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An MP is calling for services to be improved on the London - Brighton mainline after a series of delays in the first part of 2013. Read his comments and the responses of the rail companies
Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, has written to Southern Railway, First Capital Connect and Network Rail stating that constituents who use the trains for work or leisure have had enough of delays, signal failure, overcrowding and ever higher prices.
Mr Kirby has been receiving a steady stream of complaints about rail services and the poor way matters are dealt with when problems occur. Often information is confusing or contradictory, the slightest incident seems to cause widespread and sustained chaos and passengers have had enough.
Simon Kirby said: "I have written to the main rail companies and Network Rail asking when services will improve and what is actually being done so that my constituents who tell me they are frequently delayed getting to work or getting home will actually see some improvement. Even a short journey can turn into a nightmare when some of the problems hit. It is no good the rail companies telling me they need more investment. They have had above-inflation fare rises for years and it is about time the extra money was showing up in better trains, greater reliability and more value-for-money."
A First Capital Connect spokesman said:
"We understand and share the frustrations of our passengers and have been working with and urging Network Rail to improve the reliability of signalling and power systems.
"We also accept we need to do more to improve the reliability of our trains after two significant failures - although yesterday's was caused by our train striking an object on the track between Hassocks and Brighton.
"The Brighton route has an exciting future through a £6bn investment programme which will rebuild London Bridge station, removing a major bottleneck to our services and introduce a new fleet of trains to reduce overcrowding."
This is the response from Southern
“We recognise that our punctuality over recent months has not been as good as it should be. Improving punctuality is our top priority and we have agreed to a joint improvement plan with Network Rail which aims, with significant investment, to deliver more reliability and better performance across our network.
“Although there are sometimes events which are beyond our control, we are focusing on issues that we are able to influence and believe that the actions we are taking with Network Rail will make an improvement to the service we offer our passengers.
“We continue to invest heavily on our trains. We have ordered 170 new carriages at a cost of around £200million which will ease crowding significantly when 130 of them come into service in December 2013, followed by the remaining 40 in December 2014. We are also investing almost £20million on the refurbishment of our entire fleet of Class 377 and 455 trains."