HOGRIDER 106 : DECEMBER 2005-JANUARY 2006
SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS' GROUP NEWSLETTER
PUTTING PASSENGERS LAST?
GUILDING THE RAGWORT: THE ENTIRELY FICTITIOUS SWT?
ROMSEY MP FIGHTS TO SAVE ROMSEY-TOTTON SERVICE
SWT’S SHAMEFUL LACK OF FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS
PERFORMANCE SLUMPS DESPITE SWT BEING WORST OPERATOR
SLOWEST SINCE STEAM BY SWT - SLOWER THAN STEAM BY VIRGIN-STAGECOACH
SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO EXPOSES PROBLEMS WITH SWT
PARANOIA AS STAGECOACH’S BIDS FOR FURTHER RAIL FRANCHISES FAIL?
SWT NOW REFERS CUSTOMERS TO SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS’ GROUP
HUGE BUS IMPROVEMENTS WITH GOVIA AND FIRST
APPENDIX 1: DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER – 5
APPENDIX 2: RAIL PERFORMANCE REPORTS
APPENDIX 3: MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
APPENDIX 4: MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
PUTTING PASSENGERS LAST?
Cost of the much-trumpeted July 2004 improvements at Southampton Central station, as given by SWT to the Southern Daily Echo of 18 January 2006 in responding to a reader’s complaint about the disgusting state of the ladies’ toilets at the station.
Cost of the much-trumpeted July 2004 improvements at Southampton Central station, as given by SWT to the Southern Daily Echo of 1 February 2006 in responding to the paper’s major article of 27 January on the long-neglected and unattractive state of many smaller SWT stations.
Figure, announced in September 2004, that SWT was to spend on cinema, TV and newspaper advertisements telling the public how good it was. The advertisements would not mention its performance which, from April to June 2004, had been the worst of the 10 operators serving London. (Evening Standard 27/9/2004)
Amount of South West Trains’ soaring profits which the parent company Stagecoach wasted on unsuccessful bids for the Integrated Kent, Greater Western and Thameslink franchises. (Confirmed in half year results and reported in the Evening Standard of 7 December 2005)
Bonus to be shared by the two Stagecoach founders (Evening Standard 6 July 2004).
Combined wealth of the two Stagecoach founders before they received their £65 million bonus (Evening Standard 6 July 2004).
GUILDING THE RAGWORT: THE ENTIRELY FICTITIOUS SWT?
In its December 2004 timetable, Stagecoach introduced the slowest journey times on SWT since the steam era, with lengthened connectional times. Tim Nicholson, Chairman of the former Rail Passengers Committee for the South, rightly pointed out that journeys then became more punctual but the apparent improvement for passengers was entirely fictitious.
However, this downgrading of the service means that when passengers are asked if they are satisfied with the punctuality of the service they are more likely to answer ‘yes’. So passenger satisfaction achieves a fictitious improvement, even though journey times are as long as when trains ran late. Passengers need to be asked about speed rather than punctuality. 17% of Euston-Manchester passengers are unhappy with the 88mph average speed of Pendolino trains between Euston and Manchester (Guardian 27/1/2006); what percentage will be content with Stagecoach’s Southampton-Waterloo average speed of about 60 mph, especially as there are likely to be vastly greater numbers more passengers who make the latter journey on a daily basis?
Isn’t it precisely the case that SWT, as it presents itself to the public, is now a fictitious railway? Management can boast of small improvements at a handful of larger stations where there are plenty of people to notice them, whilst the majority of stations are neglected and badly in need of the huge sums of money used by Stagecoach to bid for other franchises or in media campaigns saying how good SWT is. Along come public competitions, like those mounted by ‘Rail’. Two or three marginally improved stations win awards while the remainder continue to rot. SWT can then boast of its great achievements.
Secure station awards sound great, but these stations are usually gated in the daytime when there is most revenue to protect and left open in late evening when fewer passengers are about, and individuals are more vulnerable. All too often, the much trumpeted Travelsafe officers seem to have nothing to do or simply back up revenue protection officers.
SWT’s E’motion magazine is a most amazing example of the cynical manipulation of a company’s public image. ‘Frequently asked questions’, probably drafted by Stagecoach directors, are pretty anodyne but framed with complimentary asides. So it’s ‘fantastic’ that new SWT trains have litter bins. (It’s odd though that passenger security means that SWT can’t put litter bins on stations, which saves the bother of emptying them, especially as so many SWT stations are unstaffed entirely or for long periods.) MPs who want passengers’ interests put first are subtly attacked as being dishonest. The problem is that quite intelligent people may believe almost anything which they read in print. They then say how good SWT is, like turkeys voting for Christmas.
Here’s a frequently asked question which E’motion could use: “I think it’s fantastic that the Wessex Electrics are the only trains in Britain which have hazard warning tape to mark dangerous finger-traps where the carriages meet. Stagecoach could so easily have wasted a few thousand pounds providing the stretched plastic curtains used on other operators’ services to protect small children and others from injury. How can I vote for Stagecoach to keep the SWT franchise so that the two founders can continue to share £60 million bonuses?”
ROMSEY MP FIGHTS TO SAVE ROMSEY-TOTTON SERVICE
Well done Romsey MP Sandra Gidley and Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne for petitioning on 9 December to save the Romsey-Totton rail service. BBC TV showed the 07.57 Romsey-Totton full and with standing passengers. However, SWT claims only 100 passengers a day use the service, which suggests they have no commitment to it. The service has certainly suffered from unreliability under Stagecoach. A new, customer-focused, operator might make a world of difference. Hampshire County Council say that 92% of journeys are to destinations south of Eastleigh, with 79% of them to Southampton Central.
Mrs Gidley subsequently secured an Adjournment Debate on Tuesday 24th January, which gave the issue a high profile. She now hopes to meet Government Ministers on the issue. She also wants to tackle them on ticket prices, overcrowding, lack of car parking spaces, provision for cyclists and disabled access at stations in a bid to attract more people to the railways.
Councillor Godfrey Olson, who chairs Eastleigh Council’s Chandlers Ford and Hiltingbury Local Area Committee has received a letter from the Department for Transport after writing to express local people’s concerns. The letter says that “Further work is in progress that is considering alternative ways in which the Romsey to Totton service might be retained”. (Source: Southern Daily Echo 28th and 31st January)
It’s easy for South West Trains to make cynical attacks on politicians – see the Passengers Panel item in issue 4 of e’motion magazine on SWT’s website – but isn’t this broadly how politics should operate in a mature democracy?
One point of interest: the Minister referred in the adjournment debate to a “regular and improved” service between Southampton and Brighton being among Network Rail’s proposals. This seems to be a new element of the thinking. Is it a replacement for the Reading/Basingstoke-Brighton trains, or a replacement for Southern’s services between Southampton and Gatwick via Hove?
* Two packed SWT commuter trains came within seconds of crashing into each other in what could have been a major disaster. The incident happened on 25 November 2005 on the fast line between Esher and Surbiton. Both trains were carrying more than 400 passengers and heading for Waterloo. The driver of the 05.44 Desiro train from Alton to Waterloo was travelling at the correct speed of 85mph when he applied the brakes because of a double yellow signal. The train then slid three quarters of a mile past a single yellow signal and two reds. It missed hitting the preceding Woking-Waterloo train by only 300 yards. (Source: Evening Standard 2/12/05)
* A 27 year old man was killed while crossing the SWT line at Norbiton station on a Sunday morning in October. According to the Kingston Area Travellers’ Association (KATA), the subway was flooded at the time, as regularly happens after heavy rain. Passengers often need to take off their shoes and socks to cross between the platforms. KATA has taken up the matter with SWT and Network Rail in an effort to prevent further deaths.
* Following a complaint by SHRUG several years ago, the HSE confirmed dangerous finger-traps where the carriages of the Wessex Electric trains meet. Mark III carriages used by other operators usually have a stretched plastic curtain to remove the danger but, years later, SWT has only affixed hazard warning tape which is now itself becoming worn. We understand that, during an emergency braking in November, a popular buffet trolley stewardess badly gashed her hand.
* A letter in the Southern Daily Echo of 19/12/05 complains that the writer suffered a minor assault on a SWT service, and comments, “South West Trains, whose staff appeared confused and impotent when approached about the matter, must be praised for being so determined to protect their employees that they have instructed them to stay away from any trouble or potential trouble, even to the extent of not pressing ticketless travellers for paying for their journey (their employees’ words, not mine). Many people travelling alone late at night will feel heartened by the knowledge that their safety is a concern to which only lip-service is paid. My assailant was no doubt delighted to have escaped scot-free owing to the bumbling indecision of the officials involved”.
* Announcements at SWT stations constantly ask passengers to avoid security alerts yet, when a potential alert arises, they are clearly not geared to deal with it. On 8 December 2005, a passenger told the guard of the 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth that he had inadvertently left a case on a trolley at Southampton Airport station. The incident might conceivably have closed the station and the airport. However, the guard simply advised him to alight at Southampton Central and go back to collect it, saying he couldn’t contact staff at the Airport station because he didn’t have a mobile phone!
* Passengers feel insecure on SWT stations at night, as reported in the Evening Standard of 20 January. Despite Hampton Court having been awarded ‘secure station’ status, one person complains, “Hampton Court is horrible at night. There is no one around and it is badly lit. Coming home in late evening I get off earlier at Surbiton and get a taxi (£12).” Another complains, “I live in Isleworth and am worried about our station being unstaffed at night. My wife comes home after 8pm and sometimes after 9pm. Given the incident [murder] in Kensal Green, I think it is the duty of rail staff that every station has at least one member of staff during evening service hours at least.” It seems to be the case that SWT stations are more secure in the daytime when there is most revenue to look after, than in the evening when there are greater risks to passengers. From the outset, the gates at Southampton Central were unstaffed in late evening and our contacts suggest that that has been the norm across the system.
* A Poole correspondent reports that the percentage of buses with CCTV cameras in the South is 40% for Wilts and Dorset, 35% for Bournemouth’s Yellow Buses, but only 1% for Stagecoach. (Source given as BBC TV South Today 8/12/2005)
* One evening during late January 2006, the 19.20 Waterloo-Reading halted at Richmond with 8 carriages beyond the platform. At least one passenger fell or jumped on to the track and four or five more, including a woman, moved along the train and jumped out on to the end of the platform. (Evening Standard 2 February 2006)
SWT’S SHAMEFUL LACK OF FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS
ON 9 JANUARY, a passenger got off the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth at Winchester, and realised he had left a bag behind his seat. He asked the guard if he could have a few seconds to retrieve it. The guard refused and he grabbed his bag just in time to have a door slam shut in his face. He then wasted an hour travelling to and from the next stop at Southampton Airport.
ON 10 JANUARY, staff at Southampton Central were clearly having difficulty detaching the Poole portion of the same train. The Weymouth portion eventually departed 7 minutes late. The guard had given the usual announcement about the stops of the rear portion, but there was no announcement whatever about the cause of the delay. The 18.35 Totton local service arrived at the next platform and Totton passengers prepared to switch trains if advised to do so. Still no announcement, and the Totton train departed 15 seconds early. About a minute later, passengers were told the Poole service was cancelled due its failure, and they should get off and await the replacement service. The train then sailed off for a fast run to Bournemouth depot. It quickly became apparent that the promise of a replacement service was just a silly Stagecoach lie. The passenger assistance office on the platform was thoughtfully closed. A member of staff who usually sits there was asked about not holding the Totton train and he replied “It’s nothing to do with me” and walked off. It seems therefore that ‘customer service’ means ignoring complaints about operator failure rather than taking proactive action in the interests of passengers. Scores of passengers were then stranded until the 17.35 from Waterloo arrived.
ON 12 JANUARY, passengers on the 17.05 from Waterloo were 35 minutes late, owing to yet another SWT train failure in the London area. A passenger who complained to the guard got the reply, “It’s quicker than walking, sir”. That would seem a pretty fair motto for SWT under Stagecoach.
ON 24 JANUARY, the 15.35 from Waterloo was delayed a few minutes by a late running Virgin-Stagecoach service. As the 15.35 drew into Southampton Central, the 16.56 “connecting” stopping train to Weymouth drew out. The stopper then proceeded at a crawl to Millbrook, until the 15.35 overtook it. Passengers on the stopper took 9½ minutes to get to the first stop at Totton, a journey requiring only 5 minutes. The train could easily have waited 4½ minutes at Southampton Central, so that passengers off the train from London could catch it. This was exactly the problem which SHRUG highlighted in ‘Rail’ published on 12 October 2005. You pay some of the highest fares in Europe, plus a spiralling tax subsidy, and then you pay this additional penalty apparently because Stagecoach is resolutely determined not to be a customer focused train operator.
FROM 09.15 ON WEDNESDAY 25 JANUARY TO 07.00 ON SATURDAY 28 JANUARY, the Romsey-Eastleigh line was closed for emergency engineering work. It was therefore advertised that the Totton-Romsey shuttle service would operate only between Totton and Eastleigh, with a bus shuttle between Eastleigh and Romsey.
It appears that it was too much bother to make any arrangements for passengers who rely on the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil Junction to get to work. On Thursday 26 January, the unit to run the service arrived at Totton displaying a “Not in service” destination. There was no announcement on board about revised arrangements. At Southampton Central the screens on platform 3 also showed the train as not in service, and no member of staff was posted to give advice. Passengers waiting to board were clearly confused and the train eventually departed along the direct line to Romsey via Redbridge. A delay of 28 minutes was then incurred by passengers trying to get to work in Eastleigh.
On Friday morning, the train was advertised on the screens as running normally, and passengers were again confused given that part of the route was advertised as closed. It appears that the service reversed at Eastleigh and then ran back fast to Romsey via Redbridge. Why was that not done on Thursday?
On Saturday morning, it was clear from the National Rail ‘live running’ website that the train had in fact operated via Eastleigh. It was only 5 minutes late at Romsey despite the long diversion, showing just how slack SWT schedules have become. However, it then left Salisbury 11 minutes late.
ON FRIDAY 27 JANUARY, there was a revenue protection exercise at Southampton Central. A couple with heavy baggage and a child in a pushchair wanted to leave the station. The man was made to put his ticket through the barrier gate and push the baggage underneath as best he could. After this struggle, the side gate was opened to allow the woman to exit with the pushchair.
PERFORMANCE SLUMPS DESPITE SWT BEING WORST OPERATOR
The Southern Daily Echo of 7 December reported that SWT had been fined £54m for delayed and cancelled services since April 1997, more than any other company. SWT blamed poor infrastructure but didn’t mention driver shortage and defective rolling stock.
Meanwhile, the monotony of trains being cancelled due to SWT’s chronic shortage of drivers appears to be affecting the maintenance of the company’s website. On 21 December it showed the 16.01 Guildford-Ascot axed without explanation, the 17.23 Ascot-Guildford and 18.31 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver being available, and the 19.53 Ascot-Guildford axed “due to NO DRIV”! Passengers share the website manager’s apparent frustration with Stagecoach’s ongoing failure.
The driver shortage is presumably the reason that SWT cancelled 1.5% of peak main line trains in the November-December statistical period, the worst result since January 2004, with all the misery for commuters which that implies. In the same period, the corresponding proportion of trains which did manage to run, but were significantly late, was 17.8%, compared with 21.2% in the preceding period and 18.8% in the following period, really shameful figures given that Stagecoach is operating the slowest service since the steam era. At holiday times, SWT is totally unreliable, with the familiar pattern of large numbers of trains axed over the Christmas-New Year period owing to lack of drivers. Around 40 were cancelled on New Year’s Eve alone, with huge gaps in services. As this was a Saturday, the cancellations do not affect the official reliability figures which are based on Mondays-Fridays.
Friday 16th December. Just another day on SWT. It started with the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil suffering door failure at Millbrook, less than 10 minutes into its journey. The train missed its connection at Southampton Central with the 06.21 to Portsmouth. Passengers transferring to the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo theoretically had 3 minutes to rush over the footbridge. However, the 05.45 itself was 3 minutes late, the guard making two announcements falsely blaming the delay on a defective “Wessex train”.
Evening saw the 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late, and the 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth and 20.05 Waterloo-Poole both reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock.
>From 20.00 all Parkstone stops were axed from trains travelling towards London, due to “poor railhead conditions”. Why? There was no rain, no snow and no frost, and the leaves were already down. Are the train wheels being properly re-profiled?
