HOGRIDER 109 : July-September 2006
SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS' GROUP NEWSLETTER
SWT REFRANCHISING: STAGECOACH’S BRIAN SOUTER SAYS “WE KIND OF LIKE UNCERTAINTY” BUT SWT COMMUTERS NEED CERTAINTY
PRESS EVIDENCE OF PASSENGERS FINDING THAT SWT:IS “UNRELIABLE AND UNCARING”; NEEDS “A LONG OVERDUE IMPROVEMENT TO CUSTOMER SERVICE”; AND DEMONSTRATES A “COMPLETE FAILURE IN CARE AND REGARD FOR THE SAFETY OF PASSENGERS”
MORE SWT HOLIDAY PERIOD MISERY DUE TO TRAINCREW SHORTAGE
MORE OF SWT’S AWFUL CUSTOMER SERVICE
MORE OF SWT’S INFORMATION DEFICIT
COST OF IMPROVEMENTS AT SOUTHAMPTON CENTRAL – AN ONGOING SAGA
SHRUG LETTER PUBLISHED IN ‘RAIL’ ISSUE 543
SHRUG LETTERS PUBLISHED IN SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO
INDUSTRIAL ACTION ON SWT MAY HAVE COST THE ECONOMY £7 MILLION; RAIL UNION AVOIDS FURTHER DISRUPTION BY GOING TO COURT
SWT’S REMARKABLE E’MOTION MAGAZINE AND WEBSITE
ASK VIRGIN TRAINS (49% STAGECOACH OWNED) FOR A CLEAN TABLE AT YOUR PERIL
MORE PROFITEERING BY STAGECOACH DIRECTORS
PROFITEERING BY STAGECOACH BUSES
STAGECOACH SUPPORTERS SHOW INCREASING DESPERATION
LETTER ABOUT CROSS COUNTRY FRANCHISE
CUTTING DIRECT TRAINS – IS THERE A DISABILITY ISSUE?
FIRST’S EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE
APPENDIX 1: DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER – 8
APPENDIX 2: RAIL PERFORMANCE REPORTS
APPENDIX 3: MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
APPENDIX 4: MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
SWT REFRANCHISING: STAGECOACH’S BRIAN SOUTER SAYS “WE KIND OF LIKE UNCERTAINTY” BUT SWT COMMUTERS NEED CERTAINTY
In 2001, the outcome of the second South Western franchising exercise was leaked two months ahead of the official announcement. It would be unsurprising therefore if a decision on the third exercise has already been made.
It is worth remembering that this latest exercise, which is likely to have involved a significant administrative cost at taxpayers’ expense, was born of failure. Stagecoach was chosen as preferred bidder for a second term of 20 years, which was reduced to three because of the company’s financial failure and SWT’s poor performance. If the third franchise, of 8 to 10 years, goes to Stagecoach, the company will in effect have been given back much of what it lost through its own shortcomings. That scarcely looks like an ethical transport policy or best use of public funds.
Meanwhile, the London Chamber of Commerce’s figures suggest that the rail strike on 29 August will have cost the economy £7 million. As the “Megaplaint” history of SWT on our website shows, poor industrial relations have been a strong feature of the company under Stagecoach operation.
What South Western rail users, and commuters in particular, now need is a long period of stability and certainty. So what are the omens?
Opposition MPs are reportedly furious that Stagecoach wants to dispose of its highly subsidised London bus operations, after just a few years, for a profit of £120 million. Stagecoach chairman Brian Souter says the contractual nature of the London business “does not appeal” to Stagecoach and “We kind of like uncertainty”. That meshes perfectly with reports that Stagecoach is involved in bus wars in Manchester, where there are fears of safety being compromised through congestion, and the Traffic Commissioner has been asked to intervene (report in Hogrider 108).
So does Mr. Souter want to hang on to tightly-regulated SWT simply because this is expected to increase the value of his 3.5 million share options up to fivefold (Evening Standard, 21/8/06)? Stagecoach’s profits from SWT have soared over the past decade. Yet SWT has been fined more than any other operator for poor performance. In the most recent available statistics, it is rated fifteenth best out of 25 train operators in terms of passenger satisfaction. This has been to some extent disguised by operators being grouped, but the groupings are crude – for example, GNER and First Great Western are grouped together as “long-distance” but the former is an Inter-City operator whilst FGW operates Inter City, regional and London commuter services.
SWT has been heftily bailed out by taxpayers, yet runs the slowest services since steam. Many commuters now spend 30 minutes to one hour longer on SWT trains each week. Allowing for sleeping time, this equates to one to two days of their lives wasted each year. It has hired a fleet of relatively cheap new trains (120 carriages fewer than promised) which are notoriously prone to breaking down. So much so, that some extra units have belatedly been ordered. It has for years been content to run its flagship long-distance trains with finger-trap hazards permanently marked by warning tape, and has failed to address the serious consequences for passengers of the defective air conditioning on the same units.
SWT operates with its back firmly turned on passengers so, despite its slower timetable, trains have their doors locked up to one minute early in the faces of those running to catch them. This is effectively a double whammy, which it calls customer focus, in return for some of the highest fares in Europe. It has made pretty clear that, in the event of passengers being assaulted, they needn’t bother looking to train crews to intervene, and there are well-chronicled safety concerns at some of its stations. It calls this making safety its top priority.
The company consistently claims that the initial fleet of new Desiro trains it ordered for hire is worth £1bn, when it is worth only £545m. Following our challenge in the press to its claim to have spent £250 million on face-lifting Southampton Central, the amount has been adjusted to £250,000.
It then rubs salt in the wounds of its passengers by boasting of its array of glittering awards “jostling for space”, an insensitive metaphor of the overcrowding commonly experienced by commuters due to breakdowns, rolling stock and crew shortages, and the deliberate omission of stops and termination of services short of destination for operational convenience.
Railways expert Christian Wolmar recently attended the National Transport Awards event and commented on his website that “there is still the sense that there are far too many of these events, especially when it comes to the railways where there are no fewer than three major sets of awards for an industry whose performance since privatisation has been patchy to say the least". For pure farce, SWT has given Brockenhurst station an internal award for customer service at abound the same time as a user complained in the press of suffering arrogant and uncaring treatment there.
So, in looking at Stagecoach’s SWT, ignore their words and consider their history, as in the “Megaplaint” document and covering letter to MPs on www.shrug.info. Our Group has given MPs in the SWT area a copy of this document, which has also gone to, and been acknowledged by, the Railways Minister and Department for Transport, thanks to a Parliamentary Question by Mike Hancock MP. We issued a supplementary report on 31 August 2006. These documents outline SWT’s history of failing its customers, and reproduces some of the many serious complaints as recorded in the press over the years.
In addition to preserving this collective experience of SWT under Stagecoach, articulated through many voices, 15 members of our Group have attended 5 meetings with companies bidding to take over the franchise. We believe that a change of operator would effect an immediate culture change, ridding the SWT operation of its overlay of highly manipulative PR. Over time, there could be wide-ranging practical improvements, for example because SWT is a major commuter railway and SWT dislikes commuters. This phenomenon has been articulated for example by director Rufus Boyd before the Hampshire economic forum, and more implicitly in SWT’s September/October ‘e’motion’ magazine in which Passenger Focus representative Jocelyn Pearson gets remarkably negative responses to her suggestions for improving the lot of season ticket holders.
This new edition of Hogrider continues the unedifying history, with its familiar pattern of fine words which often bear limited resemblance to reality, and passengers irate over security, customer service standards, and lack of information.
Such a substantial and enduring body of opinion against Stagecoach must make a tremendous case for a change of operator. We believe that so many people, over a period of more than a decade, cannot all be wrong. The company has failed to be selected to run any other franchise. Why should SWT passengers, uniquely, suffer it three times in a row?
The only question which remains, therefore, is whether commuters’ first-hand evidence will be heeded. Making a fair case does not guarantee being listened to. To cite an extreme example, remember Hans Blix? Had he been listened to, the British political landscape might now be quite different.
It was extremely disappointing news that GNER had to pull out of its joint bid with MTR for the SWT franchise. Enormous sympathy goes to GNER’s Christopher Garnett who has done so much to push up customer service standards on his existing franchise, and wanted to do the same on SWT.
However, National Express, until recently the major rail franchise operator in Great Britain, has now partnered MTR. National Express withdrew its solo bid in order to concentrate on its newly acquired franchises, this possibly suggesting that it did not want to overstretch its resources. With the advantage of MTR resources, the MTR/National Express partnership can be expected to have offered a really strong bid. The return of National Express is especially heartening for our Group, given last year’s meeting specially arranged for us by the company, with two senior managers generously giving of their time to travel from Birmingham to Southampton for the purpose.
Overall, our thanks are due to National Express, Arriva, GNER, MTR and First Group for meeting us (twice in the case of Arriva) and to Go Ahead (who subsequently withdrew) for constructive initial contacts. We have also liaised with First Group on the Greater Western franchise. We wish them all good luck and would look forward to maintaining a constructive liaison with them.
