This week the All Party Parliamentary Group on Southern Rail held an update meeting with the CEO of Govia Thameslink, the Managing Director of Southern, and Director of Network Rail. The Group discussed the performance and reliability of the Southern Rail network, ongoing and upcoming upgrade works, and the Passenger Benefit Fund improvement programme.
Now isn’t the time to relax on improvements to the rail service but to keep driving forward. However since the worst point in Southern’s delivery, when the Group was founded, there have been real improvements. £300m has been spent on maintenance and upgrades, hundreds of new drivers have joined the network, and new management have taken control.
In recent weeks punctuality and reliability has touched 90% for the first time in years, and passenger satisfaction has risen almost 20%.
There are real constraints on the network which make achieving 100 per cent punctuality and reliability harder to achieve than elsewhere but that is what must be targeted alongside increases in capacity and the number of services.
This requires further ongoing investment including to Gatwick Airport Station and in due course at Windmill Junction.
Following a recent email to passengers I have a large number of individual issues that I am raising with GTR and Network Rail on an individual basis. I am also meeting Network Rail next week to discuss concerns regarding our level crossings.
This week I am launching an online survey (please see below) . All information received will be useful in continuing to maintain the pressure for improvement.