HOGRIDER 103 : JUNE 2005
SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS' GROUP NEWSLETTER
GROUP’S CONSTRUCTIVE MEETING WITH SENIOR NATIONAL EXPRESS MANAGERS
PERCEPTIONS OF CONTEMPT AS SWT OUT OF STEP WITH SECRETARY OF STATE
RE-FRANCHISING OF SWT: TIME TO GET IT RIGHT
OVERCROWDING AND FARES LEVELS
WESSEX TRAINS EXTENDS RANGE OF RAIL ROVER TICKETS
STAGECOACH ACCUSED AS VIRGIN TRAINS' PASSENGERS SUFFER
HUNDREDS SEVERELY DELAYED BY VIRGIN-STAGECOACH ACTION
FINAL PUBLIC MEETING OF THE RAIL PASSENGERS COMMITTEE
ASPECTS OF SWT’S LACK OF FOCUS ON PASSENGERS
FURTHER INSIGHTS INTO SWT'S PASSENGERS PANEL …..
….. AND INTO SWT'S SUPPORTERS
SWT'S POOR ADVICE TO ANNUAL SEASON TICKET HOLDERS
SWT’S UNHELPFUL ‘JOURNEYCHECK’ FACILITY
NEW TIMETABLE FROM 12 JUNE
(SWT cuts Southampton-West of England service by 60%)
COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER – 2
LETTER IN EVENING STANDARD
FINAL MAINLINE SLAM DOOR TRAIN ON SWT
RAIL PERFORMANCE REPORTS
MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
GROUP’S CONSTRUCTIVE MEETING WITH SENIOR NATIONAL EXPRESS MANAGERS
On 30 June, 14 members of the Group attended a meeting in Southampton with Nick Brown and David Franks from National Express to share views on the re-franchising of South West Trains. An invitation to bidders is expected to go out in July. National Express is very ready to listen to passengers’ views, and it is intended that this should be the beginning of a constructive relationship between the company and the group.
We are very grateful to Nick and David for coming to talk to us and for their hospitality, the more so as they are based in Birmingham. Inevitably people will make comparisons with Stagecoach, who claimed to have consulted rail user group’s about their new timetable, but in most cases didn’t, and with ‘meet the manager’ sessions at Waterloo where the public generally meet only middle-ranking supervisors.
The discussion covered the whole range of issues which matter to passengers, and members of the Group were impressed by NE’s positive and listening attitude. We wish them every success, and hope that our views and experiences were helpful.
PERCEPTIONS OF CONTEMPT AS SWT OUT OF STEP WITH SECRETARY OF STATE
At the December 2003 public meeting of the Rail Passengers Council, Secretary of State Alistair Darling called on rail companies to treat passengers as ‘valued customers’. Many regular SWT passengers still don’t feel anything like valued customers.
Of course, SWT will perform its lines to take about how customer-focused the company is, but there often seems little will to translate the words into deeds. At a meeting of the Rail Passengers Committee, soon after his appointment as a non-executive Stagecoach director, the chairman of SWT’s “independent” Passengers Panel, Sir Alan Greengross, spoke of the importance of perceptions. He argued that it was no use telling a child that a spider was harmless if the child saw it as an object of fear. Unfortunately, wherever you look beyond the brash fairground liveries of SWT, you are likely to find some perceptibly nasty things lurking.….
As part of last December’s timetable cuts, the busy 16.45 Waterloo-Poole train was axed and passengers for intermediate stops between Southampton and Bournemouth then needed to catch the 16.35 from Waterloo and change at Southampton Central to the “connecting” 17.56 stopping train to Bournemouth.
Typical examples of what happens in practice:
On Monday 13 June, the16.35 was delayed several minutes at Southampton Airport Parkway due to duff doors, arriving at Southampton Central at 17.54.30. The train controller at the next platform, across the footbridge, couldn’t have failed to be aware of its late arrival. Nevertheless, he gave the signal for the doors of the 17.56 to close at 17.55.30, and all but 3 passengers off the 16.35 missed it and were delayed for 30 minutes.
On Tuesday 21 June, the 16.35 was slightly delayed by a purported trackside fire at Clapham Junction. There was a longer delay at Woking where the guard announced that it was not the advertised Cosham service, and passengers who had boarded in error should alight. The service arrived at Southampton Central at 17.59 and the 17.56 “connection” departed just as it braked. This meant another 30 minute delay for passengers.
On Thursday 23 June, the 16.35 suffered a minor signal check after Winchester. It arrived at Southampton Central at 17.55. As passengers who had raced over the footbridge started to reach the platform from which the 17.56 departs, the train controller raised his baton to send off their “connection”. When the first passenger across shouted that others were coming, he just replied “Too late, it’s gone”. This was incorrect as the doors had closed early. Passengers were again delayed for 30 minutes.
It is difficult to argue that this is treating passengers as valued customers. Delayed and angry commuters perceive it as a particularly callous form of contempt. They know that people already on board the 17.56 save no time at all, because the train has to wait at signals down the line for the 16.35 to pass. They also know that no other trains can pass by the platform used by the 17.56, because the other end is occupied by the 15.17 from Victoria which arrives at 17.47 and returns at 18.20.
History is often indicative of what to expect.
On 27 January 1995, former Secretary of State, Dr Brian Mawhinney said, “We want responsiveness to passengers’ wishes. We want, in the railways, all the best of British industry.” But:
In 1996, the High Court refused Stagecoach’s attempt to block the World in Action programme ‘Cowboy Country’ about the company’s businesses practices.
By 1997, the SWT timetable was collapsing because too many drivers had been shed to boost profits. John Watts, the Transport Minister, could hardly contain his anger, calling Stagecoach’s management ‘inept’. The Franchising Director, John O’Brien, stated “SWT have until the end of April to convince me they are operating a proper service and will continue to do so. Otherwise they face a fine of a million pounds with the possibility of further sanctions, including franchise termination.”
Dr Alan Whitehead, then Labour’s prospective Parliamentary candidate for the Southampton Test constituency, wrote in the Southern Daily Echo of 8 March, “We have the misfortune to live in the part of the country served by the worst single example of rail privatisation – South West Trains. Anybody who has travelled on the service recently will know that the whole system is in chaos…”
It is difficult to believe that much has changed.
RE-FRANCHISING OF SWT: TIME TO GET IT RIGHT
At their final public meeting before dissolution, the Rail Passengers Committee for Southern England stressed the importance of current and prospective re-franchising exercises, which would determine the kind of service passengers receive for the next 10 years.
Many regular commuters recognise the need for a change on SWT. After franchising to Stagecoach in 1996, so many drivers and middle managers were cut, to boost profits, that services had to be permanently cancelled and the timetable downgraded. After Stagecoach was selected in 2001 as preferred bidder for a new 20-year franchise, their performance continued to deteriorate to the extent that Stephen Byers threatened that they could lose the franchise. The SRA then reduced the new franchise to three years and increased Stagecoach’s subsidy by over 400%. What taxpayers and other taxpayers got in return was a 15% reduction in new coaches, thousands of seats ripped out of suburban units to allow more passengers to be squeezed in, and a slower timetable, with some journeys between principal centres taking around 20% longer than in 1990.
The new timetable has created the impression of better performance, which is not difficult when many trains have a slack of around 6 minutes, and doors are locked in passengers’ faces 30 seconds before departure time. However, it is becoming increasingly apparent that the improvement is not confined to SWT. Other operators, who have not slowed and thinned their services, are also doing much better.
So would another operator do better on SWT? Wessex Trains, owned by National Express, has just introduced an extended range of Rail Rover tickets to boost leisure travel in the West of England. This facility embraces the Hampshire coast, and it is to be hoped that it remains after re-franchising of Greater Western, which will absorb Wessex Trains’ services. Wessex have complemented the tickets with a new, late evening, service to Gloucester, achieved by diverting the 21.12 (Mondays-Fridays) train from Southampton Central. Passengers wanting the train’s original destination of Cardiff have a connection through South Wales to Swansea, by changing at Bristol Parkway. Compare this with SWT, which has decelerated the Waterloo-West of England service, reducing its through weekend services from Southampton to the West by 60% (see article on the new June timetable).
What would a new Stagecoach franchise on SWT mean? The good news is that Alistair Darling, who has grasped the nettle of reducing handouts to poor train operators, has stayed in post as Secretary of State for Transport. The next franchise settlement on SWT isn’t expected to be anything like as generous as the present one. It may well be that it won’t be at a level sufficient to satisfy Stagecoach’s “greed” (to use Chairman Brian Souter’s term).
It is difficult to avoid the impression that SWT scorns long-distance commuters, possibly because their lives are most adversely affected by poor service, so they tend to be more vocal than other passengers. On 9 February 2005, SWT’s then Commercial Director, Rufus Boyd, appeared to dismiss the aspirations of long-distance commuters by referring to buying a home a good way from work in London as the "ultimate distress purchase" (the Group has his speech on CD), This attitude may be the reason why the 06.14 train from Brockenhurst (06.30 from Southampton Central) stops at Totton at 06.22 on Saturdays for leisure travellers, but not on Mondays to Fridays when commuters waste 75 minutes a week through having to take a connection to Southampton. The Rail Passengers Committee pressed for a Totton stop, and our Group has twice raised the issue in the Evening Standard, but to no avail. Yet, since 12 June, the former 07.25 stopping service from Poole starts at 07.20, to the benefit of local commuters into Southampton.
But it’s not only long-distance commuters who would be likely to suffer if Stagecoach retains the SWT franchise. At the Rail Passengers’ Committee final public meeting in June, Mr Boyd hinted that catering was an area where economies might be sought. Services are often bleak already. The hard-seated and very slow Waterloo-Bournemouth Sunday trains take, for example, over two and a quarter hours to the large town of Christchurch, without so much as a buffet trolley.
Mr Boyd spoke at the meeting of the need to get inside other operators’ heads. We can expect a flood of fine words from Stagecoach when bidding begins – remember how Graham Eccles famously told ‘Rail Professional’ magazine that for the big PR hit you add together the committed outputs, the primary aspirations and the secondary aspirations, and then you shout loudly?
It is to be hoped that the Department for Transport will listen a little more circumspectly to bidders than did the SRA. Mr Eccles’ words make clear how extraordinary it was for SWT to have been chosen for a new franchise on the basis of its “straightforward” approach to the bidding exercise. Latterly, SWT’s E’motion magazine appears to be part of a more subtle, but equally devious, approach to PR. For example, it has accused MPs of dishonesty for opining that passengers’ interests should be put first. It has also declared “hats off” for increased frequencies from Hounslow, even though they mean much longer journeys from Chertsey. We can expect to be bombarded with material to brainwash us into believing that Stagecoach is best. The Group stands ready.
This isn’t what informed twenty-first century passengers want. Note the Evening Standard’s summary (6 April 2005) of what their Election Panel – drawn from the general public – expected: “What we want is honesty, sincerity… something to believe in”. With transfer of SWT to an operator whose Chairman doesn’t believe that “Ethics are not irrelevant, but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed”, SWT passengers and other taxpayers might, just, have something to believe in: a railway which gives them value in return for huge subsidies and spiralling fares.
We hope that the next re-franchising exercise on SWT will take account of reports like those which our Group produces. These would complement the monitoring exercise set up by the SRA: “The SRA pledged that any operator failing to meet clearly determined “journey quality” standards would be thrown off the network. Teams of “mystery shoppers” and auditors will roam the railways, seeking inadequacies”. (Guardian 7 November 2002)
It is interesting to surmise why Brian Souter choose the name “Stagecoach” for his company. Passenger service operators tend to like positive names: “First”, “National Express”, “Go Ahead”. As an intelligent man, Mr Souter would have realized that Stagecoach travel was slow and uncomfortable, and that passengers were liable to be robbed by highwaymen.
OVERCROWDING AND FARES LEVELS
The Guardian’s lead article on 21 June reported public exhortation for the Prime Minister to act on climate change. Page 15 of the same paper reported the Association of Train Operating Companies’ view that high fares were the answer to overcrowding. In other words, price people off trains and accelerate climate change through increased road traffic pollution.
Of course, this view is nothing new. The Evening Standard of 26 October 2001 contained an article headed “Rail chiefs’ solution to ‘cattle trucks’: raise peak time fares”.
Looking at this issue in the context of South West Trains, is it coincidental that we have overcrowding? Southern promised 742 new coaches and delivered 742. SWT promised 785 and delivered 665. If the additional coaches were unaffordable, why was the 400% increase in SWT’s subsidy affordable?
Looking at the longer distance services from Waterloo, where is the worst overcrowding? The 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth and 16.05 Waterloo-Poole on Fridays must be strong contenders. Particularly the latter. They are both formed of only 5 coaches. Clearly there is no operational reason for this; it’s a matter of shortage of carriages.
The day after the Guardian articles, the media were expressing outrage at reports of SWT’s soaring profits.
WESSEX TRAINS EXTENDS RANGE OF RAIL ROVER TICKETS
(This information is as we understand the position, but we cannot accept responsibility for it; please check with Wessex Trains)
Wessex Trains has extended its substantial range of rail rover tickets, in a big boost for leisure travel in the South West. The tickets cover the geographical area bounded by, and including, the Cardiff-Portsmouth Harbour line in the East, plus Southampton-Eastleigh-Romsey, Cardiff/Great Malvern–Swindon, Bath/Trowbridge–Swindon, and Swindon/Bristol-Severn Tunnel Junction-Great Malvern,
Tickets can be bought at staffed stations across GB, over the phone or on-line. There are 3 tickets: (1) Freedom of Devon and Cornwall (all stations westwards from Axminster and Taunton); (2) Freedom of Severn and Solent (all stations in the area outlined above, eastwards from Axminster/Taunton; (3) Freedom of South West (both areas combined). (1) and (2) are not available before 09.00 on Mondays-Fridays except bank holidays (there are exceptions where the normal restriction on cheap day return tickets ends before 09.00).
Tickets (1) and (2) cost £40 for 3 days in 7; £60 for 8 days in 15, (£26.40 / £39.60 for children and holders of young person’s, disabled person’s or senior railcards). Ticket (3) costs £70 for 3 days in 7 and £95 for 8 days in 15 (£46.20 / £62.70 for children and holders of young person’s, disabled person’s or senior railcards).
Wessex Trains also has a range of Rail Ranger tickets over more local areas.
STAGECOACH ACCUSED AS VIRGIN TRAINS' PASSENGERS SUFFER
'Rail' magazine, issue 511, contains the following report:
Failures by two Virgin Trains' services caused 40 hours of delays. On April 1, the 10.47 Manchester-Euston suffered pantograph failure 17 minutes into its journey. In addition the passenger alarm had been activated and could not be reset. Passengers started to be evacuated to buses at 14.05. With two disabled passengers still on board, the train was moved to Stockport at 17.01 and the line was reopened at 17.04, after causing 17 train cancellations and seven part-cancellations, affecting 171 trains, and causing 1,655 minutes of delay.
Virgin's customer care was brought into question. One passenger told 'Rail' that staff disappeared, people were smoking without being stopped, and the shop was closed and was reopened to give out free drinks only after 3 hours. It was a 100% breakdown in customer service and training.
Three days later, the 09.56 Manchester-Glasgow ran with only two of the train's four motors operational. Fitters were unable to rectify the faults, and the train was eventually helped by the 06.31 Bournemouth-Edinburgh, but only after 745 minutes of train delays had accumulated.
'Rail', issue 512, further reports:
"Although Virgin owns 51% of Virgin Trains, insiders suggest the two franchises are increasingly run by Stagecoach since the departure last Autumn of Chris Green, who moved from chief executive to part-time chairman. That change is thought to be behind complaints that on-board service has fallen (Rail 511) with one experienced rail manager saying that Virgin West Coast's on-board service has no senior management representation. This area is also one of the only areas in which costs are under Virgin West Coast's control and where budgets can be trimmed. It is thought Stagecoach would like to buy out Virgin's share but current profits fall far short of the 'double-digit' percentage profits Stagecoach would want."
Footnote: On 30 May all Virgin Voyager trains were grounded for safety checks following a fire. Only the odd High Speed Train set, hired for Summer Saturday services to Newquay, was available. Virgin Cross Country services were therefore virtually non-existent.
HUNDREDS SEVERELY DELAYED BY VIRGIN-STAGECOACH ACTION
Passengers waiting at Preston on 26 April for the 15.28 departure to Bournemouth became restless when it was announced as running 12 minutes late from Lancaster. It eventually arrived, but the doors remained closed for nearly two minutes. A young woman left the front of the train with a mature male member of staff, in red Virgin jacket and with strong Scottish accent, shouting at her about the behaviour of the English.
The young woman was interviewed by a group of police officers whilst Virgin staff stayed on the platform. After more than 10 minutes the young woman was sobbing violently and the police let her depart. She then twice collapsed on the platform and had to be helped on to a station bench and comforted.
The train continued waiting and the guard announced that passengers wouldn't believe what had happened, but he would tell them later. After departure, 37 minutes late, he announced that while the train had been delayed by an initial incident, the driver had spotted oil on the track some yards ahead, and this had been reported to 'Railtrack'. Railtrack had refused to let the train move as they believed it might be responsible for the oil leak. It had been explained that this was impossible as the oil was some way in front. Various conversations between Virgin and Railtrack had been necessary to get permission to proceed.
When the guard came through to check tickets, he told one passenger that the original cause of all the problems had been a passenger without a ticket. Many anxious passengers were now using their mobiles to report what was eventually announced as a 'severe delay'. One young woman who needed to change at both Coventry and Rugby was telling the recipient of her call that she didn't know when she would get home and the evening's arrangements should be cancelled.
After more delays in the Birmingham rush hour, the train left Reading 55 minutes late. Its very slack schedule meant that this was reduced to about 50 minutes by Southampton, despite extreme weather conditions (a cloudburst) at Basingstoke. Passengers who had missed their connection for intermediate stations to Bournemouth, were relieved to spot the 20.24 departure still standing at Southampton's platform 2. As they raced over the footbridge, the train was sent ahead of the Virgin service, no doubt to stand at signals down the line for it to overtake. Passengers going to places like Ashurst and New Milton therefore had their delay increased to just under 90 minutes.
Whilst revenue protection is important, should there not be a little room for generosity of spirit, particularly when dealing with people who appear to be under stress, and when action can cause severe delays for hundreds of fare-paying passengers? Just a little of that generosity which Richard Bowker showed by handing millions of pounds of taxpayers' money to Virgin and Stagecoach to (on his own admission to the Commons Transport Select Committee) stabilise the two companies (at a time when Stagecoach shares were worth 10p and a credit rating company had assigned them to 'junk' status)?
FINAL PUBLIC MEETING OF THE RAIL PASSENGERS COMMITTEE
The Rail Passengers Committee for Southern England held its final public meeting at the University of Surrey, Guildford, on 7/6/2005. The gathering got off to a shaky start due to a serious signal failure at Woking which led to the collapse of SWT mainline operations, with massive delays and cancellations, only a coach service available between Woking and Guildford, and severe road traffic congestion in the area.
The Chairman introduced the Committee’s final report. Positives were completion of the new rolling stock programme and major engineering projects (power upgraded / Strood and Higham tunnels reopened); improved punctuality (with South Eastern Trains (SET) achieving its target), and better co-operation between the train operators and Network Rail, Negatives were extended journey times on South West Trains, big increases in car park charges on SET and SWT, the cascade of SET’s suburban Networker trains to medium-distance journeys and the proposed reduction in classic train services in Kent when high speed domestic services are introduced on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link.
The achievements could have too high a price. A number of issues would be critical for passengers in the future. Franchising would determine levels of service for a decade or longer; it was vital to choose the right bidder. It would be unfortunate if increasing demands were addressed by raising fares rather than improving capacity; that would simply force some passengers back to road [Comment: health, environmental and social inclusion issues arise]. Stations needed to be pleasant to use and accessible to all; issues about disabled people and users needing to feel secure. There can never be too much information; issue about late notification of timetable changes because of engineering work. There is still scope to improve performance.
New arrangements for passenger representation
>From 24/7/2005 there will be a single central organisation (The Rail Passengers Council) based in London and Manchester. This will have a new chairman. Stewart Francis is resigning because of ill health. There will also be two passenger link directors (PLDs) and 10 or 12 passenger link managers (PLMs) linked to franchise areas. PLMs will need to develop grass root links. The Committee recognises that different structures can have their own advantages, but is concerned that nothing is yet in place and there is not as yet anywhere to hand over their work.
* Bidder for Integrated Kent Franchise (SET plus domestic Channel Tunnel Rail Link services) to be announced in October, with a 10-year franchise starting in December. Complete rewrite of the timetable from December 2009, when the CTRL domestic services start.
