Following repeated correspondence over the summer with Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport Crispin Blunt had a meeting with the Rail Minister earlier this week to address a series of issues particular to the Reigate and Redhill District rail users, in addition to the wider issues of the generally appalling service standards on the line.
These included timetabling, fares, compensation, platform investment, and access to Oyster, among others. Some of these issues have been being discussed in detail with previous Rail Ministers for over 4 years to no avail. This meeting produced nothing that could be reported to rail users except that the DfT remained resolute that no compensation would be available to Reigate station users following the 2018 summer timetable debacle. The irony that it was the removal of the London Bridge service from Reigate in those timetable changes that forced Reigate users to use the failing Thameslink services from Redhill, and yet are ineligible for compensation, appeared to be entirely lost on the Minister and his officials.
In response to this, Crispin Blunt has successfully applied for a short debate in the House of Commons Chamber next Thursday 18th October at 5pm. This will enable him to publicly make the case for at least some resolution of the issues particular to our area. In reply the Rail Minister will have the opportunity to publicly explain whether he has been able to find any amelioration or even a real prospect of improvement in the local service, from which his department receives all the fare income.
The minister’s reply on behalf of the Transport Secretary will condition whether Crispin as both MP for Reigate and President of the Rail Users Association will be able to continue to express confidence Chris Grayling management of the Department for Transport.
All RRDRUA members are invited and indeed encouraged to be present in the viewing gallery, House of Commons, to support Crispin in his efforts to make our voice heard and to meet together afterwards in Westminster Hall to have a brief post debate discussion on what we have heard from the DfT. Please allow 30 mins to get through HoC security – no need for a ticket, just some identity, for the gallery. Crispin would be pleased to see the passengers he is working for and account directly to them on Thursday.
Details on how to attend
Instructions for those coming to see Crispin in the House of Commons on Thursday 10 October 2018.
The debate is currently scheduled for 5pm but please arrive in plenty of time to clear security.
Please can RRDRUA attendees to enter through the Cromwell Green entrance (see attached map) and make their way to Central Lobby via the main Visitor’s entrance, allowing at least 30 minutes to clear security.
Then, they should ask to be directed to the Admission Order Office where you gain entry to the public gallery. The office is located just off Central Lobby behind the statue of William Gladstone.
Gareth Owen will be in the gallery to arrange the meeting with Crispin in Westminster hall afterwards.
You do not always need it, but it may be useful to take a driving license or other picture ID.