Polegate MP, Maria Caulfield, has said that the ongoing problems on Southern Rail are now so serious, it is becoming a national crisis.
Due to ongoing strike action and a Union ban on overtime working, Southern will not be running trains on the Seaford branch line until further notice. A rail replacement service will run instead. In addition to this there will be no rail services on the entire Southern network on the train driver strike days (by ASLEF) so stations in the constituency including Wivelsfield, Plumpton, Cooksbridge, Lewes, Falmer, Southease, Newhaven, Bishopstone, Seaford, Glynde, Berwick and Polegate will have no trains stopping at all.
Maria Caulfield said, “This is completely unacceptable and it is why I have today supported Caroline Lucas MP in her urgent question to the Transport Secretary. I have demanded that the Secretary of State intervene and get both Southern and the Unions back round the table and use the mediation services of ACAS to resolve this dispute once and for all.”
“I have also emphasised that constituents cannot be left without a train or replacement bus service for days at a time between now and mid-January. It is unacceptable that almost 70,000 people in my constituency will be stranded because of industrial action, thousands of people put at risk of losing their jobs and local businesses put in danger of going under because of this.”
The Alfriston MP believes that if Southern can’t resolve this dispute and run a rail service, which many have already paid for, then they need to put on buses across the entire network. If they can’t do that then the Government has a duty to get this sorted.
Ms Caulfield continued, “It is ultimately their contract and if the Government need to call in the Army to get people where they need to go then that’s what they should do. It would be a terrible shame if Sussex MPs were unable to make it in to parliament for the next few weeks because we are unable to travel to and from work like our constituents.”