* The re-franchising process on Thameslink has started. Should be resolved in 2006.
* New SWT franchise from 2007. [Comment: This appears to remove concerns that Richard Bowker’s option for extending the current Stagecoach franchise by five years might be put into effect]
* Bidding for new Southern franchise in 2009.
Rufus Boyd, SWT’s former Commercial Director, is now attached to Stagecoach as a full time bid worker. Stagecoach couldn’t talk about plans; they are not yet formed and the SRA requires a high level of confidentiality. Other bidders will attack incumbents, especially where they have done well. Bidders must keep to the rules. Sea Containers had been at the margins of acceptability with its “Back us” campaign for its successful new GNER bid. [Comment: These remarks need to be put into context. Stagecoach has a 49% share in Virgin Trains which has long aspired to take over GNER. When refranchising was first mooted, the Yorkshire Post mounted a high profile campaign to stop GNER being transferred to Virgin.] Keeping down costs will be crucial; catering may be a target [Comment: Perhaps he has in mind the very limited catering on Virgin Cross Country trains, which have some of the longest runs in Britain, for example between Bournemouth/Penzance and Aberdeen. Performance is taken into account. Bidders need to stick to basics and do them more efficiently. Truthfulness essential. Must get inside the heads of rivals. [Comment: our Group will need, therefore, to keep the details of any contacts with rival bidders strictly confidential.]
Robin Ethrington pointed out that First is the UK’s major surface transport operator and has invested heavily in rail. They currently run the Great Western, Great Western Link, Transpennine and Scotrail franchises, and wholly commercial Hull Trains and GB Railfreight. They are Britain’s biggest bus operator, with one in five journeys nationally made on their services. They also run Croydon Tramlink and have made a bid for the Docklands Light Railway. In North America they are the second biggest operator of yellow school buses, and have started schemes in London. They have had a huge public involvement in bidding for the Integrated Kent Franchise, with more than 90 meetings, including with rail user groups. They had lost Great Eastern after increasing frequencies, moving from a £40m subsidy to a £10m premium payment to the Government, and winning Rail Operator of the Year award.
Kim Lykkegaard of Danish State Railways said his company was bidding for the Integrated Kent Franchise, Thameslink and Great Northern. He was very conscious that a £30 ticket in Britain would cost £12 in Denmark and £5 in Germany. Good reputation can move people from their cars. His company has a good reputation and 85% of Danes travel by train at least once a year.
Concerns from the Committee and members of the public focused on financial constraints; whether passengers would get what they wanted; differences between individual operators; and whether promises would be kept. Robin Ethrington considered that, although there were templates for bidders, there was room for manoeuvre. Four years of discussion about the Kent franchise. Full list of plans have to be produced for bids. SWT thought customers were excellent stakeholders to talk to [Comment: Interesting that they consulted our Group on the comparatively minor issue of revised arrangements for taking bikes on trains, but not about their timetable changes which are wasting hours and days of commuters’ lives] Kim Lykkegaard said his company was working with SWT, a company which had reinvented itself. [Comment: As an operator of slower trains and missed connections?] What one operator achieved, for example on customer information systems, wouldn’t be discarded when another took over. There were concerns from the public that the prospective Brighton-Ashford services would take 99-106 minutes as against 96 minutes promised; Southern explained that this was to avoid disruption for other trains. One representative wondered what operators would do if passengers boycotted the new Channel Tunnel Rail Link domestic services, particularly as fares were likely to be high and St Pancras was not viewed as being as convenient as Charing Cross and Cannon Street. The sole response was that the real question would be how to make the arrangements work.
North Downs Line (Reading-Gatwick Airport-Tonbridge)
The Committee has produced a comprehensive report on this line, which cuts across a number of franchise areas, though operated as part of Great Western Link. It is seen as having significant potential to relieve motorway congestion, but suffers from a range of operating constraints. In the shorter term, services might run beyond Tonbridge to Ashford International [Comment: The closure of Waterloo International may make Ashford a more popular departure point for journeys to the Continent which originate in the South East]. In the longer term, services might extend in the opposite direction to the Midlands and South Wales. This would depend on major enhancements at Reading station, expected in 2011-2012.
Updates from train operating companies
Rapid change over the past 12 months. Company aims to think like passengers / look at services from passengers’ points of view / recognise that individuals’ needs and aspirations vary. Problems with new trains but performance now best since 1999. Big increase in seats. Complaints down; praise up. [Comment: Southern started with a slightly smaller order for new carriages than SWT, but kept to the promised number and far outstripped SWT in what matters to passengers: delivery. Pity that SWT put so much effort into crowing that its new Desiro units were ‘Britain’s biggest train order’]
South Eastern Trains
Emphasis while SET has been in the public sector has been on ‘putting the pride back’. Process has taken 2-3 years instead of one, as originally planned. New trains largely in service and older trains being renovated. Timetable changes continue; Charing Cross-Ashford is now less than 60 minutes. Services axed by Connex have been reinstated. New trains are now at their highest mileage per casualty. Strong emphasis on customer service ethos. Complaints handling has been brought back in house; seen as part of a learning culture. Hope to attract lapsed and new users off-peak. Promotional campaign focuses on destinations rather than train travel per se. But not everything plain sailing. Connex’s deal on phased reduction of drivers’ working hours has meant ongoing recruitment. Services likely to suffer some disruption from driver shortage during the summer.
South West Trains
Graham Eccles considers South West Trains a victim of its own success. Reasons for slower timetable: passenger usage up 25-30%; drivers trained to brake earlier following recent accidents; dwell times at suburban stations were not long enough and now increased; slam door trains had 10 doors per coach [Comment: and passengers often left one or more open]; new Woking signalling scheme not as flexible as the one it replaced; new Desiro trains cannot reach their maximum performance because of limited power upgrade; reliability of new Desiro trains not good, but faults can usually be rectified in a few minutes by adjusting trains’ computers. Dr Nigel Harris conducted a review which found that passengers perceived as wasting 3 minutes less per journey because of delays. Delays are more important than performance measures. [Comment: Stagecoach playing by its own rules – remember Brian Souter quoting Robert Burns to the effect that “if only we had the power to see ourselves as other see us?] Passenger satisfaction up from 64% to 78% since 2002 [Comment: That's still a huge number of dissatisfied passengers]. Mr Eccles is not involved with the new franchise bid and will retire at the end of the year.
Govia not shortlisted for the new Thameslink franchise, despite a range of successes. Central London blockade handled well; the Bedford-St Pancras service did very well, but the Kings Cross Thameslink-Brighton service continued to suffer delays at Metropolitan Junction and Keymer Junction. Company is continuing to make improvements to trains and stations. New timetable in June. Will learn lessons for the future.
Comments / questions from the public
High-handedness of the penalty fares scheme (run centrally by South Eastern Trains). This was dismissed by SET on the basis that the scheme was meant to be harsh and “one size fits all”. [Comment: Victims include Cherie Blair, so clearly ticketless travel and fraudulent intent can be completely different. The variation in the treatment of passengers is remarkable. On Heathrow Express it is fine to buy tickets after boarding, despite very adequate ticketing arrangements at Paddington and a very frequent service. This presumably recognises that passengers may need to buy on board when in a hurry, no doubt just like many of the passengers who are hit with penalty fares on other routes.]
Non-availability of Oyster cards at mainline stations. Graham Eccles said they were available at Underground interchange stations like Wimbledon and Richmond. However, his boss (Brian Souter) was unhappy that SWT got no commission from sales.
Why have sophisticated new trains if they are less reliable? Industry view was that people expected more these days, for example air conditioning.
Increased capacity on SET meant more people standing. It was conceded that this was correct for short journeys. The Channel Tunnel Rail Link offered a huge opportunity to increase capacity on SET, as could use of Waterloo International after Eurostar transfers to St Pancras.
Concerns that ticket office opening hours reduced. SET said more people buy on line; new self service machines would take bank cards.
Strategic Rail Authority
The SRA would lose most functions from August, and would finally cease to exist on 31/12/05. The Scottish Executive will be responsible for Scotrail from October. The draft Rail Utilisation Strategy for the Brighton main line is with Ministers. BAA want Gatwick Express to remain. The work of the Rail Passengers Committee has been valued. The value of their legacy will be transferred. The new Rail Passengers Council should be the home of passenger surveys. [Note: The Southern RPC Committee has only three more weeks at Centric House]
Railways for all. Disability takes many forms, most of them not obvious. Old model of disability was that the disabled person had a problem; new model is that the environment creates problems for disabled people. New bill lifts exceptions for railways prescribed in the Disability Discrimination Act. However, provision for disabled people will be required only where it is reasonably practicable. £370m promised over 10 year for new works. This is considered a very small sum in relation to the size of the rail network. Small things can be achieved cheaply, for example getting the right kind of replacement signage. Footbridges need lifts. Ramps are long and inconvenient for everyone including mothers with pushchairs. Few disabled people use rush hour trains; train operators need their custom off-peak.
Representative apologised for the huge disruption to the morning’s travel which was due to a ‘very unusual fault’. 2004-05 was a good year for NR with a 35% reduction in delay minutes. 1,100 new employees on maintenance work in the Wessex area. Renewing 47 miles of track this year, compared with about 6.5 miles a year under Railtrack. Wessex Integrated Control Centre will manage train services during disruption. There will be further improvements in safe performance. Staff focused on delivery to customers.
British Transport Police
Force covers 21,000 route miles including London Underground, 3,000 stations and 5.5 million passengers daily. Over 81,000 notifiable offences in last year and 50,000 non-notifiable offences (eg begging). Limited resources. Community Support Officers have helped reduce crime; 25% reduction in and around Victoria station. Force relies on intelligence and undertakes targeted action, for example dealing with persistent graffiti artists on North Kent Line, and robberies around St Leonards and Hastings. Three year strategic plan is for overall sustained reduction in crime; to be in upper quartiles of national performance tables; and to recruit heavily.
Final comments / questions from public
Disabled people can have problems with destination displays on the front of new trains, boarding (no grab handles except for driver) and chimes before announcements. Industry view is that grab handles allow children to surf on trains.
Reduced staffing of stations encourages crime. Putting non-corridor Networkers on longer-distance journeys doesn’t help either; guard not able to reach passengers in another unit. SET said they preferred staff to be out and about; Networkers would, where possible, be employed as single units off-peak – crowded peak trains usually safe from crime. Thameslink doesn’t have guards, though 120 revenue protection staff employed, with security guards after school and for football flows.
Network Rail still not giving 12 weeks’ notice of engineering work, so passengers denied cheap advance bookings. NR said they were making staged progress.
The Chairman saw big battles ahead on fares. Getting the right train operator is crucial as new franchises would be for 10 years; choice of operator would set the tone. Information is getting better but is never enough. Not enough money for accessibility, and very late. More stringent targets needed for performance and performance information needs to be presented in a comprehensive way. Passenger numbers are growing but capacity constant; aim should be to get people on to rail. More rolling stock needed? There is a threat to comprehensive and effective passenger representation; new arrangements not yet in place. Passengers shouldn’t be satisfied if nobody stretching out to them; they should reach in and pull.
People who attended RPC meetings warmly thanked for their work in representing the views of thousands of passengers.
ASPECTS OF SWT’S LACK OF FOCUS ON PASSENGERS
5/4/05 23.39 Waterloo-Southampton replaced by buses between Basingstoke and Winchester due to engineering work. An onward train connection was due to leave Winchester at 01.22 but was about 20 minutes late due to waiting for a guard to arrive by taxi from Basingstoke.
7/4/05 Many passengers sitting on the floor of the overcrowded 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth. As the conductor checked tickets, he cheerfully assured them that there would be plenty of seats after people alighted at Woking. The Woking stop by this train is 'pick up only' and is not advertised at Waterloo. Unsurprisingly, therefore, no seats became available at Woking. We are told that, on a previous journey, a guard tried physically to prevent a passenger from alighting at Woking! A number of passengers were unable to alight in time at Southampton Airport from the 19.05 Waterloo-Poole because the train suffered partial door failure. They therefore had to travel back from Central station. People waiting for them with cars shared their delay. The conductor, who was found sitting in his compartment, said he hadn't noticed the problem. Clearly passengers need to use the emergency alarm every time in these cases.
The saga of SWT's often incomprehensible customer information system continues. Almost daily the 17.56 Southampton-Bournemouth stands alongside a display which indicates: "1. Terminates here. 2. 17.56 Bournemouth" . This indicates that the 15.17 from Victoria should arrive at the platform before the 17.56 departs. As clear as mud to occasional passengers?
31/5/05 Another occasion when the 17.56 Southampton-Bournemouth set off just as the Southern service from Victoria pulled up behind it. The Victoria train used to run through to Bournemouth itself.
1/6/05 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth held west of Basingstoke to allow a delayed Virgin-Stagecoach train to overtake. Passengers had to race across the footbridge at Southampton in order to connect into the 17.56 stopping train to Bournemouth. The 16.35 in turn delayed the 15.17 from Victoria at St Denys. Nonetheless, staff at Southampton again sent off the 17.56 as this connection from Victoria braked behind it.
2/6/05 Guard of the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth cheeerfully checked a ticket placed on the table by a passenger talking on his mobile phone in the area in which they are banned. Unclear whether the guard said nothing because he realised his announcements had been inaudible due to the duff tannoy, or because he was overcome by the heat due to the duff air conditioning.
3/6/05 Rear buffet car of the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth had excess air conditioning due to a two-foot gap in the rubber seal around an external door. At least passengers had a good view of the track ballast. The main problem, however, was the rain pouring through the tannoy vent in the ceiling. Guard unable to accept a Switch card due to his duff ticket machine.
6/4/05 (Letter to Deputy Chairman of the Rail Passengers Committee)
TIME FOR SWT COMMUTERS TO STAND UP AND BE COUNTED
I was interested to read (Southern Daily Echo 30 March) the comment of Richard Swann, the Southampton-Waterloo commuter who has been keeping a diary for the RPC, that it is not worth people complaining about the service unless they are prepared to stand up and be counted. Mr Swann rightly points out, as the RPC did some months ago, that the longer journey times inflicted on SWT commuters by Stagecoach is just a lifeline to a failed operator. Given the scale of investment in the railways, it is extraordinary that the fastest journey time from Southampton to Waterloo has increased by 19.7% since 1990.
As you know, Stagecoach had the current franchise cut from 20 years to three, after threats by Stephen Byers in the Spring of 2002 that it could be sacked for its continuing poor performance. In the same year, Graham Eccles - now acting Managing Director of South West Trains - declared to Rail Professional magazine in an article about that franchising round that, "if we can't get our terms we won't hesitate to walk away".
They actually got a fourfold increase in subsidy from the SRA and 15% decrease in the number of new coaches which they were committed to hire. This was probably good news for Richard Bowker's father, a senior Stagecoach director. And good news too for Stagecoach founder Brian Souter and his sister, who recently increased their wealth with a £60 million bonus. It was less good news for passengers and the generality of taxpayers, and I believe that the RPC should now be exhorting commuters to stand up and be counted. That would appear to be the logical outcome of your diary exercise.
I appreciate that Stagecoach probably regards the RPC with the same contempt which it displays for MPs who are prepared to stand up for their constituents' interests. This contempt was given voice in issue 4 of SWT's e'motion in the article headed "Counting the spoons": "The politician faced with a rail problem and little idea of how to deal with it cries, "We have to put our passengers first". If they have no idea at all, "have" becomes "determined" and they shout even more. Isn't there a saying "the louder they shout their innocence, the faster we count the spoons"? This contempt stymies the democratic process honoured by MPs in actively pursuing their constituency duties.
There are of course precedents for standing up and being counted. GNER has now retained its franchise, with the goodwill of its passengers. It has established an awesome reputation, based on commitment and team working, for good passenger service. John Prescott reportedly supported the company against the rival franchise bid by Virgin-Stagecoach, and the Yorkshire Post ran a pro-GNER campaign. I believe it is time for people in the SWT area to stand up and be counted so that, under a new franchise from February 2007 - or earlier if practicable - we can at last be served by a professional, customer-focused operator.
Despite the fiction of improved performance created by the downgraded SWT timetable, wherever one scratches beneath the surface, there are shocking examples of poor service. The South Hampshire Rail Users' Group has maintained records of such incidents over the years. We can also highlight the generality of commuter discontent through a fairly comprehensive range of press cuttings over the full period of the SWT franchises.
By way of example - and because it is where our Group started, take Totton, which has a station with a catchment population of about 60,000 people in the Totton-Hythe area. The 06.05 to Waterloo was axed from last December, and the 06.36 runs 10 minutes later and is slowed. A number of us now have to get the 06.07 Yeovil train into Southampton and wait 15 minutes for the 06.30 to London, which misses Totton on Mondays to Fridays, even though it stops there on Saturdays with no effect on its timings. This wastes 75 minutes a week for commuters, for no reason beyond Stagecoach's indifference to its passengers' needs.
On 31 March the 06.07 was cancelled - as it has been on a number of occasions - and the London train then stopped at Totton at 06.22. On 5 April the 06.07 was shown on the customer information screen at Totton as expected to leave on time. At 06.09 the screen changed to show that the next train would be the 06.46 to London. I immediately spoke to the ticket clerk who rang SWT's control centre. He was told that the 06.07 had been cancelled between Totton and Southampton Central but "no-one noticed" so no compensatory stop by the London train had been arranged. It was now (10 minutes before the train was due to pass Totton) too late to arrange an extra stop. It seems extraordinary that the Stagecoach operation is so primitive that there is no telephone or radio contact between the controllers and train crews.
I then tried SWT's 'Helpline'. I initially pressed the 'Information' button and, after more than a minute's delay, spoke to a woman who could only confirm what I already knew. I asked whether she could arrange an extra stop and she replied that she was simply an information point in Central London. I asked her whether I should try the 'Emergency' button to which she replied that that would not help as the call would still go through to her. I deduce that the 'Helpline' would be of very little use in an urgent life or death situation.
My train therefore sailed through the station while I wasted nearly three quarters of an hour there, after having got up at 05.00. I eventually reached Waterloo at 08.24 - 2 hours and 17 minutes after my train should have left Totton, an average speed of 36mph on a basically 90mph railway.
The train which could have picked us up, but didn't, is shown every morning on the National Rail website as expected to arrive at Waterloo at 07.41. Yet it is advertised to arrive at 07.49, so it is not classified as late until after 07.54. Put otherwise, Stagecoach is subverting the compensation regime since the train is allowed a leeway of 13 minutes before it is classified as late. This seems entirely in line with Stagecoach Chairman Brian Souter's remark to Scotland on Sunday that "Ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed".
The experience of privatisation has been that some operators serve the public much better than others. Stagecoach will not reform itself. As Christian Wolmar - author of Stagecoach - wrote, it displays "an arrogance and deep conviction that the company is right and everyone else is wrong". Or as former Conservative transport minister - Steven Norris - said, "Awarding the franchise to Stagecoach was really taking the fight to the enemy… It was the most aggressive decision we could take, and if we had to dress privatisation in its most acceptable form, it would have been better to award it to almost anyone else".
I would therefore like to propose that - after the general election - the RPC, SWT commuters, User Groups, local newspapers, and interested MPs and Councillors should start a campaign to ensure that SWT passengers and other taxpayers get a better deal after the next franchising round. Let's stand up and be counted!
25/6/05 (Letter to Dr Julian Lewis MP)
RAIL FRANCHISING AND SOUTH WEST TRAINS’ DETERIORATING SERVICE
I attach for information the text of a letter (Attached appendix) I have sent to John Friedberger, the Deputy Chairman of the Rail Passengers Committee for Southern England, which is being disbanded. I have already copied the letter quite widely to interested parties.
You may wish to note that evening services for Totton commuters are rapidly reflecting the severe deterioration in the morning service. Franchising of SWT, once under a Conservative government, and once under a Labour government has been a disaster for local rail users, despite heavy investment.
As I have said in previous correspondence, I realise that you cannot do anything to help us because of SWT's hostility to MPs who try to help their constituents, as expressed in issue no. 4 of their ‘E-motion’ magazine: "The politician faced with a rail problem and little idea of how to deal with it cries, "We have to put our passengers first". If they have no idea at all, "have" becomes "determined" and they shout even more. Isn't there a saying "the louder they shout their innocence, the faster we count the spoons"?
I would like to thank all members of the Committee, past and present, for their considerable efforts on behalf of rail users. I have been attending your public meetings for some years now, and the amount of insight I have gained from this, along with talking to fellow commuters and amassing a considerable collection of literature and newspaper articles, has enabled members of our Group to make significant contributions to the rail debate. I have in mind particularly our Memorandum on franchising published by the Commons Select Committee, and our subsequent paper to the Government's ‘Big Conversation’.