PRESS EVIDENCE OF PASSENGERS FINDING THAT SWT IS “UNRELIABLE AND UNCARING”; NEEDS “A LONG OVERDUE IMPROVEMENT TO CUSTOMER SERVICE”; AND DEMONSTRATES A “COMPLETE FAILURE IN CARE AND REGARD FOR THE SAFETY OF PASSENGERS”
(From Southern Daily Echo 14 July 2006 – writer not known to SHRUG)
“Rail firm is not on the right tracks for me!
I refer to the article in the Daily Echo (July 5), headed Rail Firm is on Track with Times. I am afraid my experiences have been very different.
Only last week, I caught the delayed 7.55 train from Winchester to Woking. It was announced as stopping at Basingstoke, Woking and Waterloo.
Having boarded the train, we continued on our journey until just before Basingstoke, when the guard made an announcement to the effect that it would no longer be stopping at Woking, in order to make up time! I was therefore forced to get off the train at Basingstoke and look for another train to continue on my journey.
This is totally unacceptable and not a very customer-friendly way in which to address the problem of late trains!
I have written to South West Trains for an explanation. It appears that there is more than one way to interpret its performance. My interpretation is unreliable and uncaring. Figures count more than causing inconvenience to passengers.
Mrs Jackie Brooks, Dibden Purlieu.”
(From Lymington Times 30 August 2006 – person not known to SHRUG)
"Train traveller upset by station employee"
A New Milton man was left feeling stunned when a Brockenhurst station assistant, who failed to help him arrange alternative travel following a cancelled service, told him he “should have got an earlier train because they don’t run on time”. Ian Rayner said he needed to get home urgently because his son was locked out, but the assistant refused to arrange a taxi because he had not been delayed for an hour, and was “arrogant and totally unhelpful”. Left “humiliated and embarrassed”, he added that the employee declined to write down his name. He missed an important business appointment. SWT said they do provide taxis but the “number they had on the day was limited” [at Brockenhurst?!]. They were adamant that the member of staff was not abusive [presumably arrogant and unhelpful is OK?].
One reason for SWT’s defensiveness may be that they have recently given Brockenhurst their award for being “the best medium station for the standard of facilities and customer service offered by the employees”.
(From the Evening Standard of 5 September 2006 – writer not known to SHRUG)
“South West Trains refuses to replace my lost season ticket – it gave me a new one six months ago and now has a policy of only replacing a season ticket once. I now have to purchase two weeks’ worth of travel I’ve already paid for; SWT doesn’t seem to care I’ve spent £10,000+ on season tickets over the years.
Liesel van Ast”
(From Southern Daily Echo 7 August 2006 – writer not known to SHRUG)
“My nightmare trip in first class
This is a warning to passengers travelling on their own. Unsurprisingly, there was no ticket collector seen on the South West Trains 9.10pm departure from Weymouth on Saturday, July 29. The train was rowdy and yobs were smoking in a first class compartment. An announcement was heard after they boarded in the Bournemouth area stating that smoking would not be allowed, so it was obvious staff knew there was a problem. The solution it seems, was to allow them to move into first class.
Despite us telephoning the transport police from the train, and despite an argument with the guard, who appeared as we left first class at 10.40pm because we felt unsafe, nothing was done when we alighted at Southampton.
When we asked the guard to check tickets in first class he turned to two older men, who were no trouble, but did not go near the six smoking, shouting yobs.
The guard informed us angrily that train revenue was no concern of his and it was up to him who sat in first class. He shouted at us that this was the “drunks’ train” (a very offensive label to many of us on board) and he had no interest in our concern.
We therefore left our first class seats to sit among the unchallenged, drunken shouting in second class where we felt mildly safer.
Meanwhile, there was never any further sign of the ticket collector, despite being on the train until Southampton where we alighted just before 11pm.
There was (as usual) no ticket collection on SWT’s Totton to Romsey service. There are never any staff on this train after 8pm. The loss of revenue and lack of visible authority renders the train unsafe.
I was told at least a year ago by a staff member on this service that they are advised to “stay out of the way” late evening. We have travelled on many trains in the evening with no staff presence and we believe this to be company policy. This is a complete failure in SWT’s duty of care to passengers.
Should passengers be assaulted or threatened on evening trains there would be nothing and no one to help them. This is a complete failure in care and regard for the safety of passengers.”
SWT’S HISTORY OF DUTY OF CARE FAILURES
In response to this letter, an SWT spokesman said that this was not what they considered acceptable. So what does SWT consider acceptable? The spokesman stated that staff are instructed to patrol trains regardless of time, but they are not expected to enter into situations which may result in an assault. In reality though, there is a long history of duty of care failures.
In the Evening Standard of 31 January 2002, a reader complained, “I have suffered the SWT experience for too long … SWT’s biggest problem is that too high a percentage of its staff are demoralised, disinterested … One weekend my 17-year-old son was left bleeding from an assault on an SWT train, from Reading to Wokingham. When he sought the aid of the driver, he was told to ‘F*** off, I bet you haven’t paid anyway’ ”. A Surbiton banker had commented to the paper earlier in the same month that, “It’s a diabolical service anyway. We get treated worse than animals in this system and it is very frustrating”.
In the Southern Daily Echo of 19 December 2005, a reader complained of suffering a minor assault and commented, “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 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”.
Security is similarly illusory on SWT stations. Huge concern about some stations, including many run by SWT was expressed in the Evening Standard and Southern Daily Echo earlier this year. SHRUG has long argued that Stagecoach has used station gating to protect revenue during the daytime, but has left it out of use in late evening when passengers are generally more vulnerable. Such shortcomings have now been widely recognised and condemned. No sooner had Hampton Court received “secure station” status on the subjective basis that passengers were likely to feel secure there, than people were writing to the press to say they didn’t. At least tickets are well cared for. On 31 August there were three inspectors guarding the narrow exit from the down platform at Totton.
As always, it’s a case of ‘words before deeds’ on SWT. Like the full-page advertisement in the Evening Standard of 26 July 2006, saying “Can you put a price on peace of mind? The safety and security of our passengers is paramount --- At South West Trains we never compromise on safety”. Oh yeah?
MORE SWT HOLIDAY PERIOD MISERY DUE TO TRAINCREW SHORTAGE
SWT’s inadequate staffing traditionally means cancellations at certain peak holiday times. This includes the period around the August Bank Holiday. As if the misery of industrial action on 29 August wasn’t enough, note the following extracts from our performance reports:
Saturday 19/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 07.28 Guildford-Waterloo; 12.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo; 13.53 Waterloo-Alton between Farnham and Alton; 15.44 Alton-Waterloo between Alton and Farnham; 15.58 Guildford-Waterloo; 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo between Bournemouth and Waterloo; 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth between Southampton and Weymouth (website said passengers to change at Southampton for other services to Weymouth but there aren’t any until the 21.35 from Waterloo); 20.39 Waterloo-Southampton; 23.10 Weymouth-Bournemouth.
Monday 21/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 07.20 Poole-Waterloo; 10.05 Fareham-Basingstoke; 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth; 16.59 Wareham-Brockenhurst.
Tuesday 22/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 07.51 Southampton-Portsmouth; 09.32 Portsmouth-Southampton.
Friday 25/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 07.25 Weymouth-Brockenhurst between Bournemouth and Brockenhurst.
Saturday 26/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 06.31 Guildford-Ascot between Guildford and Aldershot; 07.08 Aldershot-Guildford; 07.31 Guildford-Ascot; 08.53 Ascot-Guildford; 10.01 Guildford-Ascot between Guildford and Aldershot; 16.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo.
Sunday 27/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 16.26 Guildford-Waterloo.
Wednesday 30/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo between Exeter and Honiton (fortunately First Great Western allowed Exeter-London passengers to travel to Paddington on the 05.58); 05.41 Salisbury-Totton between Salisbury and Eastleigh; the Pokesdown, Christchurch, New Milton, Ashurst and Totton stops of the 16.01 Poole-Waterloo, which was delayed 18 minutes due to crew shortage (2-hour gap in direct London services from these stations; call at Brockenhurst – the only station between Bournemouth and Southampton with alternative London trains – honoured.
Thursday 31/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 19.55 Southampton-Waterloo between Basingstoke and Waterloo; 22.39 Waterloo-Southampton.
Friday 01/09/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth between Waterloo and Poole; 09.55 Southampton-Waterloo; all intermediate stops of the 15.36 Portsmouth-Southampton (to compensate for 40 minute delay awaiting crew); 16.14 Alton-Waterloo between Alton and Woking; 18.38 Winchester-Southampton; 19.31 Guildford-Ascot; 20.53 Ascot-Guildford; 23.01 Guildford-Ascot.
