Polegate MP, Maria Caulfield, today, (14 July) joined colleagues from across the Commons at a Westminster Hall Debate when the Performance of Govia Thameslink rail service was again the hot topic of discussion.
MP’s from all parties gave both their own, and their constituents shocking accounts of the poor level of service currently being provided by Southern.
The pressure put onto students trying to reach schools and colleges, commuters losing their jobs, the risk to passenger’s health, damage to family life and access being denied to disabled rail users were among those issues raised by MPs.
The Lewes MP, who is holding public meetings across the constituency, the first due to take place tomorrow evening in Seaford, started by stating that the current delays had been ongoing for many weeks and months, with 1350 trains delayed each and every week last month.
Maria looked to reflect the general remarks already made by parliamentary colleagues, before informing colleagues and the Rail Minister that for many of her constituents living in rural locations, the train service is the only form of public transport available to them.
Ms Caulfield said that she would rather be using this time campaigning to increase the number of trains stopping at some of the stations within her constituency, like Cookesbridge where currently trains only stop during peak times during the working week.
Moving on, she said that the largest of her towns, Seaford with a population of 27,000, will, together with Newhaven, see a massive reduction in service, seeing some 80% of train journeys cut to branch line with less than a week’s notice.
Newhaven, the town in which Maria has situated her constituency office, then came into the limelight, as she highlighted the regeneration that she will seek to see through for the town, and the major part that the cross-channel ferry to Dieppe plays in that aim, informing colleagues and the Rail Minister that she is ashamed to turn around to the French and inform them that there is no train service to the harbour in which their ferries dock.
Summing up, the Lewes MP put six asks to the Minister as follows: