Action on Railways

There are thousands of people using not only Horsham station itself but also, among others within the constituency Billingshurst, Christ’s Hospital, Littlehaven, Warnham, Faygate and Balcombe stations for whom a regular, reliable service is absolutely critical.

Jeremy absolutely understands constituents’ frustration regarding poor rail performance and it has been a huge focus for Jeremy since his election in 2015. Jeremy has regularly represented constituents’ views at the highest levels in the Government, GTR and Network Rail.

Jeremy recognises the underlying issues on our local lines:  passenger numbers have nearly doubled in recent years but the lines themselves form part of what is globally the most complex and intensely used rail network .  They are also reliant on some of the oldest infrastructure:  such as (within the constituency) Balcombe Tunnel which has been in continuous use since 1841.  Local lines had also been starved of investment for decades.

This was an extremely unhappy combination - creating a higher risk of failures than elsewhere and, once those failures had occurred, a massively enhanced risk of severe knock-on disruption across the entire network:  the lines were working close to capacity with little resilience when problems struck.

2010 marked the start of a massive investment programme. In the short term this meant severe disruption as a direct impact of the investment: including the knock-on impact of rebuilding London Bridge Station and the newly acquired modern rolling stock proving the catalyst for changing working practices and as a result a difficult industrial dispute.

Jeremy campaigned hard for passengers in parliament and in lobbying Government:  it was after a long campaign and in response to Jeremy’s question in PMQs that the original (ground breaking) Southern Rail additional compensation scheme received the commitment of the Prime Minister.

Jeremy recognises that the overall performance is still far from perfect but that there has been a recent  improvement in the service as the new timetable, new rolling stock and new through-London services are all beginning to make a positive difference to passengers and the resilience of the service.

Jeremy encourages his constituents to write to him about their experiences of the train service, giving as much detail as possible. Where appropriate, Jeremy will take this up directly with GTR.

Please see below for latest updates from Jeremy on railways:

News

Public Meeting in Barns Green to Address Concerns on the Level Crossing

I was pleased to help arrange the public meeting held in Barns Green this evening, which Network Rail attended, to address community concerns and answer questions on the level crossing.

I hope the meeting, chaired and hosted by the Parish Council, was useful for the attendees.

New Measures to Improve Train Punctuality

Whilst there have been considerable improvements in services locally (this is reflected in the correspondence I receive from constituents) there is still more that can be done to ensure our network is reliable and efficient.

Thameslink Winter 2019 Timetable

Thameslink have announced that from 15th December onwards, they will be offering constituents using Horsham and Littlehaven stations direct Saturday services to St Pancras International, Hertfordshire and Peterborough for the first time.

Keeping Rail Services on the Right Track

I have campaigned continuously since I was first elected in 2015 for a better local rail and this column all too often has been focussed on issues we need to get right. Many remain but it is nonetheless important to recognise real improvements to the service – and these are happening.

Level Crossings

Following the concerns raised earlier on this year about safety at level crossings, I arranged to meet representatives from Network Rail in Parliament on this issue.  This is the second meeting I have had with the team in the last year. 

Pressing for More Railway Stations to Meet Local Need

In other news from Westminster! I met the Rail Minister, Andrew Jones, and his colleagues from the Department for Transport today to press the case for better station access between Horsham and Crawley.