Letter from Southeastern to Chris Maines

18 January 2010

Dear Chris

Liberal Democrat Petition

Our attention has been drawn to a petition currently being circulated by the Lewisham Liberal Democrats calling on our company to return a percentage of our subsidy to Network Rail to be invested in improvements at stations served by Southeastern

We appreciate that many passengers were inconvenienced, and we apologise to all those who struggled to get to and from work. However, despite the snow reportedly being the heaviest in London and the southeast for 30 years, we did manage to run services and most commuters in the borough of Lewisham were able to get to work and back again. Our response to the conditions was detailed in the attached newsletter sent to all stakeholders, including Lewisham Council, last week and I attach a copy for your information should you have not received it.

As you may know our subsidy comes from the Department for Transport rather than Network Rail. In the event of a train operator being unable to operate services as a result of infrastructure failure, it is Network Rail, as infrastructure controller, who makes penalty penalties to the operating company and not the other way around. It is also Network Rail, rather than the operator who has the final call on the level of service an operator is able to run. We have an excellent working relationship with Network Rail and in our professional judgement, decisions taken from 5 January onwards were the right ones given the potential safety hazards of operating on the third rail in snow and ice where there is the possibility of trains being unable to draw power, potentially leaving passengers isolated on trains for up to several hours.

In terms of financial penalties, to Southeastern, the last few days (and the period between 21 and 23 December last year) will impact on us in the form of lost revenue from passengers who opted not to travel, damage to rolling stock from snow and ice, payments to Transport for London in return for their passing rail passengers on tube and bus services,compensation to holders of return and seven day season tickets, hiring replacement bus services, refunding passengers taxi fares (where appropriate) and good will gestures to passengers held on trains for several hours. Claims from passengers are currently being processed by our customer services team, many have already been dealt with and all are considered on a case by case basis.

I hope this is useful. If you would find it helpful I would be happy to meet with you and your colleagues to discuss this and other local issues in more detail.

Best wishes

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One Response to “Letter from Southeastern to Chris Maines”

  1. Southeastern invites Lewisham Lib Dems for talks « . Says:

    […] Southeastern Railways wrote to the Lewisham Lib Dems leader Cllr Chris Maines about our petition (click here to read the full letter). In this letter Southeastern proposes to meet with us for discussions, and […]

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