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Government needs to stop playing politics with our rail network

Today Lambeth Labour councillors were at stations across the borough talking to commuters about the continuing, dismal failures on the Southern rail network.

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A strike this week led to a shutdown of all the services into Lambeth, but even when there is no industrial action Southern operated trains into Streatham, Dulwich and Norwood are beset by long delays, cancelled trains and a level of performance that is shameful. As many passengers told us today, these failures have a knock on effect to the rest of the transport infrastructure in South London, with many giving up on trains that never appear and crowding instead onto local buses or the tube.

The impact of the Southern rail fiasco ends up effecting far more commuters than just those who need to use its services.

Sadiq Khan said yesterday that Tfl is ready to take over the operation of this franchise. I have written to the Transport secretary demanding an urgent meeting with him after a leaked letter showed that he was snubbing the Mayor’s offer purely because he didn’t want the network to “fall into the hands of a Labour Mayor.” This is a shocking piece of school yard politics that benefits no one.

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The message councillors received today from commuters across South London was clear and simple. They want a decent service that gets them on time to work in the mornings and then back home in the evenings. 

Lambeth Labour will continue with our local MPs and Assembly Members to tell the government that passengers are not interested in the politics that Chris Grayling, the Transport Secretary, wishes to play with the rail network. If you agree then sign the petition calling for an end to Southern rail’s failure and send a clear message that it is time to end this chaotic mess.

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