As the New Year arrived, passengers were wondering whether 2006 would bring either repair of the long out-of-use customer information system at Millbrook station, re-opening of the long out-of-use toilets at Brockenhurst station (where there was a broken sewer), or repair of the long out-of-use permit to travel machine at Ashurst.
SLOWEST SINCE STEAM BY SWT - SLOWER THAN STEAM BY VIRGIN-STAGECOACH
A Wimbledon resident complains that on a recent journey from Surbiton to Alton his train made seven stops (including Alton itself), and reached all of them 2 minutes early. (Source: ‘Rail’ no. 529) That sounds pretty typical of Stagecoach’s slowest services since steam!
Virgin Trains, in which Stagecoach has a 49% interest, has made the Brockenhurst stop of the 12.52 and 13.05 from Edinburgh, and 17.24 from Manchester, “set down only”. This is not to prevent people getting on. Rather, as these trains are often late, they are now scheduled with waiting time at Millbrook, for SWT Waterloo-Weymouth trains to overtake. They are then still recorded as on time despite having taken 48 minutes from Southampton Central to Bournemouth. Should one of these trains get to Millbrook on time, it can continue its journey, need not await joining passengers at Brockenhurst, and can get to Bournemouth about 20 minutes “early” or, in normal speak, on time. So much for the performance regime! Note that, in 1957, steam trains took 44 minutes from Southampton Central to Bournemouth with a Brockenhurst stop, or as little as 35 minutes non-stop. Compare this scenario with the fact that Network Rail proposes to prune services in the Southampton area because of delays around Millbrook.
SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO EXPOSES PROBLEMS WITH SWT
(1) Major feature in the Southern Daily Echo of 7 January asks whether, following further big fare increases, railways are “now only the transport choice for the rich”. Members of the public who were randomly interviewed appeared to have mixed views about whether the service was affordable or gave value for money, though it seemed that none of them was a regular rail traveller. SWT’s new executive chairman, Ian Dobbs, claimed that SWT was “a very, very good railway”. Stagecoach Director Rufus Boyd used a very similar line at a meeting of the Hampshire Economic Forum on 9 February 2005. It conveniently ignores the fact that the parent company Stagecoach has reportedly been fined more for poor performance since 1997 than any other rail franchise operator.
We are very grateful to the Echo for including our comments that, “… travellers in the county would be most affected by the increases on South West Trains…South West Trains is hiring only 665 new carriages instead of the 785 which it promised, and overcrowding is 180 per cent worse than it was when Stagecoach was awarded the franchise in 1996. In the two most recent monthly statistical periods, about one in five SWT peak main line services ran significantly late, with a higher proportion of SWT trains cancelled than at any time since January 2004. Some 40 services were axed on New Year’s Eve alone. SWT is now running the slowest services since the steam era, with the journey from Southampton to Waterloo taking almost 20 per cent longer than in 1990. It is difficult to see how passengers are getting value for money”.
(2) Major feature in the edition of 27 January surveyed some of the smaller stations in the Southampton area and reported filthy toilets, litter, vandalism and graffiti:
“Paint curls off station walls. Vandalised shelters with ripped out seats, graffiti and smashed windows offer little protection against the elements.
Litter gathers under benches, toilets are filthy and ticket machines don’t work.
This is the state of the majority of small train stations across our region. An exclusive Daily Echo poll found that 64% of all rail users thought the state of small rail stations was just adequate to awful while a third thought the facilities themselves were poor to awful.
And what are South West Trains planning on doing about it? Not a great deal, it seems.
A spokeswoman for the company, which is responsible for the maintenance and upkeep of these stations, said that with Stagecoach’s ownership of the current South West Trains’ franchise expiring in February next year the company would not be undertaking any major new improvements.
“We are in the last year of our franchise. There’s a limit to what we can do as a company when you’ve only got a year to go,” she said. We can’t start any major projects because Stagecoach may not maintain the franchise. Would you start a huge project not knowing if you were going to have that company at the end of the year? You wouldn’t, would you?”
The South West Trains’ franchise is awarded for a three-year period at a time.
If Stagecoach is not prepared to embark on any major projects during the last year of their franchise this means that for a third of the time passengers cannot expect to see any new projects started to improve the state and facilities of their local station.
Denis Fryer, spokesman for the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group, says that the state of small stations in the area is poor.
“The smaller stations operated by South West Trains are among the dreariest in Britain and are very unwelcoming,” he said. “This discourages passengers from using them and undermines the economics of the trains which serve them. Swaythling station is a miserable example of the effects of gross neglect, and it is inexcusable that the ticket machine at Ashurst and departure screens at Millbrook should have been out of service for months.”
Personal safety is also a major issue at small stations. Our survey showed that 84% of women and 63% of men feel vulnerable while waiting for a train at least some of the time.
The emergency help button at Redbridge station was reported as faulty in November last year and still does not work. Passengers cited this alongside dark platforms, lack of station staff and gangs of youths as some of the factors that made them feel vulnerable.
Although South West Trains may not be embarking on any major new projects to improve its stations it does have some existing projects which will continue in 2006.
These include repainting 75 of the company’s 176 stations and cleaning and maintenance teams visiting stations.
However, some rail users may struggle to find evidence of this. We found vandalised stations covered in litter and graffiti, with toilets encrusted with excrement – not a pleasant environment to wait in.
South West Trains’ spokeswoman told the Echo, “It’s obviously important for us to create a welcoming station which is what we try to do.”
Our findings suggest they have a long way to go.”
The Echo’s findings on individual stations:
Swaythling station had quite a lot of litter, no waiting room, crooked benches, quite a lot of graffiti and vandalised permit to travel machine which was out of use. Paint peels off every wall, and it looks as though no attempt has been made to spruce up the station since it opened.
Bursledon had no staff or toilet facilities and uncomfortable waiting shelters.
Millbrook station had no staff or toilet facilities, a very exposed seating area, some graffiti and evidence of old vandalism. The benches are rusty and uncomfortable.
Redbridge station had some litter on the platforms and piles of it in corners. The only shelter on one platform has a high roof and no sides or seating. The permit to travel machine has been removed following vandalism, and there is graffiti.
Bitterne station had some broken glass. Both platforms have fairly new shelters but three sides of these have windows without glass in them. Not a comfortable place to wait for very long. There is some graffiti and vandalism.
Netley station has a foul-smelling unisex toilet. One platform has only a small fairly open shelter.
St Denys station had messy platforms and one untidy waiting room. Some prominent racist graffiti had not been removed. Toilets were filthy, unisex and inside the waiting room, so safety issues. Paint peels off walls and ceilings. Litter blows along platforms. Almost every door is boarded up and if you’re not on the platform with the waiting room there’s very little shelter.
Ashurst station had litter, particularly under the benches. Graffitied and vandalised shelters; they are fairly open with some crooked benches. The vandalism doesn’t seem recent. One shelter has been badly vandalised, making it more exposed.
Totton station has graffiti and vandalism. The very basic waiting room doesn’t feel very safe as you cannot see in it from the platform.
The Echo concludes that passengers are not getting the railway stations or service they deserve.
PARANOIA AS STAGECOACH’S BIDS FOR FURTHER RAIL FRANCHISES FAIL?
Many London commuters may have reflected that they had an early Christmas present when Stagecoach failed in its attempt to become London’s premier rail company. The company’s shares slid as it lost its bid for the Integrated Kent franchise to Go-Ahead Group, whilst First Group won both the Greater Western franchise (which incorporates Great Western and Wessex Trains) and the Thameslink/Great Northern franchise.
Stagecoach had taken £6.9m out of the soaring profits at SWT to bid for the other franchises, money which could have been used to improve badly neglected SWT stations. Underlying profits at SWT rose 30% in the 6 months to the end of October, though group pre-tax profits were down around 10% to £55m. New accounting rules had forced the company to write down its remaining valuation on Virgin Cross Country, in which it has a 49% stake, and which is also to be re-franchised soon. Along with Virgin, Stagecoach was asking the Government for an extra £80m of public money for the West Coast franchise. Stagecoach is desperate to hang on to the SWT franchise and Brian Souter threatens to do so ‘aggressively’ though he considers the costs of recent franchises ‘toppy’ presumably implying that running trains, even without employing enough drivers and with severely reduced train fleet compared with what was promised, may now be beyond his company’s means.
SWT had woven a comforting PR cocoon around itself, and appears to have forgotten the saying that self-praise is no recommendation. It seems that a letter from the organiser of the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group (SHRUG), published in ‘Rail’ magazine during last Autumn, had already rocked this self-satisfied little world which long-distance commuters – SWT’s best customers – would not recognise.
We know of at least one ‘Rail’ reader who wrote a robust letter of support for the Group’s views, but it was not published. However, ‘Rail’ columnist Barry Doe made some extraordinary comments, clearly intended to undermine the credibility of the original letter, in the following edition of ‘Rail’. The Group commented on this in the next edition of their newsletter, leading to this amazing exchange of e’mails with Mr Doe. We think it worth publishing all the facts, because they are likely to provide clues as to how Stagecoach’s pursuit of a SWT franchise renewal may be conducted. Mr Doe continuously deviates from the central arguments, and accuses the author of just about everything except being wrong. He continuously makes sweeping generalisations, without concrete examples to back his arguments.
LETTER ON BEHALF OF GROUP PUBLISHED IN “RAIL” MAGAZINE ON 12/10/2005
“SWT ‘slowest since steam’
ALAS, Barry Doe once championed good service rather than South West Trains (The Fare Dealer, RAIL 523).
This is a company which has gained Investors in People accreditation yet does not employ enough people to run a reliable service at peak holiday times (more than 20 trains cancelled or curtailed on both August 27 and September 3 due to there being no driver).
Of course people get angry when services disappear from screens one minute before departure time, and barriers and doors are closed 30 seconds early. SWT is running the slowest service since steam days: Southampton Central-Waterloo now takes almost 20% longer than in 1990.
Does the 18.39 from Waterloo really need 17 minutes to travel from Southampton Airport to Southampton Central, when Virgin services need only 6 minutes?
The Desiro trains have excellent acceleration and door closure requires only a few seconds. SWT services are hugely cushioned by slack time. Away from Waterloo, trains often depart around 20 seconds early.
I used to have a good connection at Southampton Central between the 1630 from Waterloo and 1755 or 1801 to Totton. There was also a direct service from Waterloo to Totton at 16.45.
>From last December the 1645 was axed and the 1635 has an unreliable 7min connection.
The doors of the ‘connection’ are often closed as passengers run to catch it. It then stands at signals down the line for the train from London to overtake. Passengers already on board gain nothing and those left behind are delayed 30 minutes. Give us a customer-focused operator!”
BARRY DOE’S RESPONSE IN THE FOLLOWING ISSUE OF ‘RAIL’
“My old friend Denis Fryer had a go at me in Open Access (RAIL 524) for supporting SWT. His bark is worse than his bite, but Fryer has long been a critic. He doesn’t mention that Totton has a superb half-hourly service home between 1705 and 1905.
Yes, services are slower owing to more stops. Bournemouth was once 96min from Waterloo with one intermediate Southampton stop, now it’s 105-110min because of five stops.
I don’t like that, but I have to face the reality that usage at places like Winchester has soared and there aren’t paths for separate faster Bournemouth services. Quality, however, is about much more than speed alone.” (RAIL 525)
COMMENT ON THE ABOVE RESPONSE INCLUDED IN ISSUE 105 OF GROUP’S NEWSLETTER
“Note the patronising tone and failure to address the complaints raised. Mr Doe and Denis have never met, but had several telephone conversations years ago, when Mr Doe preferred Connex’s Bournemouth - Victoria service to SWT’s much faster Waterloo service. Mr Doe was also disappointed that Stagecoach had not adopted his proposals for rail-bus links to Bridport/Abbotsbury and Ringwood.”
SUBSEQUENT E’MAIL EXCHANGES WITH BARRY DOE
I am sorry to read your comments in the November Hogrider. I had considered that we knew each other - yes, at the end of a phone, but that hardly warranted your comment that I am "patronising" for having intimated in RAIL that I knew you. Indeed I was the one rather surprised to see your initial letter as I thought you had long since seen the SWT improvements for yourself and genuinely believed you no longer published Hogrider. I no longer see it and was not aware it was published and a friend told me of your comments.
I genuinely believe SWT has improved a great deal in recent years - its award of Best Train operator was national so hardly just my opinion.
I have never made a secret of the fact I do work for SWT - the bus links table 99 - so I have nothing to hide and RAIL readers can make up their own minds. I have rarely had anyone disagree with me re SWT and many who have agreed.
The more I travel the country the more I see that few other Train Operating Companies (TOCs) match SWT's quality. Yes, I supported Connex - but years ago before they became an awful TOC, and in the early days of SWT when it was not so good. I am not a bit ashamed to have changed my mind as SWT has changed. I'm sorry to see your comments seem to imply SWT has not changed a bit.
Thanks. I am happy to call anyone a friend who wants to talk to me. But when I publish serious complaints about the effects of the indifference which characterises Stagecoach's attitude to their long distance commuters (if you contest that view, you are welcome to come and see my CD of the Hampshire Economic Forum, which includes Rufus Boyd's speech), I don't expect to have my comments treated in such a dismissive way. You are certainly intelligent enough to know the impression created by comments about bark being worse than bite and referring to me as "Fryer", the way that schoolmasters referred to their students 50 years ago.
I have never been contacted by anyone who disagreed with the views of our group. It's incredible that SWT is now running such a slow service yet shuts doors 30 seconds early and takes trains off screens 60 seconds before departure. If those principles were applied on the London Underground, the system would come to a standstill. Did you see the recent letter from a passenger travelling to Alton, whose train arrived two minutes early at every stop? Did you see the letter in today's Southern Daily Echo about the urgent need for refurbishment of the ‘ladies’ at Southampton Central to decent standards? Have you noted that in the last 3 statistical periods, around one in five peak main line trains has run significantly late? Have you noted that in the penultimate period, reliability was the worst since January 2004? Did you know that around 40 trains were cancelled on New Year's Eve alone, with huge service gaps, due to no driver (lack of drivers or lack of morale?).
Things you won't know: a Winchester woman recently ruined her nylons and cut her leg on yet another spike protruding from a Wessex Electric seat cushion. A buffet trolley assistant badly gashed her hand between two Wessex Electric coaches during an emergency stop (this area has been highlighted with hazard warning tape since our group got the railway inspectorate to visit Bournemouth depot, where the hazard was immediately confirmed - stretched curtains, usual on Mark III coaches elsewhere were never introduced to counter the hazard). A commuter who left a case on the 17.05 from Waterloo when he alighted at Winchester asked the guard to hang on a few seconds. The guard refused point blank and the door shut in his face just as he got back with his case. He wasted an hour travelling to Parkway and the train reached Southampton Central over 2 minutes early. We are bombarded with announcements about avoiding security alerts. A senior citizen who boarded the 17.05 at Parkway on another day confessed to the guard that he had left a bag on a trolley at the station. This could have caused a major alert, but the guard told him to go back from Central and get the bag. He (the guard) couldn't do anything as he had no way of contacting staff at Parkway.
Last week I was 30 minutes late on two evenings. On the first occasion, the rear half of the 17.05 was found to be duff at Southampton Central. There were no announcements whatever about the 15 minute delay. The 18.35 stopping train to Totton then went ahead and we were immediately told to get off the 17.05 and await the replacement train which, in true Stagecoach fashion, was non-existent. The Passenger Assistance Office had thoughtfully been locked. I asked an assistant from the office why we hadn't been told to switch to the Totton stopper and he replied, "Nothing to do with me, sir" and walked away. Two days later, the whole evening service collapsed due to a duff train at Earlsfield. A passenger on my train who complained to the guard of our huge delay, got the reply "It's quicker than walking, sir", which might be a good motto for Stagecoach.
It's clear that Stagecoach has no commitment to us - don't take my word for it, but read Graham Eccles' statement in Rail Professional (November 2002) that "we won't hesitate to walk away if we don't get our terms". There is huge anger that passengers are getting such poor returns for some of the highest fares in Europe and huge subsidies to which they contribute as taxpayers. All perfectly in line with Brian Souter's statement that "ethics are not irrelevant, but some are incompatible with what we have to do, because capitalism is based on greed" or Brian Cox's famous retort that people who criticised the appalling service on SWT in 1997 were "fully paid up members of the Hindsight Club". We must hope that our subscription to the Club will now run out. The recent re-franchising results are great news, except that Stagecoach has reportedly wasted £6.9m of SWT profits, ie, our taxes, on bidding for them.
