Transport

Chuka Slams Boris for focusing on Parliamentary ambitions instead of the needs of London commuters

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna has criticised London Mayor Boris Johnson ahead of Mr Johnson’s possible selection as Conservative candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, saying “Boris, distracted by his Parliamentary ambitions, has taken his eye off the ball when he should be focused on the needs of London commuters like my constituents”.

Mr Umunna wants the Mayor to agree that a Streatham route should be considered in any consultation concerning the extension of the Bakerloo line, saying thatif Streatham is not even considered in a consultation on extending the Bakerloo line then it would simply lend credence to those who say our Mayor has become distracted by his Parliamentary ambitions from his full-time job as Mayor”.

The London Infrastructure Plan 2050, launched by the Mayor’s office in July, suggested “Extending the Bakerloo Line south from Elephant and Castle through Southwark, into Lewisham and beyond” at some time prior to 2050.

It has since been reported that Transport for London (TfL) are to start a ten-week public consultation on extending the line to south-east London in September. However, there has been no indication that the option of extending the line to Streatham in South west London via Camberwell and Herne Hill – which TfL had agreed to consider in 2009 following pressure from Mr Umunna – will be included.

Prior to the launch of the London Infrastructure Plan, in a letter earlier this year to London’s Transport Commissioner, Mr Umunna wrote about his “strong view that Streatham is at the moment insufficiently served by TfL and by transport services more generally”, repeating his long-time demand that TfL examine the case for extending an existing underground line to Streatham.

Mr Umunna – who has been campaigning for a Streatham tube since before becoming the MP for his local area – is meeting the Transport Commissioner in September to repeat his long-held demands for his constituency which has been historically poorly served by the tube.

Today is the deadline for applications for the Conservative Party candidacy in Uxbridge and South Ruislip. Boris Johnson confirmed this week he will be seeking selection, despite his position as Mayor.

Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat chair of the London Assembly transport committee, voiced support earlier this month for extending the Bakerloo line to Lewisham & Bromley. However, Mr Umunna’s view is that Streatham is poorly served by existing transport connections and should have a tube line. Mr Umunna said today that “all we are asking is that Streatham – historically ill-served by London Transport – be given due consideration instead of being ignored.”

Commenting, Streatham MP Chuka Umunna said:

Boris, distracted by his Parliamentary ambitions, has taken his eye off the ball when he should be focused on the needs of London commuters like my constituents”

“We have been pushing for TfL to extend the underground to Streatham and if Streatham is not even considered in the consultation on extending the Bakerloo line it would demonstrate clearly that Boris’ focus lies elsewhere.

“We will not stop campaigning on this.  Boris must intervene and ensure Streatham’s case for a tube is heard – Conservative association members in Uxbridge aren’t the only people he’s been elected to serve.

“All we are asking is that Streatham – historically ill-served by London Transport – be given due consideration instead of being ignored.”

Local MP Pressures Minister to Hint at New Hope for Thameslink

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Following a demand from Streatham MP Chuka Umunna to make a statement regarding the sufficiency of Streatham’s transport links, Transport Minister Stephen Hammond has suggested in Parliament that additional peak trains may run on the service through Streatham station.

Mr Umunna has fought a long-running campaign, from 2008, to secure the future of the Thameslink service from Streatham station since proposals emerged to end the through-London service from Streatham and Tulse Hill stations on the Wimbledon loop section of the Thameslink franchise.

Mr Umunna set out four key tests for the future of Thameslink services on the Wimbledon loop: That a cross London service be maintained; the frequency of services be increased; that longer trains should run on the route; and that new trains be provided.

Following the decision by Ministers at the Department for Transport, announced in January 2013, that the Wimbledon loop section of the Thameslink franchise would continue unchanged without the frequency of service increasing, Mr Umunna said that:

“The possibility that our through-London service might be cut was always an absurd proposition so the most I can give the government for this announcement is half-marks but what we really need is newer, longer, more frequent trains”

Now, in a response to a demand from Mr Umunna for a statement from the Secretary of State for Transport on the sufficiency of Streatham’s transport links, transport Minister Stephen Hammond hinted at a u-turn on the frequency of services, saying to Parliament that:

“Network Rail is currently undertaking a Sussex Route study, to develop options for improvements on rail services in the Streatham area. It is due to report its findings next year.

“Residents and transport users in Streatham will also benefit from the higher capacity trains that will operate across the Thameslink network. Furthermore, as part of the new franchise, there are proposals to provide two additional trains in the peak.”

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP said:

“That the Minister, in a statement specifically about Streatham’s transport links, has hinted about a u-turn to provide additional peak trains, will provide new hope for Streatham commuters using Thameslink.

“It remains to be seen whether what the Minister has suggested will be delivered, but what the Minister has said is clear and on the record – The onus is now on Ministers to back up that statement to Parliament with action and ensure more trains from Streatham and Tulse Hill.

