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Peter Lamb: Making the railways accountable to the public

In his article this week the Leader of Crawley Borough Council talks about changes needed for the railways.

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It seems as though railways are never really out of the news. In the same week as we’re faced with radical timetable changes, the Government has decided to temporarily nationalise the East Coast Mainline. Railways have a big impact upon Crawley.

Increasing numbers of residents commute to London daily, two-thirds of Crawley’s own workforce lives outside of town and millions of passengers pass through Gatwick monthly. When railways fail the local impact is huge.

The Government’s decision to takeover the East Coast franchise was prompted by poor performance, although they say they intend to hand it back to the private sector in due course. We’ve been round this circle before: companies are brought in and fail, franchises are then taken over by the Government and recover, before being re-privatised.

The irony that many of the companies running the franchises are owned by foreign Governments appears lost on them, but the reality is UK passengers are subsidising other countries’ networks with their high ticket prices.

This has to stop. Since 2002, the physical rail network has been back in public hands and working well again, it’s time to do likewise with the rail companies. It doesn’t even have to cost anything, all we have to do is to wait for the franchises to run out and they automatically revert to public ownership.

As a council, we’ve worked hard to try to improve local rail services, helping to secure the investment for major improvements to both Three Bridges and Crawley, pushing for a solution to ongoing poor performance by GTR and standing up for customers over the gradual reductions in service standards.

Unfortunately, at the end of the day so long as the railways are accountable to these companies and not to the British public, the likelihood of things changing course is low.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. kevin hall

    21st May 2018 at 4:57 pm

    well I remember all the commuters saying that that it would be better if it was a private company like the good old days?
    so after many years they got there wish, but alas they now wish it was good old BR, you just can not please some people can you.

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Young woman raped in Pound Hill, police seek witnesses

Police in Crawley are investigating the rape of a 22-year-old woman on a local path in Pound Hill.

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At about 10pm on Thursday 13 June, the woman was walking along the footpath which runs between Somerville Road and Worth Park Gardens when she was attacked by a man who raped her before making off.

He is described as white, in his forties, about 5’10”, with short dark hair including grey streaks, and a beard. He was wearing dark jeans, black shoes (not trainers) and a blue t-shirt with a logo of some kind.

Detective Inspector Karrie Bohanna of the West Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit said;

“We have been working with the woman, with specially trained officers, to understand the full circumstances and to ensure she has further expert support and advice.

“Our investigation is ongoing and we have been making enquiries in the area. If you were in the Pound Hill, Worth Park Gardens area at around that time on Thursday 13 June, and saw anything suspicious, please get in touch with us online by calling 101, quoting serial 810 of 16/06.

“We would particularly like to identify and contact three people who may be able to help us. Following the attack the victim went to the nearby pub, Tavern on the Green, and sought directions. She spoke with two men there, one of whom escorted here to her address.

“The third person is a woman walking nearby with a black dog about 15 minutes before the attack. The woman is described as white, about 5’7” and with long dark hair, wearing a dark jacket.

“This appears to be an isolated incident for the area and not part of any pattern. Please let us know if you can help.”

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