POLITICIANS are calling on the Government to address the “corrosive underfunding” of the South East rail network.

Hove MP Peter Kyle and Mid Sussex MP Sir Nicholas Soames, co-chairmen of the all-party Parliamentary group on Southern Rail, have written a letter to the Secretary of State for Transport Chris Grayling demanding greater investment in the region’s railways.

The MPs are urging the Government to “take immediate action to address the historic and corrosive underfunding of the South East network and its infrastructure”.

The joint letter comes ahead of final decisions on the next funding settlement for Network Rail this week and a public meeting today to discuss possible improvements to railways between Brighton and Croydon.

The letter states: “As you are aware, the South East route is the busiest in Britain and with the majority of passengers commuting for work or travelling to airports, it is also the most economically important.

“Yet the South East route also has the worst train performance nationally and passenger satisfaction is lower than on any other route.

“At the last meeting of the all-party Parliamentary group on Southern Rail, senior industry figures presented compelling testimony as to the impact of less investment in rail infrastructure as calculated per passenger in the South East, compared with other regions.

“Our constituents are now paying the price.”

Mr Kyle and Sir Nicholas are asking for a level of funding to be specified and committed for the South East route to support both industry expert Chris Gibb’s recommendations for targeted investment on the Thameslink network and increased spending on improving infrastructure across the rest of the route.

The MPs wrote: “In the last financial year your department unlocked an additional £300m to invest in critical infrastructure upgrades.

“This, as you know, was welcomed by our cross- party group as it has made a positive impact on services.

“As you know from the Gibb Report and your own experts, this level of investment must now be sustained for some time in order to deliver the reliability and comfort passengers deserve into the future.”