I won't waste time on the manipulative exercises of e'motion, which deserve a book to themselves, but our Group is monitoring the situation closely. I will end by noting that an old friend from Scotland (yes a real friend; he cares about my travel difficulties) who flew down to Hurn last May to spend a weekend with me, wondered why you weren't campaigning about the state of Pokesdown station, which he thought would never be tolerated on Scotrail. Regards. Denis
Thanks, Denis. Firstly I completely accept the 'Fryer' bit and can only apologize. I would NEVER use a surname on its own and always use both names first in a text followed by Christian name only (or Mr X if I don't know them) but I regret that it is still RAIL policy to use surnames only on many occasions and I have no say in that.
For the rest, I think you live in a different world. Of course there will be things go wrong in any large organisation but I find SWT guards far better than most, the trains far cleaner and management far more responsive. I travel extensively all times of day rather than peaks only of course, and I literally never find the sort of situations you describe.
Toilets? Among the best in the country as they are refurbished. You don't mention all the good bits like the new waiting facilities and Winchester and Southampton etc.
A manager at SWT asked me the other day "what do we do to get Denis Fryer back on side - we try our best but he seems so against us and we wonder why: is it that he has something against Stagecoach itself? We wish we knew and wish he'd contact us." They are as perplexed as I am.
Thanks. Your letter reinforces what was obvious in your comments in Rail: that you are well skilled in the Stagecoach art of answering only the points which it suits you to answer. I am concerned with the wellbeing and decent treatment of passengers, and am proud to live in the world which I believe you once shared. Denis
Thanks, Denis. You likewise seem to overlook any improvements - or do you think Desiros worse than VEPs and CIGs? Have you something against Stagecoach? Or is it Brian Souter you don't like? I see them as the best bus operator in the country - and ask drivers, who are the first to grumble. Staff on bus and train are far happier at Stagecoach than with First, for example. Of course you can find problems and things going wrong with any large organisation - and I bet that had any of the ones you quote been put to management personally you would have got a proper response. As it is, having discussed this with them, they admit they are totally perplexed at your approach and cannot understand why you don't approach them personally rather than treating them as the enemy. I deal with many TOCs round the country and I can only speak as I find - that the managers at SWT are the most friendly and approachable of any. It isn't that I'm ignoring what you say, but rather that I write as I find things. After all, you want me to change my mind to suit your poor opinion of SWT - why I shouldn't I expect you, instead, to come closer to mine? I have no "Stagecoach art" - your comment in that respect is frankly silly. I speak as I find and make up my own mind. You are simply annoyed that I don't find things as you do.
Thanks. We would have been delighted to be consulted by SWT when they were planning the new timetable, which has caused so many people in this area really serious problems. I had previously been consulted about their revised cycling policy and received a nice letter of thanks from them for the comments I put together. Our opinions of SWT did then start to change. SWT then published a leaflet on the new timetable which referred to their having consulted with rail user groups and taken account of their views wherever possible. When my MP took this up with Andrew Haines, Andrew admitted that there had not even been a company policy of consulting user groups on major issues like the timetable. Indeed the timetable had been drawn up around September 2003, before any consultation process, as confirmed by its authors in the Guardian. Draw your own conclusions about how members of the Group viewed this. We now don't take a word the company says at its face value.
The RPC made a robust case for the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo to stop at Totton, within the time allowances which apply on Saturdays. There was considerable aspiration for this, but the request was swept aside. This wastes us 75 minutes a week. When Alistair Darling complains of trains carrying thin air, it is extraordinary that the 10-coach set which used to be full of commuters, as the 05.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo, now carries thin air from Bournemouth to Southampton, where it rests for over an hour before splitting with the two halves going off in opposite directions (information on the split from SWT staff). I agree that there is no point in continuing this exchange.
Note how Mr Doe rushes to deflect criticisms of SWT. Does he consider himself a journalist or a lobbyist? Has he no concept of driving up standards across the board? Since April 1997, SWT has reportedly been fined £54m for poor performance, more than any other operator. The award to SWT was probably in recognition of their improved punctuality in the wake of the much slower timetable which they introduced in December 2004. SWT failed even to sustain that fictitious improvement (as the former Rail Passengers Committee dubbed it) in the official statistics published in November and December 2005 and January 2006. The award has no relevance to the commuting public.
Particularly telling is the reference to getting SHRUG’s organiser “back on side”. Who initiated this conversation - Mr Doe or someone in SWT management? Does SWT regularly talk to journalists/lobbyists about its best customers? We had already suspected that SWT was systematically seeking to silence its more vociferous critics. Here we have the proof. So Barry Doe now praises them in ‘Rail’, Sir Alan Greengross, once a passengers’ champion, is now a non-executive Stagecoach director, controlling an optimistic ‘Passengers’ Panel’ section in SWT’s ‘e’motion’ magazine, and journalist Alan Williams’ services were used in e’motion to introduce the slower timetable. All this tends to produce a one-sided and rather distorted picture of SWT. SHRUG is content to stand apart from that process.
In reality, as the Southern Daily Echo of 27 January 2006 reported, many smaller SWT stations are in a disgusting state. The new covered waiting areas at Southampton and Winchester are just tokens of improvement in the poor overall picture. Given that the works at Southampton Central cost £230,000, it is clear what could have been achieved with the £6.9m which Stagecoach extracted from SWT profits to pursue its optimistic bids for other franchises.
What has the introduction of the new Desiro trains got to do with Stagecoach running the SWT franchise? All operators were required to hire new trains to replace the old slam-door units. The only special Stagecoach factor is that the company promised 785 new coaches and delivered only 665 whilst Govia, on neighbouring Southern, promised 742 new coaches and delivered them all. Another difference is that Stagecoach is ripping out 6,500 seats from its suburban units, whilst Govia has conceded to public pressure not to do likewise. This from SWT despite the House of Commons Select Committee’s concerns about the risks for passengers from overcrowding.
Why does Mr Doe seek to move the argument from Stagecoach’s shortcomings to personalities? Note the reference to SHRUG’s organiser’s “bark being worse than his bite” – that simply detracts from an important argument! Why should Mr Doe raise the bizarre notion that SHRUG might be driven by a dislike of the Stagecoach chairman, rather than by poor service? Why should someone who takes a particular viewpoint be annoyed that someone else begs to differ?
What is so superb about a half-hourly Waterloo-Totton service between 17.05 and 19.05? That’s rather a late start point in this era of flexible working and, in 1990, BR provided a far better service of 7 trains from 16.32 to 18.45.
Why bring First Group staff into the argument? Is it because First won two franchises which Stagecoach wanted? Tony Harvey is full of praise for First’s X53 service and its helpful crews (article in this edition). And First even guarantee connections! And isn’t it a little strange that Mr Doe has been praising Govia in his ‘Rail’ column, soon after they decided to drop their bid for the SWT franchise?
Are SWT staff really all that happy with Stagecoach? Remember former SWT Chairman Graham Eccles writing that one of the things he was most often told was that morale had never been lower? Remember the periods of industrial action on SWT which created repeated misery for commuters? Remember the wrongful dismissal of driver Sarah Friday? Remember the wrongful demotion of driver Greg Tucker, when the appeal tribunal reportedly found that much of SWT’s evidence had been “incredible”, “risible”, “implausible, even absurd”, and that one key witness appeared to give evidence “without regard for truth and solely with an eye to where the advantage lay”. Was the cancellation of about 40 trains on New Year’s Eve on grounds of no driver being available (a normal peak holiday time phenomenon on SWT) due to too few drivers being employed or to drivers having no loyalty to Stagecoach?
Presumably, publishing leaflets referring to Rail User Groups having been consulted on the new timetable and having had their views taken into account where possible, when there was no intention of consulting them, was also a case of SWT acting without regard for the truth and with an eye to where the advantage lay?
Could it be that Mr Doe finds SWT managers particularly approachable because he is always praising SWT in ‘Rail’? SHRUG enjoys excellent relations with many other train operators. With the re-franchising process activated on SWT, Mr Doe appears to be quite busy attacking Stagecoach’s rivals. So (in ‘Rail’ issue 524) Arriva Wales’ timetable “lacks sense of purpose” even though it introduces 150 more trains a day. He fails to mention the decelerations and poor connections in SWT’s new December 2004 timetable!
First Great Western is attacked (issue 526) for not operating restaurant cars from Bristol and Bath to Paddington. He doesn’t attack SWT for not running them between his home town of Bournemouth and Waterloo!
He then (issue 528) criticises the late changes in the December 2005 timetable by Arriva Wales and National Express’ WAGN. He doesn’t mention that SWT’s awful December 2004 timetable had not long been in force before they made adjustments.
In issue 529 he again attacks Arriva, this time for missed connections and lack of attention to detail. Meanwhile, in Modern Railways, January 2006, a reader complains that official connection times at Teddington for Twickenham-Shepperton passengers using SWT are 6 minutes up and 35 minutes down. Pity Mr Doe doesn’t highlight such Stagecoach nonsense!
As for there being no Stagecoach art, note these anonymous lines from recent editions of SWT’s e’motion magazine. They are supposed to represent some of the questions most frequently asked by the public:
“I think that South West Trains has done a pretty good job recently and deserves a new franchise, and I’m not alone in this. Before all of you at the Panel groan and consign my letter to the waste-paper basket as just a note from another sycophant, let me hasten to add that there are a number of my fellow passengers who would not agree, which is exactly why I am writing. What can the ordinary passenger do to make his or her views heard by whoever awards the new franchise?”
“It’s fantastic that the new, white trains (class 444s) have litter bins in the areas near the doors. But does South West Trains recycle the rubbish it collects, particularly cans, plastic bottles and newspapers?”
So, next time you travel, why not run up and down the train telling people how fantastic it is that Stagecoach trains have litter bins inside the doors? You might also suggest that this merits a new franchise. Your enthusiasm will no doubt be highly infectious!
If you still have doubts about Stagecoach art, here’s a fascinating example of how SWT communicates. This is a purported dialogue, published in e’motion magazine, between Stagecoach directors Sir Alan Greengross and Allison Ingram. Can you spot that Stagecoach has delivered only 665 new coaches against the 785 which it trumpeted as ‘Britain’s biggest train order’?
- Sir Alan: “Could you give us some background to SWT’s new fleet of 155 Desiro trains?”
- Ms Ingram: “The original order was for 785 vehicles, costing £644m. Add to that the maintenance contract and the total order value is over £1bn.”
- Sir Alan: “One billion pounds of new trains just for the SWT network is a huge sum of money.”
The truth is that value of the new trains actually delivered is, on a pro-rata basis, just over £540 million!
At the end of the day, is SWT simply so paranoid about long distance commuters - the people who are its best customers but know most about its unenviable record – that they feel they have to mislead them? Rufus Boyd’s speech to the Hampshire Economic Forum in February 2005 started with bullish comments about the railways being in good shape, and bad publicity being the fault of long-distance commuters who had made the “ultimate distress purchase” when they bought their home (SHRUG has the speech on DVD). Could Stagecoach afford to be so dismissive of the interests of its best SWT customers if it were not so lavishly subsidised by passengers and other taxpayers?
BACK TO MORE IMPORTANT THINGS
The outcomes of recent franchise exercises are quite positive news. SHRUG had made strong representations to the Competition Commission about the Greater Western franchise. Having significantly slowed SWT’s Waterloo-Exeter service, Stagecoach could similarly have slowed the Paddington-Exeter service without fear of competitive pressures. We backed GNER for the SWT franchise last time round, because of their acclaimed customer service. How much better things might now be if they had won or, indeed, if First had won.
A link from SWT to Heathrow has become a serious prospect for the new SWT franchise. Plans for the link have been further excited by the emergence of MTR, the highly regarded Hong Kong mass transit and airport link operator, as a strong contender for the franchise in partnership with highly-regarded GNER. To head its bid, the joint venture has hired Jeremy Long, the former First Group rail executive who won plaudits running Anglia Trains until its takeover two years ago. Insiders reckon MTR has the credibility to run SWT and the airport link.
GNER/MTR, First, National Express and Arriva have been shortlisted for a new SWT franchise by the Department for Transport, along with Stagecoach.
(Sources for recent events: Evening Standard 7/12/05, 13/12/05, 16/12/2005, 20/12/2005 and Guardian 8/12/05)
SWT NOW REFERS CUSTOMERS TO SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS’ GROUP
(Letter received via the Internet. It’s great that SWT recognises our services to passengers.)
“Just found the Hogrider website. What a relief! I thought I was the only person who found South West Trains difficult to deal with. I commute from Southampton Central to London Waterloo.
Currently I've complained to their customer services about several issues and it's got to the point that they have closed one of my enquiries and suggested that I contact the Rail Passengers User Group! I was trying to find out why when I asked what the process was to receive compensation for Void Days. I received very evasive information both from their customer services and at the ticket office in Southampton Central."
The former Rail Passengers Council, the official passenger watchdog, is now rebranded as Passengerfocus. Website: www.passengerfocus.org.uk Address: Whittles House, 14 Pentonville Road, London N1 9HF Telephone: 07918 626127 Fax 020 7713 2729
The Passenger Link Manager with responsibility for South West Trains is Ms Jocelyn Pearson, Jocelyn.email@example.com.
We look forward to maintaining our good working relationship with the organisation.
HUGE BUS IMPROVEMENTS WITH GOVIA AND FIRST
NEW FOREST TRANSPORT FORUM
(From David Mead of Ashurst)
Here is a precis of the New Forest Transport Forum held on 26th January 2006 at Appletree Court, Lyndhurst. The meeting was attended by some 40 people representing parish councils, bus user groups and associated community transport users. There was no representative from South West Trains or Virgin Trains present, although the bulk of the meeting was to deal with bus services and concessionary travel arrangements.
The first presentation was given by the Solent Blue Line bus company, which had recently been purchased by Govia, and was about the Waterside Area. A re-vamp of "commercially" operated bus services will take place as from 2nd April 2006. 10 new Mercedes Citaro single deck state of the art buses are on order and will replace some of the older buses which serve the Waterside area. They will be air-conditioned and new technology will offer passengers a smooth "coach" like ride. They will be general user friendly.
750,000 passengers a year are carried on the Waterside routes and the service pattern has been in existence for over 15 years, which generally now does not meet the needs of the regular passenger. The current service pattern is complicated and basically the new timetable has been designed to provide "express limited stop A326" services and slower "all village stops" services.
The SBL Route 38 will be re-numbered to Bluestar 8. The SBL X9 will be renumbered to Bluestar 9. Bluestar 9 will have two flows: Route 9 Fast - Calshot to Southampton, Mondays - Fridays peak periods only, every 20 minutes. Route 9 Semi-Fast - Langley/Blackfield/Holbury - Every 20 minutes Mondays - Saturdays daytime and every hour evenings and Sundays. "Fast" services will miss out Hythe Village Centre to speed up journey times. The Bluestar 8 will run every 30 minutes Monday-Saturday daytime and every hour evenings and Sundays. Both routes will serve "Applemore Tesco"; during the day there will be 5 buses an hour between Totton and Tesco's! The new services will provide an additional 40% in service mileage as compared with now. The HCC contract bus services, eg. Hythe and Blackfield local (current Route 37) and off-peak Calshot services were still under discussion and details therefore not available. It was anticipated that those would be Monday - Saturday daytime hourly. For some local cross-village journeys, passengers may find a change of buses may be necessary but research had shown that such journeys were very few. Future plans are to have simple fare structures, advanced ticket facilities in shops and dedicated locations, take away free leaflet timetables on buses and through ticketing.
The second presentation was on concessionary travel given by the NFDC. As from lst April 2006, for residents living within the New Forest District Council, free passes will be issued to all those over the age of 60 and those registered disabled. These will be available "any time, any day" within Hampshire and unlimited travel on all Hampshire Public Service Bus Routes and the Hythe Ferry. Travel Tokens will no longer be issued for railcards or rail travel. There are various fine details to be circulated shortly and leaflets will be available in such places as libraries, health centres, day centres etc. Full details are also to be placed on the Internet.
