Bob Neill urges senior Ministers to maintain pressure on Southeastern

Since being elected as the MP for Bromley and Chislehurst in 2006 I have worked with local residents, Parliamentary colleagues and staff at Southeastern and Network Rail to improve the rail service in our area.

Since Christmas I have attended a number of meetings with the senior management of both organisations, and continue to raise constituents’ concerns – as well as my own complaints as a daily commuter from Chislehurst – about the frankly substandard levels of service we all too often experience. You can read more about these meetings in a website piece I uploaded at the beginning of the year:

http://www.bobneill.org.uk/news/looking-out-southeastern-passengers

Having returned to the House following the General Election, I am keen to keep this momentum going, and have been bringing this problem to the attention of senior Ministers in the Chamber at every available opportunity.

On 25 June, during a Ministerial statement, I welcomed the appointment of Sir Peter Hendy to Network Rail as a sensible move that will improve the delivery of projects like the one we are seeing at London Bridge. I also raised with Patrick McLoughlin, the Secretary of State for Transport, the wholly unacceptable scenario in which some local residents now feel compelled to move away from southeast London on the basis of its unreliable commuter service. You can read the exchange through the link below:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150625/debtext/150625-0002.htm#15062549000576

On 2 July, whilst most of us were enjoying the warm weather, many residents were suffering unacceptable disruption due to the heat. Over the past year I have been delayed myself by ice in the winter, leaves in the autumn, strong winds in the spring and now warm weather in the summer. I don’t believe these should be accepted as legitimate excuses from a franchise that is worth so much money, a point I made to the Leader of the House, Chris Grayling, during a Business statement:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150702/debtext/150702-0001.htm#15070233000841

Finally, a fortnight ago I managed to secure a slot in the most recent set of Transport Questions, asking the Rail Minister, Claire Perry, whether now is the time to urgently consider financial penalties to ensure passenger satisfaction is front and centre in their list of priorities:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmhansrd/cm150716/debtext/150716-0001.htm#15071638000458

On all of these occasions I have expressed my desire for our commuter services to be taken over by London Overground, who I know from experience run a far more efficient operation with relatively few disruptions. This is something I will continue to push for in the months to come, and as always, I will post any updates on progress on my website as when they become available.