Louie French, MP for Old Bexley and Sidcup met with Southeastern’s Managing Director, Head of Stakeholder Relations, Rail Minister Huw Merriman MP, alongside Sir David Evennett, MP for Bexleyheath and Crayford to press for improvements to services and the timetable.
At the meeting, Louie and Sir David expressed their concern over the level of disruption passengers have experienced following the new timetable, including the overcrowding, delays, and severe disruption that recently occurred at London Bridge Station.
Southeastern set out the causes of the recent disruption including the trespasser at Hither Green which led to crowd control being used at London Bridge, as well as signal and infrastructure issues which Louie continues to press Southeastern and Network Rail to take prompt remedial action on and is now being undertaken.
Alongside additional services on the Sidcup line to address the overcrowding problems, Louie and Sir David pressed the vital need for the reinstatement of Charing Cross services on the Bexleyheath line. Louie is fighting for this timetable change to negate the inconvenience for passengers having to change at London Bridge and to also help the overcrowding issues on the Sidcup line as it has been noted that many passengers are travelling to Sidcup line stations who previously used the Bexleyheath line for Charing Cross services.
Louie also sought assurance that the new morning peak service to Charing Cross added on the Sidcup line will serve Albany Park which Southeastern provided confirmation for this.
More widely, Louie pressed for the progress of the extra 707 trains on the network which he will continue to campaign for due to the expected added reliability and capacity the new stock would deliver to services.
Commenting, Louie said:
“I welcome that after much lobbying, Southeastern have now announced some additional services to help with overcrowding during rush hour and we continue pushing for more services ahead of the next timetable which is due to be announced shortly.”
“I would also like to thank all the local commuters that have completed my short survey. This information is vital in these meetings and us being able to hold Southeastern to account and focus our push for further changes to the timetable, particularly additional trains serving Albany Park and Charing Cross services on the Bexleyheath line.”