Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Witham MP Criticises NXEA in Parliament

Priti Patel, MP for Witham, secured a debate in parliament entitled "The Performance of National Express East Anglia" which took place yesterday.  Sadly only one other MP was was present (One Andrew Percy, MP for Brigg and Goole) but Ms Patel took the opportunity to list her constituents' concerns which included:

  • The fact that the Great eastern mainline is one of the busiest in the country but is only single track in each direction and the overall poor condition of the infrastructure, including the 50 year old overhead wires.  (Not actually the responsibility of NXEA but certainly worthy of a mention)
  • The proposed loss of certain services for Witham and Kelvedon passengers in the new December timetable.
  • The exhorbitant fares endured by passengers and the prospect of considerable increases.
Ms Patel also took up the plight of Nigel Clark whose refreshment business is under threat following the refurbishment of Marks Tey station.  She revealed that she has written to the Prime Minister and Rail Minister about his plight and has also handed in a 700 signature petition calling for his stall to be retained.

The Rail Minister, Theresa Villiers responded to Ms Patel's points by defending NXEA's overall performance of 90.9% of services running on time as opposed to the 62% of services to London and 48% of services from London as claimed by Ms Patel based on figures provided by Passenger Focus.  Mrs Villiers also mentioned that 70% of delays were down to infrastructure problems and were not the responsibility of National Express.  An extensive programme of renewal work was underway to replace the overhead wires but this would not be completed until 2012.  The Rail Minister also revealed that her department had intervened in the summer when NXEA was experiencing problems with its fleet by ensuring additional engineers were on hand to assist.

Mrs Villiers assured Ms Patel that she would be keeping a close eye on the future performance of NXEA.

It was disappointing to note however that no other Essex MPs were present at this debate.

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