MPs ‘take over’ the House of Commons to demand better trains

070371_0050_SW_TRAINS (DK) 30/1/07''''South West Trains passengers in the new 450 rolling stock carriages, on the journey from Fratton Station, Portsmouth, to Guildford.''''PICTURE: MICHAEL SCADDAN (070361-0050)
070371_0050_SW_TRAINS (DK) 30/1/07''''South West Trains passengers in the new 450 rolling stock carriages, on the journey from Fratton Station, Portsmouth, to Guildford.''''PICTURE: MICHAEL SCADDAN (070361-0050)

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RAIL commuters have welcomed efforts from local MPs to improve conditions on trains to London.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt led a ‘Hampshire takeover’ of the House of Commons to call for improvements to South West Trains’ Portsmouth-London Waterloo route.

She called for the firm’s class-450 trains to be replaced by the bigger Desiro 444 model. The Tory argued the 450 model is uncomfortable for long-distance journeys.

She said: ‘A report commissioned by SWT on its class-450 carriages, found 59 per cent of people – when their elbows are taken into account – will not fit into the seats. The Rail Passengers’ Council found the trains are not suitable for mainline services. Yet 53 per cent of services between Portsmouth and Waterloo are formed of these trains.’

Ms Mordaunt was joined by Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage, East Hampshire’s Damian Hinds, and Portsmouth South’s Mike Hancock.

They convinced transport minister Theresa Villiers to set up a meeting between SWT, passenger groups and MPs.

David Habershon, of pressure group No To 450s, said: ‘We’re very pleased Penny and the other MPs have helped make progress.’

SWT said: ‘We are aware of the issues discussed during the debate and have, for a number of years, engaged fully with passenger groups on this matter.’

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