TIM LOUGHTON: Lively debate on state of the train service

Tim Loughton
Tim Loughton

I led a lively debate last Wednesday on the woeful state of our local train service which goes from bad to worse under GTR.

This was not the first time that we had challenged the Rail Minister to ‘get a grip’ on the situation with some serious banging of heads together involving GTR management, RMT union chiefs and the Department for Transport itself required.

Over 20 MPs from Sussex and South London joined in the onslaught and I specifically called for measures to be put in place to strip GTR of the franchise if they had not got their act together by the beginning of September.

Additionally I called for significant discounts for season ticket holders, in particular when they come to renew, whilst someone else suggested that ticket prices now should be discounted by the same amount as the service is being cut under the emergency timetable. I have posted the link to the debate on my website.

What it doesn’t cover is the subsequent resignation of the rail minister the following day such was the force of our argument.

New Transport Secretary Chris Grayling has already said that sorting out the GTR crisis is at the top of his priority list.

On Thursday I was called to give evidence for the first time to Adur District Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the subject of the Adur Ferry Bridge vandalism and the continuing delay in finishing the car park landscaping at Ferry Road.

It was standing room only and a catalogue of witnesses and questioners laid bare the failure of county council representatives, and the local county councillor in particular, to get on with work and remove the eyesore on the south side of the bridge.

The good news is that new glass panels for the bridge have now been sourced and should be installed shortly with better security, whilst the Ferry Road works could start in September unless someone else puts the spanner in the works again.

I left the committee early to attend the summer concert for Electric Storm Youth at the Sir Robert Woodard Academy with some fantastic performances from students there as usual.

I started my constituency Friday with a visit to another local outstanding school, as Seaside Primary in Lancing has recently been rated. It was great to see the new buildings as part of the expansion and hear from the head teacher Lee Murley about their exciting plans to become an academy and play an even bigger part in the local community.

Another local school that is making a big difference to our children’s lives.

• If you would like to get in touch with me, please write to me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or email me at loughtont@parliament.uk

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