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Sussex train passengers worst served in country last month
Sussex train passengers endured the most delays in the country last month thanks to landslides, flooding and trees on tracks.
Southern was with the worst performing operator in the UK in January for punctuality.
The percentage of trains arriving within five minutes of the scheduled time, the Public Performance Measure (PPM), between January 5 and February 1 was 79.2% – the lowest of all operators. The highest in the country was Merseyrail at 97%.
And a new website brought even worse news to passengers; at one point on Monday, Southern was only running 36% of off peak trains to the Sussex coast on time.
The website opentraintimes. com uses real-time PPM from rail operators.
The severe winter storms caused havoc on Southern’s network, with lines flooded and several landslips, as well as more than 70 fallen trees, leading to major disruptions.
But passengers at least had better journeys than in December, when punctuality was at 73%.
A Southern spokesman said: “January proved to be another challenging month both for Southern and for our passengers.
“Extreme weather conditions continued to play a large part in disrupting southern services, with flooding at Balcombe and the Arun Valley seriously affecting performance.
“There were also several incidences of infrastructure failures with power supply problems at Victoria, Balham and Battersea and signalling failures at London Bridge and Tulse Hill, all contributing to delays and cancellations.
“Issues out of our control aside, we recognise that there is much to do, and together with Network Rail, we remain committed to continually improving our performance.”
Hastings Borough Council leader Jeremy Birch has written to Network Rail and the Department for Transport asking for a full survey of the railway line between Tonbridge and Hastings as a matter of urgency. There has not been a full service on the line since Christmas after several landslips.
He said: “Whilst we applaud the hard work being put in by rail staff, often in unpleasant wet and windy conditions, trying to make good the line which still remains out of action, we clearly want these vital repairs completed as soon as possible and the line running normally again.
“However, we also want reassurance that the line will be fit for purpose for a future where climate change may bring us extreme weather conditions much more frequently.”