MPs in Westminster have taken a decisive step forward in holding rail businesses to account by establishing the first All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for the South Western Railway. Fifteen MPs, including James Sunderland MP, have vowed to take a direct and decisive role in improving the train service for constituents across South London and the South West of England region.
The group will examine the entire railway business, including franchisees, and the role that the Department for Transport, the network operator (Network Rail), other industry businesses and transport authorities play to deliver the train service on the railway that operates in and out of London Waterloo. Scrutiny will extend to the geographical area from London Waterloo to Portsmouth, Weymouth, Exeter, Bristol and Reading, as well as the network and connecting lines within these points.
At the meeting in Westminster on 21st January, chaired by West Dorset’s MP Chris Loder, the group agreed five objectives for the network:
- Capacity: Timetable, frequency, capacity, journey time, train and bus connections and service availability. Objective: adequate rail capacity that meets demand
- Future: Investment, strategy, industry structure, Route Study, franchise sustainability, franchise mapping and infrastructure enhancements. Objective: future investment and organisation delivers the service that constituents require and expect
- Passenger Service: Comfort, provision of information, accessibility, station services provision, WiFi provision, recompense, refreshments, quality of train refurbishment. Objective: passenger experience meets expectations
- Performance: Operating Performance, service delivery, train service contingencies and resources. Objective: reliable and punctual train services delivered for passengers
- Value: Taxpayer value for money, delivery of franchise obligations, Network Rail use of its Government funding.Objective: achieving value for money for passenger and taxpayer
In a call to action on behalf of constituents, James Sunderland MP said: “I am honoured to join the new All Party Parliamentary Group for South Western Railway as Vice Chair. MPs from all parties are taking decisive action to champion constituents who travel to and from London Waterloo and other lines across Berkshire’’