‘Still a long way to go’ for Southern rail services despite significant improvements

Meeting of All Party Parliamentary Group on Southern rail services
Meeting of All Party Parliamentary Group on Southern rail services

Southern rail services have improved but ‘there’s a long way to go’, according to a group of MPs.

The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Southern Rail held a progress update meeting that was attended by the chief executive officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, the managing director of Southern and director of Network Rail.

Meeting of All Party Parliamentary Group on Southern rail services

Meeting of All Party Parliamentary Group on Southern rail services

The APPG discussed the performance and reliability of the Southern Rail network, ongoing and upcoming upgrade works in the Balcombe Tunnel and East Croydon, and the Passenger Benefit Fund improvement programme.

Peter Kyle, Hove MP, and Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames, the APPG co-chairs, said: “Our group was founded in the darkest of days with passengers experiencing misery, and our regional economy suffered too.

“Since that time, MPs from across our region have put party differences aside to be a constructive partner in restoring good service. Our £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 per cent for the first time in years, and passenger satisfaction has risen almost 20 per cent.

“These are just the first steps. There’s a long way to go. But our group of MPs have recommitted ourselves to ensuring the next challenges are overcome, such as platform improvements, a better customer experience, and delivering major improvements of Gatwick Airport Station and Windmill Junction that will finally transform the robustness of our network.”

Last month a new survey that passenger satisfaction with Southern services had reached a seven-year high.