THE chief executive of South Western Railway was put in the hot seat by the public during Steve Brine’s latest ASK event.

Andy Mellors joined the Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP and a group of locals to answer questions about recent issues.

He sat in front of the attendees at St Paul’s Church, Fulflood, with Andy Thomas, who runs the local Network Rail Wessex Route.

Mr Brine said: “Well done to all for the turn-out on what was a blustery, snowy evening. I am very grateful to the two Andys for coming down this evening, and while we all know the last months have been very tough, which is why I called the meeting.”

Afterwards he said: “We covered a lot of ground, including delay repay and parking around both Shawford and Micheldever stations, where there needs to be real joined-up thinking to ensure that the service works for commuters as well as, crucially, local residents.

“There is clearly a way to go on delivering a ‘part-time’ season ticket product that meets expectations and I will be liaising closely with Ministers as they respond to the recent Fares Fare consultation.”

At the meeting, Mr Mellors said that the railway had become busier, and more complex to manage, but the company “looked forward to using the £5m investment for rolling stock to deliver an increase in performance.”

He added that there had been several driver vacancies when SWR took over the South West Trains franchise, and as it takes 15 months to train new drivers, they were now starting to see the benefits.

A number of people raised concerns over closed ticket offices at peak times and weekends, and there was also discussion over staff flexibility, where Mr Mellors said they were currently in conversations with the union.

Mr Thomas told the meeting that he was focussed on performance, and that for Network Rail it was about “going back to basics”, where they start on time, finish on time and inform passengers if there are any issues.

Mr Brine said: “I remain more than ready to challenge SWR and Network Rail on behalf of my constituents, and encourage constituents to stay in touch with me as we hopefully move forward with confidence.”