An MP and former Brighton councillor urged the government to break up the Southern and Thameslink rail franchise “sooner rather than later”.
Maria Caulfield, the Conservative MP for Lewes, made the call in the House of Commons this afternoon (Wednesday 16 May).
The former Moulsecoomb and Bevendean councillor spoke out as Transport Secretary Chris Grayling made a statement about another troubled franchise, the East Coast Main Line, which is being renationalised.
Maria Caulfield said: “The Secretary of State’s statement mentions the break up in 2021 of the Thameslink and Southern Rail franchises but I urge him to break them up sooner rather than later.
“The new timetable changes affect passengers in my rural constituency, with stations at Berwick, Wivelsfield, Seaford, Lewes, Plumpton and Polegate all losing significant services.
“Will he bring forward the break up of the franchise?”
Mr Grayling said: “Let me touch briefly on the question of the new franchise. The big change to timetabling is not just in my honourable friend’s area, but all around the country.
“It is being driven by Network Rail, which ultimately controls timetabling across the network to try to make a very complicated pattern of services fit together.
“After (Sunday) 20 May, there will be some fantastic enhancements to services around the country.
“Some tough decisions have been taken about levels of demand and ridership.
“If colleagues have individual concerns, the Rail Minister and I will be very happy to sit down and talk about them.
“This is a massive and broad change that will deliver far more for passengers.”