Saturday 02/09/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot; 06.35 Salisbury-Totton between Salisbury and Eastleigh; 14.14 Alton-Waterloo between Farnham and Waterloo; 15.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke; 15.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo between Basingstoke and Waterloo; 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo between Salisbury and Waterloo; 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton between Waterloo and Basingstoke; 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth between Basingstoke and Portsmouth; 19.23 Waterloo-Alton; 21.14 Alton-Waterloo; 21.51 Portsmouth-Eastleigh; 22.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke; 23.31 Guildford-Farnham between Guildford and Aldershot.
Sunday 03/09/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 15.59/16.29/16.59 Brockenhurst-Lymington; 16.14/16.44 /17.14 Lymington Brockenhurst.
Monday 04/09/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth between Waterloo and Poole; 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo; 07.20 Poole-Waterloo between Poole and Southampton Central.
MORE OF SWT’S AWFUL CUSTOMER SERVICE
Friday 07/07/06 helped illustrate why SWT is only in 15th place in the league of rail passenger satisfaction.
The 16.05 Waterloo-Poole was cancelled, reportedly due to no crew. This service has been officially classified as one of the most overcrowded on the network, and the misery is at its worst on Fridays. The knock-on effect was that the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth was so overcrowded that some commuters refused to board it, and the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth was also very full.
This was followed by passengers being thrown off the 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo at Winchester, due to duff stock, and no replacement train being provided to work the return 22.35 Waterloo-Poole.
Meanwhile, the two class 170 units on the Romsey-Totton service both failed, with the last two workings of the day from both Romsey and Totton axed. It appears that this class was in no better state of maintenance the next day, when passengers on the 08.05 Portsmouth-Reading had to be thrown off at Eastleigh, with the return 10.04 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Winchester.
Sunday 16/07/06 saw more huge gaps in the Romsey-Totton service, this time due to SWT’s infamous crew shortage. We must hope that re-franchising will bring a new operator who is prepared to employ enough staff to allow for rest days and provide a robust service. Since Hogrider 108 was printed, we have learned that the withdrawal of evening services between Ascot and Guildford on 1 July was due to drivers falling sick. As the withdrawals were reported by 09.00, where were the substitute train crews? We understand that the Alton Line Users’ Association was to take this up with SWT.
On 08/08/2006, the 05.00 Poole-Waterloo was 12 minutes late due to a duff axle counter. The Eastleigh and Winchester stops were axed with early commuters left standing or thrown off. The train then reached Waterloo one minute early. No doubt the early arrival will win another glittering award, but it’s another illustrative example of why SWT is only in 15th place in official passenger satisfaction figures!
On 12/08/2006, the 17.14 Alton-Waterloo was running just 9 minutes late from Woking, so the West Byfleet stopped was axed. This caused the delay to be reduced by just 2 minutes from Surbiton. It was reduced by another 4 minutes between Surbiton and Waterloo due to SWT’s slack scheduling.
On 17/08/2006, the 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth started 16 minutes late yet was recorded by National Rail as being on time at Portsmouth Harbour. Some slack scheduling there!
On 31/08/2006, the doors of the 18.25 Southampton-Poole closed at 18.24.12 and the train started to move at 18.24.35, just as newly arrived passengers rushed on to the platform and pointed at the clock. The train then halted and finally departed at 18.25.51. Wanted: an operator prepared to run a ‘right time’ railway.
On 01/09/05, the doors of the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth were shut in the faces of three women running to board. The train then arrived at Winchester 4 and a quarter minutes before its departure time; both portions then left Southampton Central about 2 minutes late due to uncoupling problems.
MORE OF SWT’S INFORMATION DEFICIT
Talking of words before deeds on SWT, it’s difficult to use the company’s trains at present without seeing a full size poster telling people that “as soon as we know, you’ll know”. The following article in the Evening Standard of 15 August 2006 exposes the myth of good information on SWT. The reality is very different from what the poster claims. The article also highlights the fact that the Journeycheck facility on SWT’s website is notorious for omitting lots of information. You can often switch from Journeycheck to the National Rail live running site and find lots of problems which SWT doesn’t want, or can’t be bothered, to tell you about.
Evening Standard Article
“A train driver held at a signal for more than three hours borrowed a passenger’s laptop to find out the reason behind the delay.
The South West Trains’ driver appealed to passengers for a computer on the intercom as he could not get through to his control room to get an explanation.
But after checking the company’s website he infuriated commuters further by saying “Apparently, there are no delays”.
The jeering passengers were stuck on the train between Basingstoke and Woking after heavy flooding.
In desperation, the driver used the intercom to make an appeal. He said: “I can’t find out what’s going on. Has anyone got a wireless laptop?” Claire Oscroft, 30, an HR manager from Clapham Junction, was one of the hundreds of irate passengers held on the train.
She said: “Feelings were running high because he couldn’t tell us what was causing the delays. A passenger lent him a laptop, then the driver said the website was reporting no hold-ups”.
She added: “There was a total lack of information – and we weren’t even offered drinks. It got so bad members of a stag party sneaked into the guard’s cabin, turned on a public address system and sang Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.
A South West Trains spokesman said: “We had to close four lines. At such times it can be difficult to get through to our control rooms”.
COST OF IMPROVEMENTS AT SOUTHAMPTON CENTRAL - AN ONGOING SAGA
Cost of the much-trumpeted July 2004 enclosed waiting facilities 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 enclosed waiting facilities 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.
Cost of the much-trumpeted July 2004 enclosed waiting facilities at Southampton Central station, plus improvements to the booking hall, lighting, security cameras and cycle racks, as advertised in SWT’s ‘e’motion’ passenger magazine published immediately after the deadline for submission of bids for the next South Western franchise. A female passenger wondered whether Stagecoach could have spent a few more million on vegetation clearance, so that she could use the overgrown footpath to the station’s secluded downside car park, instead of having to sidestep it.
The revised figure, in the next edition of e’motion, after the figure of £250,000,000 had been queried in the press.
SHRUG LETTER PUBLISHED IN ‘RAIL’ ISSUE 543
“It’s slower by South Western in 2006
Barry Doe’s summary of the National Rail Timetable (RAIL 541) is, as ever, masterful, but I fail to see how he can argue that the Southern Region has got closer to a tramway over the years, with the ‘noble exception’ of SWT.
It is on SWT, not Southeastern or Southern, where services have been downgraded. By way of example, in 1990 Brighton-Victoria fasts required 52 min and Southampton-Waterloo fasts 66 minutes, each with one intermediate stop. This represented average speeds of about 60mph and 70mph respectively. Currently, the times are Brighton-Victoria 51-52 min with two intermediate stops and Southampton-Waterloo 79 min with three intermediate stops. The average speed is now about 60mph in both cases.
Barry might find it useful to check his thoughts on SWT against information on the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group website (www.shrug.info).”
SHRUG LETTERS PUBLISHED IN SOUTHERN DAILY ECHO
FIRST SHRUG LETTER (published on 21 July)
“Unreliable SWT faces crunch in October [Echo’s own headline]
Mrs Jackie Brooks’ view (Letters, July 14) that South West Trains is an unreliable and uncaring company will be widely shared. On the basis of the available data on passenger numbers and satisfaction levels, it is clear that some 26 million journeys a year on SWT are unsatisfactory to those who make them.
We recently sent a substantial submission on the remarkable, and often shameful, history of SWT to the Department for Transport and MPs with a constituency in the SWT operating area.
Transport Minister Derek Twigg acknowledged this submission on June 27, in response to a written Parliamentary Question from Mike Hancock MP. The submission, which reflects a wealth of documentary evidence, is now on our website (www.shrug.info)
With an announcement due to be made in October about who will run the SWT franchise following its renewal early next year, we shall know whether the government has aspirations for a customer-focused service for Hampshire rail users or just more of the same.”
The Echo of 3 August contained three brief replies.
The first from a Southampton resident (who has probably been exposed to SWT’s PR) refers to the new timetable as being more reliable, but not to it being slower. The new trains are described as cleaner, comfortable and more environmentally-friendly, but new trains are usually more attractive than those which are virtually time-expired. Odd to say that the trains are more environmentally-friendly without saying what this refers to. It sounds like an industry comment; since a power upgrade was needed to run them, presumably they use more power, which is environmentally unfriendly. The writer also considers that SWT’s Travel Safe Officers are reassuring to passengers, but does not mention how thinly they are spread, or that the Government has warned Stagecoach to step up station security on SWT or lose its franchise.
The second, from a SWT press officer, claims that SWT had one of the highest satisfaction ratings in the spring survey. Only an SWT spokesman would claim fifteenth place out of 25 is one of the highest. He fails to mention that satisfaction figures on SWT have dropped by 1% overall since the last statistical exercise, and 4% in terms of value for money. This doesn’t sound much, but 1% represents 1,620,000 more unsatisfactory passenger journeys a year on SWT.