I was particularly pleased to see that your committee is drawing attention to the importance of choosing the right company to run a franchise. I believe that some train operators do try to do their best for passengers within their available resources, whilst others possibly agree in private with Stagecoach Chairman Brian Souter's view that "ethics are not irrelevant, but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed". Most people recognise the achievements of companies like GNER, Chiltern and National Express, and their customers tend to continue supporting them even when things temporarily go wrong.
As former Transport Minister Steven Norris said, “Awarding the (SWT) franchise to Stagecoach was really taking the fight to the enemy --- It was the most aggressive decision we could take, and if we had tried to dress privatisation in its most acceptable form, it would have been better to award it to almost anyone else”.
Stagecoach’s lack of commitment to SWT and its passengers is very apparent in Graham Eccles’ famous statement to ‘Rail Professional’ that “We won’t hesitate to walk away (from the SWT franchise) if we don’t get our terms”. If I outlined all the evidence from passengers, through the press, about the very fundamental failings of SWT, I might be sitting at my PC for a month.
Current arguments about the future of rail tend to focus on money. On that basis, the 400% increase in SWT's subsidy in the last franchising round should mean that we get a pretty good service. It appears, however, that it was unaffordable so, while Stagecoach profits soar, the number of new coaches promised has been slashed from 785 to 665, meaning longer-distance trains being slowed by additional stops, and shorter-distance trains having thousands of seats ripped out so that more standing passengers can be squeezed in. With the new decelerated timetable, journeys from Southampton to Waterloo are 19.7% longer compared with 1990, so SWT passengers are worse off even between the most major destinations.
So congratulations to Southern, who promised slightly fewer new coaches than SWT but delivered many more. It’s disappointing to see SWT wasting money on full-cover advertisements in ‘Rail’, boasting that there are no slam door trains left at Waterloo. Since they haven’t yet introduced even the reduced delivery of 665 coaches, 10-coach peak trains are often running half-length, particularly on the Portsmouth line. Stagecoach’s boasting is commuters’ misery.
Money will buy good customer service only if you go to the right supplier. There needs to be a genuine will to focus on passengers’ interests, and it is this focus which is so lacking on SWT. You may recall that Sir Alan Greengross, the Stagecoach director who chairs SWT’s “independent” Passengers Panel, spoke to your Committee several years ago of the importance of perceptions. Sir Alan used the analogy that telling a child a spider is harmless won’t remove the child’s fear of it. On SWT passengers frequently perceive something akin to inhuman contempt.
Typical recent examples:
As part of last December’s timetable cuts, the popular 16.45 Waterloo-Poole train was axed and passengers for intermediate stops between Southampton and Bournemouth then needed to catch the 16.35 from Waterloo and change at Southampton Central to the “connecting” 17.56 stopping train to Bournemouth.
On Monday 13 June, the16.35 was delayed several minutes at Southampton Airport Parkway due to duff doors, arriving at Southampton Central at 17.54.30. The train controller at the next platform, across the footbridge, couldn’t have failed to be aware of its late arrival. Nevertheless, he gave the signal for the doors of the 17.56 to close at 17.55.30, and all but 3 passengers off the 16.35 missed it and were delayed for 30 minutes.
On Tuesday 21 June, the 16.35 was slightly delayed by a purported trackside fire at Clapham Junction. There was a longer delay at Woking where the guard announced that it was not the advertised Cosham service, and passengers who had boarded in error should alight. The service arrived at Southampton Central at 17.59 and the 17.56 “connection” departed just as it braked. Another 30 minute delay for passengers.
On Thursday 23 June, the 16.35 suffered a minor signal check after Winchester. It arrived at Southampton Central at 17.55. I headed passengers racing across the footbridge for the connection (something you can do without at 61 years of age, but obviously Stagecoach doesn’t care). As I reached the next platform the train controller raised his baton to send off the 17.56. I yelled to him that the train from London had been late, and that other passengers were coming. He just replied “Too late, it’s gone”. This was incorrect as the doors had closed early. I raced along the platform but the train departed as I drew level with it. So I was 30 minutes late again. By this time another passenger was castigating the controller.
SWT must know that people already on board the 17.56 save no time at all by these perceived acts of contempt, because the train has to wait at signals down the line for the 16.35 to pass (the two tracks merge into one). They also know that no other trains need to pass the platform used by the 17.56. The relevant track is blocked at the opposite end of the platform by the 15.17 from Victoria which arrives at 17.47 and returns at 18.20.
I would add that, because of these miserable experiences, I went without a lunch break on Friday 24 June and caught the greatly overcrowded 16.05 service which meant I didn’t need to rely on a connection. This train is never more than 5 coaches, and I don’t like using it because of the crush. My net achievement from this switch was a 66 minute delay due to a points failure at Winchfield. So I got home at the same time as if I had caught the 16.35 and SWT had sent off the 17.56 as I ran to catch it.
Of course, this homeward-bound misery is on top of the 15 minutes wasted every morning because the 06.14 departure from Brockenhurst stops at Totton on Saturdays only and sails past on Mondays to Fridays. Quite why this is the only train which needs a 3-minute rather than 1-minute stop at Brockenhurst is anyone’s guess. The National Rail website generally shows the train, from the start of its journey, as due at Waterloo at 07.46 (as shown in printed material) but expected there at 07.40. Publicly advertising a later arrival time than the one actually scheduled is presumably to cheat commuters of compensation under the Government’s performance regime.
Interestingly, a guard told a friend that the reason trains are leaving early is that doors are closed 30 seconds before departure time under management’s orders, and drivers just get bored with waiting to leave. Apparently train crews call SWT’s new timetable the ‘Cheats’ Charter’.
It’s especially galling that the City of Southampton helped make the long history of perceived contempt possible. You may know that Stagecoach first got out of the red after purchasing Hampshire Bus and selling the less-profitable southern Hampshire operations, along with Southampton bus station, for more than they had paid for the whole company. I can fully understand why Stagecoach Director Brian Cox mocked Stagecoach’s critics as ‘Fully paid up members of the Hindsight Club’, at the same time as Brian Souter was attacking people who complained of the collapse of SWT’s services in 1997 after too many drivers had been disposed of to boost profits.
So, best wishes to the Committee for the future. I hope members will keep in touch with our Group. We shall certainly be putting a lot of effort into raising awareness of how SWT treats its passengers. Let’s hope for a much better prospectus from February 2007, with an operator we can support and a service which meets our needs and in which we can take a degree of pride. Let’s get out of the Hindsight Club!
I will copy this letter widely, including to MPs and Ministers.
FURTHER INSIGHTS INTO SWT'S PASSENGERS PANEL …..
Whereas other operators simply publish selected letters from the public, SWT's e'motion magazine relies heavily on (often self-congratulatory) questions from Sir Alan Greengross (non-executive Stagecoach director) to other Stagecoach directors. Sir Alan is the Chairman of SWT's nominally "independent" Passengers Panel.
Note this rather less jolly little exchange between Sir Alan and Rufus Boyd:
(Sir Alan) Recently, GNER bid for the East Coast Mainline franchise and invited all its passengers to write in and offer their support. Will South West Trains do the same?
(Mr Boyd) That's difficult for me to answer at a commercial level. We don't know whether it worked or not. I think a number of GNER passengers wanted to do something to help. They didn't just want to be passive. Maybe in the end it's up to the passengers themselves. [Any chance that SWT think they would get a thumping thumbs down due to running the slowest service since steam days at massive expense to taxpayers?]
When questions are purportedly put forward (anonymously) by the Passengers Panel itself, you get neutral questions like: "I love the new trains, appreciate the new punctuality [NB: worse in March 2005 than in March 2004] and can even live with the new timetable (just)- but not your stations! Some of them are truly "third world". Whether it is Network Rail or South West Trains, why can't they just get on with their job?". A long rambling reply follows, which fails to mention why stations got into a "third world" state in the first place.
….. AND INTO SWT'S SUPPORTERS
At a 1998 conference of Stagecoach managers, Chairman Brian Souter handed out 150 copies of 'Stagecoach' by Christian Wolmar, inscribed with a quotation from Robert Burns: "O was some Pow'r the giftie gie us, To see oursels as others see us! It wad frae mony a blunder free us, And foolish notion."
This extraordinary admission of lack of empathy with customers and others outside the Stagecoach organisation is presumably put forward as a trademark of Stagecoach. The Stagecoach view, as Hogrider has previously reported in relation to SWT's e'motion magazine, can be extremely misleading, for example by proclaiming positives whilst ignoring negatives which far outweigh them. The occasional reader of e'motion might be led to think that Stagecoach is committed to serving SWT passengers, and is prepared to be frank and open with them. Yet note these words (published in Rail Professional magazine) from the past by Graham Eccles, now acting managing director of SWT:
"If we can't get our terms we won't hesitate to walk away."
"For the big PR hit, what you do is add up guaranteed outputs, the primary aspirations and the secondary aspirations, and then you shout loudly."
Thanks for that, Mr Eccles. We await your walking away and/or next round of shouting.
One person who now appears to take a Stagecoach view of the world is 'Rail' columnist Barry Doe, who in the past built up a strong reputation for his encyclopedic knowledge of timetabling and ticketing, and for his dedication to the promotion of good customer service on the railways.
Yet in 'Rail' issue No 508, Mr Doe argues that SWT is Britain's best operator, writing: "There are a couple of dozen ex-BR operators, and if you really take into account overall service quality, timetables, on-board services, cleanliness, staff attitudes and so on, then a few match BR's quality, a handful are better but most are immeasurably worse. Those that really shine are certainly GNER and South West Trains…"
This view would amaze many fed-up SWT commuters if they had the time to read 'Rail'. Especially those who use Mr Doe's home station (Pokesdown) which was noted in mid-May to be in a shockingly decrepit state. But wait. In issue 502 Mr Doe wrote: "As a consultant, I am privileged to be able to update the bus/rail links table for SWT's own superb timetable…" Could it be that Mr Doe, described in one letter published in 'Rail' as "increasingly ludicrous", lacks the giftie to see his views as others see them?
For, in his assessment, he fails to mention:
- the 15% reduction in new rolling stock in return for a 400% increase in subsidy;
- suburban trains having thousands of seats removed and longer-distance trains making more stops;
- the slowest schedules since steam days, with Stagecoach still failing to meet performance targets;
- Southampton to Waterloo, once branded 'Inter City', but now lumbered with the slowest service since electrification - 70 minutes in 1967, 66 minutes in 1990 and 79 minutes in 2005;
- omission of stops for operational convenience leaving two-hour gaps in services and increasing travel difficulties for frail and disabled people;
- maintenance standards on the Wessex Electrics such that even the hazard warning tape on the corridor connections between coaches is in very poor state;
- one Wessex Electric unit having most of its tables removed - contrary to the wishes of commuters who use lap-tops - whilst, for those who don't want to work, the quiet area is thoughtfully located close to the guard's van and 1600hp motor;
- the enigmatic information displays, for example at Southampton Central. Can people, other than daily commuters, really be expected to decipher displays like "1. 17.52 Terminates; 2. 17.56 Bournemouth" as meaning that the adjacent train is the 17.56 to Bournemouth and the 15.17 from Victoria should arrive at the same platform shortly before its departure?;
- e'motion magazine's being used to attack MPs who call for passengers to be put first, or to put forward daft PR hype in terms of the 785 vehicles in the original Desiro order rather than the 665 actually to be delivered.
SWT'S POOR ADVICE TO ANNUAL SEASON TICKET HOLDERS
SWT has been writing to annual season ticket holders - five weeks in advance of the expiry of their current tickets - to invite them to renew by post or telephone. A list of stations with ticket prices is enclosed, but it's too much trouble to give prices for every station. So, in some cases, the recipient of the letter is left to find out the price! Particularly unhelpful if you want to send a cheque by post!
SWT’S UNHELPFUL ‘JOURNEYCHECK’ FACILITY
The new Journeycheck facility on SWT’s website sometimes seems to be more about apportioning blame and hiding delays than serving customers. For example, on the morning of 18 June, trains from Portsmouth were running up to an hour late, due to a points problem at Hilsea. If you clicked into Journeycheck, you found the entry ‘Service Problems 0’. Only if you then clicked on to ‘Line Problems’ did you find out that some services were severely delayed. Does the presentation of information really need to be that unhelpful?
Around noon on June 19, the National Rail website showed the 10.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo running 53 minutes late, the 10.48 47 minutes late, the 11.48 35 minutes late, the 10.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 31 minutes late and the 09.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late. SWT’s Journeycheck showed ‘Line problems 0, Service problems 0’. Presumably SWT has a unique view of what constitutes a problem.
NEW TIMETABLE FROM 12 JUNE
(SWT cuts Southampton-West of England service by 60%)
With the timetable year now starting in December instead of June, changes are comparatively minor. Nationally, highlights are the extension of the half-hourly Paddington-Hayes stopping service to Heathrow Terminals 1-3 (offering a journey time of 25 minutes, and cheaper fares than on Heathrow Express) and reinstatement of passenger train services between Barry and Bridgend serving Rhoose for Cardiff International Airport, and Llantwit Major. These latter services run to and from Cardiff Central and (Sundays excepted) Caerphilly.
Services from Southern Hampshire are little changed. Only Wessex Trains continues to run additional services in the Summer period, notably the Saturday trains between Brighton and Bristol. Their 21.12 Monday-Friday train from Southampton Central now runs to Gloucester instead of Cardiff, but there is a connecting service to the latter. This provides a new late service for Gloucester. (Note that there are several errors in Table 123 of the National Rail Timetable and these are not picked up in the printed supplement)
Southern’s service from Southampton to London Bridge/Victoria is virtually identical to that which has applied over a number of years (apart from last year’s temporary timetable during the phasing-in of new trains).
Virgin’s services from Southampton are little changed but, compared with last year, fewer run through to Scotland. Some services have reverted to running via Crewe, and some trains to Scotland via Newcastle call at Dunbar for the first time.
There is a minor improvement on SWT, with the 07.25 Monday-Friday stopping train from Poole advanced to 07.20 and making a connection at Southampton Central with the 08.30 to London.
The expanded diesel train service between Waterloo and Bristol, advertised by SWT from last December, never actually ran due to no rolling stock being hired for it. A reduced service of two trains each way a day (one on Sundays) now applies. However, compared with recent years, there is a big cut in the Southampton-West of England diesel train service. The 05.55 (Saturdays) Southampton-Paignton is axed; there is now no service until Wessex Trains’ 07.54, requiring a change at Salisbury. Passengers are therefore deprived of the possibility of long day outings, for example for a boat trip on the Dart. On Sundays, the morning train from Southampton to Paignton now runs only to Yeovil Junction, with no onward connection. The Sunday afternoon train to Exeter leaves Southampton at 16.15, but takes 2 hours, 25 minutes to get to Exeter Central, compared with a straight two hours under BR. The evening service from Southampton to Exeter is also axed. Last year it took 2 hours 3 minutes to get from Southampton to Exeter Central; this year the journey time, with a change at Salisbury, requires 2 hours, 25 minutes.
These big disbenefits for passengers are on top of SWT’s 79-minute journey times on Southampton-Waterloo services, an increase of 19.7% compared with 1990.
COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER - 2
Back to fun and games this week.....
29/03/05 07.16 from Totton arrived at Waterloo 19 minutes late due to "signalling problems in the Basingstoke area"; strangely enough this was after engineering work in the same area over the Easter weekend.
30/03/05 07.16 from Totton arrived at Waterloo 19 minutes late (again!) due to a defective train at Clapham Junction.
31/03/05 The stock for the 18.35 failed at Waterloo - apparently the motors in one of the 5-car units had "burned out". The 18.39 5-car train for Southampton was grossly overcrowded on its departure. Stock for the 19.05 was used to provide a delayed 18.35 service which left Waterloo at 18.56. The 19.05 service was cancelled; it was incorrectly announced that this was "due to a fault on the train which cannot be rectified". This left passengers for Totton, Ashurst, Sway, New Milton, Hinton Admiral, Christchurch or Pokesdown turning up in time for the 19.05 and facing an hour's delay. I arrived 30 minutes late at Totton, one minute later than the scheduled arrival time for the 19.05. A fellow passenger commented that he was surprised we didn't wait until 19.05 before leaving Waterloo.
01/04/05 The 18.35 left Waterloo 4 minutes late, awaiting a departure signal. Rear portion of the train also delayed "awaiting the signalman to give us a signal out of Southampton Central". Left Southampton 10 minutes late.
11/04/05 Back in harness after a week's leave. 07.16 from Totton ran very slowly through the Wimbledon area - guard reported emergency speed restrictions through Clapham Junction, trains being cautioned through the station with delays of 8 or 9 minutes - 16 minutes late at Waterloo. 18.05 from Waterloo (a Wessex Electric - hooray!!) started moving on time but stopped after just a few yards - guard made an unintelligible apology - left Waterloo 10 minutes late - guard then reported that the delay was due to a passenger trying to force their way onto the train (presumably through the guard's door) as we were departing - guard reported that "due to the safety aspects of my job" and the need to be "fair to the other passengers" he had to ensure that the passenger did not join the train, thereby delaying all of us for 10 minutes! - 9 minutes late at Totton.
12/04/05 Arrived at Totton station at 11.03 to find that I had just missed the Romsey departure at 11:01 and the next train was not until 11.51. A young lady on the platform mentioned that the Romsey train had just gone, and said that the driver had seen her arrive at the station but had left anyway - not a happy customer and rather unlikely to become a lifelong user of the train network! I caught a bus from Totton and managed to get to Southampton before the 11.30 departed. 18.05 from Waterloo - again a Wessex Electric - was delayed due to "Network Rail" in the Basingstoke area - 4 minutes late by Totton.
13/04/05 06.46 from Totton 6 minutes late at Waterloo (according to a fellow commuter, it had been 15 minutes late on the previous two days). The 20.35 service from Waterloo was shown as starting from Woking with the 20.39 from Waterloo stopping at Woking to act as a connection. The stock for the 21.05 was shown as being delayed by 31 minutes on its inward journey from Poole (20.51 instead of 20.20) and the indicator board said "Arrived" before it had actually pulled into the platform (time to walk to platform 8 and wait a couple of minutes for it to turn up). The 21.05 ran on time, however.
14/04/05 Nothing to report apart from the 18.05 now apparently to be a Wessex Electric on a regular basis.
15/04/05 06.46 from Totton 12 minutes late at Waterloo.
19/04/05 18.35 from Waterloo left on time despite being formed of empty stock which arrived just 6 minutes before departure time, but was then held at signals outside Waterloo - 8 minutes late by Winchester, 6 minutes late by Totton.
20/04/05 17.05 from Waterloo 3 minutes late by Totton.
21/04/05 16.35 from Waterloo - a horrible journey to Southampton as I had the misfortune to sit in a "bucket" seat where the seat had deformed into a "U" shape putting more weight on the hips than the bottom - after nodding off, I awoke with very sore hips.
22/04/05 07.16 from Totton was announced by the guard as due into Waterloo at 08.46 "depending how the journey goes". Stopped outside Woking and then ran slowly through the station "waiting for a vacant platform to pass through". At the end of the journey, guard reported us as 5 minutes late into Waterloo due to the "Woking Signalling Centre" - but we were actually 7 minutes late.
26/04/05 07.16 from Totton was 5 minutes late into Waterloo. The 18.35 from Waterloo gave passengers a good shaking at Southampton as the crew and station staff made repeated attempts to split the train before finally succeeding. Guard apologised for the "slight delay leaving Southampton" due to "problems dividing the train"; however the train still didn't move off. During continuing delays the guard apologised three times for the "late departure" reporting that they were "having problems with the front 5 coaches", but not having any information about what was going to happen. Finally left Southampton at 20.17 but ran slowly through Millbrook. 25 minutes late by Totton. No further announcement had been made explaining the problem.
27/04/05 07.16 from Totton ran slowly through Clapham Junction to Waterloo. Guard suggested that the problem could be due to a points failure at Clapham that forced all Waterloo-bound trains to pass through the same platform but didn't seem entirely sure - 13 minutes late at Waterloo.
28/04/05 07.16 from Totton ran slowly through Woking. 20:05 from Waterloo was new Siemens stock - ran on time, but the carriage was a little chilly.
29/04/05 18.05 from Waterloo started 13 minutes late (announced by the guard as 10 minutes late) - 16 minutes late by Southampton.
