Network Rail’s South East Route Strategic Plan for 2019-2024.


I am concerned for the reliability of local rail services in the years ahead, given what Network Rail is saying in its latest strategy.

As the body responsible for railway tracks, bridges, junctions and signalling, Network Rail is admitting that it hasn’t spent enough money looking after some of its crucial assets. Because of this it may be impossible to keep them in order with routine maintenance.

The report says: “the route’s asset base is incredibly fragile with an ongoing potential for low frequency, high impact failures.”

We know all about low frequency, high impact failure, given the weeks of disruption while Network Rail replaced the broken points at Lewisham station. We know all about the high impact failure of trains not able to pick up power in the snow and the passengers stranded for five hours. We do not deserve more of the same.

I find it ironic that Network Rail has spent so much money extending the platforms along our line, yet there is no prospect in the medium term of longer trains to take advantage of the longer platforms. To me this demonstrates why the fragmentation of the rail system simply does not work in the best interests of the people who use it. I have written to the Minister to set out my concerns.


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