A third, anonymous, letter claims SWT is providing a first class service and Stagecoach should keep the franchise. This may be viewed in the light of a letter published in the Echo of 30 August that, “It really is puzzling how anyone with views strong enough to write to a letters column, then shows a complete lack of courage by withholding their name and address”. Readers will no doubt draw their own conclusions about the anonymity. Remember SWT’s e’motion magazine claiming that wanting to know how to support their bid for the franchise was one of the most frequently asked questions? Meshes well with being ranked fifteenth in the satisfaction statistics.
SECOND SHRUG LETTER (published on 10 August)
“SWT is getting there but extremely slowly [Echo’s own headline]
Recent correspondence (Daily Echo, August 3) about South West Trains is generous, since official passenger satisfaction statistics rank the company 15th best.
SWT has indeed received acclaim for introducing a more reliable timetable and hiring new trains.
It now runs the slowest services since the steam era, whilst the new trains were specified to be 10 times more reliable than the old but break down more often.
Most crime against passengers occurs at stations. The Government recently warned SWT to improve station security or lose its franchise.
SWT has failed over the past ten years to rectify defective air conditioning, or introduce emergency ventilation on the Wessex Electric trains. Thousands have suffered journeys from hell, particularly in the heatwave.
SWT’s latest passenger magazine claims that Southampton Central has received a £250m facelift. Liverpool’s futuristic new parkway station cost £32m, so shouldn’t SWT have money left over for air-conditioning?”
This letter attracted another anonymous response, to the effect that people who don’t like SWT can travel from Southampton to London via Southern or National Express coaches, but failed to respond to any of the points raised. This correspondent, also called the second SHRUG letter “vituperative” when it was simply factual.
THIRD SHRUG LETTER (published on 24 August)
“Seeking a bigger return?
The writer who dismisses my statements about South West Trains as “vituperative” (Letters, August 16) perhaps doesn’t want people to know the truth.
The choice of operator for SWT will determine the quality of some two billion passenger journeys over the next decade. I have detailed records of SWT’s history and 15 members of our Group have attended five meetings with companies bidding to take over the franchise.
Opposition MPs are reportedly furious that current operator Stagecoach wants to sell its heavily subsidised London bus network, after just a few years, for a profit of £120m.
Chairman Brian Souter says the contractual nature of the London business “does not appeal to Stagecoach” and “we kind of like uncertainty”. So does he want to retain tightly regulated SWT simply because this is expected to mean the value of his 3.5m exercisable shares increasing up to fivefold?”
INDUSTRIAL ACTION MAY HAVE COST THE ECONOMY £7 MILLION - RAIL UNION AVOIDS FURTHER DISRUPTION BY GOING TO COURT
SWT’s industrial relations are notorious – strikes through trying to make guards wear red waistcoats; strikes over awarding guards a lower percentage pay increase than the much better paid drivers; and the wrongful demotion of Greg Tucker in which the employment tribunal savagely attacked SWT (see Megaplaint document on our website.
The London Chamber of Commerce estimated that the 3 one-day strikes in August/September would have cost the economy £21m. So presumably the strike on 29 August cost around £7 million.
ASLEF’s district organiser said of meetings with SWT management, “I have to say they did not want to talk at all”. (Southern Daily Echo, 7 September) It appears from reports that the two further strikes were avoided only because ASLEF offered to go to court for a ruling on the agreement to provide taxis for staff.
One driver alleges that the problem of taxis is not limited to the London area, as usually presented. He says, by way of example, that the crew of the last SWT train to Exeter get there around midnight. They then have to travel back to Salisbury as passengers on the 05.10, and resume work a few hours later. This is because SWT will neither base staff at Exeter, nor provide transport back to Salisbury in the night.
We must assume that SWT staff morale will remain poor, with associated risk of further industrial strife, if Stagecoach retains the franchise.
SWT’S REMARKABLE E’MOTION MAGAZINE AND WEBSITE
The latest satisfaction ratings by Passenger Focus reveal that many passengers are still far happy with South West Trains.
Overall passenger satisfaction with SWT for Spring 2006 is down 1% compared with Autumn 2005. This doesn’t sound much, but is equivalent to an additional 1.5 million journeys a year which caused dissatisfaction to those who made them.
The number of those satisfied with basics like the cleanliness and upkeep of stations has actually fallen, and the number who think they get value for money is down 4% to 38%. It also needs to be borne in mind that the survey was undertaken during a spring when the SWT area enjoyed particularly moderate weather and therefore good operating conditions. Clearly there are major issues like delays and cancellations, longer journey times, unnecessarily missed connections, lack of announcements about connecting services, early morning chaos, overcrowding, duff air conditioning, and seats which collapse beneath their occupants.
So these concerns will be highlighted by correspondence in SWT’s ‘e’motion’ magazine, which is supposed to increase focus on customers? You bet they will! Some examples of published letters or Passenger Panel in the July-August edition:
* Congratulations to SWT for starting to get rid of patronising announcements on trains. [Why were they ever introduced?]
* Complaint about commuters who prefer aisle seats and use laptop computers. [So what? They may be paying £3,000-£4,000 a year to travel – was the letter chosen to reflect SWT’s hostility to long-distance commuters, as voiced by Stagecoach director Rufus Boyd in his speech to the Hampshire Economic Forum?]
* Buffet facility on train to Weymouth announced at Dorchester South but not available. [It is a journey of only 11 minutes; what about the 150 minute journey from Christchurch to London every hour on Sundays, which never has a buffet service?]
* Passenger is moving from Maidenhead to Chiswick because of the bright trains and amazingly clean toilets on SWT and being fed up with old trains operated by another company. [Aren’t many of the trains which serve Chiswick more than 20 years old, painted in gaudy colours and with seating reduced, and do these units actually have toilets? And given that the only common destination from Maidenhead and Chiswick is Central London, would anyone move because of the quality of the trains on a 22-minute journey?]
* Question about whether personal details can be kept on line to help people entering competitions in e’motion. [No guarantee that the writer has ever been near a SWT train]
The September-October edition has some similarly irrelevant or peripheral contributions:
* Complaint that train is announced as on time when it is 3 minutes late.
* Query about who runs the National Passengers Survey – response includes reference to SWT achieving significant improvements. [That is, now fifteenth best with one in six passengers, or more than 26 million a year, less than satisfied].
* Complaint about the pronunciation of “Micheldever”.
* Letter from a passenger who took advantage of a half-price travel offer from Fareham to Hampton Court and says “After all your investment [like the “£250m” spent on Southampton Central, which was overstated by 1,000 per cent?], it would be a most unworthy decision if you lost the franchise when it comes up for renewal. South West Trains, in 2006, sets such high standards that the rest of the railway industry should take note of your achievements.” [Did this daytripper spend his journey reading e’motion magazine?]
A Wokingham-Waterloo commuter, who responded to SWT’s recent ‘website event’, complained of losing his season ticket discount because of the slower services. He was told the annual average for punctuality is now 88.8%, which is well within target. However, the performance standard set by the Department for Transport is 89%. This is surely the ‘target’ which SWT should aim for, but they clearly chose to substitute the discount threshold of 86.5% with an eye to where the advantage lay. The passenger was also told that journey times are not much different and, at most, 5 minutes have been added. Yet Wokingham to Waterloo normally took one hour in 1990, and now takes 68 minutes - a very slow service under Stagecoach.
SWT’s website states, “We believe in being open and honest about train performance”! E-motion is described as a "customer magazine" and as such avoids the Advertising Standards Authority’s regulations on advertising, but the magazines are provided free on stations which are served by multiple operators, and so they are being made available to those operators' passengers who have no prior relationship with South West Trains. Does that make it advertising again?
An article “Extra trains for the network” is rather confusing because it states "there is no longer any room for further manoeuvre in the busiest periods" but quotes the Rail Minister as saying "The new trains will ease overcrowding on busy routes and boost reliability" while talking about "these extra services", and SWT General Manager Stewart Palmer says "we hope the extra trains ... will make travelling to work a bit easier". Nice to see however that SWT now recognises that new trains are funded by the Department for ransport, that is, the taxpayer - now what about correcting all that hype about SWT's £1 billion train order [actually worth about £545 million]?
Elsewhere it is stated "Stagecoach's current franchise to run South West Trains --- an 11-year franchise period", which doesn't quite capture what has actually happened in terms of their being awarded a new 20-year franchise and then having it taken away for poor performance. SWT also whinges that "The past 10 years have been pretty traumatic for the railway industry" - they should try being a passenger! They also whinge that "The cost of operating the network [has rocketed way above predictions]". Whose predictions were those then? And there is reference to a "Subsidy of £38.6m" - the final subsidy, not the one the half billion they have received in total.
A stereotype claim is that "We want to give our passengers excellent service!" with "clean and safe stations" – certainly Totton station is anything but clean outside its staffed hours (with a very long unstaffed and uncleaned period from midday Friday to Monday morning) and stations cannot be described as safe once all the ticket barriers are left open and unattended in the late evening. They also "liaise with representative bodies and user groups that exist to protect your interests" - except SHRUG, and except about the slower new timetable which has created the false impression of improved performance whilst wasting commuters’ lives!
