Government unveils £20m cash boost to tackle rail network

A �20m cash injection aims to ease problems on railways in the south 
Picture: Chris  Duncan
A �20m cash injection aims to ease problems on railways in the south Picture: Chris Duncan
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TRAVEL AND WEATHER: A reasonable day ahead

  • Government makes promise to fix network that is home to much-criticised train operator
  • Portsmouth MP backs cash injection
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PLANS for a £20 million investment in the area’s rail network have been welcomed.

The money will put to place more rapid-response teams in the area, accelerate the replacement of worn track and hire extra staff at stations to make sure trains get away on time.

Whilst this money will help provided a good solution in the short term, we need both GTR and the union to come to a solution to help ease the difficulties in the long run

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP

Penny Mordaunt, MP for Portsmouth North said: ‘It is good news.

‘Commuters will be pleased to know that something is being done to alleviate the current problems.

‘However, whilst this money will help provided a good solution in the short term, we need both Govia Thameslink Railway and the union to come to a solution to help ease the difficulties in the long run.’

Portsmouth’s rail users have been left deeply frustrated over the summer due to the hundreds of delays by Southern Railway, whose owners GTR are involved in a bitter dispute with the RMT union about the role of train drivers.

Flick Drummond, MP for Portsmouth South welcomed the cash boost.

She added: ‘What we need now is RMT to get around the table with Southern and resolve the dispute.’

Transport Secretary Chris Grayling announced the £20m investment and said a new project board will oversee the improvements.

He said: ‘I want the southern network to be run by people who work together to make sure passengers get decent journeys and that problems are dealt with quickly.

‘We also need to get to grips with things that go wrong on this part of the network.’

The announcement came as peace talks between RMT and Southern Rail led to the union suspending strike action involving scheduled station staff that was scheduled for next Wednesday.

GTR also revealed that from next Monday, it will reinstate more than 100 services back to its timetable.

Charles Horton, GTR’s CEO said: ‘We welcome the benefits this £20 million improvement package will bring.’