Over the last few months, a number of proposals affecting people on the South Eastern rail network in and around Dartford, have been put forward.
Last week, I made representations to the Department for Transport that I believe the primary priorities should be to improve the reliability of the network and to “future proof” it by increasing capacity.
One recent consultation had suggested cutting the choice of London destinations from Dartford and has rightly angered passengers. Whilst I do not doubt the pressures on the existing network, the reduction in the choice of destinations should not be considered as a viable option. The suggestion that services on the North Kent lines terminate only at Cannon Street is short-sighted and fails to recognise the large number of commuters using the Charing Cross service.
Commuters from Dartford, Stone Crossing, Swanscombe and Greenhithe have suffered years of disruption during the London Bridge improvement works. Any suggestion that these same commuters should now face a reduced choice of destinations is entirely unacceptable.
I reinforced the need to ensure that commuters from Dartford are able to utilise the benefits of Crossrail as well as modern trains which are fit for purpose and have reliable heating and air-conditioning.
A consultation was launched by Govia Thameslink (GTR) last week and proposes new all-day north-south rail journeys connecting Luton to Dartford via central London. This proposal is the second part of an earlier consultation by GTR to fine tune its timetable proposals for 2018. Whilst I welcome this route, which would connect us to the northern Home Counties as well as add additional stops in central London, it should not be at the expense of other services.
Dartford residents want a reliable, convenient train service which is value for money and I would urge everyone affected to take part in this consultation to ensure future services are designed to accommodate all users.
To view this consultation visit www.transformingrail.com