Rail minister Claire Perry promises to tackle commuter chaos affecting Southern and Southeastern trains at London Bridge and Blackfriars

Catherine Neilan
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London Bridge chaos has been causing commuters headaches since the start of the year (Source: Getty)
Rail minister Claire Perry is building an action plan to tackle the chaos at London Bridge and Blackfriars stations following a “root and branch” review of Network Rail's plans.
Perry, who has been in the role for nearly a year, recently met with Network Rail boss Mark Carne to review the work carried out by the operator's senior management.
Part of the action plan she is putting together will include weekly meetings, chaired by herself, in which all Department for Transport officials, Network Rail lead managers and ToC heads will “focus relentlessly on delivering the improvements that are recommended by the NR team and the operators”.
Perry, who this week met with a number of MPs looking to put pressure on the government to take action on behalf of commuters, wrote a letter to the group saying “at times, the delays and disruption that are occurring are simply inexcusable.”
She added: “I expect, based on the previous experience of turning around performance on the West Coast mainline that this will take time to have an impact, However, I am confident it will and that things will improve.”
Perry will also ask passenger watchdog Transport Focus to “prioritise these lines in their assessment of passenger experiences so we can monitor the improvements we want the industry to deliver”.
Regarding compensation, she committed to rolling out an automated compensation system, as currently used by C2C, to other lines. "I am keen to see that process accelerated for passengers on the Southern/Southeastern routes, and potentially find interim solutions".
Reigate MP Crispin Blunt, who has been championing the cause of disgruntled Southern and Southeastern passengers, was among those to meet with Perry.
Blunt made solving the commuter chaos a central part of his election campaign, and is leading a #FairFares2015 protest on June 1, encouraging passengers to arrange to work from home and get their employers to write to transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin.
He is backing Earlswood commuter Sergei Cristo, who is suing Southern for its “nightmare” London services.
Last month Blunt told the Surrey Mirror: “If I am given an opportunity to appear before the court, I will speak on behalf of the countless constituents who have contacted me about their nightmare stories trying to get to and from work by train.
"This legal action should throw a spotlight on the desperate and urgent need to get some justice for rail users and the campaign for compensation and fair fares."

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