New cross-party group formed and Steve Brine's challenge to SWR

Winchester MP Steve Brine has formed a powerful new cross-party group in Parliament to focus on rail issues and kicked things off with a challenge to South Western Railway (SWR) over new timetables.

The MP, himself a regular commuter from the city, said the new All Party Parliamentary Group for the Wessex Railway Route would hold Network Rail and SWR to account over local services and argue with one voice inside Government for badly needed long-term investment.

Steve says: "This is about at scale infrastructure projects up the line towards London which, although seemingly remote, are key to the capacity issues we face down in Hampshire. SWR's performance has not been good enough so far and, while there are encouraging signs on their key performance stats in recent months, there's a long way to go to reassure my constituents who are paying a great deal of money to use the railway."

Mr Brine said the group will also work with Sir Michael Holden who is leading an independent look at SWR and Network Rail to ensure all possible steps are being taken to improve performance and the passenger experience. That work will be completed this summer.

The MP also issued a direct challenge to senior members of the SWR team following a meeting he had with Secretary of State Chris Grayling MP last week adding; "I am pressing for Sir Michael's review to also look at the implementation of the new timetable SWR plan to bring in this December.

"No one, least of SWR, can afford for the debacle of Northern Rail's new timetable to be repeated here which I think it's fair to say that would be met with our own version of fire and fury so I have challenged them to work with us and provide the necessary reassurance in good time."

Pictured; MPs from across the Wessex area at the launch of the new group and Steve Brine MP with Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling.