Should rail companies have to pay higher compensation if they provide a terrible service?

Chelmsford’s railway station is the busiest two platform station anywhere outside London.  Very many Chelmsford residents commute to work or school every day.  It’s important that trains get them there on time and home safely.

When delays happen, people deserve to be compensated. I led the campaign for 15-minute delay repay compensation on our line.  Passengers can now get 25% back for a 15-29 minute delay and up to 100% back for delays over 2 hours.

 About a third of Chelmsford’s delays are due to very old trains and carriages.   A complete fleet of new trains and carriages is being rolled out over the next 15 months.  This £1,400,000,000 upgrade will bring more seats, air conditioning, wifi, plug points, USB points, improved accessibility and energy-efficiency. The new trains will help resolve issues with reliability.  

Chelmsford’s second railway station is also now on track.  During my two years as MP I have worked with Network Rail on a new station design which now includes a “passing loop”.  This means fast trains will be able to overtake slower trains at Beaulieu Park, adding capacity for more trains all along the whole Norwich-Liverpool Street line.  This has unlocked the project which had failed to get approval for 20 years but has now been given the green light. Chelmsford has received the largest housing-related infrastructure grant in the country to build it.

Operators and Network Rail must deliver reliable services and when they don’t, they should be held responsible and face penalties.  Operators like Greater Anglia receive nine year “franchises” to provide services.  Those that don’t meet the detailed standards can be stripped of their franchise.  Last month, the Government activated the legal process to remove the franchise from one of the 16 rail companies.