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Published on : Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Network Rail has announced a £4.1m plan to improve passengers’ journeys on routes into London Bridge and London Victoria.The improvement plan will focus on passengers served by Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express trains and is designed to increase reliability, punctuality and the overall passenger experience of millions of passengers.
The fund has been agreed with the Office of Road and Rail (ORR) and takes the place of a £2m penalty handed to Network Rail by the regulator earlier in the year for reliability and punctuality issues affecting Thameslink and Southern train services in 2014-15.Network Rail has been able to identify funds amounting to more than double the proposed fine, all of which will be invested in passenger improvements.
Network Rail managing director for England and Wales, Phil Hufton, said: “Passengers expect and deserve a high standard of service and we accept that we fell short for those travelling on Southern and Thameslink services last year.
“Since then we have invested £11m to improve the railway around London Bridge and elsewhere in the region and performance has increased as a result. This extra £4m will continue the improvements we have already made and it is good news for passengers that the ORR has recognised this as a positive and practical alternative to a fine.”
Among the initiatives Network Rail’s plan will fund are:
Further increases to staff numbers at London terminus stations, including 15 extra staff at London Victoria
Further improvements to passenger information displays at stations
20 new fast-response staff based at Brighton and Croydon depots to tackle problems on track when they happen
Up to four times as many security patrols at stations in Sussex to reduce delays caused by trespassers
In addition, the government-sponsored Thameslink Programme is completely rebuilding London Bridge station and the railway around it, to bring new standards of reliability and offering new, more frequent services across the capital. When the work is complete in 2018, the station will have a concourse the size of a football pitch and 18 Thameslink trains per hour will link it directly to Farringdon and stations such as Peterborough, Cambridge and Bedford.