Because of the Government Reshuffle the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard, was not available for the meeting, as he was at Number 10.
Sir Nicholas, therefore, met with the Senior Officials of the Department responsible for Rail matters.
Sir Nicholas later met with the Secretary of State for Transport, The Rt. Hon. Chris Grayling, to further discuss the issues.
At the meeting Sir Nicholas told the Department and Secretary of State, that the service on the East Grinstead line has continued to be very poor and before Christmas was completely unacceptable and hopeless.
“I told the Department of Transport that I was not interested in discussing delays caused by infrastructure failings, cows on the line, etc. or any of the other normal dismal excuses. I made the point that I wanted the Management to be held accountable for the continued failings by Southern to provide drivers for the services for which local people pay so much money. It is absolutely unacceptable that there are no drivers available for some of these services for whatever reason. You do not turn up at Gatwick to be told that there is no Pilot for your flight.”
It was agreed that the Department would make the most vigorous representations to the Management of GTR to emphasise that the service is not acceptable and that improvements must be made and soon, and that they will keep a close eye on the situation.
“This is entirely a management issue,” said Sir Nicholas “and I look to the company to ensure that there are no more rostering failures, badly managed sickness rates or logistical problems of getting the right drivers to the right trains on this line.”
The Department of Transport will be writing to Sir Nicholas to confirm the results of this meeting and he will make the letter public.