04/05/05 Chaos at Southampton Central! The 07.16 from Totton was reported as running 7 minutes late with an announcement that this was due to "a defect on the train", so I took the opportunity of hopping on to the 07.07 just before it departed to at least get to Southampton safely. I noted that a passenger from Totton who was travelling to a medical appointment for a foot problem managed to get from platform 2 to platform 1 just in time to see her Portsmouth "connection" depart at 07.17 - station staff answered her plea with a gruff "it's gone madam" as the train just started to move off. At Southampton the 07.30 departure to London was reported on the screens as "on time" (the only problem displayed at that time being the 08.16 service to Weymouth shown as cancelled). Shortly afterwards however, a platform announcement was made that the 07.30 would depart 10 minutes late and run as five carriages only, due to the failure of a "previous train" at Brockenhurst. The indicator boards showed a terminating service from Weymouth as the first arrival and the delayed 07.30 as the second arrival. In line with this, an (automated?) announcement was made that the train approaching the platform was terminating at this station. It was, of course, the 5 carriages that were actually going to run to Waterloo, a fact which most passengers correctly assumed, apart from those foolish enough to take any notice of station announcements! I managed to grab one of the last seats in a carriage at the rear of the train - I would expect that some on the train were standing from Southampton - certainly passengers in my carriage were standing from Southampton Parkway. The guard announced that the first five carriages had been taken out of service at Brockenhurst due to "technical problems with the doors" and as a result this service had been "condensed" to 5 cars.
05/05/05 Election day did not brighten things up. 18.05 from Waterloo ran slowly immediately after departure due to a "failed train at Clapham Junction" and "all trains having to be rerouted" - 25 minutes late by Totton. After Southampton, the guard announced that the service would call additionally at Ashurst - I can only speculate that there may have been a problem with the rear half of the 17.35 calling at Ashurst as that is the preceding service.
06/05/05 12.30 from Southampton to Waterloo delayed 8 minutes at Woking by "police officers looking for somebody they believed to be on the train".
17/05/05 07.16 from Totton ran slowly in the Woking area and from Clapham Junction to Waterloo - apologies for the "slight delay - just been waiting for a platform" - 8 minutes late at Waterloo. 21.05 from Waterloo was announced as "early running" at Woking, and as "arriving 4 minutes early" at Basingstoke. Arrived 2 minutes early at Winchester, 3 minutes early at Eastleigh, 2 minutes early at Southampton and 2 minutes early at Totton. So the train had standing time at each and every station down the line.
18/05/05 18.05 from Waterloo was 5 carriages only and could not be boarded due to the severe overcrowding on the train. 18.35 was announced as "delayed due to awaiting a member of the train crew" even as the stock for the train was pulling into the platform. It eventually left Waterloo 10 minutes late, 7 minutes late by Winchester, 6 minutes late by Totton. Grand total delay for the evening = 36 minutes due to not being able to board the 18.05 + 6 minutes late at Totton = 42 minutes for the journey.
19/05/05 07.16 from Totton stopped outside Woking and ran very slowly from then on. Guard reported a broken down train in the Weybridge area had affected services all morning and all trains were having to use the fast up line, leading to a queue of trains. Nearing Waterloo however, an additional reason for the delay was given "power supply problems in the Woking area". Arrived 22 minutes late at Waterloo.
20/05/05 18.05 from Waterloo was shown as "req fitter" without a platform number until its normal departure time; then passengers waiting on platform 14 were advised not to join the train approaching the platform until a station engineer had attended. However a few minutes later, without any sign of an engineer as far as I could see, passengers were cleared to board the train which was confirmed as the 18.05. Train left 10 minutes late, described by the guard as "slightly delayed" and gave the reason for the delay as "the late arrival of the incoming service". 17 minutes late by Southampton.
23/05/05 07.16 from Totton 10 minutes late at Waterloo due to "congestion". 18.35 from Waterloo 8 minutes late at Totton - no reason given.
24/05/05 On the 06.46 from Totton, the refreshments trolley operator has got into the habit of being 2/3rds of the way down the carriage when Totton passengers get on - even after a quiet word about blocking access following previous occurrences. 18.05 from Waterloo delayed just after leaving Waterloo; no reason given - 17 minutes late at Winchester but magically only 11 minutes late leaving Southampton Central.
25/05/05 07.16 from Totton 5 minutes late at Waterloo.
31/05/05 07.16 from Totton was 7 minutes late into Waterloo (announced as 5 minutes late) due to "congestion in the Woking area". 18.05 from Waterloo was 7 minutes late at Totton - when a passenger at Totton shouted to the guard that someone was coming up the train to get to the front 5 carriages, the guard replied "they'll have to be quick". They were.
01/06/05 06.46 from Totton was "slightly delayed at Southampton due to a technical fault on the rear portion of the train", later revised to "attachment problems at Southampton". Just a couple of minutes late at Waterloo. 18.05 from Waterloo on time.
02/06/05 05.48 from Totton is a Desiro and yes the seats are harder but I did manage to doze off! Just a thought, are the quiet areas on the train free from the slightly annoying announcements about the quiet areas? [They aren’t on the Wessex Electrics! – Ed) 17.05 from Waterloo arrived at Southampton with the information displays showing it as the 18.13 arrival from Basingstoke; corrected after the train arrived to show it as the 18.22 to Weymouth & Poole. 4 minutes late at Totton.
03/06/05 05.48 from Totton ran OK. 17.05 from Waterloo 3 minutes late at Totton.
Also noted that the poster about timetable changes this month refer to the original timings of some early morning trains and not the current running times to which they were adjusted in February - in one case the notice reports a service as being "further revised" but does not include any details of the first revision to which the service is now running. The poster also gives notice that services on the Weymouth line will have unspecified early morning timetable changes during the "leaf-fall" season. [Extended journey times on top of extended journey times!]
06/06/05 05.48 from Totton - I've noticed that the automatic announcement to be played when new passengers get on the Desiro "this train is for London Waterloo and the next station is Winchester" is quite often played as the train is still approaching the station, which sounds a bit odd when you are pulling into Eastleigh, for example. [Comment: The software on the Desiros appears totally duff. The 17.56 Southampton-Bournemouth always displays first stop Basingstoke, and incorrectly includes a stop at Beaulieu Road] 1.05 from Waterloo on time.
07/06/05 09.51 from Totton - warnings on radio and the SWT website about signalling problems at Woking - station staff advise that 3 services have been cancelled today. Ran on slow line through Farnborough and Brookwood. 20 minutes late at Waterloo. 20.05 from Waterloo on time.
08/06/05 05.48 from Totton arrived at Waterloo on time (if not a little bit early!). 17.05 from Waterloo 2 minutes late at Totton.
09/06/05 05.48 from Totton was 2 minutes late at Totton and there was a delay before the doors were opened. At Southampton Parkway the guard announced "There will be short delay before the doors are opened. Don't panic. The doors will open shortly!" Nevertheless, the train was on time at Eastleigh and early at Winchester. The guard repeatedly asked passengers (in a voice others compared to Marvin the Paranoid Android) to ignore the internal displays which showed the train would be stopping at Micheldever - at Winchester the automated announcement said the next station was Micheldever which the guard corrected to Basingstoke. As we were passing through Micheldever, there was an announcement "the next station is Micheldever". Arrived at Waterloo on time. 17.05 from Waterloo - one carriage had sauna-like conditions due to duff air conditioning.
10/06/05 06.46 from Totton - the "trolley dolly", otherwise very pleasant, was again blocking the carriage at Totton, a feat she repeated at Southampton Parkway. rrived at Waterloo on time.
Having travelled on the 05.48 Desiro service for a while now, I don't find the seats to be so hard that they are uncomfortable. However, it is annoying and uncomfortable that if you are sitting in a seat next to a window that you have to incline your leg nearest the window inwards due to the positioning of the heater and the curved edging of the floor. Also, the short section of seating near the toilet appears incredibly short of storage space with no overhead storage and just two narrow behind-the-seats storage areas for 9 seats.
20/06/05 An foolish announcement was made by the guard on the 05.48 from Totton when advising passengers of the need to be in the front 5 carriages to alight at Clapham Junction. He requested "all passengers to pay attention to this important announcement" which sounded worryingly unusual but turned out to be the bog-standard announcement made each and every day. This will lead to passengers taking less notice of "important announcements" in the future (‘the guard who cried Wolf'). He compounded the error by giving a trite description of how to ensure you are in the front 5 carriages ("walk forward in the direction of travel") and then repeated the whole misjudged announcement a few minutes later. 16.35 from Waterloo left 30 minutes late - due to earlier points and signalling failures at Basingstoke. Fitters at Waterloo were unable to fix problems with air conditioning in several carriages - on a day when temperatures reached 26 degrees C. Further delay near Basingstoke where the guard reported that the Train Protection Warning System had stopped the train after passing a green light and the driver was having to reset something. I left the train at Southampton 49 minutes late. Noticed that the departure screens on the platform at Southampton were changing too quickly for the information regarding the next departures to be read properly - the screens were showing the first page of departures for just 10 seconds, then a page advising of signalling problems near Basingstoke for another 10 seconds and then the second page of departures for 20 seconds, giving the information that people urgently needed, in order to decide which platform they should be on, to be displayed for only 10 seconds out of every 40. Caught the delayed 18.25 from Southampton running 29 minutes late.
21/06/05 17.05 from Waterloo, just like the 16.35 yesterday, had several carriages without air conditioning during swelteringly high temperatures, fitters at Waterloo having been unable to resolve the problems.
22/06/05 At 05.45 Radio Solent reported that the National Rail website was showing incorrect timetable information for the Island Line and passengers should consult the Island Line website www.island-line.com for the correct information. Also Radio Solent reported that SWT was running a very restricted service between Woking and Basingstoke due to signalling problems at the latter. The 05.48 from Totton was rerouted from Southampton and the guard announced that it would travel via Havant due to electrical circuits and signalling problems at Basingstoke and would not be stopping at Southampton Airport Parkway, Eastleigh, Winchester or Basingstoke. Passengers for these stations were thrown off to await an unspecified alternative service. After we left Southampton, the automated station announcements continued to report the next station as Southampton Airport Parkway - are they not capable of being modified or disabled by the train staff? However, before we reached St Denys, the train stopped for a while and the guard then announced that "we have just been informed that we are calling at the normal stopping pattern" which we then proceeded to do. Hard cheese for all the passengers thrown off at Southampton!! 15.35 from Waterloo had no air conditioning in the second carriage. Together with a smell of drains from the toilet, a pretty lethal combination. This is the third afternoon Wessex Electric service in a row that has faulty aircon - are there any Wessex Electric units with air conditioning actually working throughout the train?
23/06/05 On the 05.48 from Totton the guard made an announcement at Basingstoke to correct the automated announcement which did not report Woking as the next station. The 17.05 from Waterloo is rumoured to actually have air conditioning working in all carriages - a rarity indeed.
24/06/05 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo (0655 from Winchester) cancelled. 17.05 from Waterloo delayed by points failure at Winchfield - 40 minutes late at Southampton.
LETTER IN EVENING STANDARD
(letter published on 15/4/2005 - some text edited by the Standard)
SOUTH West Trains is noted for its service cut-backs, but its lack of attention to detail on individual train timings is also remarkable.
In December, Totton-Waterloo commuters lost their direct 6.05am service and so needed to change at Southampton instead; but as compensation the train from the south coast could be made to stop if there was any delay on the new service.
On 5 April, the 6.07am was cancelled without any compensatory stop, so that commuters were 40 minutes late. SWT's controllers said this was because "no-one noticed" the cancellation.
On 7 April, many passengers were sitting on the floor of the packed 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth train. The conductor cheerfully assured them there would be plenty of seats after Woking.
However, the stop at Woking is not listed on any of the train timetables. Unsurprisingly, nobody alighted and passengers remained on the floor until the train arrived at Winchester.
Re-franchising can't come quickly enough!
FINAL MAINLINE SLAM DOOR TRAIN ON SWT
The final working by slam door stock of a SWT service train, other than on the Lymington branch, was the 11.35 Waterloo-Weymouth service on 26 May. The train had a Ministerial send-off. Not clear whether the Minister had been told that (i) this service switched to more modern stock in 1988 and (ii) passengers were to be thrown off at Bournemouth, and made to join the normal train, after nearly two hours of unexpected discomfort.
SWT subsequently wasted money on full-page back-cover advertisements in successive editions of ‘Rail’ magazine to trumpet the disappearance of slam door stock from Waterloo. Perhaps the thousands of commuters who then stood, especially on Portsmouth trains reduced from 10 coaches to 5, would like to lead the applause.
An interesting insight into why environmentally-friendly tramway schemes are not going ahead. This comes from Christian Wolmar's article in 'Rail' No. 510: "In many cases, buses were able to charge lower fares than trams, thus wrecking the light rail schemes' finances, but leading to a much inferior network than had the system been properly integrated. While there may have been cheaper fares in the short term, it was at the cost of an inferior service and, of course, more congestion on the streets for road users. That is precisely what happened in Sheffield where, essentially, the operations of the tram scheme, built at public expense, were virtually given away to Stagecoach because there was no integration of public services, and the trams were therefore uneconomic".
A Bournemouth resident who is 'sick of being fobbed off by SWT', when he has a problem or an issue, has set up a forum for SWT passengers. The internet address is www.hardseats.co.uk and the initial topic of conversation is the spartan seating on SWT's new Desiro trains.
We hear a lot about Community Support Officers in London and Travelsafe Officers on South West Trains. These are generally represented as promoting public security. So why are they frequently seen supporting revenue protection officers, and are their costs to the taxpayer proportionally attributed to revenue protection?
The sign on the wire fence at the bottom of the down platform steps at Totton seems deeply ironic. It says that the area is environmentally protected, yet the massacre of greenery by Network Rail has revealed a pile of tarmac rubble and an old car tyre. What would it have been like if it were not environmentally protected?
Question from a rail user: I note that there is a wheelchair access ramp on platform 1 at Southampton marked for Virgin Trains use only. I wonder if this a technical restriction (ie the ramp doesn't work with other companies' stock) or a management restriction (ie, we bought it so nobody else can use it). Does this mean that there should be a ramp for each type of stock and/or different operator on the platform? Also, I didn't see (although I didn't look for long) a similar ramp on platform 2 from where Virgin services also depart. Does this mean that the level of service for disabled passengers is dependent on the stock / operator / platform combination for a particular service?
RAIL PERFORMANCE REPORTS
Note: These details are snapshots, based on passengers' own experiences and website information. The Group does not have the resources to provide a full picture of the performance shortcomings which passengers suffer. We are able to provide fuller coverage on some days than on others. Please note that trains can become increasingly late during the course of their journeys, or make up time where stops are omitted and passengers thrown off, so the "minutes late" figures may not represent the position at the end of a journey.
Tuesday 29/3/05 05.40 Havant-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 05.54 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 06.55 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 07.40 Haslemere-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 07.55 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 08.05 Portsmouth-Reading axed between Basingstoke and Reading due to no guard. 08.20 Waterloo-Reading 20 minutes late; stops at Egham and between Ascot and Reading axed for operational convenience. 09.55 Reading-Basingstoke axed between Reading and Basingstoke due to no driver. 11.33 Woking-Waterloo axed. 11.38 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 14.05 Waterloo-Poole 20 minutes late at Southampton; stops at Totton, Ashurst, New Milton, Christchurch and Pokesdown axed for operational convenience, even though the train has a 42 minute layover at Poole. 16.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 17.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 17.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to no guard. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to no serviceable stock. 19.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late.
Wednesday 30/3/05 06.23 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot due to no driver. 06.24 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.40 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 07.15 Southampton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.22 Epsom-Waterloo axed due to no guard. 07.58 Guildford-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 08.03 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to duff stock. 08.10 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 08.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 32 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Fulwell. 08.14 Alton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 08.17 Woking-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 08.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham axed for operational convenience. 08.39 Waterloo-Guildford omitted all intermediate stops between Wimbledon and Epsom for operational convenience. 08.48 Effingham Junction-Waterloo axed. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Norbiton for operational convenience. 09.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Bournemouth - except Southampton Central - axed for operational convenience. 09.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court 11 minutes late. 09.09 Waterloo-Guildford 13 minutes late. 09.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed between Shepperton and Fulwell. 09.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 11 minutes late. 09.16 Waterloo-Chessington 10 minutes late. 09.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 09.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. Passengers on the 09.55 Reading-Brighton thrown off at Havant due to no driver. 11.30 Waterloo-Weymouth axed due to no driver. 12.57 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Havant due to no driver. 18.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed. 20.33 Woking-Waterloo axed due to no guard.
Thursday 31/3/05 05.47 Twickenham-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 05.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 06.07 Totton-Yeovil axed due to duff stock. Passengers on the 07.10 Waterloo-Paignton thrown off at Basingstoke due to duff stock. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.32 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.50 Teddington-Waterloo axed due to no guard. 07.52 Basingstoke-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.20 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Salisbury due to duff stock. 09.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed due to duff stock. 09.45 Salisbury-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 10.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth due to no driver. 10.20 Waterloo-Exeter 17 minutes late due to duff stock. 13.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo ran non-stop from Guildford to Waterloo for operational convenience. 14.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 11 minutes late. 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to no driver; 15.30 delayed by compensatory stops and axed between Portsmouth & Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour. 16.01 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late; intermediate stops after Winchester axed for operational convenience. Passengers on the 16.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Bournemouth due to no driver. 16.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late due to duff stock. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to duff stock. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 25 minutes late due to duff stock. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches. 18.56 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth due to no driver. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole axed due to duff stock. 19.06 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Friday 1/4/05 05.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Doors on the front unit of the 05.45 from Poole closed on alighting passengers seconds after arrival at Waterloo; wild scramble to avoid being locked on board. 05.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Passengers on the 07.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo thrown off at Twickenham due to duff stock. 07.46 West Byfleet-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.20 Teddington-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.37 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late due to no rolling stock. 08.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late due to duff stock. 13.12 Reading-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 14.08 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 14.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed due to duff stock. 16.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Bracknell due to duff stock. 16.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 10 coaches. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 17.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 8 coaches. 17.41 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 17.45 Waterloo-Haslemere reduced to 8 coaches. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 9 coaches. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 21.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 21.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 21 minutes late; stops at St Margaret’s, Richmond, North Sheen and Mortlake axed for operational convenience. 21.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 minutes late.
Saturday 2/4/05 08.01 Guildford-Ascot 18 minutes late. 18.01 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 13 minutes late. 18.26 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late; connection with the stopping service from Romsey to Totton not honoured. 19.06 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 20.48 Twickenham-Waterloo 17 minutes late. SWT's customer information system apparently couldn't handle the delays and diversions due to engineering works. The 18.26 Waterloo-Poole was (correctly) shown at Basingstoke as the 19.50 departure running late; at 20.00, the screens were changed to show it as the 18.50 running on time. When the train reached Eastleigh, it was advertised as the 20.42 to Weymouth.
Sunday 3/4/05 08.50 Guildford-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Bournemouth 19 minutes late.
Monday 4/4/05 Despite the inflated schedules, a number of trains into Waterloo running up to 8 minutes late around 08.30. 14.08 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 15.35 Dorking-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late due to duff stock. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 20.46 Guildford-Waterloo 11 minutes late.
Tuesday 5/4/05 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 06.07 Totton-Yeovil Junction axed between Totton and Southampton Central; "no-one noticed" so Totton passengers left stranded for nearly three quarters of an hour. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo axed. 06.44 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 35 minutes late. 08.14 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 08.47 Woking-Waterloo axed. 09.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Guildford. 09.46 Waterloo-Chessington axed due to no driver. Duff disabled toilet on 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth; passenger had to make repeated hammer blows on the door before another passenger fetched the guard to release. Hopelessly duff class 444 Desiro unit on the 17.56 Southampton Bournemouth; both the voice and screen announcements declared that the first stop would be Micheldever, whilst Totton passengers had to race through the rear coach because of a duff door. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 5 coaches. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches. 20.42 Southampton-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 20.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 23.39 Waterloo-Southampton replaced by buses between Basingstoke and Winchester due to engineering work; train connection from Winchester was 20 about minutes late due to no guard.
Wednesday 6/4/05 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 05.54 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. Passengers on the 06.13 Waterloo-Guildford thrown off at Clapham Junction due to duff stock. 06.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 06.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.06 Basingstoke-Waterloo initially reduced to 8 coaches and then axed due to duff stock. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches. 07.17 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 10.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 10.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 17.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 8 coaches. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 22 minutes late due to no available rolling stock (only 5 minutes later than the previous evening!)
Thursday 7/4/05 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 20 minutes late; Woking stop axed for operational convenience. 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late; stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed for operational convenience. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo was announced as due at Waterloo at 07.44, but arrived at 07.53. 15.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 15.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.18 Waterloo-Haslemere axed due to no serviceable stock. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 18.32 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches. 19.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed due to no serviceable stock. 20.20 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no guard. 22.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no guard. 21.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late due to duff stock.
