Addressing local rail services: meeting with Southern Rail & Network Rail

In response to a rise in the number of constituents contacting my office with concerns about local rail services, last Thursday (6th March) I convened a meeting between Southern Rail, Network Rail, and a panel of regular train users from across the constituency. Southern Rail operate trains throughout East Surrey, including along the lines towards Caterham, East Grinstead, Uckfield, Redhill and Horley. The discussion was held at the Community Hall in Oxted, where a landslip caused extensive disruption to rail services last month. The meeting was an opportunity to explore in depth a number of concerns rail users have about the service including overcrowding on trains, increasingly frequent disruption to services, refunds, and potential options to introduce greater flexibility in tickets available. Many people in East Surrey depend upon these services for their daily commute into work, and they have the right to expect a consistent quality of service. I am encouraged that Southern Rail and Network Rail have formulated a performance improvement plan to address shortcomings in service over recent months, and a further meeting will be held to assess progress. I will continue to listen carefully to feedback I receive from constituents and monitor this issue moving forward.