Rail passengers on the Uckfield Line suffer a “journey from hell”, Parliament has been told.
Wealden MP Nus Ghani said this afternoon (March 16) in a debate the train operator Southern should face a Parliamentary inquiry into its performance.
She joined other MPs from the South East to put pressure on Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), whose operations include Southern, and Network Rail.
Ms Ghani said: “Despite all the recent talk and all the excuses, my constituents across Wealden who commute on the ‘misery line’, which was previously known as the Uckfield Line, still have to put up with delays, timetable changes, short-form trains, extended engineering works, overcrowding, unsatisfactory compensation processes, nonsensical bus replacements, poor communication and, the latest nail in the coffin, potential ticket office closures.
Transport Select Committee
“I would like to take this opportunity to ask my honourable and right honourable friends to join me in writing to the Transport Select Committee.
“I first wrote in July last year, asking for a Select Committee inquiry into the performance of Southern. I then wrote six months later, in January, asking for the committee to consider an inquiry once again due to the constant and continued failure of the service.
“We need proper answers and accountability, and most of all I don’t believe that GTR and Network Rail understand the impact of their disruption on the individual passenger, on their family, on their jobs and on the rural economy such as mine in Wealden.”
Failed by the train companies
Commenting, Ms Ghani said: “My constituents do not live on cloud cuckoo land – they do not expect every problem to be solved overnight.
“But they do expect, and rightly so, that they will not continue to be failed by the train companies they pay their money to, and who they depend on so much.
“I am hopeful that this debate will lead to a Transport Select Committee inquiry, because my constituents want to know when their journey from hell will end.”
In the debate, Ms Ghani also described Southern’s timetable as a “fantasy” which does not bear any resemblance to the real experiences of passengers.
She asked the Rail Minister to set out how rail executives are held accountable, and what penalties are put in place for failures of management.