Friday 8/4/05 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late against its new advertised arrival time of 07.44. 06.19 Woking-Portsmouth 17 minutes late due to duff train. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late due to duff train. 07.36 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late due to duff train. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late due to duff train. 07.49 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late due to duff train. 07.49 Bedhampton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke delayed due to duff stock. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Salisbury axed for operational convenience. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 36 minutes late. 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 16.01 Honiton-Exeter axed. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 17.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 5 coaches. 17.45 Waterloo-Haslemere reduced to 8 coaches. 18.02 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 8 coaches. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches.
Saturday 9/4/05 06.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 09.23 Waterloo-Alton 21 minutes late due to duff stock. 09.57 Brighton-Paignton 17 minutes late. 10.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 13.01 Poole-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 17.26 Waterloo-Poole 17 minutes late. 18.30 Guildford-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 21.35 Dorking-Waterloo 10 minutes late.
Sunday 10/4/05 08.18 Waterloo-Plymouth 17 minutes late. 09.08 Havant-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 09.18 Waterloo-Yeovil 15 minutes late due to no driver. 09.39 Bournemouth-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 12.14 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 14.44 Waterloo-Windsor 16 minutes late dueto no rolling stock. 16.14 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late.
Monday 11/4/05 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 23 minutes late due to slow-running preceding train: arrived at Waterloo 2 minutes after it was due to return as the 08.05 to Poole, causing huge crush in the restricted entrance to platform 11; the 08.05 eventually left at 08.13. 06.43 Cosham-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.45 Southampton-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 07.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 19 minutes late; stops at Isleworth, Syon Lane, Kew Bridge, Chiswick and Barnes Bridge axed for operational convenience. 07.40 Haslemere-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late due to duff stock. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 8minutes late. 15.56 Havant-Waterloo axed. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth over 5 minutes late at Southampton; passengers for the 17.56 stopping train to Bournemouth had a wild rush across the footbridge, with one furious passenger left behind. Passengers on the 17.01 Poole-Waterloo thrown off at Brockenhurst due to duff stock. 18.11 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 18.35 Southampton-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 18.52 Reading-Ascot axed due to duff stock. 18.55 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke due to duff stock. Passengers on the 21.40 Brighton-Reading thrown off at Southampton due to duff stock.
Tuesday 12/4/05 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 07.20 Waterloo-Reading 19 minutes late. 07.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 07.50 Teddington-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 07.52 Epsom-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 07.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 07.57 Waterloo-Strawberry Hill axed. 08.20 Teddington-Waterloo axed between Teddington and Earlsfield. 14.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. Passengers on the 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Basingstoke due to duff stock. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 17.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 17.50 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches. 17.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 8 coaches. 18.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court reduced to 4 coaches. 18.18 Waterloo-Haslemere reduced to 8 coaches. 18.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late due to duff stock. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke due to duff stock.
Wednesday 13/4/05 06.24 Waterloo-Dorking 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Epsom axed for operational convenience. 06.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Kingston axed for operational convenience. 06.33 Waterloo-Guildford 19 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 18 minutes late due to duff stock. 07.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.15 Waterloo-Haslemere axed due to duff stock. Morning delays between Farnham and Alton due to duff train. 10.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 17 minutes late due to no rolling stock; stops at Barnes Bridge, Chiswick, Kew Bridge, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth axed for operational convenience. 11.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 20 late; all intermediate stops before Woking axed for operational convenience. Fatality at Basingstoke, reported at 11.40 and reported as cleared at 18.00. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 59 minutes late and axed between Exeter and Plymouth. 13.00 Waterloo-Poole 22 minutes late; passengers trying to alight at Totton discovered two duff doors. 13.30 Waterloo-Weymouth axed. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth. 15.50 Waterloo-Salisbury axed. 16.05 Waterloo-Reading axed due to duff stock. 16.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed. 16.14 Alton-Waterloo 15 minutes late and axed between Alton and Farnham. 16.15 Gillingham-Waterloo axed between Gillingham and Salisbury. 16.23 Waterloo-Alton 20 minutes late due to no rolling stock. 16.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 11 minutes late and omitted all intermediate stops between Woking and Surbiton for operational convenience. 16.55 Waterloo-Alton axed between Waterloo and Woking. Passengers on the 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo thrown off at Branksome due to duff train. 17.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed. 17.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 17.24 Basingstoke-Southampton axed. 17.36 Portsmouth-Southampton axed. 17.41 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo axed between Plymouth and Exeter. 17.56 Poole-Waterloo 32 minutes late due to duff train. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late due to no crew. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 18.43 Southampton-Winchester axed due to no guard. 18.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed between Southampton and Basingstoke. 19.05 Alton-Waterloo 57 minutes late and axed between Alton and Farnham. 19.31 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no crew. 19.35 Alton-Waterloo 72 minutes late. 20.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed between Waterloo and Woking. 20.14 Alton-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late and axed between Waterloo and Woking. 20.44 Alton-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 21.44 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham.
Thursday 14/4/05 16.03 Woking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 19.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 22 minutes late.
Friday 15/4/05 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton axed. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth axed. 06.43 Cosham-Waterloo 15 minutes late; Woking stop axed for operational convenience. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 7 minutes late. Signalling problems in Weymouth area. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo axed between Weymouth and Wool and 20 minutes late. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 69 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Woking for operational convenience. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 133 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 70 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Woking. 21.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late. 22.35 Waterloo-Poole axed between Waterloo and Woking.
Saturday 16/4/05 Passengers on the 10.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo thrown off at Twickenham due to duff stock. 12.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late.
Sunday 17/4/05 07.01 Windsor-Waterloo allowed 11 minutes to get from Vauxhall to Waterloo but expected to need only 4 minutes. 17.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late.
Monday 18/4/05 Passenger on the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo ripped the line if his jacket on a jagged armrest module.08.10 Chessington-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.31 Dorking-Waterloo axed between Dorking and Epsom. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 20.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Tuesday 19/4/05 17.32 Waterloo-Guildford 17 minutes late due to duff stock. 17.50 Waterloo-Woking 16 minutes late. 18.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 8 coaches.
Wednesday 20/4/05 Points problem at Alton. Alton-Waterloo morning peak services axed between Alton and Farnham. 06.03 Woking-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 07.01 Guildford-Aldershot axed due to no driver. 15.14 Alton-Waterloo-delayed; stops at West Byfleet and Surbiton axed for operational convenience. 15.41 Alton-Waterloo 16 minutes late; stops at West Byfleet, Surbiton and Clapham Junction axed for operational convenience. 16.01 Guildford-Ascot 17 minutes late due to no crew. 16.14 Alton-Waterloo-delayed; stops at West Byfleet and Surbiton axed for operational convenience. 16.41 Alton-Waterloo 19 minutes late; stops at West Byfleet, Surbiton and Clapham Junction axed for operational convenience. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham.
Thursday 21/4/05 Customer information system at Southampton Central collapsed; 06.30 to Waterloo disappeared from the departures board on platform 1, and the 07.00 was then shown as the next departure. This was followed by an announcement that the approaching train would not stop; the 06.30 then arrived as usual. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 06.44 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 07.40 Haslemere-Waterloo axed. 17.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. Duff stock on the 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton; all intermediate stops before Twickenham axed for operational convenience. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 64 minutes late due to duff train. 18.53 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 22 minutes late due to duff train. 20.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Friday 22/4/05 07.54 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. 09.02 Dorking-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 15.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 40 minutes late due to duff stock; passengers thrown off at Eastleigh. 17.35 Dorking-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 16 minutes late due to duff train. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 6 minutes late at Poole. 19.20 Waterloo-Honiton 16 minutes late due to duff train.
Saturday 23/4/05 21.01 Guildford-Ascot 27 minutes late. 21.19 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 21.20 Waterloo-Reading 20 minutes late due to duff stock. 21.23 Ascot-Guildford axed due to duff stock. Passengers on the 22.28 Waterloo-Windsor thrown off at Staines.
Sunday 24/4/05 17.54 Waterloo-Bournemouth 14 minutes late due to duff stock.
Tuesday 26/4/05 Virgin-Stagecoach delayed the 12.52 Edinburgh-Bournemouth for almost an hour. When the train reached Southampton Central, the 20.24 semi-fast service to Poole was standing at platform 2; staff sent it away as passengers from the Virgin train desperately raced across the footbridge to join it.
Wednesday 27/4/05 06.55 Reading-Brighton 9 minutes late due to duff stock, and ran only between Basingstoke and Havant. Big morning delays due to broken rail in tunnel near Winchester. 15.52 Bristol-Salisbury axed due to duff stock.
Thursday 28/4/05 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth arrived at Southampton Central 8 minutes late at 17.57; passengers for intermediate stations to Bournemouth watched the 17.56 'connection' disappearing down the line, causing them 37 minutes' delay. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 17.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court reduced to 4 coaches. 17.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Kingston axed for operational convenience. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 20 minutes late. 18.08 Guildford-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 18.18 Waterloo-Haslemere reduced to 8 coaches. 18.25 Waterloo-Alton axed between Waterloo and Woking. 18.32 Waterloo-Guildford 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton axed for operational convenience. 18.39 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to no crew. 18.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Surbiton axed for operational convenience. 19.01 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no rolling stock. 19.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to no crew. 20.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late.
Friday 29/4/05 06.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading 101 minutes late due to duff train; passengers thrown off at Ascot. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 7 minutes late due to late-running Virgin-Stagecoach service. 19.05 Waterloo-Reading 80 minutes late. 19.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.50 and 20.20 Waterloo-Reading diverted via Weybridge due to duff train. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 16 minutes late. 20.50 Waterloo-Reading 12 minutes late. 20.53 Windsor-Waterloo 50minutes late due to duff train. 21.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 21.58 Waterloo-Windsor 14 minutes late. 22.03 Woking-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 22.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 22.20 Waterloo-Salisbury 18 minutes late. 22.28 Waterloo-Windsor 9 minutes late due to duff stock. 22.50 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late.
Saturday 30/4/05 05.15 Salisbury-Waterloo 117 minutes late. 05.30 Poole-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 05.58 Winchester-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 06.14 Alton-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 06.33 Woking-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 06.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 06.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 06.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 07.00 Winchester-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 07.03 Woking-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 07.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 50 minutes late. 07.08 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 07.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed due to duff train. 07.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 32 minutes late. 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to duff train. 07.33 Woking-Waterloo 43 minutes late. 07.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 07.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 27 minutes late. 07.58 Guildford-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 08.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to duff train. 08.23 Waterloo-Alton 31 minutes late. 09.30 Winchester-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 10.00 Winchester-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 11.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth omitted Woking and Farnborough stops for operational convenience. 12.10 Southampton-Portsmouth axed. 12.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 25 minutes late; intermediate stops before Woking axed for operational convenience. 12.38 Southampton-Brighton axed. 12.24 Basingstoke-Brighton axed between Basingstoke and Fareham. 14.00 Plymouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 14.27 Reading-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 14.42 Reading-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 15.05 Waterloo-Wareham 17 minutes late. 15.12 Reading-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 15.42 Reading-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 15.57 Reading-Waterloo 47 minutes late. 16.12 Reading-Waterloo 55 minutes late. 16.42 Reading-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 16.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.57 Reading-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 16.58 Guildford-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 17.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 17.12 Reading-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 17.14 Alton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 17.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no rolling stock. 17.35 Dorking-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 17.27 Reading-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 17.40 Chessington-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 17.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 20 minutes late. 17.46 Waterloo-Chessington 28 minutes late. 17.50 Waterloo-Woking omitted all intermediate stops for operational convenience. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading 32 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines axed for operational convenience. 17.54 Waterloo-Dorking axed. 17.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 18.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court 24 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Guildford 33 minutes late. 18.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading 24 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines axed for operational convenience. 18.20 Waterloo-Woking 24 minutes late. 18.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 18.33 Waterloo-Guildford 20 minutes late. 18.38 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading 22 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines axed for operational convenience. 18.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 18.58 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 19.38 Guildford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.42 Reading-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 19.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.23 Windsor-Waterloo 16 minutes late.
Sunday 1/5/05 07.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 39 minutes late - a journey time of 2 hours and 36 minutes. 09.50 Eastleigh-Southampton 12 minutes late. 16.24 Reading-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.50 Basingstoke-Waterloo 16 minutes late due to no rolling stock. 20.44 Waterloo-Windsor axed due to no guard. 22.01 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no guard.
Monday 2/5/05 08.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 08.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. A miserable Bank Holiday afternoon at Southampton Airport Parkway, where the only things you could purchase were a ticket at the counter or a chocolate bar from a machine; tea or coffee? - forget it! 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 18.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 19.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 16 minutes late.
Tuesday 3/5/05 08.10 Chessington-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Around 08.30 many trains were arriving at Waterloo 5-10 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late due to duff stock. Passengers on the 20.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Bournemouth due to no driver.
Wednesday 4/5/05 Despite all that propaganda about every second counting, and doors being slammed in people's faces half a minute before departure time, the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil didn't arrive from Totton sidings until 06.08, even though the unit had arrived there over 15 minute earlier and no other trains were around. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches. Evening service on the Waterloo-Portsmouth line wrecked by duff train: Passengers on the 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Haslemere. 18.45, 19.00 and 19.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth diverted via Eastleigh. 20.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 22.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed.
Thursday 5/5/05 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton and 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth severely delayed; Netley line passengers missed their connection at Southampton with the 06.30 to Waterloo. 07.30 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Fareham. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 11 minutes late. Even as people were going home to vote, there was travel chaos due to a duff train being stuck between Clapham Junction and Waterloo. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 32 minutes late. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 24 minutes late. 18.03 Woking-Waterloo 10minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 18 minutes late. 18.05 Dorking-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 24 minutes late and reduced to 6 coaches. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 24 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 15 minutes late. 18.53 Waterloo-Alton 12 minutes late.
Friday 6/5/05 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 11 minutes late due to duff stock; Woking stop axed for operational convenience. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 16.42 Southampton-Portsmouth axed due to no driver. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil reduced to 3 coaches. 19.55 and 21.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 22.39 Waterloo-Southampton axed due to no driver.
Saturday 7/5/05 10.20 Waterloo-Reading axed. Passengers on the 17.45 Wareham-Eastleigh thrown off at Southampton Central without explanation. Infrastructure problems at Totton: Totton-Romsey service collapsed and 17.11 Eastleigh-Wareham 46 minutes late.
Monday 9/5/05 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo axed. 07.32 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 19 minutes late due to duff stock. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 16 minutes late.
Tuesday 10/5/05 15.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 15.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 16.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 20 minutes late. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches. 21.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 39 minutes late due to duff stock. 22.03 Woking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Wednesday 11/5/05 05.50 Waterloo-Reading 21 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines axed for operational convenience. Barnes-Hounslow line closed during morning peak due to freight train derailment; not reopened until 15.30. 05.47 Twickenham-Waterloo axed. 06.48 Hounslow-Waterloo axed. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 8 minutes late. Infrastructure problems on the Lymington branch: 09.14 / 09.44 / 10.14 Lymington-Brockenhurst axed; 09.29 / 09.59 Brockenhurst-Lymington axed. 14.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 25 minutes late. 14.46 Waterloo-Chessington axed due to duff stock. 15.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 15.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 17 minutes late due to no crew. 15.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.52 Waterloo-Weybridge axed. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 17.37 Weybridge-Waterloo axed. 17.56 Southampton-Bournemouth 33 minutes late. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches. 18.35 Southampton-Portsmouth 18minutes late. 19.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 22 minutes late due to duff train. 20.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 20.23 Windsor-Waterloo 19 minutes late due to duff train. 21.20 Waterloo-Reading 13 minutes late. 21.28 Waterloo-Windsor 17 minutes late. 21.50 Waterloo-Reading axed.
Thursday 12/5/05 17.22 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 93 minutes late. 17.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 36 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Staines for operational convenience. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 49 minutes late due to duff train; all intermediate stops after Twickenham axed for operational convenience. 17.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 minutes late due to duff train. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo diverted due to duff train. 18.43 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to duff stock. 19.01 Guildford-Ascot 20 minutes late. 19.01 Guildford-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 19.07 Weybridge-Waterloo axed between Weybridge and Staines. 20.01 Totton-Romsey 20 minutes late due to duff stock. 20.44 Alton-Waterloo 24 minutes late.
Friday 13/5/05 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 07.32 Dorking-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Raynes Park axed for operational convenience. 07.46 Effingham Junction-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Raynes Park for operational convenience. 17.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 5 coaches. 18.02 Waterloo-Guildford 15 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Guildford 17 minutes late. 18.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 16 minutes late. 18.16 Waterloo-Chessington 16 minutes late due to duff stock. 18.20 Waterloo-Woking 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late. 18.25 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. 18.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham axed for operational convenience. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole and 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth both reduced to 5 coaches. 19.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.46 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 21.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 12 minutes late due to duff stock.
Saturday 14/5/05 06.33 Weybridge-Waterloo axed between Weybridge and Staines. 06.33 Staines-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.50 Waterloo-Woking 15 minutes late. 18.03 Waterloo-Guildford 14 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 17 minutes late. 18.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court 13 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Guildford 13 minutes late. 18.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 18.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 8 minutes late.
Sunday 15/5/05 Schedules so slack that the 09.43 arrival at Waterloo from Basingstoke was allowed 17 minutes from Clapham Junction to Waterloo and advertised as expected to finish its journey 10 minutes early. 11.40 Waterloo-Guildford 16 minutes late. 14.42 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Monday 16/5/05 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late due to duff stock; passengers thrown off at Haslemere. 14.50 Waterloo-Salisbury axed due to duff stock. 15.31 Guildford-Ascot axed between Guildford and Aldershot due to duff stock. 15.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no guard. Duff stock on the 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton; passengers thrown off at Woking. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 6 coaches. 19.37 Weybridge-Waterloo 14 minutes late.
Tuesday 17/5/05 Passengers on the 07.12 Reading-Waterloo thrown off at Ascot due to duff stock. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Staines due to duff stock. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 19 minutes late. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 14.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo delayed due to no crew; stops at Petersfield and Haslemere axed for operational convenience. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 58 minutes late. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 3 coaches. 16.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 17.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 8 coaches. 18.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late due to duff stock.
Wednesday 18/5/05 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 30 minutes late due to no stock. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late due to no crew. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late due to duff stock. 19.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Thursday 19/5/05 13.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 56 minutes late due to duff stock. 14.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole switched to platform 3 at Southampton Central; change not announced until the train was arriving in the station, and passengers given minimal time to cross the footbridge; one passenger carried beyond Totton due to being in wrong part of the train for the short platform. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Friday 20/5/05 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo axed. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 15.55 Southampton-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 16.01 Poole-Waterloo 11 minutes late. Dreadful conditions on the 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth due to severe overcrowding and overheating. Suspension in dreadful state; floor levels between rear of third coach and front of the fourth at times several inches different due to bucking. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 8 minutes late.
Saturday 21/5/05 06.14 Alton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.33 Woking-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 07.10 Chessington-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.23 Waterloo-Alton 19 minutes late. 10.42 Basingstoke-Waterloo 15 minutes late.
Sunday 22/5/05 18.10 Waterloo-Guildford 17 minutes late. 19.05 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed. 19.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.53 Winchester-Brighton 22 minutes late due to duff stock.
Monday 23/5/05 06.00 Romsey-Totton 11 minutes late. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 08.20 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 09.56 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 15.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot due to duff stock. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. Misery on parts of the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth due to duff air conditioning. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading axed due to duff stock. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Tuesday 24/5/05 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 14.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late.
Wednesday 25/5/05 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 20.20 Waterloo-Exeter 21 minutes late due to duff stock.
Thursday 26/5/05 Blocked toilet on the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil, with toilet blocked and pan brimming with water at the start of the unit's day in passenger service. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 16.09 Waterloo-Guildford omitted all intermediate stops before Raynes Park for operational convenience. 16.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 15 minutes late. 16.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 16.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton axed between Waterloo and Guildford due to duff stock.17.25 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 5 minutes late; front unit freezing cold and rear unit baking hot. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 19.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Friday 27/5/05 First day that slam door trains on SWT restricted to the Lymington branch. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo reduced to 6 coaches. 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 21 minutes late due to no crew; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed for operational convenience. 06.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 07.15 Southampton-Waterloo 18 minutes late due to duff stock. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking due to preceding service being axed. 13.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late; connection with the stopping service from Romsey to Totton not honoured. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth-Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 22 minutes late. 18.11 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed. 18.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 17 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 29 minutes late due to no rolling stock. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 18.50 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 18.52 Reading-Ascot axed due to no driver. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 23 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 41 minutes late. 19.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 19.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 19.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 20.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 32 minutes late. 20.15 Waterloo-Haslemere 22 minutes late. 20.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 17 minutes late. 21.40 Brighton-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 22.53 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver.