The third presentation was an update by Hampshire County Council on future bus routes and the re-tendering process. Bullet points from questionnaire answers were: evening services, better integration with rail, better cross-Totton local buses, better use of Cango (especially the poorly used Lymington – Sway), better publicity for community transport. Some consultation items - Hourly service Southampton - Bournemouth via Lymington Hospital; Hourly Lymington Hospital - Christchurch via New Milton thus absorbing 117/119/192 routes; Lymington Hospital - Hythe every 2 hours; Bransgore to be served by "M2" route extended from Burton.
(Not part of the meeting - I raised the question about Ampress Works Halt station. HCC representative stated that this was on-going and an inspection had been made at the site. A new ramp access and lighting will have to be installed but it is on track as Lymington North Station in the 2007/08 budget, so it may re-open during late 2007.)
Hope this is of interest.
FIRST X53 SERVICE
(From Tony Harvey of Parkstone)
As usual, the latest edition of Hogrider provided me with the usual hilarity in SWT’s attempts to run a train service and the usual bitterness as to how the taxpayers’ money is going to fuel the excess profits of the Train Operating Companies.
I am prompted to write to you regarding the award winning Jurassic Coast Bus Service X53 between Bournemouth and Exeter. Since the demise of any form of customer service from SWT, I have been championing the cause of bus and coach services and over the last six months I have been a regular traveller on the X53.
The service is provided by comfortable double decker buses in the distinctive Jurassic Coast branded livery and operated by First Bus from Weymouth and Bridport garages. They are regular and reliable but prone in the summer months to late running through the sheer volume of traffic visiting the Dorset Coast. Weymouth has become a huge bottleneck and there are difficulties in getting a large bus through villages such as Abbotsbury, and along stretches of single track road with passing places, such as outside West Bay.
It may surprise you to know that the service is used from end to end, mainly by students from Bournemouth or Exeter Universities visiting family/girlfriends or simply returning home. There are two attractions. The first is that it is a through service (the equivalent rail service requires a change of train at Salisbury and Southampton as you know). The second is that by using a £5 Explorer ticket (obtainable in advance or from the driver on the day), the user can travel the entire route and still use it on local services later in the day (the ticket is accepted on most Wilts & Dorset services). Compare this £5 with the equivalent rail fare!
For those of us aged 60 and over, the Explorer ticket costs £3 and there are a small band of intrepid travellers that make the return journey from Bournemouth to Exeter! I am also told that there is a guaranteed connection at Exeter to Bude arriving there at 9.15 in the evening. (A similar connection is available in the easterly direction into the last through bus from Exeter to Bournemouth). For this you need to purchase a South West Explorer ticket (£5 for the over 60s).
The X53 is subsidised by Devon and Dorset County Councils who have shown faith in the service by continuing the summer timetable throughout the winter months. The only major winter adjustment is that the service only runs from Weymouth to Exeter on Sundays. Timetables are incorporated into most bus stops, especially in rural areas, and where official stops are far apart such as between Abbotsbury and West Bay, the driver will set down at any spot where it is safe to do so, and will pick up similarly, given a clear and visible hand sign from intending passengers. The drivers are friendly and courteous, and willingly give all sorts of advice on places to go and attractions to visit when time and traffic allows.
It is also used as a local bus for shopping, even where there is an alternative rail route such as from Wool to Weymouth. As you may imagine, passenger loadings are extremely heavy during the summer months, and very busy at weekends and holidays at other times of the year. I suspect however that the late night services (and they do run extremely late between Exeter and Weymouth) are sparsely patronised, especially during the dark winter nights.
In conclusion, this First Bus operated service is all that South West Trains is not! Thank goodness it is not in the hands of Stagecoach who, incidentally, have only 1% of their buses fitted with CCTV cameras, the lowest by far in the South. (Comparative figures: Wilts & Dorset 40% and Yellow Buses 35%. Source: BBCTV South Today 08.12.05). I hope this letter is of interest and, although not of direct benefit to Hogrider readers, may be of interest to them also.
Congratulations to Tony on his efforts, and to First Group for providing so much in an area where Stagecoach didn’t even pursue their consultant Barry Doe’s proposal for a rail-bus link between Weymouth, Abbotsbury and Bridport.
Last Summer’s X53 service showed 6 or 7 buses a day running between Weymouth and Exeter with journey times of around 3 hours. 3 or 4 a day ran all the way between Bournemouth and Exeter (taking about 5 hours), with a number of shorter workings.
The limitation of the service is that the first bus from Bournemouth gets to Exeter at 14.16, and the last return service is at 14.45 (the last service to Weymouth is much better at 20.45). So this is more a Weymouth-Exeter than Bournemouth-Exeter service, and there would still be a role for morning and evening rail services between Bournemouth and Exeter, taking in the region of 2½-3 hours, perhaps with a single change at Southampton.
Interestingly, there is currently a direct Weymouth-Exeter train on Mondays to Fridays, but it travels the very great way round via Bristol, leaving Weymouth at 05.40 and reaching Exeter St David’s at 10.07.
* The Docklands Light Railway introduced trains from Bank to London City Airport on 5 December. The service operates every 10 minutes, and the journey time is 22 minutes.
* SWT’s ‘Christmas and New Year services’ booklet contained only general advice on service patterns, generally leaving passengers to ring to find out actual train times. Southern managed a 49-page booklet, modestly entitled ‘Summary of holiday train services’ which gave full details, including complete timetables for altered services. What a difference in quality of service!
* On Christmas Eve the old slam-door unit on the Brockenhurst-Lymington branch was singularly chilly and uninviting, with some broken heaters and sticking door windows in grimy frames. The blocked-off toilet compartment matched the out-of-use toilets on Brockenhurst station. A poster on Lymington Town station described the slam-door units used on the branch as “especially refurbished to their former glory”, so there must be someone on SWT with a keen sense of humour.
* A Totton-Waterloo season ticket holder made a day trip to Portsmouth on 7 January. Season ticket checked each way by the friendly Wessex Trains’ conductors. Because he travelled to Portsmouth Harbour, where there are virtually never any ticket checks, there was no problem. Returning from Portsmouth & Southsea just before 14.00, the gates would not accept his ticket. A revenue protection officer appeared, checked his ticket and asked him whether it was valid for the journey! Luckily he carried a letter from SWT which showed that it was, so he was allowed through the gates. After 10 years of Stagecoach franchises on SWT, is it not time that the company (a) trains its revenue protection staff properly and (b) programmes its ticket gates properly, or (c) gives up the franchise so that it can go to a more competent operator?
* Virgin Cross Country has been offering £20 flat rate fares for Sunday travel for the duration of industrial action by the RMT. They will reportedly be available until at least the end of February.
* Totton commuters were saddened by the unexpected retirement at the end of January of their helpful booking clerk, who had been in post much longer than most of them had been travelling. We wish him well.
DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER – 5
28/11/05 05.48 from Totton shown as expected to arrive on time until it was already overdue - left 4 minutes late. Noted that the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil Junction was already shown as cancelled - somewhat to the surprise of the temporary ticket office staff who said that the units for the service had just gone up the line to the sidings. When asked if the 05.45 service from Poole would stop additionally at Totton to pick up passengers from the 06.07, he said he would check what was happening. Noted that the Yeovil service was shown as running on time on the indicators at Eastleigh. 18.05 from Waterloo left 5 minutes late due to "awaiting signal due to problems on platform 12"; it was 8 minutes late at Totton where the rear-most door on the front five carriages was very slow to open and needed some passenger assistance before it fully opened.
29/11/05 18.05 from Waterloo 5 minutes late at Southampton.
30/11/05 Noted that the building work at Southampton Central has now been completed - after many months (years?) of having part of platform 1 as a building site. Saw one of the ticket barriers on platform 1 repeatedly rejecting tickets. 07.46 from Totton made a slow approach to Basingstoke and stopped at the platform (without the doors being opened); it was 10 minutes late at Waterloo due to "problems in the Basingstoke and Woking areas". Yet another passenger on the 17.05 from Waterloo thought he was in the front half of the train at Southampton Central when he was in fact in the rear half - a significant delay for him in reaching Dorchester South - overheard him saying "I'm not impressed" on his mobile!
01/12/05 to 09/12/05 Did not travel.
12/12/05 The departure indicators at Millbrook were out of action again this morning. The 06.30 from Southampton Central was given successive expected departure times of 06.33, 06.38, 06.36, 06.35 and 06.37 before it arrived at 06.35 and left a couple of minutes later - delay due to "a slow running preceding service at Brockenhurst". Left Winchester 7 minutes late. Very slow run approaching Wimbledon. arrived at Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.05 from Waterloo left 6 minutes late, the incoming carriages having arrived only at the scheduled departure time. Another passenger at Southampton Central had to check with a fellow traveller which half of the train he was in - happily being in the correct half for his destination. Arrived Totton 5 minutes late.
13/12/05 Departure indicators at Millbrook out of action again this morning. 17.05 from Waterloo 5 minutes late at Totton.
14/12/05 Departure indicators at Southampton Central showed "due to a fault no departure information can be displayed" twice at 06.20 and 06.25. 06.30 from Southampton Central 5 minutes late at Waterloo. 17.05 from Waterloo 6 minutes late at Totton.
15/12/05 Departure indicators at Millbrook still not working. The large screen at Southampton Central over the entrance to platform 1 had sprung into life, sadly not providing more than Network Rail adverts and reasons why services can be delayed in winter.
16/12/05 06.07 from Totton delayed 10 minutes at Millbrook this morning due to door interlock problems. The 06.30 ran slowly to Southampton Airport Parkway which the guard blamed on being behind a "Wessex Trains" service that had been delayed at Millbrook – false information repeated as we pulled into Waterloo 5 minutes late - very strange that the company should be so keen to blame another train operator for its own failings!
Note that on one day during the previous two weeks, there was genuine customer service when two passengers arriving late for the 06.07 departure from Totton found the train starting to move off. The driver kindly stopped the train and released the lock on the first carriage door to allow the passengers to join the train - without causing any delay to the service which still arrived at Southampton Central on time. As this would offend the "slam the doors in the face of customers 30 seconds before the departure time" bureaucrats, I'll not specify which day that was, but to all those SWT staff who still believe in putting the customer first, I'd like to wish them a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Employer (hopefully in the New Year!).
03/1/06 05.48 from Totton left 3 minutes late. The departure indicators at Millbrook are still failing to show any information - they have not been seen to be working since before 25 November last year.
04/1/06 Departure indicators at Millbrook still not working this morning. 18.51 from Totton was advertised there as running 9 minutes late – services apparently not fully recovered from disruption due to a failed train earlier in the evening.
05/1/06 Departure indicators at Millbrook not working.
06/1/06 Departure indicators at Millbrook not working. Caught the 06.46 from Totton which left 1 minute late (I was 40 seconds late!!). Noted that the 07.16 was shown on the departure indicator as "Delayed". At Southampton Central, the guard announced that we would run as a 5 car train to Waterloo due to a "late running unit meant to join this unit at Southampton Central". He apologised in advance for "possible overloading". Much scampering about at Winchester as passengers boarded the train. A passenger sitting on the 18.35 from Waterloo suffered a seat collapse before departure. The train was 8 minutes late at Winchester due to "waiting outside Basingstoke due to a late-running preceding service". 7 minutes late at Totton.
I was let on the 06.07 from Totton in the 30 seconds before the departure time (after the doors had been closed) on one day this week by the driver, who chose to provide good customer service; sadly, this was not applied consistently, as the 13.01 departure on Monday was seen by a fellow passenger to depart leaving a newly arrived family of four on the platform with just 50 minutes to wait for the next train.
09/1/06 By way of no change, the departure indicators at Millbrook are not working this morning.
10/1/06 When getting into my seat on the 16.35 from Waterloo, the backs of my legs were scraped by a sharp point protruding from underneath the seat. In the row behind me, one passenger mentioned a "funny shaped seat" to a fellow passenger.
11/1/06 Strangely enough, the departure indicators at Millbrook are not working this morning. The 06.46 from Totton was 5 minutes late into Waterloo due to "congestion". I overheard one passenger telling another that the rear half of last evening's 17.05 from Waterloo was cancelled at Southampton Central, but "of course" only after waiting sufficient time for the following stopping service to Totton to have left the station. The guard on the 18.05 from Waterloo clearly has a literary bent - at Southampton Central he managed to spin the "important announcement" about "short-platform stations" almost into the length of a novel. When he repeated part of the announcement after having left Southampton, a fellow passenger remarked "he's off again" - and even then he managed to get in another announcement before Totton. Not much quiet in the quiet zone carriages on this journey!
12/1/06 Arrived at Totton 2 minutes after the scheduled departure time of the 06.07 to find the train still advertised on the departure indicators, but no passengers waiting to board. Totton station official then advised that the train had actually already departed but he had received a message that the indicators were "not working properly". More information from fellow passengers about the 17.05 from Waterloo on 10 January - apparently the Totton service even left Southampton Central 15 seconds early, the "passenger assistance" office on platform 4 was locked shut, and when a member of station staff was asked why the Totton service was allowed to leave when the earlier service was obviously having problems his only response was, "It's nothing to do with me". A different passenger admitted to getting annoyed yesterday with the beggar who regularly boards trains at Waterloo asking for money to get into a shelter that night - she commented that fare-paying passengers were expected to show tickets but this beggar seemed to be able to come and go as he pleased and also that his story never seemed to change. Back to today, when the 07.07 departure to London Victoria shown on the platform 3A departure indicators at Southampton Central clearly wasn't the empty Wessex Electric stock that was at the platform. On reaching Waterloo, the passage down from platforms 11 and 12 was properly lit for the first time in about a week - passengers had had to negotiate stairs in semi-gloom each day apart from Monday when additional temporary lights were provided but, alas, not on subsequent days. The 17.05 from Waterloo was delayed by a failed train at Earlsfield which blocked one of the two down lines; 35 minutes late at Winchester, 32 minutes late at Totton - the journey was enlivened by two children who amused themselves by play fighting from Winchester onwards without a word from their accompanying parent. At Totton, the 17.35 from Waterloo was shown as running 26 minutes late and the 18.05 from Waterloo as 36 minutes late.
13/1/06 Just missed the 06.07 from Totton - it had to happen sometime!
Again, good customer service on the 06.07 from Totton one day this week, as a young passenger was allowed on the train by the driver after the doors had been locked by the guard.
16/1/06 Now the departure indicators at Totton are on the blink - this morning they are only showing "Welcome to Totton" (one wag commented "and you are"). 07.16 from Totton surprisingly ran on time to Waterloo - this service has a terrible reputation for poor punctuality. At Waterloo the escalators between the underground and mainline stations that were renovated over many months last year are now faulty and have been closed again for some time.
17/1/06 Services at Southampton Central running from platforms 2 and 3 this morning were swapped about, but quite how the 06.45 stopper to Waterloo already at platform 3B and the late running 06.35 Totton service (expected arrival 06.45) advertised as arriving at platform 3 would co-exist in the same space was a bit baffling - and an inexperienced traveller could have got on the wrong train as the platform indicators can be misleading when departures from 3B are displayed (there are times in the day when a train already standing at platform 3B is not the first train listed on the departure indicators).
18/1/06 Still no working departure indicators at Millbrook. After about an hour's journey on the 17.05 from Waterloo, a passenger's seat collapsed underneath her - the passenger was shocked but unhurt, but if she had a back condition it could have been a lot worse. Talking of seats, I missed it at the time but I have a small tear in my suit trousers just where I was last scraped by a protruding spike under a seat.
19/1/06 Still no working departure indicators at Millbrook. On the 06.46 from Totton, I noted after leaving Southampton Central that the door to the buffet in the front half of the train was ajar with no-one inside. The guard made an uncomplimentary comment about the buffet steward and pulled the door closed but did not have the correct keys to lock it. It took until after leaving Winchester (by which time the door had become wide open again) for the steward to arrive with her trolley and lock the door. 18.05 from Waterloo 5 carriages only and grossly overcrowded due to a "train failure at Southampton Central earlier in the day". Announcement by the buffet steward that the buffet was open caused some amusement as only people standing next to the buffet could use it due to the crush.
20/1/06 Still no working departure indicators at Millbrook.
