Southeastern trains is granted a franchise extension until June 2018

A £70 million investment will be made into the Southeastern service after its parent company was given the green light to extend the franchise until June 2018.

The Go-Ahead Group, which has a 65 per cent stake in Southeastern, welcomed last Thursday’s (September 11) announcement by the Department for Transport.

However the Go-Ahead Group deal has been criticised by the Campaign for Better Transport.

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Spokesman Martin Abrams said: “The announcement comes with a welcome promise of service improvements.

“But the fact remains that Southeastern have been given a four-year extension despite having more dissatisfied passengers than anywhere else on the network.

Passengers deserve more clarity in how decisions are being made and should have a bigger say in who runs their trains.”

Southeastern has pledged to make major improvements to customer service, passenger satisfaction and train punctuality across the network.

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The £70m will be invested in better customer information systems, additional staff and maintenance to stations and trains along the route.

Rail Minister Claire Perry said: “I know passengers on this route haven’t always received the service that they deserve, which is why I am absolutely determined that this marks a fresh start for the Southeastern franchise.”

David Brown, chief executive of Go-Ahead, said: “We’re looking forward to delivering these plans and are wholly committed to improving performance and services for customers and our local communities.

“We’re proud of our team at Southeastern and know they’re ready to take on the challenge of supporting our customers through the major Thameslink upgrade work.”

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Carol Murphy, 55, from St Leonards, who commutes every day to Charing Cross, said: “I am paying 15 per cent of my salary and the trains can’t guarantee a seat and I have to pay to park my car at the station.

“The trains are expensive, poorly maintained, smelly and dirty and I do not welcome the franchise being re-awarded.”