Greater Brighton leaders today (Friday 6th July) are urging the government to act now to improve the City Region’s rail network after days of chaos for commuters.
A signalling fault in south London has seen dozens of trains cancelled and tens of thousands of commuters stranded on the Brighton Mainline.
Greater Brighton, which is a signed up member of the Coast to Capital Brighton Mainline Alliance, is today calling for the government to improve connectivity and reliability for the nearly one million residents that live in the City Region.
Councillor Andy Smith, chairman of the Greater Brighton Economic Board and Leader of Lewes District Council, said: “The Brighton Mainline is not just a commuter line; it is an essential transport corridor which is crucial to the economic development of our City Region.
“This week’s disruption only highlights what tens of thousands of commuters are fully aware of: that the rail infrastructure in Greater Brighton is not fit-for-purpose.
“While transport ministers may be focused on sorting out the timetable issues of the north which have been ongoing for a few weeks, residents and businesses in Greater Brighton have been left to suffer regular delays and daily cancellations for years.
“We need investment now. Without much needed improvements, our vibrant and growing City Region will be unable to reach its potential.”
The disruption comes just days after transport secretary Chris Grayling hinted that Govia Thameslink may be stripped of the franchise.
The Office of Rail and Road is set to run an independent inquiry into the chaos, with commuters dealing with cancellations, delays and switching of services, reports this week suggested.
Cllr Smith added: “Whether the operators are stripped of the franchise is something for the government to decide.
“All the one million residents and 40,000 businesses of Greater Brighton want is an efficient service which runs to time. If there are delays, then they want to be adequately compensated.
“We will continue to work with partners to make sure that the infrastructure is improved sooner rather than later.”