When did I miss the vestibules outside the 1st class carriages changing from standard to 1st class? It definitely used to be the case that stickers showing 1st class accommodation were on the windows of the 1st class carriage and on the internal doors but not on the external doors, but the stickers have now appeared on the external doors as well. Does this mean that when the train is overcrowded, we are going to see people fined for standing in the vestibules without a 1st class ticket? [Or fined for using the telephone booth when travelling second class? –Ed]
23/1/06 On the 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil, the 1st class seating was looking a bit worn, with some splits in the covers. Long, unexplained wait on Redbridge causeway. Departure indicators at Millbrook still saying "We regret that due to a fault no information can be displayed at present". Five minutes late at Southampton Central where the display indicators on our platform said "Stand clear. This train is not scheduled to stop at this station" - I heard the announcement of the Yeovil departure actually being made after I had crossed to platform 1 (and after the train had left the station).
24/1/06 06.35 from Southampton to Totton was shown as running 8 minutes late. 06.30 from Southampton Central arrived 8 minutes late at Waterloo. Got text from Transport for London reporting the Waterloo & City line shut due to a signal failure, but it was open when I reached Waterloo.
25/1/06 06.35 from Southampton Central to Totton was running 12 minutes late. Emergency engineering works closed the Chandlers Ford line from 9am today until Saturday. Noted a "reminder to all staff" pinned up in the cubicle next to the downside ticket barriers - "if trains to Chandlers Ford are cancelled, do not send passengers to Eastleigh for an alternative connection. Buses will be arranged from Southampton Central if there is no other service within 70 minutes (passengers charter)" - which can be translated as "tell 'em to wait for the next one in an hour". Upside ticket barriers out of order. Extremely loud announcements were made on the 07.00 from Southampton - some passengers had their fingers in their ears and one commented "we're not deaf - but we will be" - I especially enjoyed the guard bellowing the announcement about the quiet carriages on the train! At Southampton Central at 22.30, one downside ticket barrier was out of order, not that it caused a problem as the gate next to it was wide open giving the lie to the "secure stations" justification for installing more ticket barriers at stations.
26/1/06 Travelled from Ashurst this morning on the 07.11 to Waterloo (07.30 from Southampton). Ashurst station was looking shabby - lots of litter, a missing panel on the downside passenger shelter and the permit to travel machine out of order. Departure indicators not working at Millbrook. On the approach to Waterloo, the guard apologised for "having more passengers than normal". The 17.35 from Waterloo was grossly overcrowded and I had no seat until Winchester - presumably due to problems on the Portsmouth line this evening. The guard made special announcements for passengers trying to reach Portsmouth via Southampton Central, telling them that a shuttle service [ie, normal service of three trains an hour? Ed] was running 3 times an hour between Southampton and Fareham with a bus connection to Portsmouth and reporting that the problem was "a severe signalling problem at Cosham". On the approach to Southampton Parkway, some passengers mentioned a smell "like burning plastic" - the normal issue with the brakes heating up. Shortly before arrival at Southampton Central, the guard reported that the problem at Cosham had been resolved but that, due to the disruption caused, there may still be short notice cancellations - he recommended asking station staff at Southampton for updates on how to get to Portsmouth (a method not traditionally regarded as the best way to get helpful information) and to listen for announcements on Southampton station. Getting off at Ashurst, I passed two Travel Safe officers standing by a train door, busy reading a newspaper (quickly put away) - what is it that they are supposed to be doing anyway? [It often seems to be backing up revenue protection gangs – Ed]
27/1/06 The guard on the 18.05 from Waterloo appeared to trying to get into the Guinness Book of Records for the largest number of words used in as short a time as possible. At Southampton Central, there appeared to be a full ticket check going on this evening - a family with a child in a pushchair were pushing luggage through the locked ticket gate and the father went through the automated barriers, but staff had finally to open the ticket gate to get the pushchair through - it would have been more helpful to do that in the first place!
30/1/06 Departure indicators not working at Millbrook. On the 18.05 from Waterloo the guard thought it was a good idea to wake a season ticket holder who had left his ticket visible for checking to ask if he knew that he should move to the next carriage (all of 6 steps away) for his station - of course he did! Stopped at a signal for a few minutes at Northam and then again in the Southampton tunnel - the guard quickly apologised for the delay each time saying we were (as was fairly obvious) held at a red signal but without giving any reason for this. Arrived at Totton 9 minutes late.
31/1/06 06.46 from Totton closed its doors at 06.45 and left the station 30 seconds early - just to wait at Southampton Central for 10 minutes for the rear five coaches to arrive. Passengers at Totton were even being harassed by the guard whistling at them to get onto the train when the trolley steward was blocking the gangway (as this particular steward always appears to do at Totton). At Southampton Central the 06.47 to Cardiff and 07.07 to London Victoria were both shown as "delayed", then updated to expected departure times of 0.707 and 07.13 respectively due to "animals on the track at Hamble". 07.11 Virgin service to Edinburgh arrived at Southampton Central at 06.59 for a long 12 minute wait before departure. At Reading station, the 14.27 First Great Western Link service to Oxford was waved to depart on time but one of the doors in the rear carriage had not closed properly. As the station staff walked back to resolve the problem, an old lady approached the train and tried to board at one of the closed doors - the staff member simply walked past her, cleared the door fault and waved the train off. When she protested, the staff member was heard to say that the doors are closed 30 seconds before departure - as if this justified the dreadful customer service she had just received. At Southampton Central the 16.02 to Wareham approached platform 4 with the departure indicators showing "stand clear - this train is not stopping at this station". When it did stop, station staff had to shout "Wareham service" but intermediate stations were not announced until after departure. The guard on the train advised station staff that there were no toilets in use on the train (a Blue Desiro unit) but again no announcement was made to passengers until after departure when the guard reported that all toilets were "unavailable" and said his only other option was to take the train out of service. Given the circumstances, the announcement about the provision of a quiet zone on the train "for your comfort" seemed ironic.
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.
Thursday 1/12/05 Passengers on the 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth thrown off at Exeter due to no driver. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 15.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches. 15.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 49 minutes late. 15.28 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no guard. 15.37 Haslemere-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 16.02 Southampton-Wareham advertised as delayed by tree on line, but the tree seemed to be down in the Botley area. 16.54 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo axed between Plymouth and Exeter due to no driver. 17.50 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 18 minutes late. 18.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 44 minutes late. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke 15 minutes late. 18.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 18.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 35 minutes late. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 18.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking, and reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. 19.05 Waterloo-Reading axed due to duff stock. 19.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo omitted North Sheen and Mortlake stops for operational convenience. 19.42 Southampton-Portsmouth advertised as on time until 19.35, and then advertised as 35 minutes late due to problems at Cosham on the inward journey - staff at Southampton said nobody had bothered to tell them about the delay; train departed 40 minutes late. 20.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 20.15 Waterloo-Haslemere axed. 20.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 23.50 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver.
Friday 2/12/05 Totton has now been unstaffed all week and information screens at Millbrook still not working. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 5 minutes late again. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed according to the screens at Waterloo but 45 minutes late according to SWT’s website. 06.44 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.09 Haslemere-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 07.40 Haslemere-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury axed. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 18 minutes late. Many evening trains into Waterloo a few minutes late.
Saturday 3/12/05 06.45 Wareham-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 18 minutes late; stops at New Milton, Christchurch and Pokesdown axed for operational convenience. 14.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 14.31 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed due to no driver. 17.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 17.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Hove. 18.01 Poole-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.58 Waterloo-Windsor axed due to no driver. 18.59 / 19.29 Brockenhurst-Lymington axed due to no driver. 19.14/19.44 Lymington-Brockenhurst axed due to no driver. Passengers on the 19.24 Waterloo-Alton thrown off at Farnham due to no driver. 19.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 19.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 20.16 Waterloo-Chessington axed due to no driver. 20.21 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.43 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to driver. 21.14 Alton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.53 Waterloo-Alton axed due to no driver. 22.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed due to no driver. 23.44 Alton-Farnham axed due to no driver.
Sunday 4/12/05 Engineering work inspired some remarkable recovery times; for example the 06.43 Portsmouth-Waterloo was allowed 22 minutes from Clapham Junction and advertised as expected to arrive at Waterloo 14 minutes early. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late. Passengers on the 19.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Woking, due to no driver. 20.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late. Passengers on the 21.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo thrown off at Woking due to no guard. 22.15 Alton-Woking axed due to no driver. 22.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking due to no driver. 23.16 Woking-Alton axed due to no driver.
Monday 5/12/05 00.16 Woking-Alton axed due to no driver. 06.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.36 Farnham-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.57 Romsey-Totton axed due to duff stock. 11.50 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late. 12.00 Romsey-Totton 21 minutes late. 12.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth due to inward service being axed. 12.12 Reading-Waterloo 25 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines axed for operational convenience. 12.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 12.53 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke due to inward service being axed. 13.01 Totton-Romsey 12 minutes late. 13.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 15.03 Woking-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 21.00 Exeter-Salisbury 19 minutes late. 21.03 Weybridge-Waterloo axed. 21.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 19 minutes late and axed between Weybridge and Staines. 21.52 Waterloo-Weybridge axed due to duff stock. 22.01 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver. 23.01 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver. 23.23 Ascot-Aldershot axed due to no driver.
Tuesday 6/12/05 06.48 Hounslow-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches and 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Richmond, except Clapham Junction, axed for operational convenience. 07.09 Haslemere-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.11 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.17 Southampton-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 07.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 10 minutes late. 08.32 Portsmouth-Southampton axed due to duff stock. 10.39 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 11.01 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver. 11.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 11.33 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 12.05 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 12.23 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 13.09 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to duff stock. 13.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 20 minutes late and axed between Waterloo and Woking due to duff stock. 15.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 49 minutes late. 15.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 62 minutes late. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 16.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 16.56 Havant-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole axed between Waterloo and Woking; passengers who got to Waterloo in time had to use the 18.00 Portsmouth train to reach Woking. 18.12 Reading-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo 12 minutes late.
Wednesday 7/12/05 Arctic conditions on the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo; free hot drinks offered to mitigate the misery; train was 7 minutes late from Winchester. 06.28 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 06.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Twickenham axed for operational convenience. 07.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to no guard. 07.50 Waterloo-Guildford 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton axed for operational convenience. Around 08.00-08.30, most main line trains into Waterloo up to about 8 minutes late. 08.25 Exeter/08.52 Bristol-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 09.35 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 09.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 13 minutes late from Woking due to no crew; stops at Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames axed for operational convenience. 15.52 Bristol-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 35 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops after Southampton Central axed for operational convenience. 17.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Eastleigh and Basingstoke due to duff stock. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 25 minutes late. 21.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 12 minutes late. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury axed between Brighton and Hove.
Thursday 8/12/05 06.07 Totton-Yeovil arrived late into Southampton Central; passengers had about one minute to catch the 06.21 to Portsmouth, which was standing opposite and displaying Southampton as its destination. 07.55 Guildford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. At 08.00 most longer distance arrivals at Waterloo expected 5-10 minutes late, and stopping services from Basingstoke expected 10-15 minutes late. 08.05 Salisbury-Yeovil axed due to duff stock (the train depot for this line is adjacent to Salisbury station!) 08.20 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Sherborne due to delay on previous journey. 10.20 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Salisbury due to duff stock. 17.30 Exeter-Axminster axed. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 80 minutes late. 18.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 18.12 Reading-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 18.23 Axminster-Exeter axed. 18.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 49 minutes late. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 18.54 Poole-Waterloo 71 minutes late. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 50 minutes late.19.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 19.06 Shepperton-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 19.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 19.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 19.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 20.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 20.05 Guildford-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 20.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 21.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 21.12 Waterloo-Shepperton axed. 21.42 Reading-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 22.05 Waterloo-Poole 28 minutes late. 22.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed.
Friday 9/12/05 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.09 Haslemere-Waterloo axed. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo 22 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines, except Clapham Junction, axed for operational convenience. 09.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. At 16.50 all mainline arrivals at Waterloo simply advertised as ‘delayed’. 16.58 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 14 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 31 minutes late. 18.21 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton 17 minutes late. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 minutes late. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late.
Saturday 10/12/05 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 21 minutes late due to duff stock. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 34 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking axed for operational convenience. 07.00 Southampton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo 23 minutes late due to duff stock; West Byfleet and Surbiton stops axed for operational convenience. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham and 17 minutes late. 07.53 Waterloo-Alton axed between Waterloo and Woking due to no driver. 07.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 21 minutes late due to delay on previous journey. 08.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late due to duff stock. 08.28 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 11 minutes late starting due to duff stock. Passengers on the 09.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Bournemouth due to no driver. 09.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 09.31 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver. 09.59 Wareham-Brockenhurst axed due to no driver. 10.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. Passengers on the 11.15 Waterloo-Haslemere thrown off at Clapham Junction due to duff stock. 11.16 Brockenhurst-Wareham axed due to no driver. 11.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 46 minutes late due to duff stock. 12.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth due to no driver. Passengers on the 12.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo thrown off at Strawberry Hill due to no driver. 12.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 20 minutes late and reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. 12.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 12.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 12.59 Wareham-Brockenhurst axed due to no driver. At 13.17 (sic) it was reported on the SWT website that the 13.39 Waterloo-Southampton was being delayed at Eastleigh due to police action; at 14.20 the message was still in place, but the train was simultaneously reported on the National Rail website as expected at Basingstoke - en route to Eastleigh - 4 minutes early. 13.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to no driver. 14.23 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 14.28 Waterloo-Windsor axed due to no driver. 14.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 15.50 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 15.51 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 16.33 Woking-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 17.22 Waterloo-Weybridge axed due to no driver. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 17.52 Waterloo-Weybridge axed due to no driver. 19.03 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 19.33 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 19.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 17.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Hove due to duff stock. Passengers on the 20.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Basingstoke due to no driver. Passengers on the 21.03 Weybridge-Waterloo thrown off at Staines due to duff stock. 21.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.19 Portsmouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late due to no crew. Passengers on the 21.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Basingstoke due to no driver. 22.52 Waterloo-Woking axed between Waterloo and Staines due to duff stock.
Sunday 11/12/05 08.57 Eastleigh-Totton axed due to no guard. 09.55 Totton-Romsey axed due to no guard. 10.43 Romsey-Totton axed due to no guard. 11.55 Totton-Eastleigh axed due to no guard. 12.57 Eastleigh-Totton axed between Eastleigh and Southampton Central due to no guard. SWT’s website was advised of all the foregoing cancellations at 05.52, so clearly Brian Souter’s “capitalism based on greed” doesn’t allow for standby crews to ensure a robust service. 17.07 Waterloo-Alton 20 minutes late. 17.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 17.24 Eastleigh-Portsmouth 20 minutes late. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late. 18.02 Waterloo-Epsom 13 minutes late. 18.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.24 Eastleigh-Portsmouth 21 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Bournemouth axed. 18.35 Clapham Junction-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.35 Hampton Court-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.02 Waterloo-Epsom 13 minutes late. 19.07 Waterloo-Basingstoke/Alton 29 minutes late. 19.10 Waterloo-Guildford 14 minutes late. 19.15 Waterloo-Exeter 18 minutes late. 19.18 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 19.32 Waterloo-Epsom 17 minutes late. 19.35 Hampton Court-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 19.35 Clapham Junction-Kingston-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.37 Waterloo-Basingstoke/Alton 22 minutes late. 19.40 Waterloo-Guildford 14 minutes late. 20.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late. 20.07 Waterloo-Basingstoke/Alton 21 minutes late. 20.10 Waterloo-Guildford 11 minutes late. 20.12 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 20.37 Waterloo-Basingstoke/Alton 17 minutes late. 20.45 Alton/20.50 Basingstoke-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 21.07 Waterloo-Basingstoke/Alton 15 minutes late. 21.15 Waterloo-Exeter axed between Waterloo and Woking. 21.15 Alton/ 21.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo 42 minutes late.