Examples of how SWT plays with statistics – their press release about the Autumn 2005 National Passenger Survey results hails the "dramatic increase" of 9% in satisfaction regarding upkeep and repair of trains but doesn't mention the "dramatic decrease" of 9% in satisfaction regarding ticket buying facilities. It says that the attitude and helpfulness of staff at stations rose by 2%, but the survey results say this rise is statistically insignificant. And while it celebrates SWT as "leading the way" for helpfulness and attitude of staff on trains compared with other London and South East train operators, it doesn't confess that this still means that 33% of the survey were not satisfied with what is provided, nor that it "trails the pack" for ticket buying facilities compared with the same operators. Finally, no mention of the appallingly bad 36% satisfaction figure for dealing with delays.
The message from the Customer Services Director on page 4 of E-motion no. 16 bangs on about the number of awards they had got - Passenger Operator of the Year, Rail Business of the Year, Rail Marketing Campaign of the Year - which Christian Wolmar rightly castigates, as above. How about booby prizes for fifteenth most popular operator after more than 10 years in control, the highest performance fines of any operator, or the slowest timetable since steam?
On the same page there are 4 references to megatrain pricing as "from just £1" but only one of these references bothers to mention the "50p booking fee", increasing the minimum cost by 50%. Megatrain is also described as "our" new low-cost train service - in the "South West Trains Customer Magazine". We thought this service was provided by Stagecoach, not SWT, and the only connection with SWT is that they cross-subsidise it with SWT advertising and staff costs.
In fairness though, if you search SWT’s website, you can find voices of reality, like the passenger who was “flabbergasted” by the arrival at Clapham Junction of a crowded 5-car Waterloo-Poole train on a busy Saturday morning.
ASK VIRGIN TRAINS (49% STAGECOACH OWNED) FOR A CLEAN TABLE AT YOUR PERIL
[From Private Eye issue 1163] “Last month Simon Topman, president of Birmingham chamber of commerce, found himself under police investigation after he asked a Virgin Trains steward to clean the food and drinks stains left on his table by earlier passengers. The steward wiped the patch directly in front of him, but Topman thought his £186 first-class ticket entitled him to insist the whole table be cleaned. Virgin’s staff disagreed and police escorted him off the train at Coventry. Virgin insisted it wouldn’t tolerate abuse against staff; but police merely told the Coventry Evening Telegraph: “we are treating it as a crime of unacceptable behaviour.” By the customer that is.” [Can you imagine anyone part-cleaning a train table!?]
MORE PROFITEERING BY STAGECOACH DIRECTORS
[Source: Glasgow Herald 25 July 2006]
“SOUTER BANKS BIG BONUS FOR THIRD YEAR RUNNING
Stagecoach founder Brian Souter banked a hefty performance bonus for the third year running in 2006 as the Perth transport giant’s boardroom pay bill continued to climb.
The transport chief received 82% of his £499,000 basic pay in extra cash and deferred share bonuses in the 12 months to April 30, swelling his remuneration package by 10% to £924,000.
In 2005-06 Souter also benefited from the award of 450,293 “incentive units” under the company’s new long-term incentive plan (LTIP). Assuming he stays with the company for two more years, and meets certain performance targets, these should net him a further £500,000.
At last year’s annual meeting of the company, Souter complained that ever-more complex reward schemes are required to satisfy City compliance hawks. He stressed that he never took anything out of the company through bonus schemes until five years ago.
The 2006 annual report illustrates Souter’s point about how abstruse the process of rewarding directors is becoming as companies seek to link executive pay more closely to performance. The revised packages of Souter and finance director Martin Griffiths, two of the three executive directors, comprised at least six different elements – including performance-related bonuses paid in both cash and deferred shares.
The deferred share element, approved at last year’s annual meeting, requires executives to sacrifice 50% of their bonus in exchange for an equivalent value of shares to which the individual becomes entitled after three years. Stagecoach said this new “Executive Participation Programme (EPP) is partly designed to help boost retention.
Griffiths received cash and deferred share bonuses totaling £206,000 in 2005-06, equivalent to 85% of his base salary. This helped swell his pay package to £504,000, up from £427,000 in 2005.
In the coming year Souter and Griffiths will again be eligible to receive a maximum potential bonus of 100% of basic salary, of which 50% will be taken as deferred shares under the EPP.
Stagecoach’s total boardroom pay bill climbed 10% to £2,227,000. The now retired rail division chief, Graham Eccles, did not receive deferred shares and netted a total package of £499,000, down from £514,000 in 2005. Part-time chairman Robert Speirs enjoyed a 22% fee increase, to £110,000.
Eccles and Griffiths also netted gains on the exercise of share options of £1m and £966,000 respectively in 2005-06. The share option scheme has now been replaced by the EPP and LTIP plan and no further option awards will be granted.
Edinburgh merchant bank Noble Grossart, which has Stagecoach non-executive director Ewan Brown on its board, was paid £20,100 in fees in the year to April 2006, down from £145,950 in the previous 12 months. The prior year figure included £125,500 for the merchant bank’s role as financial adviser in connection with a return of capital.
Stagecoach contends that Brown is an independent director – even though he joined its board in 1988 – and nine years of service is generally considered the maximum appropriate for such a definition.
In recognition of investor concern Brown will stand for annual election and has left the remuneration and audit committees.
Stagecoach notched up a 7% hike in underlying pre-tax profits to £140.6m for the year to April, on an 8% rise in revenues to £1.53bn.
The company noted the rise in profits was achieved despite the soaring cost of fuel and insurance, which they said remained a challenge.
Stagecoach cited strong growth in its US business, and an “excellent performance” at its railways division in the UK.”
PROFITEERING BY STAGECOACH BUSES
1. Opposition parties have called on the Mayor of London to review the sale of Stagecoach’s London bus operation to Australia’s Macquarie Bank at a profit of £120 million. Conservative transport spokesman Stephen Hammond said Transport for London’s contracts allowed bus operators to make huge profits at taxpayers’ expense and called for an urgent review of the way they are drawn up. He said, “There must have been some extraordinarily incompetent negotiations by TfL that Stagecoach can sell these routes after three or four years and make a 100% profit”. Geoff Pope, Liberal Democrat chairman of the London Assembly’s transport committee said, “Taxpayers pour huge amounts of public subsidy into buses each year. They don’t expect fat cats to pocket the proceeds. If Stagecoach is making a killing in this sale, TfL should insist on a windfall gain for Londoners from the new owners in the shape of a new, low-emission bus fleet”. [Source: Evening Standard 7/8/2006]
2. Stagecoach has been criticised by the Competition Commission for unfairly increasing coach fares in Scotland. A deal between Stagecoach and Scottish Citylink, one of its main coach rivals north of the border, has been ruled out of order. The two companies had signed a joint venture to bring their Megabus and Motorvator brands together. But the commission intervened as the deal ended competition on several routes, especially the “Saltire Cross” runs linking Glasgow with Aberdeen and Edinburgh with Inverness, interchanging at Perth. The inquiry chairman said, “By bringing together the only two effective coach competitors on these routes, our provisional view is that the joint venture has removed constraints on their fares and service levels”. [Source: Evening Standard 11/8/2006]
‘Buses’ magazine [August 2006 edition] reports that Stagecoach intends to concentrate on developing and expanding its deregulated British bus operations. Explaining the sale of his London bus operations, Stagecoach chairman Brian Souter said Macquarie liked certainty; Stagecoach is an entrepreneurial company and “We kind of like uncertainty”. Stagecoach would still pursue selective rail franchise opportunities.
The magazine notes that Brian Souter has said that his “dream merger” would be with Go-Ahead, but the Competition Commission would probably block that. However, if Stagecoach lost SWT after giving up its London Bus operations, two obstacles to such a merger would have gone. One theory is that Mr Souter is downsizing so that he can buy back what remains of the company as a private business. The magazine rejects this notion, yet it would be totally in line with the prediction of The Times in 2002, when Stagecoach shares collapsed, that “The chances are that Stagecoach will survive in some shape or form”.
STAGECOACH SUPPORTERS SHOW INCREASING DESPERATION
‘Rail’ magazine columnist and Stagecoach lobbyist Barry Doe seems to be showing increased desperation. He was full of praise for Southern and then, with a decision on award of the SWT franchise approaching, decided to attack the old Southern Region (nowadays comprising SWT plus Southern plus Southeastern) as being downgraded to a tramway with the “noble exception” of Stagecoach’s SWT. Hogrider pointed out the odd change in his attitude to Southern. He then used his column for a vitriolic attack on Southeastern, whose services he apparently considers vandalized, litter-strewn, dirty and generally not fit for his use.
If Mr Doe actually used Southeastern services, he would realize that during the period they were returned to the public sector (which he claims to prefer to privatised railways) huge efforts were put into getting the basics right. Southeastern trains are normally clean and well-presented, and efforts to remove every scrap of litter during short peak period turnarounds at Charing Cross are commendable.
