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Southern and Network Rail apologise again for London Bridge poor performance

Southern and Network Rail have accepted blame and apologised for poor performance on the Brighton Main Line and routes into London Bridge.

It is the second apology in as many weeks for the two companies, who last week also took responsibility for what they called “unacceptable” disruption to passengers at London Bridge because of overcrowding. In his appearance before the Transport Select Committee yesterday, Network Rail chief executive Mark Carne said part of the problem was the location of information screens, and that moving them had made the situation much better.

But the train timetable itself is proving “challenging to manage”, Network Rail said. The timetable has been reviewed and some immediate changes to a small number of evening peak services have been made, which is expected to reduce the pressure on the infrastructure.

Yesterday’s new statement stressed that both companies are “working hard together to improve reliability and investing heavily in improving the reliability of trains and infrastructure”.

Network Rail's area director Steve Knight said: "Trains to Victoria and London Bridge travel over the most congested part of the whole of Britain's railway network and we are constantly pushing against the boundaries of what is physically possible on the infrastructure.

“We are striking a balance between running as many trains as we can when people want them – which is overwhelmingly in peak times – and improving punctuality. The sheer number of trains also means that knock-on delays are magnified: for example a delay of one minute to one train in peak times will quickly delay more than 25 other services.

"To make things better we are rebuilding the railway around Bermondsey and London Bridge, which will make a huge difference to reliability. While the work is going on we are operating with reduced capacity, but we are doing all we can to continue to run as many trains as possible."

David Scorey, Southern deputy managing director said: “We understand our passengers’ frustration and apologise for the levels of performance they are currently experiencing.

“We and Network Rail are creating a joint improvement plan for the railway to improve the reliability of the infrastructure and are working on timetable improvements to certain trains in peak times – including around London Bridge.”

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