Monday 12/12/05 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 17 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 6 minutes late from Southampton due to late running 05.26 Poole-Brockenhurst; 14 minutes late into Waterloo where it was due to return to Poole 5 minutes after arrival. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth 14 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 07.06 Basingstoke-Waterloo 12 minutes late. Stock for the 08.09 Waterloo-Guildford not expected until 08.15. 08.24 Waterloo-Dorking axed due to no driver. 08.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 08.48 Effingham Junction-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 09.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 45 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton Central axed for operational convenience. 14.05 Waterloo-Poole 17 minutes late. 15.01 Totton-Romsey 41 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Eastleigh. 16.00 Romsey-Totton axed between Romsey and Eastleigh. 16.24 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 5 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 17.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 14 minutes late. Stock for 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth didn’t arrive until 17.05; train departed 6 minutes late. 17.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court reduced to 4 coaches. 17.12 Reading-Waterloo 26 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines axed for operational convenience. 17.13 Waterloo-Strawberry Hill reduced to 4 coaches. 17.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 17.20 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches. 17.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches and all stops before Fleet axed for operational convenience. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.08 Guildford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.11 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 18.23 Axminster-Exeter axed due to no guard. 18.35 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 35 minutes late. 18.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court reduced to 4 coaches. 18.39 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 18.48 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 18.54 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 11 minutes late. 19.20 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 19.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 21 minutes late. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 9 minutes late. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 20.55 Southampton-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 21.03 Woking-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 21.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.09 Waterloo-Dorking axed due to no driver. 21.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 22.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to no driver.
Tuesday 13/12/05 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. Stock for the 07.46 Waterloo-Chessington still awaited at 07.55. Staines commuter reported big gaps in their morning service to Waterloo.14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo axed between Plymouth and Exeter. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 21 minutes late. 17.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 18.05 Waterloo-Aldershot 15 minutes late. 19.39 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 20.39 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to duff stock. 21.38 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver.
Wednesday 14/12/05 Live train running information not available during the morning peak. 08.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 6 minutes late due to a train failure at Clapham Junction. 07.54 Poole-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 17 minutes late; Woking stop axed for operational convenience. 17.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 11 minutes late; ran non-stop from Teddington for operational convenience. 17.43 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 18.43 Southampton-Winchester axed due to duff stock. 18.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 67 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Bournemouth for operational convenience. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 36 minutes late. 19.40 and 20.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed between Chessington and Motspur Park. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 19 minutes late.
Thursday 15/12/05 07.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo axed between Paignton and Exeter due to duff stock.
Friday 16/12/05 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 06.07 Totton-Yeovil 10 minutes late after suffering door failure at Millbrook. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late; Woking stop axed for operational convenience. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 15.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late. 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking due to cancellation of previous service. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late and reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton 25 minutes late due to “poor rail conditions” despite no rain snow or frost and despite this train having an extra 11 minutes’ allowance between Southampton Airport and Southampton Central to improve performance statistics. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. Evening trains from Reading and Windsor to Waterloo diverted via Hounslow due to signalling problems.
Saturday 17/12/05 10.08 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 10.33 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 11.09 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 11.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 12.09 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 12.38 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 13.28 Waterloo-Windsor axed due to no driver. 13.38 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 14.53 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 15.46 Waterloo-Chessington axed due to no driver. 16.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 21.50 Waterloo-Reading axed. 22.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed.
Sunday 18/12/05 06.44 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 08.01 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 08.27 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed due to no driver. 08.54 Epsom-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 09.35 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 09.51 Bournemouth-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 10.11 Clapham Junction-Woking 41 minutes late due to no crew. Passengers on the 10.35 Waterloo-Weymouth thrown off at Basingstoke due to duff stock. 12.35 Waterloo-Weymouth reduced to 5 coaches. 18.12 Reading-Waterloo 20 minutes late.
Monday 19/12/05 Around 08.00, long-distance services were arriving at Waterloo several minutes late despite such slow schedules. 08.01 Totton-Romsey axed due to no driver. Big daytime delays advertised for Waterloo trains due to infrastructure problems; West of England line services withdrawn east of Basingstoke. Trains still running late into Waterloo during the evening. 14.55 Southampton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 19.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 21.35 Portsmouth-Havant axed.
Tuesday 20/12/05 06.07 Totton-Romsey reduced to 2 coaches. Some morning peak services on the Reading-Waterloo line diverted via Hounslow due to duff train on the direct line via Richmond. 15.54 Waterloo-Dorking axed. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 28 minutes late. 17.05 Dorking-Waterloo axed. Around 19.00 trains arriving at Waterloo 5-10 minutes late. 19.08 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 21.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed.
Wednesday 21/12/05 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to no driver. Around 08.30, trains were arriving at Waterloo up to about 10 minutes late. 09.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.01 Guildford-Ascot axed. 16.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 17.23 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 18.31 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver. 19.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver.
Thursday 22/12/05 08.00 Exeter-Honiton 20 minutes late. 08.10 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.23 Windsor-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 08.25 Exeter-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 16.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. Passengers on the 17.56 Southampton-Bournemouth managed to help two women to board as the guard shut the doors in their faces after he had watched them racing to catch it.
Friday 23/12/05 06.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 07.07 Guildford-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops after Surbiton for operational convenience. 07.20 Teddington-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 07.30 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 08.03 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 08.43 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 09.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 10.08 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 10.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Barnes axed for operational convenience. 10.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 32 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops before Feltham axed for operational convenience. 12.05 Waterloo-Poole 13 minutes late. 12.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 12.50 Waterloo-Plymouth 32 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Exeter. 13.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 13.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. Passengers on the 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Fratton. 15.55 Reading-Brighton 26 minutes late. 16.56 Havant-Waterloo axed. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Haslemere axed for operational convenience. Passengers on the 17.35 Waterloo-Reading thrown off at Vauxhall due to duff stock. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 26 minutes late due to duff train in front; passengers thrown off at Clapham Junction for operational convenience. 17.43 Waterloo-Shepperton 23 minutes late due to duff train in front. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo axed between Plymouth and Exeter. 17.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Fareham. 17.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Worthing. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late. 18.57 Brighton-Reading 26 minutes late. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Saturday 24/12/05 06.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed due to no driver. 07.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 13.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to no driver. 15.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Basingstoke due to no driver. Passengers on the 18.33 Waterloo-Guildford thrown off at Wimbledon due to duff stock. 19.24 Hampton-Court axed due to duff train. 19.46 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff train. 19.53 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver.
Tuesday 27/12/05 Morning services between Aldershot and Alton suspended due to duff train at Farnham. Morning services between Woking and Weybridge suspended due to power supply problem. 08.12 Reading-Waterloo 38 minutes late due to duff train. 08.33 Waterloo-Guildford omitted all intermediate stops before Wimbledon for operational convenience. 08.35 Woking-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 09.23 Ascot-Guildford axed due to duff stock. 09.50 Waterloo-Reading 38 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines omitted for operational convenience. 09.57 Brighton-Yeovil axed between Brighton and Chichester. 10.23 Ascot-Guildford axed due to duff stock. 10.31 Guildford-Ascot axed due to duff stock.
Wednesday 28/12/05 06.30 departure from Southampton to Waterloo 10 minutes late, bringing total journey time for this diverted service to 2 hours, 28 minutes. 06.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 07.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 07.34 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 07.49 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth and Southsea. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 09.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 09.58 Waterloo-Windsor axed due to no driver. 11.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 11.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 12.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 16.00 Waterloo-Weymouth 22 minutes late. 16.05 Waterloo-Portsmouth 22 minutes late. 16.30 Waterloo-Poole 31 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late. 17.00 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.02 Guildford-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 17.30 Waterloo-Poole 13 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Poole departed 15 minutes late due to the driver being delayed on an inward service; there was then delay at Guildford due to two trains at the same platform and the driver of the 18.30 being rostered to drive both; 18.30 was therefore 56 minutes late by Fareham. 18.34 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Weymouth 31 minutes late. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.28 Guildford-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 20.00 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late. 20.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 6 minutes late.
Thursday 29/12/05 06.45 Wareham-Waterloo 30 minutes late due to no crew. 07.51 Portsmouth-Winchester axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea. 08.00 Waterloo-Weymouth 54 minutes late due to no rolling stock; passengers thrown off at Dorchester. 08.16 Waterloo-Chessington 19 minutes late. 08.20 Yeovil-Basingstoke 21 minutes late due to duff stock. Passengers on the 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Clapham Junction due to duff stock. 09.00 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late. Passengers on the 09.24 Basingstoke-Brighton thrown off at Eastleigh due to duff stock. 12.00 Weymouth-Waterloo axed between Weymouth and Dorchester. 12.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 20 minutes late. Two passengers left behind at Southampton Central when the doors of the 13.00 Waterloo-Weymouth were closed early. 15.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 16.00 Waterloo-Weymouth 22 minutes late. 16.08 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff train. 17.37 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 18.03 Woking-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 18.30 Waterloo-Poole 25 minutes late. 19.01 Poole-Farnborough 13 minutes late. 19.38 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.00 Waterloo-Weymouth 31 minutes late.
Friday 30/12/05 06.35 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 09.34 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late due to duff stock. 10.34 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 15.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to duff stock. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 17.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 17.36 Waterloo-Farnham axed between Waterloo and Ascot due to no driver. 17.58 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 18.00 Waterloo-Weymouth 13 minutes late. 21.00 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late. 21.50 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 22.38 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 22.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to no driver. 23.57 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to no driver.
Saturday 31/12/05 07.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 07.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 11.53 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 16.39 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 17.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 18.08 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking axed due to no driver. 18.58 Waterloo-Windsor axed due to no driver. 19.03 Woking-Waterloo axed. 19.12 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to no driver. 19.50 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 19.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.06 Waterloo-Hampton court axed due to no driver. 20.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.12 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to no driver. 20.22 Waterloo-Weybridge axed due to no driver. 20.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 20.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.53 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.20 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 21.28 Waterloo-Windsor axed due to no driver. 21.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.39 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 21.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.46 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.52 Waterloo-Weybridge axed due to no driver. 21.58 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 22.03 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 22.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 22.50 Waterloo-Woking axed due to no driver. 22.53 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 22.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 23.03 Weybridge-Staines 17 minutes late. 23.08 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 23.33 Weybridge-Staines axed due to no driver.
Sunday 1/1/06 09.05 Bournemouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Eastleigh. 10.25 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 10.44 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 10.50 Bournemouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 11.12 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 11.18 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 11.27 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed. 11.34 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 12.01 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 12.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 12.35 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed. 12.49 Clapham Junction-Reading axed. 13.14 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 13.18 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 13.25 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 13.27 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed. 14.24 Reading-Waterloo axed. 14.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Fratton and Waterloo. 14.34 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 14.35 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed. 17.02 Waterloo-Epsom axed between Waterloo and Raynes Park. 17.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.54 Epsom-Waterloo axed between Wimbledon and Waterloo. 18.09 Waterloo-Reading axed between Ascot and Waterloo. 19.54 Reading-Waterloo axed.
Monday 2/1/06 06.07 Totton-Yeovil omitted its Chandlers Ford stop “due to signalling problems” – if it ran from Eastleigh to Romsey via Southampton, interesting insight into SWT’s hugely inflated schedules that it needed only 18 minutes. 07.49 Portsmouth-Winchester axed between Portsmouth and Hilsea due to duff stock. 11.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 11.54 Waterloo-Dorking axed due to no driver. 12.02 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. A family of four left behind at Totton when the 13.01 to Romsey departed early. 13.05 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 16.42 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late.
Tuesday 3/1/06 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole axed due to duff stock. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late due to no crew.
Wednesday 4/1/06 07.17 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. Passengers on the 11.50 Waterloo-Woking thrown off at Vauxhall due to duff stock. 11.55 Southampton-Waterloo 16 minutes late due to no driver. 12.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 13.03 Woking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 13.52 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo delayed due to no rolling stock. 14.03 Waterloo-Guildford 21 minutes late, reduced to 4 coaches and omitted all intermediate stops before Surbiton due to duff stock. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.28 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 15.55 Southampton-Waterloo 32 minutes late due to no crew; all intermediate stops axed for operational convenience. 15.57 Brighton-Reading axed due to duff stock. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 94 minutes late due to duff train. 16.50 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 16.56 Southampton-Weymouth axed due to duff stock. 16.59 Wareham-Brockenhurst axed between Wareham and Bournemouth due to duff train. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 39 minutes late due to duff stock; passengers thrown off at Bournemouth. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth due to duff train. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton advertised as axed and then reduced to 8 coaches instead. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo 16 minutes late and axed between Poole and Bournemouth due to duff train. 17.59 Wareham-Bournemouth axed due to duff train. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches. 18.18 Waterloo-Haslemere reduced to 4 coaches. 19.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Thursday 5/1/06 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 15.41 Alton-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 16.01 Guildford-Ascot axed. 16.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed between Waterloo and Woking. 17.43 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. Passengers on the 17.57 Brighton-Reading thrown off at Fareham due to duff stock. 21.55 Reading-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock.
Friday 6/1/06 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 07.32 Waterloo-Woking 19 minutes late. 16.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth. 16.05 Waterloo-Reading axed due to duff stock. 17.24 and 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 21.01 Totton-Romsey axed due to no guard. 22.00 Romsey-Totton axed due to no guard. 23.01 Totton-Romsey axed due to no guard.
Saturday 7/1/06 08.05 Waterloo-Portsmouth 31 minutes late. 09.01 Poole-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 10.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 12.20 Waterloo-Poole 38 minutes late; stops at New Milton, Christchurch and Pokesdown axed for operational convenience. 12.34 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 21 minutes late and axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 32 minutes late. Passengers on the 19.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Woking due to duff stock. 19.20 Waterloo-Poole 34 minutes late. 19.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to no guard. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 30 minutes late due to duff train. 20.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 29 minutes late and axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke due to duff train. 20.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to no guard. 21.13 Basingstoke-Southampton 21 minutes late.
Sunday 8/1/06 08.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 09.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 11.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 14.30 Woking-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 18.54 Waterloo-Weymouth 27 minutes late due to duff stock. 20.07 Basingstoke-Yeovil 20 minutes late.
Monday 9/1/06 08.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court 13 minutes late. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 6 coaches. 18.50 Waterloo-Salisbury reduced to 5 coaches.
Tuesday 10/1/06 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.40 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Stock for 07.45 Waterloo-Hounslow not expected until 07.46; all intermediate stops before Richmond axed for operational convenience. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 15.55 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Eastleigh. 15.58 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 16.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. Rear portion of 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth failed at Southampton; front portion left 7 minutes late without passengers for intermediate stations to Bournemouth who were thrown off with a lie about a replacement train being provided and left to await the 17.35 from Waterloo. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 12 minutes late.
Wednesday 11/1/06 06.31 Guildford-Aldershot axed due to duff stock. 07.23 Ascot-Guildford axed due to duff stock. 07.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 22 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Woking axed for operational convenience. 09.20 Basingstoke-Brighton 15 minutes late. 15.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 37 minutes late. 20.55 Southampton-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed for operational convenience. 21.30 Southampton-Waterloo 39 minutes late.
Thursday 12/1/06 06.07 Totton-Yeovil obviously hadn’t been cleaned overnight; sandwich wrappings on table and floor, along with a copy of the previous day’s Metro. 07.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 08.22 Epsom-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Basingstoke and Waterloo axed for operational convenience. Evening “line problem” in the Earlsfield area: yet another duff SWT train blocking the line. 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 35 minutes late. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 33 minutes late. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 44 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 29 minutes late. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth 31 minutes late. 17.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 36 minutes late. 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.55 Southampton-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 38 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 49 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 50 minutes late. 18.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 43 minutes late. 18.11 Waterloo-Basingstoke 50 minutes late. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 18.25 Waterloo-Alton 32 minutes late. 18.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 51 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 62 minutes late. 18.38 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton 40 minutes late. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 49 minutes late. 18.50 Dorking-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 61 minutes late. 18.54 Hampton Court 35 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 24 minutes late. 18.55 Waterloo-Alton 52 minutes late. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 18.59 Effingham Junction-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 51 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Epsom 21 minutes late. 19.03 Woking-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 50 minutes late. 19.05 Alton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 19.08 Guildford-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 43 minutes late. 19.10 Chessington-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 19.12 Waterloo-Eastleigh 30 minutes late. 19.15 Waterloo-Havant 21 minutes late. 19.18 Guildford-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 19.20 Waterloo-Honiton/Bristol 21 minutes late. 19.24 Waterloo-Dorking 22 minutes late. 19.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.25 Waterloo-Alton 32 minutes late. 19.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 41 minutes late. 19.33 Woking-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 34 minutes late. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton 33 minutes late. 19.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 55 minutes late. 19.40 Chessington-Waterloo 29 minutes late. Shepperton-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 19.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 27 minutes late. 19.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 20.03 Woking-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 36 minutes late. 20.08 Guildford-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 20.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 31 minutes late. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 37 minutes late. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late. 20.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 43 minutes late (the crew for this train arrive on the 19.05 from Waterloo, so clearly Stagecoach hadn’t bothered to get an alternative crew). 20.44 Alton-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 21.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 51 minutes late. 21.14 Alton-Waterloo 20 minutes late; West Byfleet and Surbiton stops axed for operational convenience. 21.19 Portsmouth-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 21.30 Southampton-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 21.40 Chessington-Waterloo 19 minutes late.