Meanwhile, Mr Doe’s attacks on Chiltern in ‘Rail’ have provoked fierce condemnation from both a Chiltern passenger and the company’s management (which considers his comments more vitriolic than factual). Chiltern is widely recognised as a big success story of the London commuter belt. In Mr Doe’s view, Chiltern - like GNER, when it was competing for the SWT franchise - is not the railway that it was. Perhaps this is because it is well ahead of SWT in the passenger satisfaction statistics.
Meanwhile SHRUG’s organiser has been under attack in the Southern Daily Echo from one/two readers who prefer to stay anonymous and so are resumably connected with SWT. The correspondence started with a complaint from a woman who was seriously inconvenienced by being thrown off her SWT train at Basingstoke so that the Woking stop could be axed for operational convenience. This form of contempt for passengers is widely detested by regular commuters. An anonymous correspondent’s final shot was to ask that people are left to commute in peace, exactly what the unfortunate woman wanted to do before she was thrown off her train!
The anonymous correspondent makes no reference to verifiable facts, such as Stagecoach claiming to have spent £250 million on facelifting Southampton Central, when Liverpool’s brand new parkway station cost just £32 million. We now know the figure had been multiplied 1,000 times. Who would be content with being deceived by Stagecoach, which is so generously supported by taxpayers, except someone who has connections with the company? However, the anonymous correspondent considers that to draw attention to such things is “vituperative”. Whether people like being deceived by SWT is a personal choice, and we suspect that the company’s e’motion magazine, will continue to present a distorted view.
LETTER ABOUT CROSS COUNTRY FRANCHISE
Text of letter by Bob Maddock of Christchurch to the New Cross-Country Franchise Procurement Consultation Manager, DfT Rail Group:
“I see in the franchise consultation document that it is proposed that all cross-country trains from Bournemouth should go to Manchester, with no service to Scotland, the north-east, or Sheffield, Leeds and many other destinations currently served.
In my view this is a bad idea. The whole point of cross-country services is to allow journeys without changing trains. Changing trains halfway through a long journey is unpleasant and tedious, and brings the risk of having to stand again, after getting a seat. (Yes, I know this isn't the world of planners, but believe me, it is the reality on these routes.)
On most journeys, the change of train would be at Birmingham New Street. This station is one of the most unpleasant for passengers, and one of the most crowded. Why propose service changes which increase the number of passengers having to use it?
I predict that if you persist in this plan, many potential cross-country passengers will choose to travel via London instead, or are quite likely to use the plane or drive.”
CUTTING DIRECT TRAINS – IS THERE A DISABILITY ISSUE?
The proposed cutting of direct services between South Dorset / Hampshire and points North of Manchester seems to be part of a wider agenda to tidy franchises. Yet the Government is committed to promoting accessibility to services for disabled people, and changing trains en route can be daunting for non-disabled people; for disabled people it could be a critical factor in determining choice.
Stagecoach has already cut direct services between Portsmouth and Bournemouth and has halved the few direct services between South Hampshire and the West of England.
By the end of the year, all the new direct services from South Hampshire introduced by National Express will have gone. No more direct trains from Southampton to Liverpool via Hereford/Shrewsbury, to Worcester/Gloucester, to Plymouth/Penzance, to Barry Island/Swansea/South West Wales.
Is this something that the Disability Rights Commission (or its successor) needs to consider?
FIRST’S EXCELLENT CUSTOMER SERVICE
If Stagecoach really cares about focusing on passengers, it could do much worse than consult First Group. A couple of days using Scotrail trains around Glasgow revealed an impressive level of customer service. Although tickets were supposed to be purchased before boarding, conductors diligently hurried through the trains, affably issuing tickets, with appropriate railcard reductions, to those who needed them. They found time to help elderly people board, and to lift prams on and off. At Gourock, a member of station staff cheerfully called to some young people to hurry up while the conductor held the train for them. At Hamilton, a ticket clerk made frequent sorties on to the platform, looking for passengers who appeared to need help. Conductors told people where to change and from which platform their trains would depart. After the 15.05 Glasgow Central-Gourock had been held at Paisley for 30 minutes on 26 July, due to a vehicle hitting a road bridge, it quickly continued its journey, honouring all booked stops so as to avoid further delays for those on board. And there were clear plastic waste bags on stations, making it easy for passengers to dispose of their rubbish.
Pity that we can only dream of such standards on SWT! Hopefully things will at least get better on First Great Western. A passenger who travelled from Totton to Bristol experienced severe overcrowding on his return evening peak two-car train. More capacity needs to be provided in the revised December timetable.
APPENDIX 1: DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER – 8
03/07/06 Even more broken glass has appeared around Totton station with the pavement now having its share (a vodka bottle having been smashed on the road last week). A drainage pipe from the station building (reportedly unused) has also been broken. Millbrook departure indicators have been removed and replaced by a TV display. On the 06.30 Southampton Central-Waterloo a seat broke underneath an elderly passenger! The 17.05 from Waterloo was 6 minutes late at Totton.
04/07/06 The 05.48 from Totton to London Waterloo was fully loaded and ready to leave Winchester, but had to stand at the platform for at least two minutes before its scheduled departure time was reached.
05/07/06 A fellow passenger told me that the yesterday's 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo had been cancelled and the resulting crush on the 07.00 service meant that people were having to stand from Southampton, never mind those trying to get on the train at Southampton Airport Parkway and Winchester. The 05.48 from Totton to Waterloo did not arrive at Totton until 06.15 due to "a line-side fire at Branksome" - it ran non-stop to Waterloo from Southampton Central, although another passenger said that it had been announced on the platform at Southampton Central as honouring its normal stops. Left Southampton Central 28 minutes late. The internal destination board said "Out of service" for the duration of the journey. Arrived at Waterloo 14 minutes late.
06/07/06 The subway under the platforms at Waterloo has at least three of the departure screens not working - two are blank and one has been flickering all week. The Bakerloo line was not operating this morning, but the indicator at the bottom of the escalators to the Northern and Bakerloo lines was still saying "Next Bakerloo line train within 3 minutes". On the subway under the platforms at Waterloo, one of the clocks has the middle horizontal bar not working on the last digit so it displays a time of 17:58 as 17:50.
07/07/06 Tried valiantly to catch the 06.30 from Southampton to London Waterloo, but only got to the front of the queue to buy a car park ticket when the train was already in the station, so had to abandon the attempt. The 06.46 from Totton to London Waterloo waited a full 9 minutes at Southampton Central while the rear 5 carriages joined the train.
10/07/06 The three failed departure screens in the subway under the platforms at Waterloo, seen last week, are still unrepaired and the departure screen nearest the concourse on platform 14 is also faulty. A fellow passenger told me that the 17.48 from Waterloo to Southampton was running half-length this evening. The 18.05 from Waterloo ground to a halt at Hook where the guard announced that due to "a major points failure in the Basingstoke area" the train would be subject to a "major delay". He subsequently announced that there are "five trains between us and Basingstoke" and that Network Rail staff were having to set the points manually for each train. A further announcement was that we were "now fourth in the queue" and are "moving in the right direction". At 19.20 the guard told us we should be passing through Basingstoke in "15 minutes time" and that we were now "second in line". Passed through Basingstoke at 19.36, running "approximately 50 minutes late". However, we stopped again on the other side of Basingstoke due to "affected trains in front of us" including a "Southampton train stopped at Micheldever". 58 minutes late at Winchester where the departure indicators reported "due to signalling problem (sic) at Basingstoke trains are subject to delay and alteration." 19.25 from Winchester to Bournemouth (already over 30 minutes late) was shown as "Delayed". We were 55 minutes late at Southampton Central where the second departure listed was the 20.24 to Poole (shown as "Delayed") and the third departure was the 19.42 to Bournemouth (shown as “due” at 20.30).
11/7/06 The road to Totton station (Station Road North) has several small but deep potholes, adding to the run-down, rather seedy impression given by the station environment. The newly installed departure screen at Millbrook appears to be blank. The 06.16 arrival at Southampton Central from Portsmouth & Southsea was 8 minutes late. The 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo had a faulty door to the second carriage which needed some persuasion to open and the guard announced that the fourth carriage’s air conditioning was faulty.
12/07/06 The 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction had no lights in the first carriage. The newly installed departure screen at Millbrook still appears to be blank.
13/07/06 Joined the 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo with 3 seconds to spare before the doors were closed. The subway under the platforms at Waterloo still has three faulty screens.
14/07/06 The newly installed departure screen at Millbrook was seen to be working today but the screen was quite faint in the strong sunlight. The 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo had one buffet trolley to cover the whole train, rather than the normal two. Ran through Winchfield on the slow line and ran slowly from Clapham Junction due to "signalling problems at London Waterloo" causing "congestion". 6 minutes late at Waterloo. The 18.05 from Waterloo had no buffet facilities, meaning that passengers could not get a drink on a very hot summer's day. The train stopped three times before reaching Clapham Junction - 10 minutes late at Winchester, 7 minutes late at Southampton Central.
