Lib Dems slam Rail Minister Excuses on Southern Rail

Rail Minister Paul Maynard MP has come under fire from Lewes Lib Dems for his excuses when tackling the ongoing problems with Southern Rail.

Members of Lewes District Council wrote to Paul Maynard MP about ongoing problems with Govia Thameslink Railway, who manage Southern Rail, and the detrimental affect on residents across the district.

The Rail Minister replied on 19 th October chiefly blaming the Unions for delays;

“The trade union dispute on the Southern network, which has been ongoing since mid-April, is significantly adding to the disruption passengers are facing.”

“My expectation is that the operator should be able to run a reliable and predictable service for it’s passengers.”

“The stretch of network is one of the busiest in the country… Disappointingly, crucial engineering and upgrade work has caused more disruption than any of us would like.”

Kelly-Marie Blundell, Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Lewes slammed his response, stating,

“The problems with Southern Rail services have existed prior to any Union action.

“Even when there are no strikes, residents in Seaford, Newhaven and Lewes are subject to frequent delays, often for spurious reasons such as leaves on the line.

“Many residents have come to me saying the continued delays are costing them their jobs and livelihoods.

“The Government hold the contract with Govia Thameslink Services, and, instead of fobbing us off with small amounts of compensation via extending Delay Repay, they should be holding GTR to the terms of their contract, and giving it to another operator if the problems continue.”

Lib Dem Group Leader Sarah Osborne also slammed the letter, commenting;

“We are being palmed off with excuses from the Conservatives, who are quick to blame the Unions and slow to take action themselves.

For residents across the district, this has become a never ending problem.” 

Full text of letter from Paul Maynard MP can be read here