Saturday 28/5/05 12.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 32 minutes late. 12.10 Exeter-Basingstoke 22 minutes late due to earlier delays. 13.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed between Waterloo and Norbiton due to delay on previous service. 14.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late due to duff train in front. 14.09 Winchester-Poole 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 14.21 Winchester-Portsmouth 23 minutes late. 14.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth13 minutes late. 15.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late. 15.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late due to delays on previous journey. Passengers on the 16.12 Reading-Waterloo thrown off at Egham due to duff stock. 17.26 Alton-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 20.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 28 minutes late. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 18 minutes late due to duff stock.
Sunday 29/5/05 07.30 Winchester-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 07.42 Portsmouth-Southampton 20 minutes late. 08.00 Winchester-Waterloo 15 minutes late.
Monday 30/5/05 10.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 55 minutes late. 11.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 11.12 Reading-Waterloo 8 minutes late.
Tuesday 31/5/05 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches and 33 minutes late. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 31 minutes late. As the 06.30 train to Waterloo swept into platform 1 at Southampton Central, the customer information system displayed a "correction" indicating that it would leave from platform 2. 08.28 Waterloo-Windsor axed due to no driver. 09.53 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 18 minutes late. Three coaches of the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth seriously overheated due to duff air conditioning. 16.39 Waterloo-Fratton 58 minutes late. 16.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 34 minutes late. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil 30 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Salisbury. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 25 minutes late. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 32 minutes late. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 25 minutes late. 17.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 45 minutes late; all intermediate stops except Woking axed for operational convenience. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth diverted via Guildford, so omitting all intermediate stops from Basingstoke to Cosham inclusive. 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 36 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Surbiton. 18.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 20 minutes late; Esher and Clapham Junction stops axed for operational convenience. 18.29 Woking-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 18.53 Waterloo-Alton 15 minutes late. 19.23 Waterloo-Alton axed between Waterloo and Woking. 20.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo ran fast from Woking to Waterloo due to duff stock.
Wednesday 1/6/05 06.07 Totton-Yeovil axed. 08.01 Totton-Romsey axed due to no driver. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 20.58 Waterloo-Windsor 23 minutes late due to duff stock.
Thursday 2/6/05 15.56 Havant-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 18.38 Winchester-Southampton axed due to no driver. 19.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to duff stock.
Friday 3/6/05 22.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Saturday 4/6/05 06.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 07.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 20 minutes late due to duff stock. 12.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed. Passengers on the 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Woking. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading axed. 19.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 19.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 29 minutes late. 19.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 20.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 21.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Sunday 5/6/05 Passengers on the 07.24 Tisbury-Exeter thrown off at Honiton. 08.46 Honiton-Waterloo axed between Honiton and Salisbury. 09.20 Exeter-Waterloo axed between Exeter and Honiton. 11.20 Exeter-Waterloo 35 minutes late due to duff stock. 14.00 Plymouth-Waterloo 57 minutes late due to duff train. 14.14 Penzance-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 15.50 Newton Abbot-Waterloo 57 minutes late and axed between Newton Abbot and Exeter due to duff train.
Monday 6/6/05 15.39 Waterloo-Guildford 14 minutes late. 16.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 19.23 Windsor-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 21.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to no driver.
Tuesday 7/6/05 05.00 Poole-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. Massive morning delays due to signalling failure at Woking. Mainline services severely delayed, axed and replaced by road coaches. 15.53 Waterloo-Alton axed. 15.59 Wareham-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 17.53 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton axed between Waterloo and Guildford. 18.53 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Wednesday 8/6/05 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 16 minutes late due to duff stock. 15.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.55 Southampton-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 16.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 16.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Passengers on the 17.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo thrown off at Putney due to duff stock. 17.12 Reading-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 17.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 21 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Hounslow axed for operational convenience. 17.22 Reading-Ascot 38 minutes late. 17.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking and reduced to 5 coaches, due to duff train. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton reduced to 5 coaches. 18.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 17 minutes late. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking axed between Waterloo and Raynes Park due to duff stock. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 18.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 20.03 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Thursday 9/6/05 06.12 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 08.12 Reading-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 12.12 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot. 15.00 Romsey-Totton 30 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Southampton where the 16.00 alternative Totton service had not been held for them. Passengers on the 15.01 Totton-Romsey thrown off at Eastleigh. Duff air-conditioning on part of the 15.05 Waterloo-Poole. 16.01 Totton-Romsey axed between Totton and Southampton.
Friday 10/6/05 07.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 09.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed between Dorking and Leatherhead. 10.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 10.22 Waterloo-Weybridge axed. Passengers on the 13.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Basingstoke. 18.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 21.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 18 minutes late.
Monday 13/6/05 Passengers on the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo dismayed to suffer the Wessex Electric unit which has had many of its tables ripped out, presumably as a token of discomforts to come if Stagecoach keeps the franchise; some people trying to balance their laptops on their knees. 06.30 Aldershot-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo 11 minutes late.07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo axed. 07.36 Farnham-Waterloo axed. 08.10 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth delayed several minutes at Southampton Airport due to duff stock; train arrived at Southampton at 17.54.30; doors on the connecting 17.56 for intermediate stops to Bournemouth shut at 17.55.30, so only 3 passengers managed to connect, after running frantically over the footbridge – the 17.56 then left ahead of the 16.35 and had to stand for two minutes, at signals down the line, for it to overtake. Passengers on the 18.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Basingstoke. 18.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Tuesday 14/6/05 06.07 Totton-Yeovil Junction reduced to 2 coaches. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Passengers on the 07.24 Reading-Waterloo thrown off at Ascot due to duff stock. 16.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to duff stock. 17.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late due to duff stock.
Wednesday 15/6/05 05.00 Poole-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches and partly formed of outer-suburban stock. 05.15 Yeovil-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 9 minutes late purportedly due to the condition of the track in Micheldever tunnel – the train spent several minutes in the rain at Micheldever station whilst passengers on the platform vainly tried to board. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 16.01 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 16.14 Alton-Waterloo 34 minutes late; stops at West Byfleet and Surbiton axed for operational convenience. 16.15 Gillingham-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 16.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 16.41 Alton-Waterloo 28 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Aldershot axed for operational convenience. 16.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. Stock for 18.09 Waterloo-Basingstoke not expected until 18.18. 19.10 Paignton-Basingstoke axed between Paignton and Newton Abbot due to delay on previous journey. 19.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 20.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 32 minutes late.
Thursday 16/6/05 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 06.45 and 08.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.41 Shepperton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.40 Chessington-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.28 Waterloo-Windsor 19 minutes late due to duff stock. 14.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 15.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 16.03 Woking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 16.58 Waterloo-Windsor 16 minutes late. 17.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth started 10 minutes late; intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed for operational convenience; train was 25 minutes late by Totton. 18.30 Waterloo-Epsom axed due to no stock.
Friday 17/6/05 14.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late; stops at Mortlake and North Sheen axed for operational convenience. Dreadful overcrowding on the 5-coach 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth and 16.05 Waterloo-Poole; the customer information system at Southampton Airport advised that the 16.05 was reported as running “full and standing”. 16.38 Winchester-Southampton 5 minutes late.
Saturday 18/6/05 09.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 45 minutes late. 09.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 54 minutes late. 09.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 60 minutes late. 09.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 64 minutes late. 09.57 Brighton-Paignton 15 minutes late. 10.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 10.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 42 minutes late. 10.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 42 minutes late. 10.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 41 minutes late. 10.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 50 minutes late. 10.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 11.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 29 minutes late. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 14.20 Waterloo-Penzance 40 minutes late. 14.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 32 minutes late. 14.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 15.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 10 minutes late. 15.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 12 minutes late. 16.55 Southampton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 15 minutes late.18.23 Axminster-Exeter 14 minutes late. 18.28 Waterloo-Windsor 17 minutes late. 20.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 28 minutes late. 20.28 Waterloo-Windsor 14 minutes late.
Sunday 19/6/05 A bleak message on SWT’s website for people going to the U2 concert at Twickenham. Leave the concert as soon as possible; buses between Twickenham, Kingston and Wimbledon, and you may need to queue for 40 minutes for a service home. 09.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 10.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 31 minutes late. 10.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo 53 minutes late; 10.48 47 minutes late; 11.32 63 minutes late; 11.48 35 minutes late, and passengers thrown off at Woking; passengers on the 12.32 thrown off at Fratton due to no crew; 13.48 10 minutes late. 12.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 minutes late. 12.54 Waterloo-Bournemouth 26 minutes late. 13.30 / 14.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 14.05 Bournemouth-Eastleigh 42 minutes late. 15.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 46 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Basingstoke. 16.54 Waterloo-Bournemouth 40 minutes late; 17.54 axed between Waterloo and Woking. 18.24 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock; 18.54 11 minutes late.
Monday 20/6/05 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo axed. 09.02 Dorking-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Evening peak services collapsed due to signalling problems in the Basingstoke area. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 41 minutes late. 13.01 Poole-Waterloo 67 minutes late. 13.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 43 minutes late. 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 25 minutes late.13.55 Southampton-Waterloo 54 minutes late. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole 42 minutes late – dreadful overcrowding with many passengers standing to Southampton Airport. 16.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to no crew. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 30 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth departed 30 minutes late and became 40 minutes late after being stopped for passing a signal at green (sic) in the Basingstoke area! 16.39 Waterloo-Fratton axed. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil 30 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth axed between Waterloo and Southampton Central. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 60 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 29 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 45 minutes late. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil 36 minutes late. 17.55 Southampton-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 17.55 Waterloo-Alton 22 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 49 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 41 minutes late. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo axed due to no crew. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke 37 minutes late. 18.25 Waterloo-Alton 47 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 31 minutes late. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton axed. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 32 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 11 minutes late. 21.00 Exeter-Salisbury axed. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury 21 minutes late.
Tuesday 21/6/05 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo expected to complete its journey, 26 minutes late, at 08.10; pity it the train then forms the 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 14.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 14.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 14.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 16.01 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth slightly delayed by a purported trackside fire in the Clapham Junction area; bigger delay at Woking where the train had been advertised as the 16.09 Waterloo-Fratton, and passengers who had boarded in error needed to alight; fortunately there was no further delay, despite calls for a doctor to go to the guard’s compartment; service reached Southampton Central at 17.59, the 17.56 connection for intermediate stations to Bournemouth departing as it braked. 17.12 Reading-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.23 Windsor-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 28 minutes late. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton 13 minutes late.
Wednesday 22/6/05 06.12 Waterloo-Wareham axed. 06.19 Woking-Portsmouth axed. 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed for operational convenience. 06.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. Passengers on the 08.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo thrown off at the first stop (Vauxhall) due to duff train. Passengers on the 12.23 Waterloo-Alton thrown off at Farnham due to a slow moving freight train. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 14.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 15.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.37 Haslemere-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.41 Alton-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 17.24 Waterloo-Dorking axed due to no driver. 17.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 17.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 5 coaches. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking axed due to duff stock. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 18.37 Weybridge-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 18.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 27 minutes late; 18.45 27 minutes late; 19.07 23 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading 33 minutes late. 19.20 Waterloo-Reading 49 minutes late. 19.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 14 minutes late. 19.23 Windsor-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 19.28 Waterloo-Windsor 48 minutes late. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 19.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 19.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 32 minutes late; 19.45 27 minutes late. 19.50 Waterloo-Reading 37 minutes late. 19.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 28 minutes late. 19.58 Waterloo-Windsor 34 minutes late. 20.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 20.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 20.20 Waterloo-Reading 29 minutes late. 20.28 Waterloo-Windsor 18 minutes late. 20.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 20.35 Dorking-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 20.39 Waterloo-Guildford 19 minutes late. 20.53 Windsor-Waterloo 25 minutes late.
Thursday 23/6/05 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 06.40 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 08.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed due to duff stock. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 14.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo axed between Plymouth and Exeter Central due to no driver; 25 minutes late and stops at Woking and Clapham Junction axed for operational convenience. 16.01 Honiton-Exeter axed. 16.01 Poole-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 16.15 Gillingham-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth arrived at Southampton Central at 17.55 due to a signal check outside Winchester; connecting doors on the 17.56 stopping train to Bournemouth closed early to deny commuters their scheduled connection. 16.55 Southampton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.12 Reading-Waterloo 19 minutes late due to duff stock. 17.14 Alton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.35 Dorking-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.37 Weybridge-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 17.53 Windsor-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 17.57 Weybridge-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 40 minutes late; a Bitterne commuter who missed his connection was told he could not have a taxi because he would be less than 70 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late. 18.59 Effingham Junction-Waterloo axed. 19.05 Waterloo-Reading omitted all intermediate stops before Staines for operational convenience. 19.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo omitted stops at Mortlake, North Sheen, Richmond and St Margaret’s for operational convenience. 19.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 20.35 Dorking-Waterloo 14 minutes late.
Friday 24/6/05 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late due to no crew. 06.40 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late due to duff stock. Passengers on the 06.43 Cosham-Waterloo thrown off at Fareham due to duff stock. Afternoon points problem at Winchfield. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 54 minutes late. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 75 minutes late. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole 66 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 60 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 45 minutes late. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 45 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 18 minutes late. 17.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth and 19 minutes late. 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 45 minutes late. 18.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late. 18.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.10 Paignton-Basingstoke axed between Paignton and Exeter. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late. 21.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 15 minutes late due to no driver. 21.46 Waterloo-Chessington 10 minutes late. 22.50 Waterloo-Reading axed.
Saturday 25/6/05 06.40 Salisbury-Bristol axed due to no driver. 07.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 08.52 Bristol-Salisbury axed due to no driver. 11.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 12.01 Totton-Romsey axed due to no driver. 12.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 13.00 Romsey-Totton axed due to no driver. 13.51 Salisbury-Bristol axed. 14.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 15.20 Waterloo-Reading axed between Waterloo and Staines due to no guard.
Sunday 26/6/05 16.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 50 minutes late due to broken down train. 17.20 Exeter-Waterloo 20 minutes late due to being late on previous journey. 17.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 60 minutes late. 20.54 Waterloo-Portsmouth/Bournemouth 30 minutes late. 22.48 Weymouth-Brockenhurst axed between Bournemouth and Brockenhurst.
Monday 27/6/05 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late; no explanation. 08.50 Waterloo-Salisbury reduced to 8 coaches. 14.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 15.03 Woking-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 18.57 Brighton-Reading ran only between Fareham and Basingstoke due to duff stock. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late due to duff stock. 21.55 Reading-Portsmouth axed between Reading and Basingstoke due to duff stock.
Tuesday 28/6/05 15.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late and axed between Weymouth and Bournemouth due to duff stock. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 11 minutes late. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil 17 minutes late. 17.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 31 minutes late. 18.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 24 minutes late. 18.38 Winchester-Southampton 10 minutes late. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 17 minutes late. 19.10 Paignton-Basingstoke 19 minutes late. 20.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.14 Alton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 20.20 Waterloo-Exeter 17 minutes late. 20.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 23 minutes late; special stop for Wimbledon tennis followers axed. 21.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed. 21.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 22.25 Bristol-Salisbury axed between Bristol and Westbury. SWT could not cope with home-going passengers after the Trafalgar celebrations at Portsmouth. The Harbour station was temporarily closed late at night, with 15,000 people reportedly stranded and queuing for up to two and a half hours.
Wednesday 29/6/05 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 06.07 Totton-Yeovil 20 minutes late. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes and late and reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. 06.43 Cosham-Waterloo 33 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Eastleigh axed for operational convenience. 07.40 Haslemere-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 06.44 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 11.23 Waterloo-Alton axed between Farnham and Alton. 13.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 15.50 Waterloo-Reading axed due to duff stock. 16.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 16.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 16.41 Alton-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops after Farnham for operational convenience. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 61 minutes late. 19.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 56 minutes late. 20.06 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 22.35 Waterloo-Poole 25 minutes late. 23.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late.
Thursday 30/6/05 07.40 Haslemere-Waterloo axed. 10.57 Brighton-Basingstoke 23 minutes late. 18.43 Southampton-Winchester 9 minutes late.
MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
1/4/05 CARBON DIOXIDE RISE FORCES ENERGY RETHINK Carbon dioxide emissions rose by 2.2% in 2003 and 1.5% in 2004, forcing the Government to consider a range of new measures to tackle climate change. The last Manifesto pledged to cut emissions by 20% on 1990 levels by 2010, and the Kyoto Treaty contains a legally binding undertaking for a 12.5% cut in greenhouse gas emissions. Under consideration are a review of wind power to see if it can deliver more savings in emissions; large scale investment in tidal and solar energy; possibility of a new generation of nuclear power stations; tax breaks and subsidies for energy-efficient household appliances; new building regulations to make houses and businesses more energy-efficient; carbon taxes, including rises in fuel duties; reduction in prices of alternative fuels and subsidies for bio-diesel made from oil seed rape. Carbon dioxide levels have risen because measures to produce 10% of electricity from renewables are behind schedule; power stations are burning more coal and gas; traffic and congestion have increased, and petrol and diesel prices have not been raised. (Guardian)
21/4/05 ENERGY FROM WASTE The Institution of Civil Engineers and the Renewable Power Association say almost 30 million tonnes of household rubbish was used for landfill in England alone in 2003. Energy generation from waste has "huge" potential - with certain types of rubbish able to produce up to 17% of electricity in the UK by 2020. More than half of this rubbish could be used to create enough power to light two million homes each year. On current performance, the UK will not reach the EU Renewables Directive target of producing 10% of our electricity from renewable sources by 2010. We are even less likely to reach the next target of having 20% provided by renewables by 2020. "Year on year the UK is producing more waste. Waste into energy would have environmental benefits by reducing the rubbish mountain. (Press Association)
3/5/05 HOME WIND TURBINES COULD CUT BILLS AND POLLUTION A mini-wind turbine generating electricity could soon become home owners' latest fashion accessory. With potential sales in the millions, manufacturers have developed a series of designs, costing less than £1,000, to appeal to people who want to cut their electricity bills or help the planet. The devices are so simple that they can be joined to the mains electricity supply using a standard 13 amp plug. If you produce more power than you can use it turns your meter backwards as it supplies the neighbourhood. The Building Research Establishment believes the Government should support the technology because it can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and boost security of supply. Government is producing a strategy by April next year to encourage small-scale wind turbines. A south-west facing site is needed and the Met Office can supply average wind speeds for every postcode in Britain. Government grants, meeting about a third of the cost, are available to home owners and organisations like schools. (Guardian)
20/5/05 AIR TRAVEL MARS UK'S GREEN STRATEGY Greenhouse gas emissions from UK air travel have doubled in 13 years, damaging the government's claims to be a world leader in reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Figures from the Office of National Statistics show that UK greenhouse gas emissions fell by 8.1% between 1990 and 2003, considerably less than the 13.4% claimed by the Department of the Environment, and mainly due to the switch from coal to gas for electricity generation following closure of the coal mines. The Department includes only emissions which come under the Kyoto protocol, which excludes air and marine transport emissions because there is no international agreement on how to tax aviation fuel. Under Kyoto, the UK is legally bound to reduce the 1990 level of emissions by 12.5% by 2012. Under successive Manifesto promises, the government is trying to reduce emissions by 20% but this is unlikely to be achieved because they have risen in the past two years. The Prime Minister has made tackling climate change a priority for the country's current presidency of the G8 and prospective presidency of the EU from June. Emissions from aviation have risen from 20.1m tonnes in 1990 to 39.5m last year. During the same period, car emissions rose from 59.6m tonnes to 67.8m. A rise in traffic emissions followed the Prime Minister's caving in to fuel protesters over vehicle fuel tax. (Guardian)
24/5/05 LONDON'S AIR QUALITY BREAKS LAW New figures from the Government's air pollution unit in Marylebone Road show that maximum levels of air pollution have been breached 36 times this year. European laws allow only 35 breaches a year. The Government could now face prosecution by the European Commission. Minister Ben Bradshaw said the Government was considering measures to combat the problem. (Evening Standard)
25/5/05 EASYJET CHIEF AGREES WITH GREEN CAMPAIGNERS Chief Executive of Easyjet accepted that there was legitimate public concern about the impact of flying on climate change. He would not object to a fuel tax linked to carbon emissions as long as it was fair and did not price the industry out of existence. Few airlines were making profits. (Guardian)
9/6/05 HEATHROW BLIGHT ‘TO HIT CENTRAL LONDON’ West London residents are warned they will suffer deafening noise from early morning onwards if a third runway is built at Heathrow. Additional flights are predicted to affect more than 600,000 people, mainly in the most expensive parts of the capital, following BAA’s announcement that a third runway and sixth terminal would increase annual passenger flows from 67m to 116m by 2030. However, the Department for Transport’s estimate is that 150,000 people would be affected. The noise would be continuous, with a plane landing on the runway every 90 seconds from 06.00 to 23.00. Knightsbridge, Kensington, Holland Park, Brook Green and Bedford Park would be affected. The government, but not key airlines like BA, want a new runway at Stansted first. (Evening Standard)
20/6/05 MAYOR’S CAPITAL IDEA ON CLIMATE CHANGE The Mayor of London is today formally launching an ambitious scheme to combat the possible effects of climate change in the capital. He will announce the creation of a green public-private partnership which will see senior politicians and business figures joining forces to devise and commercially market environmental initiatives. The scheme is based on pioneering schemes developed in Woking, where the local authority won a Queen’s Award for Enterprise for local sustainable community energy systems. Between 1991-92 and 2003-04, the council secured a 77% saving in carbon dioxide emissions. Left unchecked, flooding alone would affect 68 Underground stations, 400 schools and 16 hospitals. Tidal surges could increase in height by 1.4 metres by 2080, confronting 1.25 million people and property worth £80 billion with a flood risk. (Guardian)
21/6/05 PUBLIC DEMANDS ACTION ON CLIMATE CHANGE A Guardian/ICM poll published today shows that 83% of voters want the Prime Minister to challenge the US President, at next month’s G8 summit, on the issue of global warming. But voters still have to be convinced that they need to make personal sacrifices to tackle it. 40% of those questions say existing levels of climate change are a threat, and 49% believe it will be a threat to future generations, but most admit that they have done little or northing to change their behaviour. Environmental action remains the preserve of a committed minority, with only 26% saying they have done anything substantial beyond recycling rubbish. Of those questioned, 86% believe action is the Government’s responsibility, while the majority think that consumers (73%), and business (70%) must act too. The Environment Secretary thought that public awareness was a response to the importance which the Government has attached to climate change and accepted that the weight of scientific evidence has become more conclusive on the need for action. Industry is also showing signs of coming to terms with calls for action. Some airlines were pledging efficiency gains, but critics considered that their pledges did not stand up to consideration, and the Government has given the go-ahead for the expansion of Heathrow and Stansted airports. 61% of voters oppose an environmental tax on air travel and only 26% of those questioned back road pricing, though 83% back more fuel-efficient cars, and 78% are prepared to consider solar panels. 69% would support the construction of wind farms within 20 miles of where they live and 79% would oppose the building of a nuclear power station near where they live. The poll goes some way to exploding the myth that there is more concern about climate change among particular socio-economic groups, (Guardian)
24/6/05 BRITISH GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS RISE Across the EU emissions rose by 1.5% during 2002, and Britain was one of the worst offenders behind Italy and Finland. The EU is short of its target for reducing emissions by 2012. The figures wreck the Prime Ministers hope of telling other G8 leaders that Britain has taken the lead in tackling climate change. (Metro)
MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
February-March 05 CORRESPONDENCE ON THE LYMINGTON BRANCH
The future of the Lymington branch has given rise to a lot of correspondence, the overwhelming majority in support of retaining the service. Points include the importance of the link with London both for Lymington residents and for people using the ferry from Western Wight. Environmental considerations include the road bridge at Ampress, which is seen as a helpful discouragement to speeding motorists, and the river bridge which has prevented commercialisation, through marina development, of part of the waterfront.
