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Chaos on the rail network

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16 January 2015
Train Commuters This week I received a deluge of emails and tweets from commuters in my constituency who have experienced horrendous overcrowding on Southeastern services to and from central London. Those who travel to work using these services will know this has always been a problem, but it seems to have reached new extremes this week as the new timetabling arrangements have come into force to account for the ongoing disruption at London Bridge Station as part of the Thameslink works.

You can read a copy of the email I have today sent to my constituents who have contacted me, which outlines the action I have taken on this matter.


Dear Sir/Madam
Thank you for your email this week regarding overcrowding on Southeastern rail services in light of the disruption at London Bridge Station. I apologise for the generic response but given time pressures, this was the easiest way to communicate with you.
It is clear from your email and what I have seen on my own commute into central London this week that there is horrendous overcrowding on trains to Cannon Street which stop at London Bridge. I have relayed these problems in a conversation with Southeastern Trains this week and have suggested to them that they should ensure more carriages are put on Cannon Street services. Ideally all trains which stop at London Bridge in the rush hour should be formed of 12 carriages, which would go some way to easing overcrowding. 
I have requested that Southeastern consider launching a communications drive to advise passengers of the other services available to them (including travelling to Waterloo East and travelling on the Jubilee Line to London Bridge from there). I also believe they should better advertise the ticket acceptance measures in place which allow Southeastern season ticket holders to complete their journey on London Underground services if they activate their ticket so it will be recognised at the barriers.
Clearly anyone who uses Southeastern services, particularly in the peak hours, knows there is a huge problem with overcrowding. In my time as an MP I have continually pressed Government Ministers, Network Rail and Southeastern to address this issue but it is clear from the problems this week with the revised timetabling arrangements that the situation is now even more extreme. I believe, ultimately, the Rail Minister must be held accountable for this and so I have tabled a question at Transport Questions next week and have applied for a Parliamentary debate on this matter. I will find it out if I am successful in these requests next week.
Finally, I have been contacted by ITV London News who are hoping to run a story on these issues next week. I am told they are particularly interested in accompanying a commuter as they make their journey to and from work in central London. If this is something you would be interested in participating in please email Mel in my office on with your name, phone number and the train station you commute from. She will then pass your details on to the journalist at ITV.
Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me to share your own views on this matter.
Kind regards
Heidi Alexander MP
Member of Parliament for Lewisham East

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