“I will not stop fighting for better transport links for our community, including but not limited to better and more frequent Thameslink services.” 

Umunna demands action from TfL on Crossrail, the Tube, and an end to Streatham Transport snubs

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna has demanded TfL take action over continued snubs to the needs of local residents in the Streatham part of his constituency by TfL and other transport providers – and has demanded a ministerial statement be given to Parliament regarding the area’s insufficient transport links.

Mr Umunna wrote to the London’s Transport Commissioner saying: As I have said publicly many times, it is my strong view that the Streatham part of my constituency is insufficiently served by local transport connections when compared to other areas. Given the obvious benefit there would be to the area I represent, I wish to reiterate my view that a Streatham Station be included within the scope of Crossrail 2.’

Regarding Crossrail 2, Mr Umunna went on to write:What research has been carried out as to the benefits of a station in Streatham being included in the route for Crossrail 2 and what consideration has thus far been given to including Streatham on the route? Will you ensure not only that consideration of a Streatham Station, which would clearly seem to benefit the area I represent, is taken forward, but that the decision making process in this regard treats and is seen to treat this proposition more seriously than the current consultation process seems to me to imply?’

Concerning TfL’s failure to properly prioritise Streatham Transport, Mr Umunna wrote: Given the historic lack of an underground link, the rejection of the possibility of increasing the frequency of Thameslink trains travelling through Streatham Station, and other concerns such as the lack of coverage locally of the Barclay’s Cycle Hire Scheme – all of which have cumulatively given rise to a view locally that Streatham is too low a priority for TfL and that the needs of the community are being ignored – what priority will you give to improving transport generally in the Streatham area and how will you guarantee this to the satisfaction of the people I represent?’

Mr Umunna demanded that TfL look afresh at the case for extending the underground to Streatham, writing:  ‘Notwithstanding decisions taken by central government in relation to infrastructure spending, will you examine afresh the case for extending an existing underground line to Streatham?

Mr Umunna also demanded answers on other options to improve Streatham’s transport links, such as a tram link, writing: ‘What plans do you currently have regarding the extension of the Tramlink or the provision of new tram lines and will you provide me with your assessment as to the benefits of such to the Streatham as well as a detailed overview of the options in this regard?’

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP said:

“Of all the meetings I have, I think the ones in respect of Transport are the most frustrating – we cannot continue to ask politely for our areas needs to be met and then have nothing happen, something has to change.”

“The situation with respect to Streatham is so bad we even had to fight incredibly hard last year just to keep our existing Thameslink service – whilst we saw off the attempt to make the service even worse, our plea for more frequent trains was ignored and I doubt anyone who uses the service to and from Streatham thinks it is good enough.

“There comes a point where you come to the view that enough is enough, TfL are not properly prioritising our area. Even the tone used in public consultations like on Crossrail 2 – which is supposed to be an opportunity for people who don’t normally have access to Transport officials to advocate their views– is too dismissive of even the idea that Streatham could get better transport.

“We cannot continue to suffer these constant snubs to our transport needs in Streatham – I have asked the Secretary of State for Transport to make a statement to Parliament.” 

People’s Question Time on Cycling: Wednesday 23 April 2014

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Chuka will be chairing a People’s Question Time event on cycling on Wednesday 23 April at 7pm at The Grand Union Bar in Acre Lane. This event is an opportunity for local residents to raise concerns directly with those responsible for issues such as cycling safety, infrastructure and support.

Representatives from Lambeth Council and Transport for London have been invited to speak at the event, and the Cycling Commissioner Andrew Gilligan, the Metropolitan Police Cycle Taskforce Safety lead, and a representative of Lambeth cyclists, have all agreed to speak on the panel.

This People’s Question Time is open to all and there is no need to RSVP. Chuka’s People’s Question Time events are designed as an opportunity for local residents to raise any concerns they have about a particular issue, in this case cycling.

If you have any queries about this event, please see the contact page of this website for how to get in touch. 

 

 

- Food and drink is available for purchase at the venue. Please remember not to drink and drive.

Travel Update – Monday 28th October: First Capital Connect Service Alterations Due To Extreme Weather

Sunday, October 27th, 2013

Chuka has just received this update for constituents from First Capital Connect on their services:

Following advice from Network Rail we are not expected to run any trains on the entire network from Sunday 24:00 until it has been declared safe to do so, which is likely to be after 09:00 Monday 28th October. This will allow the Network Rail and FCC teams to check the railway in the early hours and ensure it is safe to run trains from after 9am on Monday, as there could be fallen tree branches, debris on tracks and third rail or overhead lines.

