SOUTH West Trains is calling on support from politicians to help improve railway services – after being slammed by an MP for a lack of investment in the area.
Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage has called for a debate to be held in Parliament on the issue of the slow services between the south coast and London.
She said: ‘In the light of South West Trains’ announcement that £210m will be invested in rolling stock and not a single penny will be used on rail routes between Portsmouth and London, will the leader of the house agree to a debate on the much-needed improvements to this important route, which has been painfully neglected for decades?’
Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North, added: ‘I still think there are things that could be done to alleviate the overcrowding and the discomfort that people who are travelling from Portsmouth feel at times.
‘If we can fill the capacity going to Waterloo we can run more trains and tackle overcrowding that way.’
But the rail company has hit back, insisting the city is ‘very much included’ in its investment plans, including ‘extensive station refurbishment works for Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth and Southsea’.
The company says there have been other improvements recently.
Tim Shoveller, chief executive for the South West Trains-Network Rail Alliance, said: ‘There are currently over 3,500 passenger journeys made every day between the Portsmouth area and London, and passengers are already benefitting from the investment we have made in additional carriages and track improvements
‘We’re planning a round-table meeting with MPs, local stakeholders and businesses in the Portsmouth and south Hampshire area to discuss the challenges and our plans for the future.
‘We can solve these problems and build a better railway for the future, but only by working together.’
Earlier this year, The News called for better railway services for the area after Transforming Solent, a report commissioned by the former minister for Portsmouth, Michael Fallon, and prepared by Rear-Admiral Rob Stevens, named rail services as a priority for improving the region’s prosperity.