Villagers ask for better quality railway services

Nick Herbert and Claire Perry SUS-150115-171956001
Nick Herbert and Claire Perry SUS-150115-171956001

LANCING and Sompting residents have shared their frustration over rail services as the government demands for improvements this month.

The 07.29 Brighton to London Victoria train service, which stops at Lancing, failed to arrive on time on any of its 240 attempts last year.

Recently speaking to BBC Sussex and BBC Surrey, David Cameron said that delayed services were ‘extremely frustrating’ and added: “Frankly if the operators continue to fail then they should be at risk of losing their franchise because it’s not good enough to have services like this.”

Deborah Fields travels to London twice a week from Lancing to get to work.

She said: “It has cost me a fortune in missed appointments and late arrivals.

“It has taken me hours to get home. Over 40 per cent of my journeys have been affected. Constant signalling failures, engineering works, people on tracks or other issues. I moan all the time about it.”

On the other hand, Lancing resident Peter Ring said that he does not feel delays are always due to the rail services.

He said: “I think it’s pretty good actually. I used to travel to Woking for medical appointments about once a month, via Havant. I do think though that some passenger’s behaviour contributes to delays – people holding automatic doors open, etc...”

Tim Kimber is another commuter from Lancing. She said: “I commute to East Croydon and London Bridge daily and have done for almost eight years.

“Despite increasing costs, the last year has been the worst for general lateness and delays, even if just a few minutes each way each day, there is hardly ever a credible reason for this that is given.”

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert met the Rail Minister on January 6 to discuss services in West Sussex.

The MP, who was recently appointed President of the West Sussex Rail Users Association, said that he had received complaints about the punctuality of trains.

Mr Herbert asked to see Claire Perry MP, the Parliamentary Under Secretary at the Department of Transport.

Mrs Perry said that while a certain amount of disruption was caused by the £6 billion London Bridge improvements, this did not excuse poor reliability generally, especially on the Brighton line.

Mr Herbert also raised the issue of the Arundel Chord, the proposal for a short piece of line to allow trains to turn east below Arundel.

However, Network Rail found that there would be insufficient benefits to justify the cost, which would be between £35 and £75m.