Portsmouth MP calls for train service to be improved

Thursday, 2nd June 2016, 6:00 am
A Southern train

Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond has sent a letter to Southern Railway’s chief executive Charles Horton, imploring him to reduce the number of cancelled trains and increase the service’s performance, saying her constituents had got in touch over the delays.

According to Southern Railway, an average of 83 services are being cancelled across the south on a daily basis.

A dozen trains between the city and Littlehampton, London Victoria and Brighton were affected last Wednesday.

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There were also cancellations along the West Coastway route to and from Southampton up towards London Victoria and Brighton.

Ms Drummond said that it was not an ‘unusually bad day in that respect’.

In her letter to Mr Norton, she wrote: ‘I am being contacted by an increasing number of constituents who are being inconvenienced by the disruptions to Southern services over recent weeks and months.

‘These are important connecting services for my constituents.’

She said in the letter that she was aware of frequent signalling problems which can disrupt services to and from the city.

Southern Railway said an ‘unusually high level’ of sickness among conductors was at the root of the cancellations.

The train operator’s services have recently been hit by two rounds of strike action from members of the RMT union in a row over the conductors’ roles.

A Southern Railway spokesman said: ‘We apologise for the number of cancellations being experienced in the Portsmouth area at the moment.

‘The nature of the situation means that we only know what the level of sickness is at the start of each day, and have to adjust the service accordingly.

‘For those conductors who are ill, the company is offering support and working out how they can get back to work.

For the time being, it will be pre-cancelling a small number of the same trains each day so commuters can prepare better for their journeys.