17/07/06 Two Totton car park spaces were occupied by locally-based commercial vehicles this morning. 17.05 from Waterloo left late and ran slowly to Clapham Junction. Noted new station signs at Winchester - "Home of the Winchester College of Art". 12 minutes late at Totton.
18/07/06 At Southampton Central, the signs for the up-direction 4-car stop position on platforms 2 and 3 remain mysteriously wrapped up after all the other new stop position signs have been revealed. The guard on the 10.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo (a 5-car service) apologised repeatedly for the overcrowding.
19/07/06 The approach to Totton station has improved with the removal of abandoned furniture but there is still scattered glass and an abandoned ASDA trolley on the Station Road North footpath. Totton ticket office closed at 06.30 which meant that Totton passengers did not receive the information about Friday's planned strike-day reduced service that was available to passengers joining the train at Southampton Central. New station signs at Southampton Central - "Home of the National Oceanography Centre" with the logo of the University of Southampton. Southampton Airport (Parkway) now has "University of Southampton Science Park" and noted that the Winchester signs also have the University of Southampton logo. Is this a case of public money filling SWT's coffers? The 17.35 from Waterloo had very few seats left when I joined the train, the only ones found were those in the sixth carriage from the front (unit 2420) in which the air conditioning had failed on the hottest day of the year. It therefore grated somewhat for the guard to wish us "a pleasant journey" although he subsequently apologised to the passengers in "certain carriages" where the air conditioning had "apparently failed". 7 minutes late leaving Southampton Airport due to "an additional stop notice for Woking", but most of this time was made up by a very swift splitting of the train at Southampton Central and departure of the front half of the train. This fine operational performance was only marred by the fact that at least 6 passengers who needed to be in the front half of the train were left behind, meaning that SWT's claim to be "customer-focused" rather than "operations-led" was shown to be a load of hot air (like its failed air conditioning). Noted that unit 2420 was showing some damage to the seal on the door closest to the buffet and, at the bottom of the door, the track could be seen through the gap.
20/07/06 Two Totton car park spaces were occupied by locally-based commercial vehicles. Totton ticket office open. A fellow passenger reported that the air conditioning had failed in the buffet carriage of unit 2414 on Monday. At Southampton Central no departure indicators were working with the main platform indicators alternating between "Welcome to Southampton Central" and "We regret that owning to a fault no information can be displayed at present". One departure screen was showing "An application error has occurred.....FIDSMON.exe". The front half of the 06.30 from Southampton Central was made up of unit 2421, where the seal on the door closest to the buffet is severely damaged and the track can be seen through the gap in the seal. These seals must either be getting damaged at an incredible rate, or they are simply not being repaired as part of scheduled maintenance. Departure indicators not working at Winchester. Also, a broken armrest between seats 31 and 32 in the second carriage appears familiar - apparently unreplaced since 25 April. No at-seat buffet trolley on this service today "due to staff shortages". By coincidence unit 2414 formed part of the 17.35 from Waterloo this evening - and the air conditioning was not working in the buffet carriage - is it possible that it has not been working for four whole days in the hottest July on record???? 7 minutes late at Southampton Airport Parkway. At Totton the platform 2 departure indicator has failed and is just flickering randomly.
21/07/06 The locally-based commercial vehicles now appear to be permanent fixtures in two Totton car park spaces - no news yet whether the "boundary check" requested by the new ticket office staff has confirmed the spaces are part of the station car park, as was strongly held to be the case by the previous staff member. On the 05.48 from Totton to Waterloo, passengers were treated to a repeated switching and whirring noise from the overhead ventilation system. You would think it would be a priority, but during the very hot weather, at least 3 drinks vending machines on Tottenham Court Road tube station platforms had a large label marked "Empty" stuck on them. On the 17.05 from Waterloo, the guard apologised that one carriage was without air conditioning (the second coach of unit 2417, counting back from the 1st class carriage). Overheard a couple of other passengers at Southampton Central discussing which carriage they were in as they “didn't count". The guard for the rear half of the train helpfully announced "if you can hear this, you are on the train stopping at Totton......etc". As the announcement was being made, I look round to see the platform staff waving the front half of the train off - so anyone hearing the announcement had no time to move.
24/07/06 Drinks vending machines at Tottenham Court Road are still empty as passengers swelter in the high temperatures. Stock for the 18.35 from Waterloo did not arrive until 18.26 and stood at the platform without opening of the doors for two and a half minutes before passengers were allowed to board. 3 minutes late at Winchester. A fellow passenger reported that the 17.48 from Waterloo to Southampton Central, which normally connects into the 18.05 from Waterloo at Southampton, left Waterloo about 15 minutes late due to the alarm in the disabled toilet repeatedly sounding when the door was closed (train staff finally deciding to leave the door open to resolve the problem) and was overtaken by the 18.05 at Eastleigh. It was delayed even further between Eastleigh and Southampton Central, arriving at the latter only a few minutes before the 18.35 from Waterloo.
25/07/06 One of the local commercial vehicles is now parked in a car park bay opposite the Totton station entrance. At Southampton Central the screen above the entrance to platform 1 reports the station manager as blank (but "Happy to Help"). Approaching London Waterloo the guard announced that the Waterloo and City line would be closed until "late September", previously reported to be reopening in early September. On the 17.35 from Waterloo, the guard on the rear half of the train made an announcement as the train was split that passengers for the fast service to Weymouth should move forward to the front half of the train - at least one passenger moved and, with 3 minutes before the front half departed, easily caught the service. Now why can't this happen on every train that splits at Southampton Central!! The door seals on the private door opposite the buffet appear damaged on unit 2405. Platform 2 departure indicator at Totton is now entirely blank.
26/07/06 Still a lot of broken glass on the pavement leading up to Totton station. The commercial vehicles are still using the station car park bays - talking to the station staff, this has been reported to management in the weekly logs but when drivers have been approached directly they have been "abusive". Although there is a sign asking for the car park to be used by rail passengers only and threatening wheel clamping, in fact there is no clamping contract in place. On the 06.46 from Totton to Waterloo, a sharp spike is sticking out from the bottom rim of a seat. On the rear half of the 17.35 from Waterloo, the guard announced that the quiet carriage could by identified by the "windows on the labels". Platform 2 departure indicator at Totton still not working.
27/07/06 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo arrived 4 minutes early, demonstrating the slack now added to the timetable. Drinks machines on Tottenham Court Road tube station platforms are still empty. The 19.05 from Waterloo stopped at Esher station. Guard apologised for the delay due to "a red signal" and then updated us with the news that there was a "temporary fault with the signalling equipment at Walton-on-Thames" and we were "in a queue of 5 trains" estimating a delay of 20 minutes (as at 19.30). Still in the queue at 20.00 when the guard reported that the delay was at least 30 minutes and that 2 trains were between us and one of the two signals affected by flooding. Passed through Walton-on-Thames at 20.20 (delayed by 50 minutes). Guard apologised for the "extremely slow progress" and pointed out the stream of water running alongside the track (and at places underneath the track of the slow line). As he made the announcement we lost the air conditioning and main lighting temporarily. Cleared the faulty signal at 20.26. Guard reported passing Woking approximately 1 hour after we should have done. 64 minutes late by Winchester. Platform 2 departure indicator at Totton not working.
28/07/06 Totton ticket office was just being opened at 06.05. One information screen over the platform 1 entrance at Southampton Central is blank and the other shows "An application error has occurred...... FIDSMON.exe". The rear half of the 17.05 from Waterloo (unit 2417) has a damaged seal on the private door opposite the buffet. Platform 2 departure indicator at Totton not working.
31/07/06 The buffet door in the third carriage of the 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo was unsecured. On the 17.35 from Waterloo the guard made a "special staff announcement" - "if there is a member of SWT staff or SWT management on the train, please make yourself known to the guard. Your assistance will be required for an issue affecting this train service". Departure indicator on platform 2 at Totton not working.
01/08/06 The local commercial vehicles are no longer parked in Totton station car park bays - perhaps the station staff's requests had more impact than expected. Alas, by the evening, one of the vehicles was parked again in a station car park bay. The departure indicator on platform 2 is working again, after being faulty since 20 July. Watched the 07.01 from Totton to Romsey service as it left the station 20 seconds early.
02/08/06 Redbridge station has signs reporting CCTV is installed, but there is no sign of it. Some of the station signs appear particularly faded but, unlike on many other stations, have not been replaced. There is no "Help" Point on platform 1, from which services to Southampton, Eastleigh, Chandlers Ford and Romsey run - the only "Help" Point on the station is on platform 2, from which services only run one stop to Totton. When last noted, even this was disconnected.
