Mayor of London’s rail services plans ‘great news’ for Lewes commuters

Rail minister Claire Perry with Lewes MP Maria Caulfield
Rail minister Claire Perry with Lewes MP Maria Caulfield

Lewes’ MP has welcomed proposals by the Mayor of London to transform train services in the capital and across the South East.

Transport for London (TfL) and the Government’s Department for Transport are consulting on a ‘new approach to train services in London and the South East’, which could lead to transferring control of the capital’s suburban rail services to TfL.

Maria Caulfield, Lewes MP, explained that the three key principles would look to deliver more frequent services, greater reliability for all passengers, and high standards of customer service.

After attending the announcement event in Westminster, Ms Caulfield said: “This is great news for commuters within the Lewes constituency, with proposals setting out a plan for TfL to take over the rail management for the London area and by so doing looking to ensure better communication between operators and network rail, minimising delays and disruption as well as improving customer services.”

“I have persistently looked to convey the concerns of commuters within my constituency to ministers and representatives from the rail industry, again looking to express our shared frustration at the poor performance demonstrated by the rail network in the South East.

“I think that this most recent move, which will see local authorities included in future discussions, is unquestionably a step in the right direction.”

The new approach could see local authorities, Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) and other organisations have a direct input into how passenger services are improved.

The Southeastern franchise, which operates services between London and East Sussex including stations in Battle and Hastings, is up for renewal in 2018 and could be one of the first set of services to be governed by the new partnership arrangements if proposals are agreed.

Earlier this month, Huw Merriman, Bexhill and Battle MP, explained that he had raised concerns that any desire by the Mayor of London to expand his coverage of rail to the outer London regions should not be at the expense of the rail services serving East Sussex.

The consultation closes on March 18.

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