Column: Let’s Seize This Opportunity for Rail Improvements

In his latest column for the Sevenoaks Chronicle, Michael has written about the need for improvements to rail services:

As the nights draw in, rail disruption on long, cold journeys home seems ever more frustrating.  Problems like the ones we experienced in Sevenoaks last week seem to happen all too often.

I regularly receive complaints about Southeastern’s performance and I recently joined other Kent MPs to press the Rail Minister for improvements.  I will be paying particularly close attention during the winter months.

Next year will see the start of a wider process to decide on the details of the new regional rail franchise from 2018.  For anyone who wants to see better services in Sevenoaks, this is an important opportunity to have your say.  There will be a consultation in the spring on what we want to see and I encourage everyone to participate.

My top priority will be the extension of the Oyster network to stations like Sevenoaks.  I promised to fight for this vital improvement at the election last year and I will be lobbying hard.  There are wider issues too, though, such as making sure there are enough trains and seats to cope with growing passenger numbers.

Securing all of these changes will only be possible if we push for them together.  I know some people think that things will never change.  I know they are tired of the old excuses for poor service and disruption.  But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look for new solutions.  We have to seize this opportunity to secure the meaningful improvements we need.

In the meantime, I would like to wish all of my constituents a very happy Christmas and New Year.  In a politically eventful year, Sevenoaks and Swanley have continued to thrive and I am looking forward to continuing to serve as your MP in 2017.

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