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Councillor slams Southern as rail firm claims new timetable is 'running well'

PUBLISHED: 10:48 12 July 2016 | UPDATED: 10:48 12 July 2016

Councillor Colin Smith

Councillor Colin Smith

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Southern Railway brought in an emergency timetable this week

A senior councillor in Bromley has branded Southern Rail’s latest timetable as ‘deplorable’.

More than 340 trains a day have been cancelled since Monday under the rail company’s new timetable, in response to staff shortages and industrial action from the RMT Union.

Commuters travelling through Beckenham Junction, Anerley, Birkbeck, Crystal Palace, Penge and Sydenham will be able to use Southeastern services.

There will be no Southern trains running from Birkbeck towards Crystal Palace.

The RMT Union and Govia Thameslink Railway, are disputing the introduction of driver-only trains.

Councillor Colin Smith is the deputy leader of Bromley Council.

He said: “We have already protested vigorously about this deplorable decision by Southern Railway on behalf of our own residents and indeed are even questioning the legality of this decision.

“Whilst the service may well have been unpredictable in Southern’s own words, at least there was a service.

“Perhaps it is time for Southern to consider handing over their franchise to Southeastern who are at least trying to serve their customers and are managing the crumbling Network Rail infrastructure they have been sourced to work with.

“If this proposal is allowed to go ahead, Beckenham’s commuters will end up travelling on already overcrowded alternatives, piling on the discomfort and inconvenience, with the additional time factor that this brings.

But Southern have claimed their revised service is showing “encouraging” signs for commuters.

A Southern spokesperson said: “We know the service level in the last couple of months has not been good enough and we apologise unreservedly. This new timetable allows us to target our resources where they are needed most and at the same time give passengers a more predictable service which they can plan their lives around.

“It is a temporary measure while we work with the RMT to end the dispute and bring their members back to work and, while it should be judged over a few days, the first few hours of operation are encouraging.”

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