MP's anger at cuts to Lewes-Seaford trains in rail timetable reductions
Lewes' MP has expressed her anger at plans by Southern to cut almost 350 train services a day including many in her constituency.
The rail operator has been embroiled in a dispute with union RMT over the future role of conductors and due to staff shortages has been forced to cancel services on a daily basis.
It has been given permission from the Government to bring in a revised temporary weekday timetable cancelling another 341 services a day from Monday (July 11).
Between Seaford and Lewes, most services will replaced by buses other than the Seaford to Victoria services, with two in the morning and one in the evening.
Lewes MP Maria Caulfield tweeted last night: “I will absolutely not accept the removal of trains to Seaford. Disgraceful.”
She added: “Let’s spend millions making Newhaven an enterprise zone and then cut off the train service. WTF???”
She continued: “Three of my four towns will have no branch rail service with new timetable changes. Unacceptable and will fight this.”
Alex Foulds, Southern’s passenger services director, said: ““We are introducing this temporary weekday revised timetable with reluctance but it is the best thing we can do for our passengers who have been suffering daily cancellations ever since this dispute with the RMT began, and for which we are sincerely sorry.
“It should give the majority of our passengers a better, more consistent service that they can plan around.
“Whilst our first priority is our passengers, we also understand that this has been a difficult time for our staff. Conductors already know that their jobs are guaranteed, that there will be no reduction in salary and that the independent rail safety body has confirmed our plans are safe.
“Now, after listening to our staff, we have also decided to restore leisure travel benefits. All of this, we believe, should help our staff feel able to return to work and so reduce the issues causing the current high level of train cancellations.”
He added: “Once again, we urge RMT officials to relax their unbending attitude to our plans and to step over the line in the sand they have drawn opposing any extension of driver-only train operation.”
Bosses from Govia Thameslink Railway, which runs the Southern franchise, and the RMT are due to appear before the House of Commons Transport Select Committee this morning (Tuesday July 5).
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