Disrupted Rail Services: Update
The first week of the new timetable was a shambles, in the second we saw no improvements, and again today I am hearing reports of significant disruption. I’m aware that trains are still being delayed and cancelled at short notice. It is no exaggeration to say that people’s lives have been turned upside down in these last few weeks. The very first thing that the Government should do is reinstate the East Midlands Peak Services. I understand that reverting to the old timetable for Thameslink is not logistically possible without creating even more disruption throughout the network, but nonetheless whatever must happen to increase the frequency and reliability of trains must happen fast. The livelihoods of my constituents, their wellbeing and the prosperity of our town is at risk.
I would strongly recommend that passengers submit ‘Delay Repay’ claims for every journey affected, where possible – it is important that Thameslink are made to see how huge the problems have been. If you receive a refusal to a delay repay request, I would be interested to know so please get in touch and I will take this up on your behalf. Of course a more robust compensation regime is needed, to ensure that additional childcare payments, and the overall repeated inconvenience of this situation is recognised. I will be pushing for that.
I have meetings with both the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling and Rail Minister Jo Johnson this week and I am advised that a meeting is being arranged for MPs to put their concerns to Train Operation Companies. I will certainly be putting your points across in all of those meetings. We are awaiting a statement on rail from Chris Grayling in Parliament later today, so this may shed some light on the recovery plan, but this must be immediate, and I will make that clear, should the speaker afford me the opportunity to do so.
I have submitted several urgent parliamentary questions for response for the Department for Transport. You can find these here (the Government should respond to these by the end of the week)
This timetable was forced on people who repeatedly raised their voices to disagree with the proposed changes, and their views have been ignored. Questions must be answered about why the decision was taken to proceed with these changes when it was realised that there might be problems. I believe that Chris Grayling MP should resign as a result of the complete and total mismanagement of this new timetable.