MP slams rail services after holiday chaos

Henry Smith at the Election count at K2 Crawley, West Sussex (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150805-042531008
Henry Smith at the Election count at K2 Crawley, West Sussex (Pic by Jon Rigby) SUS-150805-042531008

Crawley MP Henry Smith said the town’s train services had been ‘unacceptably sub-standard’.

Mr Smith plans to raise his concerns with Rail Minister Claire Perry in January.

He said: “In recent weeks the train service has been unacceptably sub-standard; as a commuter to London myself I have witnesses cancelled schedules and standing room only even at non-peak times.

“I requested a meeting with the Rail Minister and this will take place in January. New longer trains are coming to the Three Bridges line in the New Year but in the meantime all should done to minimise disruption.”

Other Sussex MPs who have criticised train services will be at the meeting.

Train operators apologised for cancelling services last week.

A spokesman for Thameslink said its services were cancelled because of a shortage of drivers on Sunday.

Southern cancelled and delayed its services because of a lack of staff on Christmas Eve. The disruption was worsened after a man was hit by a train at East Croydon.

Patrick Newman, a reader, said: “This is rank poor management and passengers should not be expected to pay for it with inconvenience and their own money!” Another reader said: “The same thing happens every year - privatisation or otherwise - as rail staff opt not to do overtime.”

Southern’s website stated: “Sometimes we do not have enough train crew to carry out both day-to-day operations and the large amount of training required to enable long-term passenger service improvements, without asking train crew to work rest days.”