Friday 13/1/06 08.05 Portsmouth-Reading axed between Portsmouth and Eastleigh due to duff stock. 17.00 Romsey-Totton 8 minutes late. 18.57 Brighton-Reading 18 minutes late. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Wool.
Saturday 14/1/06 06.42 Bournemouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 09.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 16.29 Brockenhurst-Lymington axed due to no guard. 16.44 Lymington-Brockenhurst axed due to no guard. 20.20 Waterloo-Reading 17 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stations before Feltham axed for operational convenience.
Sunday 15/1/06 07.32 Yeovil-Waterloo 21 minutes late.
Monday 16/1/06 Passengers on the 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo thrown off at Yeovil due to duff stock. Passengers on the 19.07 Weybridge-Waterloo thrown off at Feltham. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot.
Tuesday 17/1/06 05.41 Salisbury-Totton 10 minutes late. 14.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Havant. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.23 Windsor-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops after Staines for operational convenience.
Wednesday 18/1/06 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Salisbury. 11.00 Romsey-Totton 8 minutes late. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 19.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 20.39 Waterloo-Southampton 19 minutes late due to duff stock.
Thursday 19/1/06 08.10 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. Dreadful overcrowding for homegoing Southampton line commuters; 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton axed, 5 coaches of the 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth detached at Eastleigh for Southampton, and the 18.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches.
Friday 20/1/06 Morning chaos for Portsmouth line commuters owing to a derailment. 05.45 from Portsmouth simply advertised at Waterloo as delayed. 06.40 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 06.55 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 07.06 Basingstoke-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury reduced to 3 coaches. 07.50 Waterloo-Guildford delayed with engineer attending. 08.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late.
Saturday 21/1/06 08.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. Train arrived at Southampton Central and the departure screen immediately indicated that it would be the 14.55 to Waterloo. Passengers boarded and the screen changed to show it as the 14.42 to Portsmouth. More passengers boarded. By departure time nobody had been seen to alight.
Monday 23/1/06 Passengers amazed by the aggressive attitude of the guard of the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth towards a ticketless young foreign student who clearly didn’t understand the system and thought Bournemouth was a few minutes’ ride from Waterloo.
Tuesday 24/1/06 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth several minutes late due to a late running Virgin-Stagecoach train; as it braked at Southampton Central, the ‘connecting’ stopping train to Weymouth departed. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches.
Wednesday 25/1/06 06.55 Reading-Brighton 32 minutes late. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no guard. 08.25 Exeter-Waterloo 21 minutes late due to duff stock. 08.43 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 14 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops before Richmond axed for operational convenience. 08.48 Effingham Junction-Waterloo 13 minutes late; stops at Ewell West, Stoneleigh, Worcester Park, Motspur Park and Raynes Park axed for operational convenience. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. Duff train at Norbiton caused evening disruption, with delays of up to 30 minutes advertised.
Thursday 26/1/06 08.05 Portsmouth-Reading axed due to duff stock. 08.52 Bristol-Salisbury axed between Bristol and Westbury due to duff stock. 10.04 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke due to duff stock. 15.14 Alton-Waterloo axed. Signalling problems in the Portsmouth area destroyed the mainline evening peak service and caused gross overcrowding on trains from Waterloo via Southampton. 15.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 15.52 Bristol-Salisbury axed due to duff stock. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth 79 minutes late. 16.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 111 minutes late. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 16.36 Portsmouth-Southampton axed. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 98 minutes late. 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 47 minutes late. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 17.56 Southampton-Bournemouth axed. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 26 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 18.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 23 minutes late. 19.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 19.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton 28 minutes late due to no crew; passengers thrown off at Basingstoke. 19.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 19.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops axed for operational convenience. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 20.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late. 20.15 Waterloo-Haslemere axed due to no rolling stock. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 20.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to no rolling stock. 22.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to no crew.
Friday 27/1/06 08.31 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole axed due to duff stock. 16.05 Waterloo-Reading delayed due to duff stock. 16.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. At about 17.02, the doors of the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth were locked and the guard announced that this was due to a fault with the doors which should be rectified shortly. Passengers realised that this was a lie when the guard walked through the train with two police officers, checking toilet doors. The external doors were reopened at 17.19 to admit passengers freezing on the platform and the train departed at 17.20, the guard then announcing that there had been an attack against a passenger but the assailant could not be found. Train was 20 minutes late from Southampton. 18.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock.
Saturday 28/1/06 07.59 Basingstoke-Paignton 28 minutes late due to duff stock. Passengers on the 08.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Haslemere due to duff stock. 08.28 Guildford-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 08.38 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 17 minutes late. 09.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 10.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 13.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late. 14.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 51 minutes late. 14.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 14 minutes late. 15.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 17.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed between Guildford and Waterloo. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late.
Sunday 29/1/06 13.45 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Monday 30/1/06 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 23 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late
Tuesday 31/1/06 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 08.46 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 19.33 Woking-Waterloo 12 minutes late.
MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Thursday 8/12/05 OIL INDUSTRY TARGETS EU CLIMATE POLICY. Lobbyists funded by the US oil industry have launched a campaign in Europe aimed at derailing efforts to tackle greenhouse gas pollution and climate change. Documents obtained by Greenpeace reveal a systematic plan to persuade European business, politicians and the media that the EU should abandon its commitments under the Kyoto Treaty. The documents were written by Chris Horner, a Washington lawyer and senior fellow at the rightwing thinktank, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which has received funding of more than £750 million from US oil giant Exxon Mobil. Plans are set out to establish a European Sound Climate Policy Coalition. An informal coalition in the US had helped avert the adoption of a Kyoto-style programme and the objective is to guide similar efforts in Europe. In January, Sir Robert May, former Government Chief Scientist, warned of such initiatives by US lobby groups. (Guardian)
Monday 12/12/05 MONTREAL DEAL RAISES HOPES FOR EUROPE’S EMISSIONS SCHEME. An eleventh hour deal to tackle global warming was reached in Canada when US delegates returned to sign a draft statement calling for international cooperation. The Government is now calling on other European states to extend the emissions trading scheme after 2012. Downing Street said we needed to give businesses the confidence to make long-term investment decisions which will help reduce harmful carbon emissions. Green groups pointed out that UK transport emissions were still rising, and the Government had little chance of meeting its aspiration of a 20% cut by 2012. Hard work was needed to follow up the political agreement. Carbon trading is the cornerstone of EU efforts to tackle global warming but was put under pressure last month when Britain won a legal case allowing it to press for looser limits on polluting industries. There are concerns that other member states will similarly revise emissions allowances upwards. The volte-face by the US followed attacks on its stance in foreign and domestic media and from other Us politicians, including former president Bill Clinton. (Guardian)
Thursday 12/1/06 TREES MAY BE CONTRIBUTING TO GLOBAL WARMING. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics believe that trees may produce 10-30% of the 600 million tons of methane produced every year. It was previously thought methane was largely due to the burning of fuels and digestive gases released by grazing animals. The level of methane in the earth’s atmosphere has tripled in the last 150 years and is believed to be second only to carbon dioxide in causing the planet to heat up. (Metro)
Thursday 12/1/06 POLLUTERS MAKE A MOVE ON CLIMATE CHANGE. The US, Australia, Japan, China, South Korea and India told a meeting in Sydney of the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate that they want to help businesses use clean technologies. However, critics say the talks are just a way to avoid signing up to binding targets like those in the Kyoto Protocol, which the US and Australia refuse to endorse. The Partnership aims to guarantee economic growth and energy security as well as bringing down greenhouse gas emissions. The Australian foreign minister pledged that the private sector, as well as governments, is going to sit down and try to work out solutions to some of the problems. Current carbon emissions are higher than at any time in the past 650,000 years, according to researchers. The International Energy Agency says that, if governments stick to their current policies, global energy needs and carbon emissions will be 50% higher in 2030 than last year. (Metro)
Tuesday 24/1/06 NEW ZEALAND HEADS LEAGUE TABLE ON ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES. In league tables launched at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, the UK has been ranked fifth best in tackling global and environmental problems. The tables were produced by international scientists from Yale and Columbia universities in the US. New Zealand came top, followed by Sweden, Finland and the Czech Republic. The world’s poorest countries, mainly in Africa, came bottom , mainly because their governments had no resources to address the mounting problems of drinking water, indoor air pollution, sanitation, and loss of forests. The report concluded that good governance emerges as a critical driver of environmental performance. America’s performance, ranked as 28th, was of global concern. The lagging performance of the US on environmental issues, particularly on energy and climate change, signals trouble for the whole world. The US had the best water quality in the world, but was ranked low on energy. The UK scored highly on environmental health but did not score highly on greenhouse gas emissions or air quality. Its rankings (with US rankings in brackets) were 4th (13th) for environmental health, 84th (124th) on productive and natural resources, 52nd (33rd) on biodiversity and habitat, 42nd (97th) on air quality, and 55th (80th) on sustainable energy.(Guardian)
Thursday 26/1/06 GERMANY’S OAKS COULD DIE OUT. Germany’s magnificent oak forests are feeling the effects of climate change, with one in every two oak trees officially sick. A report says that things have marginally improved since last year, but oaks are dying at an alarming rate. They can live for 1,000 years but have suffered badly from climate change over the last 30 years, with the effects exacerbated by the freak weather of 2002 and 2003. (Guardian)
Friday 27/1/06 GREEN FUEL NOT ENOUGH TO CUT TRANSPORT POLLUTION. The long-delayed, government-funded report by the University College London Bartlett school of planning and the consultancy Halcrow has found that environmentally friendly vehicles using hydrogen-based fuels and hybrid power sources will have little impact on preventing “dangerous and irreversible pollution”. Even if green vehicles become commonplace, Britain’s seemingly insatiable appetite for travel will cancel out benefits and critically pollute air. The work advocates radical measures to change behaviour including lower speed limits, road charging, investment in cycling and even a policy of higher oil prices and “rations” for carbon emissions. Technological changes aren’t enough; support is needed for behavioural awareness and educational programmes. Getting a greener car doesn’t mean that people can drive twice as far. The report was to look at how Britain could achieve a 60% reduction in carbon emissions from transport by 2030 as part of an initiative to go beyond targets set by the Kyoto Treaty. The report recommends car clubs and making a single trip for a number of different purposes. A Transport Department spokesman said the Government was taking steps to tackle emissions through tax incentives for cleaner vehicles. (Guardian)
Tuesday 31/1/06 CARBON EMISSION TARGETS DELAYED BY GOVERNMENT ROW. The Government’s strategy to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the battle against climate change has been paralysed for seven months by a dispute between the Department of Trade and Industry and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Labour has pledged in three successive manifestos that by 2010 it will cut the UK’s CO2 emissions by 20% below 1990 levels. DTI argues that emissions have risen so fast over the past two years that Britain is unlikely to meet the target, and that 10% looks more likely. DEFRA, with less statistical and economic modelling power, considers that the original target can still be met if vigorous measures are taken. Ministers are frustrated that the UK’s claim to international leadership on climate change is being undermined. In an attempt to step up pressure on No 10, Ministers warn that David Cameron is putting the environment at the heart of the repositioning of his party. The Prime Minister has taken a strong position on climate change but privately believes that Mr Cameron’s promise to cut carbon emissions year on year is undeliverable. The row is against the background of renewed warnings that the dangers posed by climate change are more serious than previously thought. Margaret Beckett has published the findings of a study which includes evidence from the head of the British Antarctic Survey that the west Antarctic ice sheet may be beginning to disintegrate. Scientists believe that would raise sea levels around the world by about 5 metres (16 feet). In the domestic climate change programme, ministers have been looking at a range of options including tougher building regulations, higher vehicle excise duty on polluting cars and cuts in council tax to give incentives for domestic energy efficiency. Businesses have already cut emissions, but carbon emissions from transport are projected to have gone up by 16% between 1990 and 2010. Nuclear power stations could not be built n time to contribute to the 2010 target. Liberal Democrat and Conservative spokesmen have expressed frustration at the delays. (Guardian)
MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
Thursday 1/12/05 BAG SNATCHERS. Thousands of rail passengers are falling victim to pickpockets, bag snatchers and thieves in the South East. At the 355 mainline stations and 248 suburban Underground stations covered by the study, the average number of annual crimes is 34 and 72 respectively. Passengers are particularly vulnerable to being taken by surprise when alighting from trains and getting out their mobile phones or car keys. The Transport Committee blames the fragmentation of the railways and profit-driven nature of private sector rail franchises. After the tube and the major stations run by Network Rail, the problem is worst on SWT, with 1,547 crimes in a year. (Evening Standard)
Friday 2/12/05 DOUBTFUL FUTURE FOR ROMSEY-CHANDLERS FORD-EASTLEIGH-SOUTHAMPTON- TOTTON SERVICE. DfT proposals would reduce the service to a local Romsey-Eastleigh shuttle. Hampshire County Council paid £3m for the new station at Chandlers Ford, the SRA gave a grant of £3.3m to run it for 3 years, and Eastleigh Council provided £225,000. The service has taken almost 1,000 car journeys off the roads into Southampton every weekday since it was introduced. The County Council and Eastleigh councillors are determined to fight for the current service and public opinion is generally in favour of retention or improvement. (Southern Daily Echo)
Saturday 3/12/05 HORRENDOUS TRANSPORT INFRASTRUCTURE DEFICIT. Letter from Peter Langdon, chairman of transport and planning at Gosport Council, condemning decision to axe the South Hampshire Rapid Transport scheme. The scheme is said to have had the best business case of any similar scheme in Europe. It was endorsed at a public enquiry and originally approved by the Government. To refuse to fund it now defies all logic. Both the M27 and A27 are working at over capacity. It can take 2½ hours to travel 19 miles from Gosport to Southampton. (Southern Daily Echo)
Tuesday 6/12/05 FREE TICKETS TO CUT RAIL CROWDS. London rail passengers could be offered free tickets to encourage them to travel by train. A host of cut-price offers and promotions are planned for travellers who start their journey after 9.30am. Rail chiefs are desperate to ease overcrowding at peak times. The move is one of a number being considered by Govia which has been awarded the Integrated Kent Franchise. It is also considering cut-price tickets for as little as £1, like the Stagecoach Megatrain scheme. Passenger demand is forecast to increase by 23% over the coming decade. South Eastern Trains and SWT have ripped out seats, with many trains in the morning peak already breaking recommendations for the number of people standing. (Evening Standard)
Wednesday 7/12/05 CANCELLATION OF SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAPID TRANSPORT SCHEME A DISASTER. Fareham MP, Mark Hoban, severely criticises the decision to scrap the proposed Portsmouth-Gosport tramway. This will lead to more traffic queues and deterioration in the quality of life. A good transport system underpins a strong economy. Road and rail links make a huge difference to business. The economic cost of bottlenecks was an argument for pushing the M3 through Twyford Down, and this can also be applied to the planned A3 tunnel at Hindhead. Jobs can be lost to France or Germany through poor transport links. More than half the businesses which responded to a CBI survey said that Britain’s transport links damaged the country’s reputation as a place to do business. The day before the scheme was ditched, the Government announced funding for congestion charge pilots. It might work if there were a good transport network. A coherent strategic approach to transport infrastructure is needed. (Southern Daily Echo)
Wednesday 7/12/05 84-TON LORRIES BANNED. Minister Stephen Ladyman has rejected plans to introduce 84-ton lorries. Plans for 60-ton 95-foot long lorries have also been blocked. The current limit is 44 tons and 62 feet. The Minister said more research into the impact of the lorries on pavements, roads and bridges was needed. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 8/12/05 RAIL COMMUTERS TO BE HIT BY 10% FARE RISES. London rail commuters face increases of up to 4 times the rate of inflation. The increases start on New Year’s Day. SWT is increasing commuter fares by about 4%, with off-peak fares going up 4.9%. The company has just announced a 30% increase in its half-year profits, to £24.4m. Off-peak Monday-Friday fares on the Fenchurch Street line will go up 10% because commuters are staggering their hours and travelling after 9.30am, but weekend off-peak fares will go down 10%. Commuters on South Eastern will see fares increase 6%. Brian Cooke, Chairman of London Travel Watch condemned the increases. He described the 8% rise on Virgin-Stagecoach open standard returns from Euston as “quite disgraceful”. The fare to Preston will jump from £195 to £210, and the fare to Birmingham from £100 to £108. (Metro)
Friday 9/12/05 BUS AND LIGHT RAIL TARGETS. The DfT’s target growth for bus and light rail use will be met in England only because of the increase in bus journeys in London. The capital is the only area where bus use is growing, with an increase of 40% since 1999/2000. London accounted for 44% of all bus journeys in 2004/05 and this alone could be enough to meet the DfT’s overall target of 12% growth nationally by 2010. Elsewhere bus use has dropped by an average of 7% over the last 4 years. The Audit Commission chairman said that buses were an important lifeline. What stands out is that, where there is strong local leadership to increase their use, as in London, the difference is real and the public notices it. (Metro)
Friday 9/12/05 PROBE INTO BUS FIRMS’ £89 MILLION PROFIT BONANZA. The private firms running London’s buses have seen their profits double in two years. Profits shot up 31.7% last year, more than 6 times faster than for bus companies outside London. TfL subsidises the 8,000 vehicle network by £634 million a year, an amount set to reach almost £1 billion by 2010. Concerns over value for money have sparked a review by the London Assembly. Go-Ahead made more than £30m, First Group £19.6m, Arriva £14.7m and Stagecoach £14.5m. Knowing it would take years to improve the Tube, Ken Livingstone decided to concentrate on buses first. The London Assembly is now concerned that passengers are effectively paying twice, once through their fares and once through taxes. (Evening Standard)
Friday 9/12/05 MIDLANDS/NORTH EAST/KENT. DfT officials appear to be dealing with traffic congestion by ignoring it. The decision that an express coach can link Walsall and Wolverhampton faster than a non-stop train is a farcical pretence. Now there are plans to close stations in the North East and axe Middlesbrough-Hartlepool-Newcastle services north of Sunderland, leaving passengers to change to the Tyne and Wear Metro. Officials claim that train can’t compete with car, but the train takes 49 minutes, and the AA advises that car takes 58 minutes in average off-peak driving conditions. A Hartlepool-Newcastle return rail ticket costs £6 (£6.60 at peak times); at the Inland Revenue’s approved mileage rate, making the round trip by car costs £25.60. Parking in Newcastle’s big NCP park costs £1.90 an hour. Since 1997, train fares have risen 7% in real terms and motoring costs have fallen 6%. Privatisation inflated the cost of providing local trains in northern England by 375%. The new Govia franchise in Kent is in partnership with a subsidiary of the French state railways. Last year’s Labour conference voted to keep the service under state control. Odd that the Government believes that the French state can make a better job of running the trains than could the British state. (Private Eye)
Thursday 15/12/05 LIGHT RAIL LEGAL MOVE? Mike Roberts, former environment spokesman of Hampshire Labour Group, applauds local authorities in Merseyside for giving the Secretary of State for Transport notice of their intention to seek judicial review over his failure to confirm support for their light rail proposals. Hampshire may have an even better case given the cavalier manner in which the Portsmouth-Gosport-Fareham tramway was cast aside. (Southern Daily Echo).
