Rail Service – East Kent. Gale questions Secretary of State
North Thanet`s MP, Sir Roger Gale, has this (Thursday 17th January) morning raised performance of the East Kent Rail service on the floor of the House of Commons with the Secretary of State for Transport (Rt. Hon. Patrick McLaughlin MP).
Speaking at Transport questions Sir Roger indicated that as a result of the franchise agreement imposed by the last Labour government East Kent`s commuters had faced year-on-year above average rail increases. Referring to the appalling service” offered the MP asked if the Secretary of State will seek to ensure that Network Rail and Southeastern deliver the service and value for money to which the travelling public that I represent is entitled”.
Responding, The Secretary of State noted the discussions that he had held with Sir Roger on the subject and made it clear that the matter was under consideration.
The Minister of State, Simon Burns, recently visited Thanet by rail” says Sir Roger and I know that he has both experienced and recognised the shortcomings in a service that has to be improved. From my conversations with the Secretary of State I believe that he, also, understands the need for enhancements in the interests of commuters and also to help to realise the potential for the development of Manston Airport. While any improvements are welcome I do not think that investment, by Network Rail, in an improved signalling system that was promised in 2005 for delivery by 2010 represents on its own an adequate response to the present shortcomings. We need a proper development of and investment in an enhanced rail service to reflect the fares that customers are now being required to pay"