To ask the Secretary of State for Transport, what steps his Department is taking to increase the (a) speed and (b) reliability of rail services between Portsmouth and London.
12 December 2017
Under the new South Western Franchise operated since August 2017, passengers from Portsmouth to London should see journey times reduce by around 5 minutes from December 2018. South Western Railway (SWR) are currently consulting on their proposed timetable for December 2018 until 22nd December.
With regard to reliability, the Secretary of State recently called a joint-performance summit bringing together SWR, Network Rail with senior officials in the Department and the Office of Road and Rail to ensure that there are plans in place to bring operational performance to levels that passengers rightly expect and deserve.
I should also explain further the new Franchise Agreement contains provision that better incentivise operators to improve performance. This includes financial penalties if the contracted levels are not achieved.