This week as co-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Southern Rail, I convened a progress update meeting attended by the CEO of Govia Thameslink, the Managing Director of Southern, and Director of Network Rail, as well as MPs from across the South East region.
Our group was founded in the darkest of days with passengers experiencing misery, and our regional economy suffered too.
Since that time, MPs from across our region have put party differences aside to be a constructive partner in restoring good service. Our £300m has been spent on maintenance and upgrades, hundreds of new drivers have joined the network, and new management have taken control.
We discussed the performance and reliability of the Southern Rail network, ongoing and upcoming upgrade works in the Balcombe Tunnel and East Croydon, and the Passenger Benefit Fund improvement programme.
In recent weeks punctuality and reliability has touched 90% for the first time in years, and passenger satisfaction has risen almost 20%.
These are just the first steps. There’s a long way to go. But our group of MPs have recommitted ourselves to ensuring the next challenges are overcome, such as platform improvements, a better customer experience, and delivering major improvements of Gatwick Airport Station and Windmill Junction that will finally transform the robustness of our network.