Urgent review of South Western Railway franchise

Transport secretary Chris Grayling has commissioned an urgent independent review into the performance of the South Western Railway franchise which serves Hampton.

In the letter written to his fellow MPs, Chris expressed “dissapointment” in the franchise and stated how “overall performance has simply not been good enough”.

According to the Office of Rail and Road, the punctuality of South Western Railway’s services declined by 6% following the franchise’s takeover from South West Trains (SWT) last year.

The letter from Chris Grayling states;

“I have been very disappointed with the performance of SWR over recent months, and I know many of you have also been frustrated by the issues passengers have experienced.

“Whilst it is important to recognise that a significant proportion of the delays on SWR routes are attributed to Network Rail and that we have seen some good progress in performance in recent weeks, overall performance has simply not been good enough and I am determined that we see a long term, sustained performance improvement across this route.

“That is why I have commissioned an independent review of SWR and NR, to ensure all possible steps are being taken to improve performance and the passenger experience. The review will be independently chaired by Sir Michael Holden, who has over 40 years’ experience in railway operations and will be completed in summer 2018.”

A spokesman for South Western Railway told ITV Meridian;

“Performance has not been at the level we want, or expect, to deliver and we are determined to put that right.

“Our task now is to ensure this additional £5 million investment can bring the biggest benefit and help deliver our passengers a railway they can rely on.”

The news comes as an online petition, currently signed by over 6000 people, are requesting the government to either cancel or investigate the mismanagement of the franchise.

The review should be completed in summer 2018.

Photo used under license: Attribution 3.0 Unported (CC BY 3.0)

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