Lewes MP welcomes new rail minister

Maria Caulfield, Lewes MP, at Lewes Railway Station (photo submitted/ by Nick Robinson). SUS-150728-140612001
Maria Caulfield, Lewes MP, at Lewes Railway Station (photo submitted/ by Nick Robinson). SUS-150728-140612001

Lewes MP Maria Caulfield has welcomed Paul Maynard’s appointment as the Government’s new rail minister following a meeting with MPs last week.

After a meeting of the Transport Select Committee last Wednesday (July 20), Ms Caulfield said she welcomed Mr Maynard’s “willingness to take a new approach to the Southern issue”.

At the meeting Mr Maynard – who was joined by transport secretary Chris Grayling and minister of state John Hayes – told MPs he would consider brokering a deal between Southern and the rail union RMT.

Following the meeting, Mrs Caulfield said: “I am grateful to my colleagues sitting on this committee for raising in the fullest terms the frustration that passengers and their families are being subjected to on a daily basis.

“I was very pleased to hear the new rail minister mention the towns of Lewes and Seaford whilst giving evidence, and very much welcome the fact that he intends to ‘hit the ground running’ as, just like the trains themselves, there is no room for further delay.

“I further welcomed the new minister’s comments, confirming that the current timetable will only be temporary, and that returning to the old timetable - together with solving the initial issue of reliability - is a key priority. I also welcome the department’s realisation that the franchise is too large, and that future franchises won’t be set over such large, heavily populated areas, as well as the new minister’s commitment to improving access for disabled rail users, and I look forward to seeing the results of his work in this area.

“Separately to Wednesday’s meeting, I have also been informed by the transport secretary [Chris Grayling] that both he and the rail minister have already met with representatives from the Go-Ahead Group, Govia Thameslink Railway and then separately with Network Rail to discuss underlying problems on this network, the industrial relations dispute and what needs to be done to make necessary improvements.

“I have asked that the secretary of state continues to keep me updated, and will continue to push for all and any action that will bring this sorry state of affairs to a close.”

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