Thursday 15/12/05 LONDON TRAVEL STATISTICS FOR 2004. On an average day in London there were 27 million journeys. 42% were made by car; 36% by public transport; 21% by walking; and 2% by cycling. The share of journeys by public transport has increased 3% since 2000, reflecting a 15% growth over the same period. Bus and bike were the fastest growing modes of transport, whilst journeys by private transport grew by only just over 1%. The report, published by Transport for London, is on www.tfl.gov.uk/londontravelreport. (Metro)
Friday 16/12/05 RAILWAY FUNDING TO BE ‘SLASHED BY A QUARTER’. Network Rail could receive between £17 billion and £19.9 billion for 2009-14, up to 25% less than it got for 2004-09. The assessment was made by the Office of Rail Regulation, which says much more data need to be collected and many more decisions need to be made before a final decision is reached in 2008. £1.87 billion-£2.18 billion of the total would be for Scotland and the remainder for England and Wales. (Metro)
Monday 19/12/05 DOUBLE THE TROUBLE. Despite concerns about bendy buses, Stagecoach is developing a double deck version which it hopes to run initially in Manchester. (Evening Standard)
Wednesday 21/12/05 DEEP VEIN THROMBOSIS RISK IN CARS AND TRAINS. Travellers could risk life-threatening blood clots on even short trips. The biggest study so far into DVT, by the Department for Transport and World Health Organisation, found one case for every 6,000 trips of 4 hours. Pregnant women, elderly people, those with blood conditions, and those over 6ft 2in tall are particularly at risk. Up to 9,000 air travellers in Britain develop DVT each year. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 22/12/05 CROSS RIVER TRAMS. The Mayor of London is determined to build a new tram line across the Thames linking Brixton and Peckham with Camden Town and Kings Cross, via Waterloo Bridge. The scheme could be open by 2013. He would be prepared to block a £2 billion regeneration scheme involving thousands of new homes and offices at Kings Cross if the developer did not give the trams priority. The trams would run every 4 minutes and carry up to 66 million passengers a year. (Evening Standard)
Friday 23/12/05 SOUTH EASTERN / FIRST GROUP. The National Audit Office has found that “the successful termination of a train operating company’s franchise is feasible and that taxpayers’ and passengers’ interests can be protected”. Connex’s subsidy had been 9% higher than the post-privatisation subsidy. However, public sector SET paid for 260 extra workers (mainly drivers and station staff), staff pay rises, and painting and deep cleaning of stations. The NAO found that SET’s costs to the taxpayer have been well controlled. Go-Ahead, which has won the new Integrated Kent Franchise, including SET, is annoyed that Bournemouth Council chose not to allow the company an unregulated monopoly on Yellow Buses, and is instead selling to Transdev, part-owned by Paris’ nationalised bus and rail operator. Yet Go-Ahead won the Integrated Kent Franchise in partnership with Keolis, a subsidiary of French state rail. The Government has ignored First Group’s extortionate bus fare increases in awarding them the Thameslink and Greater Western franchises. First has imposed four bus fare increases in Sheffield in a year, blaming increases in fuel prices, even though its fuel prices are capped for a year. (Private Eye)
Wednesday 28/12/05 HAMPSHIRE TRANSPORT BOSSES WATCH LIVERPOOL’S APPEAL AGAINST TRAMWAY REJECTION. Hampshire County Council’s leader Ken Thornber says the council will be watching Liverpool’s legal proceedings against the Government’s rejection of their tramway plan. If the appeal looks like being successful, the council will look at its options in relation to the similar rejection of the Portsmouth-Gosport-Fareham scheme. (Southern Daily Echo)
Friday 30/12/05 RAIL TRAVEL AT HIGHEST LEVEL SINCE 1958. Travellers have clocked up some 1.07 billion journeys in 2005, an increase of 30 million compared with 2004, and exceeded only in 1957 and 1958 when the rail network was 40% bigger than it is today. Long-distance and regional services grew by 5%, and London and the South East by 1%, the lower rise reflecting the July bombings. The community rail strategy appeared to be working, with income on the St Ives branch climbing by 25%. (Guardian)
Tuesday 3/1/06 FARES AND OVERCROWDING SOAR. Commuters were hit by huge fare rises today. Increases in season ticket prices on SWT were almost the highest, at over 5%, compared with no increase on the Euston-Northampton line, and 1.4% on the Fenchurch Street-Southend line. Overcrowding has also increased dramatically, by 180% on SWT since Stagecoach took over the franchise. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 5/1/06 ROMSEY-TOTTON TRAIN SERVICE. Scores of people attended a meeting about the threat to the direct train service between Chandlers Ford and Southampton. Sandra Gidley, MP for Romsey, and Chris Huhne, MP for Eastleigh have started a petition which is fast approaching 2,000 signatures. They are trying to secure an early appointment with the transport minister. People were urged to write individual letters of support as well. Test Valley, Eastleigh and Southampton councils would also be fighting the move to truncate the present service. (Southern Daily Echo)
Friday 6/1/06 SNOW / VIRGIN TRAINS / PUNCTUALITY. With warnings of an unusually cold winter, Network Rail boasted that it was well prepared, and had snow blowers capable of dealing with 10 feet of snow. Much smaller amounts caused major delays in Kent during the period between Christmas and the New Year. Many other passengers were at the same time being inconvenienced by complete closure of sections of line for engineering work. / Virgin Trains Chief Tony Collins is confident that his trains can now compete with the airlines on the London-Glasgow route, and that passengers can just turn up and go. However, a Virgin Trains’ standard open return for the journey now costs £222, a 64% rise since Virgin took over in 1997 – about three times greater than general retail inflation. The net effect will be more pollution and congestion on roads, not what Richard Branson led us to expect in 1998 when he said his trains would attract so many motorists that “we can grass over the motorways”. None of this will help Britain cut its greenhouse gas emissions. / Officials are no longer prepared to promise better punctuality. When the Transport Department announced that First Group had won the Thameslink and Greater Western franchises last month, it said “On both franchises First Group expects to deliver continuous improvement in service performance”. However, a punctuality bulletin published before Christmas showed First Great Western as the least punctual Inter City franchise in July-September, First Great Western Link the least punctual London and South East franchise, and First Trans-Pennine Express as the least punctual regional franchise. Saturday 7/1/06 RAIL COMPANY SHOWS VERY CARING ATTITUDE. Disabled person who encountered problems on a train trip from New Milton to Worcester very impressed by the attitude of National Express’ Central Trains when she complained. (Southern Daily Echo)
Thursday 12/1/06 SECURITY SCANNING. Passengers travelling from Paddington to Heathrow can volunteer to pass through a body scanner. The process takes about 80 seconds. Another security measure being tested is CCTV programmed to sound an alarm when it spots suspicious behaviour. This was tried at Liverpool Street two years ago but led to too many false alarms. (Metro)
Friday 13/1/06 COUNTY COUNCIL LEADER BACKS TOTTON-ROMSEY SERVICE. Leader of Hampshire County Council, Ken Thornber supports campaign to retain direct service between Chandlers Ford and Southampton. The service attracts some 3,000 passenger journeys each week. (Southern Daily Echo)
Friday 13/1/06 DISABLED RIGHTS CAMPAIGNER STRANDED AT EUSTON STATION. Bert Massey, Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission, was left behind when the Virgin Train he had booked on left without him. A Network Rail worker said he was too busy to assist. Mr Massey complained of the surliness of staff. He had arrived 20 minutes early but, when he said he needed help as his train was leaving shortly, a staff member replied, “It’s just one of those things, if you miss the train, you miss the train”. Virgin said they were “very disappointed”. A Network Rail spokesman said he was unaware of the problem. (Evening Standard) [Sounds like the lack of focus on passengers which SWT commuters tend to take for granted]
Wednesday 18/1/06 DISGUSTING FEMALE TOILETS AT SOUTHAMPTON CENTRAL. Passenger complains that the ladies’ toilets at Southampton Central are “In dreadful need of redecorating and having new toilets and washbasins installed”. The writer travels quite a lot and finds most public toilets pleasant and kept very clean. (Southern Daily Echo)
Friday 20/1/06 FIRST GROUP / OYSTER CARDS. First Group seems to have a cosy relationship with the Government. Nicola Shaw at the SRA led on the development of franchise specifications for Greater Western and Thameslink. Mike Mitchell, business development manager at First Group, made initial bids for the franchises and moved to Department for Transport as director general of rail. Nicola Shaw moved to First Group and decided how best to meet the specifications for bidding which were drawn up when she was at the SRA. Assessing the franchise bids fell to Mike Mitchell and First Group won both. / Just before Christmas, Transport for London had to remove its “faster, smarter, easier” Oyster card advertisement on the grounds that the cards were none of these things. New prices were then downloaded to 2,500 ticket outlets two days too early and passengers were overcharged by 20p-70p. (Private Eye)
Friday 20/1/06 RAIL FARES COULD TRIPLE AS SAVER TICKETS FACE AXE. Passengers may be forced to pay standard fares even if they travel off-peak. Ministers want to give private train operators greater freedom to fix their prices. Some 50 million journeys were made on saver tickets last year. A saver from London to Manchester costs as little as £57.10; a full price return is £202. London Travelwatch fears that rail travel could be open only to rich people. Season tickets are not thought to be at risk. (Evening Standard)
Friday 27/1/06 PASSENGERS ABANDON NORTHERN FLIGHTS FOR PENDOLINOS. Air operators are being caused huge damage on the London-Manchester run by Virgin’s Pendolino services. Between September 2004 and October 2005, Passenger numbers have fallen 1.8% on BA Manchester-Heathrow service; 4.8% on BA’s Manchester-Gatwick service; 26% on BMI’s Manchester-Heathrow service; 30% on VLM’s Manchester-London City service; and 13% on Eastern Airways’ Manchester-Stansted service. Virgin Trains’ passengers between Manchester Piccadilly and Euston are up 96%. However, passengers have not given the Pendolino service unqualified approval. Only 80% were satisfied with punctuality; 83% with speed; 53% with the train toilets; and 49% with the way Virgin Trains dealt with delays. (Guardian)
Friday 27/1/06 VISION OF THE FUTURE WITH NO MORE GETTING STUCK IN TRAFFIC. You leave the house, swipe your journeycard across the door of the nearest person pod and hop in. While it drives you to the office by the least congested route, you sit back and dial up the Paris office. This is one of the scenarios considered by a government thinktank charged with looking at the future of UK transport over the next 50 years. The government’s chief scientific adviser says transport has never been cheaper and we all want to travel more. World production of oil is about 80 million barrels of oil a day; if the Chinese came to use cars as much as the average American, China would need 99 million barrels a day. The Foresight Programme of the Office of Science and Technology identified four future scenarios. These ranged from a post-energy shock world in which people trade locally and live off the land to a fast-moving tele-conferencing world in which automatic cars have become an extension of the office. (Guardian)
Monday 30/1/06 ROAD STATISTICS. Number of cars on UK roads was 17,000 in 1903, 17.3m in 1976 and 29.7m in 2001. Vehicle kilometres were 277bn in 1980 and 495bn in 2003. The average shopping trip distance increased from 3.5 miles in 1993 to 4.3 miles in 2003. At any given time, 30% of lorries on the road are not carrying a load. Road transport makes up around 21% of total man-made carbon dioxide emissions in the UK; road freight accounts for about 8%. Since 1997, the cost of driving has fallen 6% in real terms whereas bus fares have risen 16% and rail fares 7%. Each of us has a one in seventeen chance of being killed or seriously injured in a road crash during our lives. In 2002, men were responsible for 97% of dangerous driving offences, 94% of cases of causing death or bodily harm while driving; 89% of drink driving offences, 83% of speeding offences, 84% of neglect of traffic /directions/pedestrians’ rights offences and 77% of obstruction/waiting/parking offences. (Guardian)
NOTHING CHANGES IN TEN YEARS
When Stagecoach took on the SWT franchise in 1996, they disposed of too many drivers to boost their profits, and services had to be withdrawn. Ten years on, services are axed with monotonous regularity due to no train crews being available. What we don’t know is whether the problem is due to Stagecoach’s failure to employ enough staff or Stagecoach’s failure to motivate the staff they do have or, indeed, to both.
A few more recent examples - these are minimum figures as they are based on occasional monitoring during the relevant days:
Saturday 3/12/05 Around 20 trains axed.
Saturday 10/12/05 Around 20 trains axed.
Monday 12/12/05 Around 10 trains axed.
Saturday 17/12/05 Around 10 trains axed.
Friday 23/12/05 Around 10 trains axed.
Saturday 31/12/05 Around 40 trains axed.
This is on top of the many cancellations due to defective rolling stock.