MPs demand a drastic improvement on South West trains

MPs at the Department for Transport with the response to the consultation, including far left, Havant's Alan Mak, third left, Portsmouth South's Flick Drummond, fourth left, Portsmouth North's Penny Mordaunt and, far right, Fareham's Suella Fernandes
MPs at the Department for Transport with the response to the consultation, including far left, Havant's Alan Mak, third left, Portsmouth South's Flick Drummond, fourth left, Portsmouth North's Penny Mordaunt and, far right, Fareham's Suella Fernandes
  • Politicians say faster rail links are needed to support economy in the south
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QUICKER trains to London and better connections between Hampshire cities and towns are being called for by MPs.

Politicians across the Portsmouth area have urged higher standards on South West trains.

It comes as the company’s contract is set to end next year, and the Department for Transport held a consultation to suggest improvements for future services.

A submission to the department, signed by all the area’s MPs, points out an ‘infrastructure deficit’ in Hampshire, with the lowest amount of motorways and ‘A’ roads per head of population in the country and the slowest 
and most crowded rail network.

Over the past 17 years, passenger numbers at Hampshire’s stations have gone up by 91 per cent, yet the number of services has failed to keep pace, says their submission.

The MPs are calling for quicker and longer trains to London and better train services between Portsmouth and Southampton.

It currently takes about 90 minutes to get to London and the 20 miles between Portsmouth and Southampton takes 65 minutes on the slowest train.

MPs want to develop a corridor of growth, based on improved public transport, between Basingstoke, Winchester, Eastleigh, Southampton, Portsmouth, Havant and Petersfield.

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond said: ‘It’s clear that Portsmouth has had a bad deal for many years with poor services and poor journey times, not only to its neighbours like Southampton and Winchester, but also to London and beyond.

‘In fact, as the response points out, there is not even a direct train from Portsmouth to Southampton Airport, and this is frankly not good enough.’

Havant MP Alan Mak has made recommendations including increasing the number of fast trains between Havant and London to four or five times per hour during peak periods, introducing Class 444 trains with better seating, and improving WiFi availability.

He said: ‘We must be prepared to invest more in local and regional infrastructure if we are to capitalise on our rising population and strong economic platform.’

He said he was ‘determined’ commuters should get a ‘good deal’.