Keeping Local Rail Improvements on Track
Yesterday I held the second meeting of a working group I established to improve our area’s rail links to London.
As well as my colleague Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, the group includes representatives from East Sussex, Hastings and Rother councils as well as Chambers of Commerce, the South East LEP, and local rail and development organisations.
We heard an update from Network Rail on their work analysing solutions to the rail needs of our region and I was very pleased to hear of the progress they have made.
Our goal remains High Speed. I want to see Javelin trains running along the South Coast making our link to London quicker than ever. However, before we see this, progress is being made to boost the speed at which services on the Marsh Link are able to run.
To solve the long-running capacity problem we are looking to innovate. The uniqueness of the line – only part-electrified – coupled with the national shortage of diesel trains, mean we need a novel solution. This is why we are at the forefront of working to bring hybrid trains to our railways.
I am in regular conversations with the Rail Minister on these proposals which have significant support. We are working as a group to source funding to bring this technology to our area – either from government, local authorities or as part of a new rail franchise.
The current Southern service on the Marshlink is unacceptable. I have commented on this here. Today, at Prime Minister’s Questions, I was pleased to hear David Cameron offer “more generous compensation” for passengers affected by the latest Southern strike.
Together, at both local and national levels, there is a commitment to improve our rail network. This is vital for the continued regeneration of our towns and it is hugely important to many local people on a day to day basis. I will continue to ensure progress is made towards achieving faster and better rail services