Passengers across Dulwich and West Norwood have experienced a completely unacceptable level of rail service since the start of the year. The problems are particularly acute on the lines into London Bridge following the introduction of a new timetable to accommodate the major works to London Bridge station.
Problems are also being experienced on other routes as passengers seek to avoid London Bridge, resulting in already crowded services becoming unbearable, for example through Herne Hill and Loughborough Junction. Every week, I hear more stories of passengers stranded, unable to get to work on time or unable to get home in time for their children's bedtime at the end of the day. The situation is causing misery for everyone, but for passengers who are disabled or frail it has become almost impossible to contemplate a journey on our rail network, particularly at peak times.
I have been campaigning for compensation for passengers. Compensation is important and it should be easy to access and paid readily and without delay. But we need real leadership to sort out these unacceptable problems, since it is clear that Network Rail and the train operating companies are not capable of resolving the situation. I have written to the Tory Secretary of State for Transport on behalf of residents in Dulwich and West Norwood, but I have yet to receive a response. The Secretary of State must give this situation his personal attention and end the ordeal which passengers in Dulwich and West Norwood are experiencing on a daily basis.
The current problems are also indicative of a wider set of issues within the rail system. The current system is fragmented and is not keeping pace with the growth in demand for rail travel as London's population expands. It is clear from the current timetabling problems that there is little or no resilience in the system and that multiple train operating companies lack the overall leadership and co-ordination to get the best out of a crowded network.