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Beckenham MP heralds train snow plans

Beckenham MP Bob Stewart is happy with Southeastern's snow plans

Beckenham MP Bob Stewart is happy with Southeastern's snow plans

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Plans to keep trains running in severe weather conditions have met with approval from an MP.

Southeastern is fitting 20 main-line passenger trains with anti-icing tanks and engineers will have access to 4x4 vehicles which will enable them get to hard-to-reach places when trains break down.

Beckenham MP Bob Stewart said: “Last winter saw heavy disruption to the rail network in Bromley due to the heavy snowfall and icy conditions. The severe delays caused a lot of unnecessary frustration to my constituents which was completely unacceptable.

“I welcome the fact that Network Rail and Southeastern have looked at these problems and have come up with practical solutions to stop this travel chaos from happening again.”

Southeastern was heavily criticised last December for its dismal performance during the spell of bad weather which brought England to a standstill for several days.

Passengers were stranded on trains and left bewildered as communication boards showed no information.

Scores of people were trapped overnight on board a Charing Cross to Hastings train which got stuck at Orpington on December 1.

MP for Chislehurst wrote a letter to Southeastern on December 7 which stated: “One of your company’s biggest failings, aside from the inability to keep routes running adequately, was the unsatisfactory level of communication with passengers. A complete lack of any accurate or helpful information about trains made it extremely difficult for customers to make informed decisions about their journey plans.”

At the time, the company’s spokesperson Sarah Boundy said : “Communication is certainly an area where we definitely can improve. I think that is one of the most frustrating things for people.

“It’s very difficult to try to keep a reflection on the website and at stations of a changing situation. I’m sure we can do better.”

Southeastern said its trains automatically shut down when ice prevents the electricity getting to the rail as it can cause a dangerous surplus of energy and cause damage to the infrastructure.

England is the only country in the world where the third rail system is still used outside an urban area. It is cheaper than having over-head power supply.

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