There is support for the reopening of Ampress Halt to serve the new Lymington hospital. Views vary on the retention of old stock, confined to the branch; through services to Southampton and Bournemouth would be welcome. There is clearly discontent with Stagecoach's running of the line. Connections have disappeared from pocket timetables, and people have much longer waits for connections at Brockenhurst under the timetable introduced in December 2005. This is particularly unpleasant at night when Stagecoach doesn't bother to staff Brockenhurst station. (Lymington Times, various dates).
18/2/05 DISCORDANT OPINION ON NEW SWT TIMETABLE Comment in Hampshire Chronicle that SWT's new timetable and trains are an improvement for commuters, but without mention that improvements at Winchester have simply been achieved by cuts and longer journey times for other commuters, many of them travelling longer distances and paying higher fares.
29/3/05 NHS WALK-IN CENTRES FOR ALL RAIL COMMUTERS There are now 63 NHS walk-in centres in England. The Government plans to provide them at rail stations, starting with Liverpool St, because most GP surgeries are closed when commuters get home. (Evening Standard)
29/3/05 BA OPPOSES PLAN FOR LATER TUBE SERVICES AT WEEKENDS Ken Livingstone's plan to run the Tube one hour later on Fridays and Saturdays is opposed by British Airways, the biggest single employer to be directly affected by the scheme. The Tube would have to reopen one hour later on Saturdays and Sundays to allow engineering work, but BA says that would force thousands of shift workers and travellers into cars and taxis. More than 70,000 people, mostly shift workers are employed at Heathrow. It is estimated that about 55,000 people use the Tube during the first hour at weekends. (Evening Standard)
29/3/05 LONDON BUS PRIORITY MEASURES Secret plans exist for a huge increas in bus lanes in London. Transport for London will spend £325 million by 2010 on bus priority measures like new lanes and electronic devices to turn traffic lights green in front of buses. Nine flagship projects have been chosen to get new road layouts to speed up bus times by 10%. A total of 57 bus lanes will be built across London this year, with dozens more to follow, while 1,250 sets of traffic lights will be altered. Bus lanes in the capital should have trebled by 2010.The aim is to ease congestion in the suburbs where 80% of the 8,000 buses operate. A survey showed that two thirds of bus users support better enforcement of lanes, but only 37% want new lanes built. Motorists who venture into lanes face £100 fines; 757,512 penalty tickets were issued in the last financial year. Weekly passenger numbers on buses are now 6.25 million, compared with 4 million in 2000. Night bus journeys are up 82%, with 27 million made in 2003-04. (Evening Standard)
30/3/05 MONORAIL TO EASE JAMS IN OXFORD STREET? A Monorail has been proposed as a solution to Oxford St's transport gridlock. It would run the mile length of the street and link it with Piccadilly service. The service would run 50 feet above shoppers' heads and stations could be integrated with the buildings. The street could then be pedestrianised, allowing it to compete with out-of-town shopping centres like Bluewater in Kent. (Evening Standard)
30/3/05 SWT PASSENGERS MUST STAND UP AND BE COUNTED Richard Swann, a Southampton-Waterloo commuter who has been keeping a travel diary for the Rail Passengers Committee, notes that performance was bad and continuing to deteriorate up to the end of 2004. Since then SWT has found a lifeline with the new timetable which has extended journey times. He considers it's no use complaining unless passengers are prepared to stand up and be counted. Usual excuses from SWT about the domino effect when things go wrong. Interview with David Pape, Network Rail's Wessex Director, strongly gives the appearance of being based on SWT's standard 'lines to take'. (Southern Daily Echo) [Nowhere is it mentioned that the deceleration is on top of already-slowed services, with fastest journey times from Southampton to Waterloo now 19.7% longer than in 1990. Nowhere else has a main line suffered such deterioration whilst taxpayers' subsidies to the operator have soared. Compare this with the strenuous efforts to speed up London buses and West Coast train services. Stagecoach is marching backwards on SWT, whilst the rest of the public transport industry is focused on marching forward.]
30/3/05 FUTURE OF WATERLOO INTERNATIONAL STATION The station, to be vacated by Eurostar in 2007, should be transferred to SWT. The Government is currently looking at potential uses for the site. Why did so much money go into making it a state-of-the-art affair if it had no long-term future? (Evening Standard)
31/3/05 POOR PROSPECTS FOR RAIL IN THE MIDLANDS AND NORTH Under the Railways Bill, Passenger Transport Executives in the Midlands and North will be stripped of their say on future franchises. Government and the Department for Transport are believed to think provincial railways a waste of money. Commuter trains in Manchester or Sheffield need more subsidy than those in London because of lower populations and consequent lesser usage. Passengers have risen 20% on local West Midlands services over the past three years, but these are under attack to make way for Virgin-Stagecoach express services, which suffered a 18% fall in passenger mileage in the five years to 2004. Privatisation has inflated the costs of local services by 400%. 35-year old London trains, otherwise destined for the scrapheap, were considered good enough for the Skipton-Bradford-Leeds electrification until three of them exploded and two caught fire. The new trains carry 75% of commuters into Leeds on the routes they serve. Overall, commuter trains into Leeds are more overcrowded than those into London, but many regional routes are likely to wither, be replaced by buses, or see massive fare increases designed to force poor people off trains. (Private Eye)
1/4/05 TRAIN DELAYS REDUCED TO PRE-HATFIELD LEVELS Network Rail claims that trains are set to meet the Government's target of 90% punctuality by 2008, earlier than expected. They expect to reach pre-Hatfield levels by August 2006. "Delay-minutes" caused by track, signal and infrastructure problems had been cut by 16% to 11.5 million [!!!] in the year to March, beating the target of 12.5 million set by the Regulator. The balance of liability for delays has shifted, so that Network Rail expects to receive a net inflow of £60 million in penalty payments over the last year. (Guardian)
2/4/05 CROSSRAIL WORKS FACE MASSIVE ENGINEERING PROBLEMS Barring construction delays, Crossrail should carry its first passengers across London in 2013. A bill is before Parliament to approve the construction works. If Crossrail comes to fruition, trains will race across central London beneath more than 800 listed buildings. Engineers must ensure that buildings are unaffected. 'Settlement' is nothing new. Central London has sunk by 20cm since 1800. But tunnelling will produce more irregular effects, which may move different parts of buildings in different ways. Heavy engineering is the only solution - this involves cement pumped into the ground and underground walls to isolate movement, or foundations underpinned with new piling. There are concerns in Spitalfields especially about the effects on residential areas. Robert Stephenson first dreamed of underground mainlines in London in 1836, when he produced plans to extend trains from Euston to Savoy Wharf. (Guardian)
2/4/05 FRANCHISING NEWS Go-Ahead is to lose the Thameslink franchise, leaving it with only South Central. The five bidders still in the race for Thameslink are National Express, First Group, Stagecoach, John Laing-Hong Kong's MTR, EWS-Denmark's DBS. The first three of these remain as bidders for the Greater Western franchise. GNER has been ruled out, believed to be because it upset the SRA with its high-profile campaign to keep the East Coast franchise. Once again concerns must be raised about the SRA's opaque criteria in selecting bids. The workings of their franchise unit are about as transparent as MI5's human resources department. (Guardian) [Was the real problem that Richard Bowker would have liked to give GNER to Virgin-Stagecoach, but public pressure in favour of GNER was simply too great. How did Stagecoach make the bidding for two further franchises after their massive subsidy increase to run a slower timetable on SWT with reduced train order and tens of thousands of seats ripped out?]
7/4/05 MPS OFFERED LIFELINE ON CROSSRAIL Government will ask MPs to pass a 'carry-over' motion to avoid the requirement for a new Bill for Crossrail after the General Election. This would maintain the possibility of the service's opening in 2013. The project has been around since 1989 and the construction costs have risen 2.5 times faster than inflation since 2002. (Evening Standard)
14/4/05 RAIL FRANCHISING / LONDON UNDERGROUND FINANCING (1) Government has dropped its policy that rail franchises should only go to companies with a good performance record. Stagecoach has made the shortlists for Greater Western and Thameslink. The Transport Secretary opened competitions for these franchises less than four months ago, saying "Today marks an important next step: implementing the white paper goal of making sure that past performance is taken into account when letting new rail franchises to ensure that only those operators with a demonstrable track record of customer delivery and financial management are eligible for the next phase". If "customer delivery" means delivering customers to their destinations on time, Stagecoach fails to make the grade. Its South West Trains franchise started with chaos after too many drivers were ditched to save cash. And for the last few years SWT, whose hub is Waterloo, has been at or near the bottom of the South East's punctuality league, usually notching up the biggest fines for bad service. Latest statistics, for the third quarter of 2004-05 show 77% of all SWT on time, the worst record in the South East. For peak trains, only Great Western Link was worse than SWT's 72%. Stagecoach has certainly provided good "financial management" for shareholders, who pocketed a £250m windfall last year, but not for passengers or taxpayers. SWT has always had more generous subsidy than any other franchise, but other operators gave better service. Then SWT's subsidy increased nearly 400% while plans for longer trains to ease overcrowding were dropped as unaffordable. In January SWT again increased uncapped fares ahead of inflation. Stagecoach owns half of Virgin Rail, whose franchises traditionally occupy the bottom of the Inter City league. The latest stats show Virgin West Coast at 66.4% punctuality and Virgin Cross Country at 73.1%. "Financial management" has been so dire that Virgin's promised premium payments to the state have been replaced by continuous bail-outs -£570m subsidy in 2003-04 alone. [Will the demise of the SRA restore common sense?] (2) A report from Parliament's Public Accounts Committee reveals that Metronet and Tubelines are charging Transport for London around £450m more for financing the London Underground public private partnership than if it had borrowed the money itself. The standard argument for more expensive borrowing in privately financed projects is that the banks take the risk of not getting their money back, but in this case the Government has guaranteed that lenders would get 95% of their money back if the partnership were terminated. The report also revealed that it cost £1bn to set up the partnership, most of the cash going to consultants and lawyers. (Private Eye)
16/4/05 NEW FORUM FOR RAIL USERS Bournemouth resident Paul Broughton is so fed up with being "fobbed off by South West Trains" when he raises a problem or an issue that he has set up a website for SWT's daily users to discuss their experiences. The address is www.hardseats.co.uk. (Bournemouth Daily Echo)
18/4/05 EU RULES THREATEN RURAL BUS ROUTES Bus operators are threatening to axe hundreds of rural routes because of an EU directive which defines a bus driver on a route in excess of 31 miles as a long-distance lorry driver. Rules introduced from 4 April force hauliers to limit their working week and to take longer breaks. Minibuses and shorter bus routes are exempt. Unions and bus users have welcomed the new rules but operators consider them illogical because bus drivers in urban areas can continue to accumulate similarly high mileages over shorter routes but are unaffected. Stagecoach was quick off the mark in chopping the 32-mile route from Winchester to Portsmouth. (Guardian)
18/4/05 RAIL DISRUPTION FOR HOMELANDS FESTIVAL 30,000 are expected to attend the Homelands music festival outside Winchester on 28 May, but Network Rail has scheduled engineering works over this bank holiday weekend. The festival operator has had to lay on buses from Petersfield station (Southern Daily Echo)
18/4/05 CITY URGED TO UPDATE SWT PROFITS FORECAST Analysts' concerns about the Department of Transport's increasing intervention in the railways, and their fears that excess profits could be curbed, have resulted in Stagecoach's urging them to upgrade the company's profits forecasts. Profits in the year to 30 April are now expected to be no less than the £44.1m in the previous year. Stagecoach's share of the profits on Virgin Cross Country are now likely to be about £10.2m. This is £8m more than consensus forecasts.
20/4/05 SWT TO PAY FOR SLOWED-DOWN TRAINS SWT had the worst performance record of the 10 train firms serving London. Since December, when services were axed and journey times increased, punctuality has increased by 90% [Not in March; it was worse!]. Profits are accordingly expected to rise and some of this increase will be handed back to the SRA. (Evening Standard)
20/4/05 STAGECOACH TO PAY BACK £40 MILLION TO THE STATE A sharp increase in the number of SWT passengers is contributing to contribute to Stagecoach profits, and the company may have to pay back more than £40m to the Government. Stagecoach admitted that its punctuality had improved because of its (greatly slowed) new timetable (Times)
22/4/05 TICKETS NOT CHECKED ON STAGECOACH NO 25 BUS Letter from user of the central London-Ilford bendy-bus route, complaining that drivers do not check tickets and two thirds of passengers seem to travel free. (Evening Standard)
22/4/05 CASH REFUNDS FOR RAIL DELAYS Under a European transport committee proposal, rail operators may have to compensate passengers for delays with cash rather than with vouchers for future trips. There would be a 25% refund for those delayed one hour or longer, rising to 50% for two hours' delay or 75% if the train is three or more hours late. (Evening Standard)
22/4/05 'UNFAIR' EASTCOAST TRAIN FARES Fares on the East Coast main line are three times as high as those on French and Belgian railways, according to the RMT union. And passengers from Lincolnshire and Yorkshire pay more for their tickets than other East Coast users. A standard one-way journey from London to York costs £70; a similar journey in Belgium would cost £22.68, and in France £22.25. Passengers travelling from London to York pay 24p a kilometre (standard class) and 40p (first class). The equivalent amounts for London-Edinburgh are 15p / 22p. GNER stated that the RMT was quoting only the dearest fares, intended for the business peak. (Metro)
27/4/05 FOOTBALL FANS FURIOUS WHEN STAGECOACH AXES TRAIN Southampton Test MP Alan Whitehead has condemned South West Trains for cancelling a special service set to take football fans to Portsmouth. The service had been recommended by Hampshire police as the safest and most reliable [They obviously forgot that it would be a SWT train] way of taking Southampton fans to the highly charged premiership derby. Staff at Southampton Central didn't bother even to explain the cancellation. Fans paid a lot for their trip and some didn't even get to see the match. (Southern Daily Echo)
28/4/05 DAMNING TRUTH OF THE RAIL FARES RIP-OFF Rail and tube fares for London are up to five times dearer than in other European cities. Annual travelcard costs: London £1,580 for 15 miles from the centre; Madrid £510 for 40 miles from the centre; Berlin £820 for 40 miles from the centre; Paris £950 for 20 miles from the centre. Annual season ticket prices to London: Reading £2,916 (83% more expensive than to travel anywhere in Germany and 211% more expensive than to travel anywhere in the Netherlands); Maidenhead £2,140 (105% more expensive than to travel anywhere in Germany and 155% more expensive than to travel anywhere in the Netherlands); Gravesend £1,692 (83% more expensive than to travel anywhere in Germany and 122% more expensive than to travel anywhere in the Netherlands); Crawley £2,952 (144% more expensive than to travel anywhere in Germany and 213% more expensive than to travel anywhere in the Netherlands); Wokingham £2,932 (143% more expensive than to travel anywhere in Germany and 212% more expensive than to travel anywhere in the Netherlands); Brighton £2,952 (144% more expensive than to travel anywhere in Germany and 213% more expensive than to travel anywhere in the Netherlands). Private companies are blamed for taking out a billion pounds a year from the mainline railways and £2 million a week from the Tube. [Evening Standard]
28/4/05 VIRGIN TRAINS / C2C AND ONE (1) Virgin Trains claims to provide a "BMW service" but Richard Branson knows better. When the 'Travel Trade Gazette' reported Virgin's airline ambitions in India, he commented: "At the moment everyone in India travels on trains - which are even worse than trains in the UK - so it is ideally suited for a good domestic airline". He speaks from experience. Billions have been thrown at his renewal scheme for the London-Glasgow main line, yet the service is the least punctual in the country. Passenger miles fell as people switched to the airlines. Virgin stands to lose out when a five-mile extension of the M74 improves access to Glasgow Airport, which has many flights to London, though none operated by Virgin. The Labour and Liberal Democrat parties received letters of support for the project from the AA, RAC and … Virgin Trains. Mr Branson doesn't pretend to care about the environment. He told the 'Independent on Sunday that their should be new tax breaks for North Sea oil exploration and fuel bills at Virgin are already £150m higher than last year. New Virgin Cross Country trains are much heavier per seat than those they replaced, which does nothing for fuel economy. Mr Branson was opposed to re-nationalisation of Railtrack as he did not believe in Governments rescuing lame ducks. Does he approve of Virgin Trains' huge emergency subsidy - £570m last year alone? (2) National Express claims that on-train TV is about attracting more people to their C2C and ONE franchises, but passengers complain of being bombarded with advertisements. National Express says it will reduce fares on these franchises to reflect the money it gets from advertising. (Private Eye)
29/4/05 YET ANOTHER COMPLAINT ABOUT A BUS DRIVER NOT STOPPING Reader complains of a bus whizzing past himself and other intending passengers trying to get home from work. This experience cooled his friendship with a retired bus driver who boasted of having done the same thing on his last day at work. (Evening Standard) [Quite. Recent statistics on complaints to bus companies in London show that a high percentage are about missed stops, yet train operators like SWT routinely omit stops for operational convenience.]
