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MPs get a taste of life on the trains
4:00pm Tuesday 15th July 2014 in News
TWO MPs took to the train yesterday morning to try out the London commute.
Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven, was joined by Rail Minister Stephen Hammond on a service from Brighton to experience the conditions faced by commuters.
Mr Kirby feels there need to be more carriages on the route, better wifi and improved cleanliness.
He also raised the issue of the reinstatement of the Lewes to Uckfield line, which he feels would ease congestion and provide a diversionary route during maintenance of the Brighton main line.
Mr Kirby said: “As someone who regularly uses trains to travel between Brighton and London, I have experience of the issues that commuters face, and I thought that it was only right that the rail minister experience these too.
“This commute will give Stephen Hammond a much greater understanding of commuter issues.”
Richard Rowland, performance manager at First Capital Connect, said: “We've increased the size of our train fleet by 50% and invested £350,000 deep cleaning every carriage, which has just seen satisfaction on this route rise by 18%.
“But that's not enough – we need more trains for capacity and an end to the rail bottleneck at London Bridge for punctuality.”
Mr Rowland said a £6.5 billion Thameslink Programme upgrade will deliver this.
Southern Railway, which also operates trains from Brighton Station, added 20,000 extra peak seats a week to Gatwick Express services to Brighton and invested £250million in new trains and spent £20million refurbishing its existing fleet.
A spokeswoman for Southern Railway said: “We share our passengers’ frustration with the recent disappointing performance and are working with Network Rail to do everything we can to improve the punctuality of our services.”