Skip to main content

South Eastern Rail Franchise

Volume 641: debated on Thursday 24 May 2018

19. What assessment he has made of the potential effect on passenger safety of the terms of the new south-eastern rail franchise which require some travellers to change trains at Lewisham station. (905566)

The hon. Gentleman will be aware that Lewisham is already a fully accessible station. In terms of the total numbers of passengers required to interchange, analysis by Department officials suggests that it may decrease in the next franchise.

Having been through all the upheaval of the London Bridge refurbishment, my constituents now face fewer choices of London destinations under the new franchise, which means they have to change at Lewisham. The additional development right on top of Lewisham station is going to cause a great deal of congestion there. Will the Minister carry out a safety assessment at Lewisham station to make sure that it is safe for passengers who change at the station in future?

As I said, officials believe that we will see a decrease in the numbers of passengers interchanging at Lewisham station in the next franchise period. It is currently an accessible station, although I recognise that its existing design means that it can get crowded at peak times, as the hon. Gentleman said. In recognition of that, the invitation to tender incentivises bidders to consider investment to improve the flow of passengers at Lewisham. Bidders will be required to spend no less than £6.5 million on station improvements, and Lewisham is one candidate for that spend.

I am bound to say that Lewisham station is a very considerable distance from Blaenau Gwent, which the hon. Gentleman represents, but perhaps he has a connection with south-east London of which I am unaware and about which I am shortly to be enlightened. Who knows? I call Mr Nick Smith.

Rail accessibility is an important topic, so will the £430 million saved by not electrifying the Cardiff to Swansea line still be spent in Wales?

At the time the announcement on electrification was made, we made it clear that we would be looking at a number of schemes to invest in infrastructure and enhancements in Cardiff and Swansea. Those discussions are currently under way.