Once the lines re-open, we will run a much reduced service. Travelling will be difficult and we are advising our customers not to travel unless it’s absolutely necessary. We are keeping our website updated with the latest travel information, have updated all the station screens, have issued updates to our twitter followers and have also issued direct messages to over 15,000 registered customers.

Updates and further information from First Capital Connect can be found on their website or by clicking on this link

Thameslink: Chuka comments on the National Audit Office report

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Commenting on the National Audit Office report on Thameslink, Streatham MP Chuka Umunna said:

“I made it absolutely clear to the government that when it comes to our Transport links, nothing less than a dramatic improvement of the status quo is acceptable – We still don’t have a tube, and everyone locally knows that far too often Streatham gets missed off the list when it comes to transport improvements. That approach is totally wrong and it is a grave disservice to our area.

“On Thameslink, I made four demands of ministers, that they u-turn so we keep the cross London service, that the frequency of trains increases, that we get longer trains so we get less overcrowding, and that we get the new trains the government are buying. They only caved in to two of our demands, u-turning to allow us to keep our current through-London service and promising us new trains.

The Government has had three years to agree the contract for new trains and their failure to do so is now putting at risk the planned 2018 delivery date for Thameslink. Now the National Audit Office has outlined the scale of its concern, Ministers must make sure they don’t break yet another promise and that we get the new trains they promised on time. Anything less would be beyond unacceptable. “

Works at Streatham Hill Station: Message to Residents

Monday, February 11th, 2013

In just under two months time, from Sunday 7th April, Network Rail will be carrying out work to extend platform two at Streatham Hill Station, designed to allow longer trains with more seats to stop at the station and help to relieve overcrowding.

We all know that our train service is not as good as it should be, and I am very supportive of efforts to improve our local transport. However, I am keen to ensure that the disruption caused by these works is kept at an absolute minimum.

The main construction work will be undertaken from April through to early June, as set out in the provisional programme below. Network Rail has informed me that work will take place at weekends, designed in this way so as to minimise disruption. Unfortunately, there will be no trains running from the station on Sunday April 7th, 21st and 28th, nor on Sunday 19th May or Sunday 2nd June, and a rail replacement bus service will run instead.

Network Rail have provided me with a number of assurances that the work will be done in such a way as to minimise disruption for local residents and passengers, that most of the work will be done behind hoardings, separate from the operational station, and therefore not requiring changes to the usual train timetable, and that no road closures will be required.

My purpose in writing this post is to appeal to every local resident, business and service user to alert me as soon as possible – please see the contact page of my website for details of how to do so – if you are experiencing any adversity because of these works, or if you feel that any of the assurances given to me concerning these works are not being met, so that I am able to raise your concerns with Network Rail.

Current Provisional Programme of Works:

Dates

Current Provisional Programme of works

From

To

04.00 Sun.

07

-

04.00

Mon. 08 April Construction of platform bases and signal installation
04.00 Sun.

21

-

04.00

Mon. 22 April Installation of platform units and signalling works
04.00 Sun.

28

-

04.00

Mon. 29 April Platform copers
04.00 Sun.

19

-

04.00

Mon. 20 May Complete platform surfaces and electrical works
04.00 Sun.

02

-

04.00

Mon. 06 June Completion of outstanding items

 

I am very glad that some of the much needed work to improve our train service is being done, but I am determined that the impact on local residents, businesses and passengers is kept to an absolute minimum. I would be very grateful to you if you would get in touch with any concerns you have about how these works are being carried out. If you have any questions or concerns about this work that you would like to raise directly with Network Rail, you can contact them using their 24-Hour National Helpline on 08457 11 41 41.

Please note that Network Rail plan for some initial preparatory work, such as platform wiring, to be carried out on weekend evenings in February, but they have assured me this should not be noisy or disruptive. Again, if residents, businesses or passengers, do not find this to be the case, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Thanks and best wishes,

Chuka

Chuka Umunna MP
Member of Parliament for Streatham
covering Streatham and parts of Clapham, Balham, Tulse Hill and Brixton
Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Innovation &Skills

www.chuka.org.uk | www.twitter.com/ChukaUmunna

 

Thameslink: Local MP Gives ‘Half-Marks’ to Government Decision

Monday, January 21st, 2013

Streatham MP Chuka Umunna has said the government deserve half-marks on Thameslink as the government bow to community pressure to keep a through-London service running but rule out running more trains per hour.

Mr Umunna has been campaigning on the need to improve and maintain the Thameslink service since 2008, before he was elected as the MP for the Streatham parliamentary constituency, when he set up the Save Our South West London Thameslink Services campaign to protest against the proposals.

This Summer Mr Umunna appealed ‘to as many members of the community as possible to respond to the government’s consultation’ as part of a final push to secure the future of Thameslink services. The government revealed today that 2,200 people had responded to the consultation to say they were in favour of retaining the through-London service.

