Improving Southern’s Brighton mainline service a government priority

Posted On 27 Jul 2015 at 1:21 pm

Rail minister Claire Perry has told Brighton and Hove MPs that improving Southern’s service will be her priority after they slammed its overcrowding and unreliability in parliament.

Southern trains stock shotSouthern’s Brighton mainline service has been harshly criticised by passenger groups, MPs and rail minister Claire Perry in recent months after a raft of delays.

The rail company’s performance was even the subject of a parliamentary debate earlier this month, with overcrowding and unreliability singled out for particular criticism.

Rail minister Claire Perry has since written to those MPs who took part in the debate saying she was making improvements to Southern her priority.

She said: “I have said on a number of occasions that the performance on Southern Railway has not been good enough. For example there has been a clear decline on the Brighton Mainline for over three years. I have therefore made it my priority to oversee improvements on this franchise.”

Meanwhile, passengers on delayed Southern and Gatwick Express trains will be able to claim more compensation from today after the train company officially became part of the Govia Thameslink Franchise.

The services have not changed hands, but parent company the Go Ahead group has reorganised its franchises after taking over the Brighton to Bedford service from First Capital Connect last September.

Southern and Gatwick Express will keep their names and branding and passengers won’t notice any more changes today, although from September Thameslink services will start using the electronic card ticket, the key.

But over the next few months, Thameslink is promising a raft of changes which, they say, will “transform” services.

Its plans to introduce three new train fleets, 10,000 additional peak-time seats into London and a £50m investment in station improvements by the time the Thameslink Programme completes in 2018.

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