What would make the difference, I asked the head of one of Brighton's fastest-growing companies the other day.

What would make it possible for your company to grow even faster?

The point of the question, and the main reason for the city bid, is to do everything we can to strengthen and expand the local economy.

I was talking to Caraline Brown who runs Midnight Communications, again this year the winner of one of the top Sussex Business Awards.

Her company has grown in five years from just her and her PC to 37 employees and a host of major accounts, mainly in the internet sector.

She said just five things would make the difference: "The trains, the trains, the trains, the trains, the trains."

And then, like all of us who have to use them regularly, told a Connex story.

It involved being forcibly stopped from getting on a train despite saying she would pay onboard, because she had to get to London for important business.

Of course she had been standing in the queue for ten minutes trying to buy a ticket in the first place.

And it happened to me last Saturday. Admittedly I was just going up to the West End for a birthday treat, but that shouldn't make any difference.

I arrived in enough time for the 5.20pm to see that not only had it been cancelled but so had the previous 4.50pm.

The ticket desk people were, as usual, tremendous. "Run, run," said the woman processing my ticket as fast as she could, "you'll get the eight minutes past." I ran. My next door neighbour, who was off for a girls' night out in London, also ran and so did two other girls and their boyfriends.

The guy opened the barrier when he saw us coming. The first girl just managed to get her arm into the closing door. We looked at the platform guard. He blew his whistle, the door opened enough for her to take her arm out and the train pulled away.

It must be the first time a Connex employee was insistent a train ran exactly on time. I'm afraid - and I know you shouldn't shout at people - I let fly at him. "You unkind b*****d," I shouted down the platform and stomped back to the ticket barrier.

The staff on the trains and in the stations must be terribly demoralised. Even more than the passengers. Connex has now lost its franchise so they must fear for their jobs. The incoming franchise is Govia which runs Thameslink, and through its major shareholder, owns Brighton and Hove Bus Company.

Govia will operate the Victoria line under the name New Southern Railways. And they hope to take over the rest of the Connex franchise sometime during the next three years. Then their new franchise will run for 20 years.

Connex seems to be exhausted. It had a severe shortage of about 250 drivers until about four months ago. It now claims it is up to strength. But our train on Saturday was cancelled because there was no driver. You wonder how that is possible on a scheduled service? Well, their spokesman said: "We are no longer in the days when we can have spare drivers waiting for work."

And I am no longer in the days when I want to sit around waiting for trains.

Govia has made promises in its bid. It says it will employ about an extra 100 drivers in addition to Connex South Central's 600.

It says it will spend £2 to £3 million on training existing staff to "give them more confidence to do their jobs". It says it will concentrate on punctuality, reliability and clean trains to start with, with investment in rolling stock and track to follow.

As passengers, that's exactly what we want. And if it can help the staff to feel it's worth working on the railways again, then passengers will feel it's worth travelling.

So let's hope the man who blew his whistle and almost ruined our evening will start to want to get people on to trains and not enjoy stopping them.

The trouble is the effect these 'jobsworths' ultimately have on our local economy is to drive people off the trains and so jobs away from the town.

Let's hope Govia will live up to its fine words.