing working practices to improve customer service.''