MPs want answers on Southeastern Hastings line delays

MPs called for answers to the recent '˜poor performance' and '˜severe delays' affecting commuters on Southeastern's Hastings line in a joint letter to the operators.

Huw Merriman MP, former transport minister Claire Perry and Amber Rudd MP SUS-150511-075751001
Huw Merriman MP, former transport minister Claire Perry and Amber Rudd MP SUS-150511-075751001

Hastings and Rye MP Amber Rudd and Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman want to know why there have been so many delays and what is being done to prevent them.

The representatives said it seems ‘nonsensical’ the line is suffering rail and equipment failures after a year of engineering work including Monday and Tuesday evenings in the letter to Southeastern and Network Rail.

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The operators said performance ‘has not been as good as they expect’ and urged delayed passengers to seek compensation.

Mr Merriman and Ms Rudd’s letter says their constituents ‘deserve better’ particularly given the issues on Southern Rail services with the recent strikes.

“Our constituents have experienced appalling delays,” the letter reads.

“Living so far from London, these constituents are working long hours and paying high rail fares.

“December is a crucial time of year for rail travel. Constituents deserve better.

Southeastern train

“Many are using the line as an alternative to the industrial action on Southern.

“It is therefore even more imperative that the Hastings line is running to time.”

Southeastern services were affected during rush hour yesterday (Monday, December 12) due to a points failure at Robertsbridge, making many London commuters late.

Labour campaigner and election candidate Sarah Owen described the service as disgraceful on Twitter, among other frustrated commuters.

Southeastern train

The line was also delayed on November 28 due to overrunning engineering work and power supply problems, Network Rail said.

The letter asks for answers on the causes of ‘severe delays’ over the last month and who is responsible, why there have been failures on the line despite the engineering work and what is being done to prevent the disruption.

“We use the service ourselves, as do our staff, and we would like your assurance that both your organisations are working together as a priority to eradicate the poor performance,” the MP’s letter says.

A Southeastern and Network Rail spokesman said: “Performance on the Hastings line has not been as good as we or our passengers would expect recently.

“Services on this line were affected on November 28, due to overrunning engineering work and power supply problems.

“Yesterday services south of Tunbridge Wells were affected by a points failure that occurred at around 6.45am, meaning we were unable to run services between Tunbridge Wells and Hastings.

“Network Rail engineers worked quickly to resolve the problem and services were ruining again by around 8.45am, in meantime, replacement bus services were operating in both directions.

“We encourage any passengers who were delayed by 30 minutes or more to claim compensation under our delay repay compensation scheme.”

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