MP Philp’s running late on promised action over rail service

Chris Philp, Croydon South’s new(ish) Tory MP, has probably made more appearances on Channel 4 News, Daily Politics and Newsnight to peddle his party line so far this year than he’s managed to post information for his constituents on his official website.

Widely ridiculed: Chris Philp, MP for Croydon South

MP Chris Philp: been on telly almost more often than he’s updated his website in 2016

And last week, less than an hour after Inside Croydon published the latest call for him to act on his promise to demand the removal of the commuter service franchise from Southern Rail, Philp posted an article on his site stating that he was to … stage a public meeting over the wretched state of Croydon’s rail service.

It is nearly a year since Philp spoke at Westminster about Southern’s “totally unacceptable” service and promised prompt and decisive action on behalf of his commuting constituents. “I will continue to keep the pressure up on Southern and the Rail Minister,” Philp said last July.

And it is six months since Philp promised to demand that Southern should lose its lucrative franchise if the service had not improved by May. “I am … prepared to call for Southern to lose their franchise if the service does not improve by next spring,” Philp wrote to a constituent in December.

But now, it’s not just Southern trains which are running late: Philp’s promise to deliver a better rail service also appears to be delayed. Croydon commuters are beginning to think that the Flying Scotsman generated less hot air than their Tory MP.

More than three weeks into May, and still Philp has not carried out his threat.

Maybe he’s heard that Southern’s services have undergone transformative improvement?

On the MP’s website last week, he wrote, “Southern Rail has been one of the biggest issues facing our neighbourhood for some time. The constant delays have plighted [sic; he really means blighted] commuters and leisure travellers alike.”

Chris Philp Southern

Philp’s rapidly running out of time to deliver on his oft-repeated promise of action

Philp went on: “I have been complaining to Ministers, Southern and Network Rail and it is now time for residents to get a chance to hear from the train companies directly.” Yet most commuters do, already, hear from the train companies, often on a twice-daily basis, when their trains are delayed, or cancelled, or utterly overcrowded.

Has Philp’s train campaign run out of steam?

Why has he failed to carry out his threat “to call for Southern to lose their franchise”?

It’s a threat which Philp still repeats in his latest posting: “If I do not get suitable answers I will be calling on them to lose the franchise.” But how long do his new neighbours in Coulsdon have to wait for the MP actually to deliver on that promise? After all, as he reminds his constituents, “Southern’s performance is abysmal – the worst of any line in the country.”

Philp’s meeting is tomorrow evening, May 24, from 7.30pm in the church hall at Purley United Reform Church, 906 Brighton Road, Purley CR8 2LN. “There will be representatives from Southern and Network Rail in attendance who will be giving presentations before opening the floor to a Q&A,” Philp says.

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News, views and analysis about the people of Croydon, their lives and political times in the diverse and most-populated borough in London. Based in Croydon and edited by Steven Downes. To contact us, please email
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1 Response to MP Philp’s running late on promised action over rail service

  1. Nick Davies says:

    I wrote about the 18:19 Victoria to Coulsdon South a few months ago. If you thought things were bad then, it really is beyond a joke now. Some stats for May so far:

    Mon 3 to Fri 6 – it was 2 mins late once, 6 twice, 7 once and 13 once.
    Mon 9 to Fri 13 – it was cancelled every day but Thurs, when it was 7 mins late.
    Mon 16 to Fri 20 – it ran on three days – one was a strike day and was 4, 8 and 10 mins late,
    It was cancelled again last night.

    It was last on time on 15 April. We don’t know when the time before that was, the data only goes back to mid February.

    You can check your favorite service at

    All I’ll say is I’m glad my Southern commuting days behind me.

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