MP holds meeting with rail boss over ‘unacceptable’ delays across Portsmouth area

Havant MP Alan Mak with Govia Thameslink Chief Operating Officer Dyan Crowther

Havant MP Alan Mak with Govia Thameslink Chief Operating Officer Dyan Crowther

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AN MP has called for the ‘unacceptable’ train service run by Southern Rail to be improved after further delays and cancellations.

Alan Mak met the firm’s chief operating officer Dyan Crowther in parliament on Wednesday to voice his concern over recent rail problems.

Southern Rail serves four stations in Mr Mak’s Havant constituency – Havant, Emsworth, Bedhampton and Warblington – as well as Fareham and Portsmouth.

The MP believes a mixture of under-performance and damaging industrial action has caused inconvenience for rail users across the network.

Mr Mak said: ‘Local residents deserve a high-quality train service.

‘Southern Rail’s performance over the past few years has been unacceptable.

‘For commuters, local residents and visitors, our rail network is vitally important, that’s why I needed to meet Southern Rail’s senior management to push for a more reliable train service.’

Southern Rail, owned by Govia Thameslink, is in dispute with trade unions over the introduction of new trains on the Gatwick Express line and the use of trains operated only by drivers without a conductor.

This has led to strikes and other industrial action being taken, affecting the entire Southern Rail network.

Mr Mak said: ‘Govia Thameslink needs to resolve its disputes with trade unions so the disruptive industrial action ends.’

Reports in 2015 showed that Southern Rail was responsible for some of Britain’s longest train delays.

Speaking to Mr Mak in parliament, rail minister, Claire Perry, agrees something has to be done.

She said: ‘The performance on Southern Rail has not been good enough. Immediate improvements need to be made.’

‘A longer-term action plan to help improve the reliability and performance of the railway service in the future is needed.’

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