3/5/05 RAIL FARES MAY GO UP TO CUT OVERCROWDING The SRA's Route Utilisation Strategy for the Great Western line discusses "demand management" giving rise to fears of fare increases across the country which could force passengers back into their cars. Passenger Groups and environmentalist resist such a move. Critics point out that this was tried by BR in the early nineteen eighties and was discredited then. Ministers have been warned that passenger numbers could increase by hundreds of thousands over the next 10 years. Meanwhile Virgin, Midland Mainline and GNER may reduce same-day fares to levels applicable to 14-day advance bookings. (Evening Standard)
4/5/05 COMMUTER ANGER AT SWT'S HUGE INCREASES IN CAR PARKING CHARGES SWT will now charge passengers up to £7.70 a day (Woking price) for parking, following increases of up to 10 per cent. The increase is the second in under a year and some passengers consider they are paying a small fortune. SWT attributed the increases in part to the need to deter non-rail users. With increased punctuality from longer journey times, analysts have reversed their forecasts that poorly-performing SWT's profits would fall by up to £3m. (Evening Standard)
4/5/05 STUFFY TRIPS AND NO TOILETS FOR VIRGIN TRAINS' PASSENGERS Virgin's Pendolino trains on routes out of Euston are not working properly. Lavatories are sometimes locked because the sensors wrongly inform the door mechanism that the water tanks are full. Full tanks are not always emptied at depots. The doors have been jamming and some of the pipework was not installed correctly. Other technical problems mean that, when temperatures rise, the air-conditioning blows hot air through the carriage rather than a cooling breeze. When temperatures zip below zero, the air-conditioning cuts off. Virgin said the technical problems should be solved by the end of the month. (Evening Standard)
4/5/05 LOCAL DERBY DELAY WAS UNJUSTIFIED The police superintendent in charge of the game between Southampton and Portsmouth makes clear that the police had nothing to do with fans arriving late or missing the match, and cancellation of the special train was purely the fault of SWT. The police had made strenuous attempts to have the train arrive at Fratton at the correct time. (Southern Daily Echo)
10/5/05 TRANSPORT SCHEMES MAY BE AXED IN NEW VALUE-FOR-MONEY RULE Ex - SRA Chairman Richard Bowker (£255,000 a year salary when in post) says major transport schemes around London could be scrapped, and passengers can forget about anything being done outside the M25, because the Department for Transport intends to raise the threshold for working out social benefits. They feel analysts should aim for £2 - instead of the current £1.30 - of social and financial benefits for every £1 of taxpayers' money. The Department denies this and states that there are no rigid rules for cost-benefit analysis. (Evening Standard) [Perhaps if Mr Bowker had not thrown such vast amounts of money at poorly-performing companies like SWT and Virgin Trains, there would have been no grounds for such rumours]
12/5/05 YOUR CASH IS GOING SO WELL ON SWT / GNER INVESTMENT (1) Stagecoach boss Brian Souter fears the government won't extend his SWT franchise but will invite others to bid because it is "going so well". SWT's long-distance passengers may disagree. Their journeys are now up to 20% longer than 15 years ago, after SWT padded out the timetables to make its performance look better. Yet there were more delays on SWT's mainline services in March this year than in the same month last year. But Souter wasn't thinking of passengers out of all the money SWT makes: a £47m profit this year - double what SWT says it expected to make. So where does the cash come from? In 2002-03 SWT received £25m from taxpayers. This year its subsidy will be about £170m. The deal ditched promises of longer trains and station extensions to ease overcrowding, and the money is being used instead to inflate SWT's profits. There's still no sign of action by the National Audit Office, so the risk remains that Stagecoach's franchise could still be extended. (2) The most worrying aspect of the new GNER franchise is not the £1.9bn in premium payments, but the negligible investment. The Government is throwing so much at Virgin's alternative London-Scotland service that nothing is left for GNER. Under GNER's plans there could be 27 more trains daily from London to Leeds, but this involves running trains from London through Leeds station and back to London without waiting time. A quarter of GNER trains are late as it is. (Private Eye)
12/5/05 POOR TRAINS COST BUSINESS £755 Road and rail delays cost business £755m a year because they make staff late. Almost a quarter of bosses said workers were late at least once a week because of problems with trains or traffic. One in ten businesses claims to have lost key members of staff because of public transport fare increases or the lack of any service at all. Source: survey by Bibby Financial Services (Metro)
13/5/05 UNIONS FIGHT RE-FRANCHISING OF SOUTH EASTERN TRAINS Rail unions have joined forces with local politicians to keep SET in the public sector. Service has improved since Connex lost the franchise. (Evening Standard)
13/5/05 HUGE BONUSES AT NETWORK RAIL CRITICISED Network Rail has defied the industry regulator by awarding bonuses totalling £867,000 (based on 55% of basic pay, just short of the maximum permitted 60%) to its senior executives, despite failing to overcome timetabling problems which have angered passengers. The Chief Executive will receive a total package of £754,000, including a bonus of £269,000. His deputy will receive £673,000, including a performance payment of £240,000. Two other executive directors will each receive £502,000, including bonuses of £179,000. All 27,000 employees will get a performance payment of £1,112. The proportion of trains running on time has increased by 2.4% to 83.6% against a target of [only] 82.8%. The company has come under fire for not giving the required 12 weeks' notice of engineering work timetables, thus preventing passengers from getting cheap advance-booked tickets. The Rail Regulator Chris Bolt wrote to Network Rail in March, saying the company was "seriously in breach" of its operating licence and asking the remuneration committee to take account of this when awarding bonuses. Mr Bolt will now seek changes to the incentive scheme for future years. (Guardian)
16/5/05 OUTRAGE AS THOUSANDS LOSE DIRECT LINK TO CITY The SRA's plans would deprive up to 63,500 City workers who use certain Kent stations of their direct services to Blackfriars, Cannon Street and London Bridge. They would be diverted to Victoria and face a circuitous journey to the City. Brokers, bankers and leading City names combined to condemn the proposals. They point out that the expected leap over the next 11 years in the number of people employed in the City has been ignored. The reduced service would be phased in alongside the high speed service from Ashford to St Pancras over the Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Commuters using the fast trains can be charged up to 35% more, an increase of as much as £600 a year on season tickets. (Evening Standard)
16/5/05 CONCERN ABOUT GNER PROFITS GNER profits soared 30% in the first three months of this year. During the new franchise, GNER has pledged to pay back £1.3bn to the Treasury but believes that it can make even more. The new franchise is forecast initially to cut profits by one third, but revenue growth should allow profits to grow to previous levels. Other operators are seeing largest increases in profits: National Express up more than 70%; Stagecoach forecast about 20%; First Group is up 35%. First expects to retain the Greatr Western franchise whilst the bidding for Thameslink is wide open. (Evening Standard)
19/5/05 LYMINGTON BRANCH BECOMES A HERITAGE LINE The two old Mark I trains repainted in Southern green / BR blue and grey are now in use on the Lymington line. The units were named Freshwater and Farringford after two of the old Lymington-Yarmouth ferries. At the naming ceremony, Lymington's mayor referred to all the money that had been spent on the line. [The article implies, erroneously, that last year's major upgrade of the line was attributable to SWT rather than to Network Rail] County Council leader Ken Thornber backed calls for the old Ampress Halt to be reopened to serve the new Lymington hospital which is under construction. (New Forest Post)
26/5/05 SUBSIDY BEHIND NETWORK RAIL'S PROFITS RISE Network Rail has claimed a stunning financial turnround, transforming last year's £758 million operating loss to a £407million operating profit. However, new figures reveal that taxpayers' subsidies soared to £2 billion, while the company's debts hit £15.6 billion.
26/5/05 SLAM DOOR TRAINS WITHDRAWN ON SWT Final service of Mark I stock on SWT was today's 11.35 Waterloo-Weymouth [Did SWT really need to inflict this old stock on passengers using their longest route?]. The Hidden report recommended that slam-door trains be replaced after they were found to be a contributory factor in the 35 deaths suffered in the Clapham Junction disaster of 12/12/1988. Southern expects to withdraw these trains from 19 August [one was recently noticed on a late evening Southampton-Brighton service] and South Eastern should follow in September. (Evening Standard)
26/5/05 RAIL PRIVATISATION / NETWORK RAIL The Prime Minister should accept that rail privatisation was botched [He has already; he once said on Breakfast with Frost that it had been a disaster] and accept the vote of the last Labour conference for gradual re-nationalisation. Instead he has sanctioned the re-franchising of South Eastern Trains. Meanwhile the big train operators are reporting hefty rises in profits. First Group's profits have risen 36% to £67.7m, yet in the last quarter of 2004 their Great Western Link peak services were the least punctual in the South East. 24.3% of First Great Western services still arrived late. On their Transpennine Express service just 68% of trains were on time, and last November there were mass cancellations because of an industrial dispute and poor train maintenance. When First Group took over Scotrail, punctuality fell to 79.8% compared with 81.7% in the same period of the preceding year. First Group bosses are delighted with what they call "strong performance in UK rail", meaning financial performance, not service to passengers. A think tank called the Catalyst Forum calculated that re-nationalisation would reduce the state's rail bill by at least £500m a year, but the Prime Minister would rather close stations, reduce or axe services and order more inflation-busting fare increases to force more people to go by car. Another idiocy is classifying Network Rail as a private company so that its directors award themselves huge bonuses whilst passengers cannot get cheap advance bookings because of failure to notify engineering works within the required time limit. (Private Eye)
2/6/05 RAIL LINK PASSENGERS TO FACE A QUARTER MILE TREK Plans for a travelator linking Stratford and Stratford International stations have been dropped. Permission for construction of the London end the Channel Tunnel Rail Link was conditional on the link being built, but Union Railways, parent company of the Rail Link want to drop the link on the grounds that it would cost £20-£25m. Plans for large-scale improvements at the existing Stratford station could include a travelator. [Case of transferring more costs to taxpayers?] (Evening Standard)
9/6/05 ROAD PRICE TRIAL WILL START WITHIN 2 YEARS The Secretary of State for Transport has announced that the first experiment on road charging will start within two years. ‘Pay-as-you-go is seen as essential to stop Britain’s roads reaching gridlock. The satellite-based system would see cars fitted with a ‘black box’ tracking device and charged according to time and route. Suggested fees range from 2p a mile for country lanes to £1.30 a mile on congested routes at peak times. A Mori poll found that 47% of the public are in favour of motorists paying more at peak times, with 34% against. However, motorists’ groups have attacked the proposals, saying a typical commuter could pay £6,500 a year to drive in and out of London. (Evening Standard)
14/6/05 PLAN FOR LIVERPOOL TRAM SYSTEM SHELVED A planned £325m tram line from Kirkby through Croxteth to Liverpool city centre, seen as essential to the city’s preparation for its year as capital of culture in 2008, has been shelved because the Secretary of State considered it too expensive. The Government had provisionally agreed a contribution of £170m but is now being asked for £238m. (Guardian)
15/6/05 LONDON LEADS WORLD BY SCRAPPING BUS FASRES FOR PEOPLE UNDER 16 Children aged under 16 are to be given free travel on London’s buses in a groundbreaking £70m scheme. The scheme is expected to add 50m journeys a year to the current 250m. Those claiming free travel will need an Oyster smartcard. (Guardian)
16/6/05 140MPH TRAIN FARES ‘TOO HIGH’ A survey by the Rail Passengers Council has found that 33 per cent of Kent commuters will not use the prospective high speed services to St Pancras because the fares will be 30% higher than on the normal route. A further 24% said they were “unlikely” to switch. (Evening Standard)
16/6/05 CUT-PRICE TRAIN LINK TO HEATHROW OPENS London’s newest train service was officially launched today. The Heathrow Connect service takes 10 minutes longer than Heathrow Express, will run half-hourly, and have a single fare of £9.50. The service is primarily designed for airport staff. (Evening Standard)
20/6/05 CROSSRAIL PLANS HIT BY MORE DELAYS Concerns were mounting today about whether Crossrail would ever be built. The important second reading of the Crossrail Bill has been postponed until MPs return from their summer holidays. The Government is believed to be concerned about opposition from within the rail industry. Some fear that existing passenger and freight flows could be harmed. BAA, which has spent millions on Heathrow Express, is opposed to the scheme. (Evening Standard)
21/6/05 HIGH FARES ANSWER TO OVERCROWDING The Association of Train Operating Companies is warning that fares may need to go up to price people off the railways as more people attempt to use crowded inter-city and commuter trains. Average loadings across the network are expected to rise from 33% to 41% while the services of 11 operators in the South East are more than 100% full in the rush hour. At the same time, Network Rail’s spending on the network is due to decline from £5.8bn this year to £4.2bn by the end of the decade [Comment: Is this because they will have caught up with their maintenance backlog?] Liberal Democrat spokesman Tom Brake said overcrowding had to be addressed urgently. The Government cannot expect people to get off the roads and on to public transport if it is not safe and comfortable. Bob Crow, leader of the RMT rail union said it made little sense to close stations to deal with overcrowding. This was another piece of illogic from a bunch of privateers whose main function is to remove large sums of taxpayers’ and passengers’ cash from the railway industry. (Guardian)
21/6/05 ‘CONGESTION CHARGE’ ON TRAINS People on the most popular services could be forced to pay a premium under radical plans to prevent overcrowding. Electronic smart cards would allow operators to charge different rates for each train. People in the South East would be worst hit, with many forced to pay hundreds of pounds extra for season tickets. Little-used routes and stations would have to be cut. The Rail Passengers Council criticised the idea of pricing people off trains, saying many had no choice as to which service they caught. The way to attract passengers to less-crowded trains is to offer better off-peak discounts. Before cutting stations, rail companies need to cut the cost of building stations, running lines and operating services. It’s not the passengers’ fault and they shouldn’t be punished for it. (Metro)
22/6/05 RAIL FARES ARE TOO HIGH Correspondents condemn the proposed fare increases as another chance to make money at the public’s expense. Private companies are always looking at ways to boost revenue. Japan has the most efficient system in the world, and it’s still cheaper than in Britain. Perhaps the British economy would be better served if people just stayed at home. The railways should be re-nationalised, and the Government should start properly promoting trains as an environmentally friendly form of transport that deserves a massive boost in investment. [Not just money to fuel the greediest operators’ wealth through multi-million pound bonuses?) (Metro)
22/6/05 RAIL PROFITS Commuters were furious today after South West Trains reported soaring profits, up more than 10% on last year to £48.6 million. Half the profits came from the growth in passenger numbers and half from cost savings [Hang on: shouldn’t serving more passengers mean increasing expenditure?] SWT’s Managing Director Graham Eccles said trains were going to get fuller and more uncomfortable to the point where no more can be squeezed in. [Because SWT failed to deliver 120 of the promised fleet of new coaches, despite a 400% increase in their subsidy?] Commuters are bitter about reduced services and increased journey times introduced by SWT from last December. And this week has seen major delays on South West Trains, with thousands stranded for more than an hour due to infrastructure problems. Stagecoach’s shares have increased by 900% over the past 30 months [after Richard Bowker ploughed millions of additional taxpayers’ money into Stagecoach and Virgin-Stagecoach to stabilise the companies.] Eccles is to retire and be replaced by Ian Dobbs, a former senior BR manager who has been working in Australia and New Zealand for the past 6 years. (Evening Standard)
23/6/05 SAFETY IN NUMBERS / CLOSURES BY STEALTH The new arrangements for rail safety are a dog’s dinner. The Rail Accident Investigation Branch has been delayed because it would conflict with the supremacy of Scottish law north of the Border. Why is the RAIB needed as well as a railways inspectorate and a rail safety and standards board (RSSB)? Because of privatisation. Once the rail network was handed to 100 companies and hundreds of sub-contractors, it became harder to uncover the causes of accidents because each company’s priority was to avoid incriminating itself. The RAIB’s role will be to establish the cause of accidents without apportioning blame. There could be a turf war over boundaries of responsibility between RAIB and RSSB. / Norton Bridge station in Staffordshire had its trains badly disrupted by route renewal work and last year the trains were “suspended”. In March the SRA recommended closure of the station and of others whose service had been similarly suspended. The regional watchdog found that hundreds of people needed the stations, but now the watchdogs are to be scrapped. There has been no official consultation and the footbridge to the platform at Norton Bridge has been demolished by Network Rail without securing regulatory permission for this material change to the rail network. Replacing it would cost £1m, too much for a small station, which is now closed. (Private Eye)
23/6/05 UNIVERSAL FURY WITH SOUTH WEST TRAINS Passengers from the Winchester, Eastleigh and Southampton areas universally condemned SWT as hypocritical and ridiculous for wanting to raise fares without improving services, when they were already making huge profits. (Southern Daily Echo)
24/6/05 SAFETY MEASURES PUT ON HOLD FOR A DECADE The new European Rail Traffic Management System has been put on hold until 2020 or 2030. This will condemn rail users to death and injury. Lord Cullen’s report on the Paddington and Southall disasters demanded that it be fitted to all 100mph lines. The existing Train Protection Warning System stops only trains slower than 75mph. (Metro)
27/6/05 SAFETY FEARS OVER EMPTY TICKET OFFICES Ticket offices run by South Eastern Trains are to be left unattended for much of the day despite the rising fear of crime among rail users. SET said although 100 staff were being removed from ticket offices, there would be 130 new jobs to improve passenger security, station presentation and revenue protection. [Interesting to know how the posts will be split between those functions? British Transport Police community support officers are very visibly employed on South Eastern Revenue protection activities. (Metro)
27/6/05 MONORAIL ALONG THAMES? The Mayor of London is considering proposals for a monorail from Woolwich to Battersea Park. Trains would run on an elevated track supported by stilts in the river. Transport for London is scathing of the idea of a monorail for mass transit, something not realised in any city in the world. The technology is not proven. (Evening Standard)
27/6/05 NATIONAL EXPRESS DOING WELL Analysts expect National Express’ pre-tax profits for 2005 to grow by one third to around £80m. The company is looking to take over the Thameslink and Greater Western franchises. Around London, it runs Silverlink, Midland Mainline, ONE and C2C. More competitive pricing has produced sustained growth on its coach services.
28/6/05 THREAT OF NATIONAL RAIL STRIKE The RMT Union is threatening a national rail strike over plans to hand over railway infrastructure to the private train operator Merseyrail. There are fears that hiving off track maintenance from Network Rail could compromise safety.
(From the University of California (Berkeley) Risks Digest, 16/6/05) “A new electric train service has just started between Heathrow Airport and Paddington Station in West London, UK. This uses brand new multi-million-pound trains made by Siemens in Germany/France. They were specially designed for the British Airports Authority (BAA) and First Great Western Link (FGWL) who have the main franchise for services out of Paddington (in West London). The emergency evacuation instructions engraved on the windows are all in French - somewhat important since there have been at least three very major fatal crashes on the line.
The trains are highly computerised but not so automated in that they still need revenue protection officers (ticket inspectors) to check tickets in the three carriages. They are short trains. The route is a short one but ordinary tickets and Travel Cards (one day go anywhere 'seasons') are available - EXCEPT for the one mile link between the last station on the mainline and Heathrow Airport itself. This is priced at 6 UK pounds, making it the most expensive train fare in the world for the distance. Fare more expensive per mile or kilometre than even for Concord. The equivalent bus fare is a mere one pound 20 pence.
However these multimillions trains have a fault. This doesn't bother regular travelers on the line well used to the vicissitudes of the alternative ex-Thames Trains and FGWL services. But it might bother travelers from overseas. This is that the on-board announcements are computerised. Unfortunately however the computer controlling them hasn't a clue where the train is and keeps on announcing that the "next stop is Paddington where the train terminates," and "please mind the step between the train and the platform." And "please make sure you take all of your belongings with you when you leave the train." On the way to Heathrow every next station is announced as Ealing Broadway (an intermediate stop) even if Ealing Broadway has long been called at. And other intermediate stations, e.g. Southall, are announced as being Hanwell or somewhere else.
There is also a problem with the computerised braking system in that at Hayes and Harlington Station the trains invariable pull up a LONG way from the entrance. Other trains pull up near the entrance. This means that sans announcements from station staff passengers have to run after the train in order to board it. The trains are soon to be extended to four carriages long. For this they have to be shipped back to Siemens in Europe. Apparently it is not possible to do this work in the UK.
And the Risks? -Emergency instructions do need to be in the majority language of the country in which the trains are designed for. Computerised announcement systems have been around for a long while, passengers do need the correct information especially when there is a charge of 6 pounds if they inadvertently stay on board for the extra very short trip into Heathrow itself, and staff are there to make sure they pay up. Adding an extra carriage should not have to entail shipping an entire train unit back to the manufacturers in a different country. At least these trains do not have the fault of earlier electric units that were so computerised that the doors wouldn't open at stations to let passengers on/off - because the sun had gone behind a cloud and there wasn't enough power to operate the door release mechanism.