Mr Umunna set four key tests for the government to meet on the future of Thameslink services, saying that the status quo was not acceptable. Whilst the government announced good news that the through-London service would be maintained, there will also be disappointment at the government’s announcement that the frequency of Thameslink services running through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon loop will not be increased.

  1. That a through London Service be maintained so that commuters from Streatham, Tulse Hill, and the other stations along the Wimbledon loop do not find that their trains terminate at Blackfriars
  2. That the frequency of Thameslink services running through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon loop is increased to increase capacity.
  3. That longer trains can run through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon loop, to decrease overcrowding.
  4. That new trains are provided for services running through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon Loop.

The government is yet to announce whether new or longer trains will be provided for services running through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon Loop.

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP, said:

“This announcement today will be brilliant news for every member of our community and an absolute relief for all those who took part in the massive community campaign to maintain our through-London service. The possibility that our through-London service might be cut was always an absurd proposition so the most I can give the government for this announcement is half-marks but what we really need is newer, longer, more frequent trains.

“The fact that the government ignored all calls for extra trains to run from the station, and they still haven’t come forward as to whether we’ll get the longer, new trains that would help reduce overcrowding, is not satisfactory at all. However, I don’t want to take away from all those who campaigned so hard since we started this in 2008.

“Our community should celebrate this victory of sorts but I won’t stop campaigning for newer, longer, more frequent trains. I hope the government is starting to learn they can’t treat the transport needs of my constituents with the contempt they’ve shown up to now.” 

Click here to read the government announcement.

Crucial decision on Thameslink commuter train services imminent

Friday, December 14th, 2012

Transport Minister Simon Burns has confirmed that Ministers will decide on the future of Thameslink commuter train services to South West London imminently Streatham MP Chuka Umunna has learnt.

The government’s upcoming decision on the future of the Thameslink franchise, currently operated by First Capital Connect has been hugely controversial.  Many thousands of commuters face losing their cross London commuter train service from stations in Streatham and Tulse Hill in Lambeth and other stations along the whole of the Wimbledon loop including Tooting, Mitcham, Wimbledon and Merton, which connects South West London to the City, St Pancras International and Luton airport.

Mr Umunna has been campaigning on the need to improve and maintain the Thameslink service since 2008, before he was elected as the MP for the Streatham parliamentary constituency.  In 2008 he set up the Save Our South West London Thameslink Services campaign and Facebook group to protest against the proposals.

Mr Umunna met with the Minister of State for Transport, Simon Burns, this week. Contrary to some reports, the Minister said no decision has been reached about the future of Thameslink Services yet.  However, during their meeting the Minister confirmed that Network Rail and the Franchise operator, First Capital Connect, will shortly be making a recommendation to Ministers who will then decide on the future of the Thameslink Service.  The Minister said a decision and an announcement on the future of the Wimbledon loop would be made “shortly.”  Mr Umunna expects a decision shortly before or after the Christmas break.

With regard to the future of Thameslink services, Mr Umunna has said ‘nothing less than a dramatic improvement of the status quo is acceptable’. He has set out four key tests for Ministers to meet when they make their decision. These are:

  1. That a cross London Service be maintained so that commuters from Streatham, Tulse Hill and the other stations along the Wimbledon loop do not find that their trains terminate at Blackfriars;
  2. That the frequency of Thameslink services running through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon loop is increased to increase capacity;
  3. That longer trains can run through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon loop, to reduce overcrowding; and,
  4. That new trains are provided for services running through Streatham, Tulse Hill and the rest of the Wimbledon Loop.

Commenting, Chuka Umunna MP said:

“With regard to the future of Thameslink Services, nothing less than a dramatic improvement on the status quo is acceptable. As I keep telling transport ministers, losing our cross-London Thameslink service should be kicked off the agenda.  Instead, what we want is a vast improvement on the service we are currently putting up with – which are trains that are old, overcrowded, and don’t run frequently enough.

“My constituents have suffered enough and are clear on what they expect – a cross London service with better, roomier, more frequent and newer trains.”


Time to Secure Compensation from Network Rail: Submitting a Claim

Thursday, November 29th, 2012

I remain absolutely determined to ensure that those businesses that have suffered from Network Rail’s disgraceful handling of the works at Streatham Common Station receive the proper compensation they deserve as soon as humanly possible. I hope all affected businesses have now received the information my office has been distributing about making a claim to Network Rail for compensation – if not, please don’t hesitate to contact me immediately.

If you have the information but have not yet submitted your claim, I would encourage you to do this as soon as you can. I would appreciate it if you would let me know when you submit claims, and when you receive a response, so that if there is any delay whatsoever in the process I can do everything I can to ensure that Network Rail pay the compensation our community deserves.

I will not give up until our businesses get their due from Network Rail.

Chuka