03 MAY 2017

Helen Grant PC speaks out on Southeastern consultation

Action on rural commuter train services

Helen Grant, Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Maidstone and the Weald, has released the following statement in relation to the consultation on train services in the Southeast:

'I absolutely share the deep concerns amongst local people about a seemingly ambiguous proposal that could result in a reduction of the number of trains on the Staplehurst and Marden line. I firmly believe that this is a time where critical commuter services from our rural villages need to be strengthened. Marden and Staplehurst require a train service at least once every half an hour in order to accommodate the demand.

It is important, however, to remember that these are draft proposals forming just a part of a broad consultation into future train services in the Southeast. The Government's commitment to holding this consultation, and their promise to consider the responses in full, is in fact an opportunity to put forward our own shopping basket of needs and improvements, not just to oppose one clearly ridiculous suggestion.

I would therefore strongly encourage anyone with an interest in train services in the Southeast to contribute to the consultation with bold and creative responses. To contribute to the consultation visit: http://bit.ly/2n4swEq

Since I came to Maidstone and the Weald in 2008 as a Parliamentary Candidate and then as the MP, I have been running a constant campaign to improve the train services from the area. I fully appreciate and empathise with the frustrations of commuters and I have been in regular contact with Southeastern and the Department for Transport to fight for service improvements throughout my time here.

I have today written to the Secretary of State for Transport about this issue to get to the bottom of the proposal and to voice my strong opposition to any reduction in services from our rural stations. I have also requested an urgent meeting with him. Such action would have wide-ranging effect on rural commuters and would have a serious knock-on effect upon stations not affected.

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