08 FEB 2011

Improving winter rail services

Greg, and fellow Kent MPs, met with Network Rail's Kent Route Director, Dave Ward, at the House of Commons to discuss the problems caused by severe winter weather on Kent's rail services.

Mr Ward outlined the reasons for the poor performance and then explained how changed software systems, the use of anti-icing trains, selective conductor rail heating and other changes would lead to an improved winter performance in the future.

Mr Ward also explained the weaknesses in the existing communications systems that led to such poor information being provided to passengers throughout the period of snow and ice. Network Rail hopes that the introduction of a "Passenger Information During Disruption" system may allow for an improved service in the future although concerns were expressed about the existing computer programme which is not able to react quickly enough to developing weather or other critical conditions.

Greg commented:

"It is clear that Network Rail is taking action to ensure that the chaotic scenes from last winter are not repeated. However, there are some fundamental issues such as the computerised passenger information system which still needs to be fully addressed."

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