03/08/06 Parked at Southampton Central to join the 07.00 to Waterloo, but there was only one person selling tickets at the platform 4 entrance and, after waiting for some time for a complicated ticket price query to be handled for the person at the head of the queue, I missed the train and returned to Totton to park there. A local commercial vehicle was parked in the main part of the Totton station car park. 07.07 from Totton to Romsey left the station 5 seconds before the scheduled departure time. Confusion at Southampton Central as the rear half of the 07.30 to Waterloo was delayed. A problem was first reported 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time by a station announcement that the 07.30 would be delayed due to "a temporary fault with the signalling equipment at Beaulieu Road" which was immediately followed by another announcement "the train now approaching platform 1 is the 07.30 departure for London Waterloo" as the front half of the train arrived on time. Despite the announcement of the delay, and the arrivals screen showing the portion from Weymouth as "delayed", the departure indicators were still reporting that the service would leave at on time at 07.30. An announcement by station staff at 07.32 gave an estimated delay of 15 minutes, which was updated in the same announcement to 20-25 minutes and shortly followed by an automated announcement giving the delay as 17 minutes. The departure indicators were happily failing to give useful customer information by not reporting the estimated delay. After the scheduled departure time had passed, the indicator showed departure times of 07.31 (at 07.31), 0734 (at 07.34), "delayed" (at 07.36), 07.42 (at 07.42) and "delayed" (as we pulled out of the station at 07.48, 18 minutes late). Slow running into Waterloo and the guard reported we were arriving 25 minutes late. Stock for the 18.05 from Waterloo arrived at 17.59 and was not cleaned of rubbish and seat reservations from the previous journey. Guard on the 18.05 then apologised for its late departure, due to "lineside equipment failure in the London Waterloo area". 4 minutes late at Winchester, 2 minutes late at Southampton Airport Parkway, on time at Southampton Central - showing the slack in the timetable. Departure indicator on platform 2 at Totton is blank again.
04/08/06 After being held in the tunnel outside Southampton Central, the 17.05 from Waterloo demonstrated how time could be caught up during the split at Southampton as station staff were observed to signal the departure of the front half of the train as soon as the split was made and before the doors on the rear half of the train were reopened - operationally very efficient but no good to passengers who have been advised to move forward (usually by fellow passengers or occasionally by an announcement by the guard of the rear half of the train after the split has been made). Departure indicator on platform 2 at Totton is still not working.
07/08/06 Just caught the 06.46 from Totton. A fellow passenger on the 17.35 from Waterloo reported that he preferred travelling on the older Wessex Electric stock as the "seats are more comfortable". Extremely loud announcements made by the guard on the approach to Southampton Central had passengers putting their fingers in their ears to reduce the discomfort from the noise. Departure indicator on platform 2 at Totton is working again.
08/08/06 Most of the broken glass in the car parking bays on the mini-roundabout at Totton station has been swept up, but the pavement on Station Road North still has glass and general litter along its length. A discarded mattress has appeared on commercial land next to the pavement, along with an abandoned ASDA trolley which is now accumulating litter. Plastic Coke bottles have been thrown onto the railway line from the station platform. The ticket office at Totton was not open at 06.00, with the ticket machine reporting "Use coins only. No banknotes" and the Permit to Travel machine reporting "Pay at ticket office". The 05.48 from Totton to London Waterloo was shown on the departure indicator as running 9 and 13 minutes late, before arriving 11 minutes late at 05.59. The guard immediately made an announcement that due to "running approximately 12 minutes late" we have been given "not to call orders" for Eastleigh and Winchester - one passenger was then heard on the phone to a colleague who had been planning to join the train at Winchester. No reason for the delay was given. 11 minutes late at Southampton Central and Southampton Airport Parkway. As we were pulling out of Southampton Airport Parkway the guard repeated the announcement that we would not be calling at Eastleigh or Winchester - but as these were the next stops, there was nothing any passenger for these stations could then have done. The internal carriage displays continued to show the stops however and the on-train announcements of the Eastleigh and Winchester stops continued to be made even as we sped through the stations, followed at Winchester by a "Welcome aboard" announcement. When the guard came through the train checking tickets, I asked the reason for the delay. He reported that a miscount on an axle counter meant that all signals turned red on the way into Brockenhurst and each signal had then to be passed at red with the permission of the signalman, which delayed the train by 11 minutes. He said the problem should just require a reset of the axle counter which is fairly easy to do and then everything should be working fine for subsequent trains. Arrived at Basingstoke at 06.39 and at Waterloo 07.25. Broken seat on the 18.05 from Waterloo which ran slowly into Southampton Central due to "a train preceding us"; 6 minutes late at Totton, where I found out from a fellow passenger that the preceding train had been the 17.48 from Waterloo which was stopping additionally at Shawford and St Denys, due to a cancelled train.
09/08/06 On the 06.30 from Southampton Central, the guard announced at Winchester that due to a "power surge" all signals had failed between Winchester and Basingstoke. He reported that "half a dozen trains" were stationary ahead of us and "we might be here for quite a while". Just before 07.00 he announced that we would now "take the train to London Waterloo via Havant", expecting an extra hour on the journey, "because nothing is moving between here and Basingstoke". He said we were "not likely to get to London Waterloo before 9am". Sudden outbreak of conversation among commuters! Left Winchester station (where the 07.13 departure was shown as cancelled) heading up the line for a while before the driver walked through the train and we returned through Winchester station at 07.11 and Eastleigh at 07.18. The buffet trolley was not offering free hot drinks in recognition of the hour's delay - a fellow passenger said that you only get this after the hour's delay has been incurred - but was doing a very brisk business indeed (over £20 in takings while stood by my seat alone). Passed through Botley at 07.25, Fareham at 07.35 (after some slow running), Portchester at 07.42, Cosham at 07.44, Bedhampton at 07.50, Havant at 07.51, Rowlands Castle at 07.59. Buffet stewardess apologised for both buffet trolleys running out of hot water - service was continuing from the rear buffet carriage. Passed through Petersfield at 08.12, Liphook at 08.19, Haslemere at 08.26, Farncombe at 08.39. Guard announced we would be making an additional stop at Guildford, the news of which was also announced by the driver who said the stop was "to pick up set down passengers" but it "would not inconvenience us very much as trains are queuing on the approach to Woking", what good news! Left Guildford 08.49 and did indeed wait outside Woking. Arrived in London Waterloo at 09.38, 1 hour 50 minutes late. At 18.39 the guard of the 18.35 from London Waterloo apologised for the "slight delay to the departure" which was due to the "late arrival of an incoming service" and we "should be leaving in the next 5 minutes". Left Waterloo at 18.43. 6 minutes late at Southampton Airport Parkway.
10-15/08/06 Did not travel.
16/08/06 As the 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo left Southampton, the following 07.00 service was shown on the departure indicators as "Delayed". 18.05 from London Waterloo was running 12 minutes late by Winchester due to "signalling problems in the Basingstoke area" - 8 minutes late at Southampton Central.
17/08/06 Lots of rubbish dumped on the approach to Totton station, including a mattress left by the side of the road. The stock for the 18.05 from Waterloo arrived just 3 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Left Waterloo 4 minutes late - guard reported that the incoming service had been delayed due to a "broken down train in the Winchester area".
18/08/06 The rubbish dumped on the approach to Totton station now includes a shopping trolley, an abandoned fridge and a child's pushchair. 07.46 from Totton to London Waterloo arrived 2 minutes early and left Totton 15 seconds early, rushing to get to Southampton Central 30 seconds early for its 9 minute wait. Noted that the ongoing refurbishment of Wessex Electric stock does not extend to replacing the worn and tatty hazard warning tape "protecting" passengers from the fingertraps where the carriages join. The 17.35 from Waterloo left 4 minutes late and was full - no seat for me, Duff air conditioning in the 5th carriage of unit 2403 (The New Forest). There was already food waste left in the shelter on platform 2 at Totton - and it will be there now until Monday morning!
21/08/06 Just missed the 06.07 service from Totton to Yeovil Junction which had moved off from the platform approximately 10 seconds early. At Southampton Central, no name was displayed for the station manager on the overhead screen at the platform 1 entrance, but "He is Happy to Help". The 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo was 5 minutes late which the guard reported as due to "cancellation of the 05.26 service, this train had to make additional stops" - 7 minutes late at Winchester. Radio Solent had also reported the cancellation of the 06.16 (return working of the 05.26) from Brockenhurst to Weymouth, saying that the "fast" trains were making additional stops.
22/08/06 Totton ticket office closed at 06.05. Mattress/rubbish still littering the approach to Totton station. Departure screen at Southampton was showing "an application error has occurred ... FIDSMON.exe".
23/08/06 08.00 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo was delayed by 7 minutes due to "power problems" with the rear unit on its approach to Southampton - even after an announcement of the predicted delay had been made, the departure indicators were still showing the service as due to leave on time.
24/08/06 06.46 from Totton was approximately 5 minutes late at Waterloo due to "congestion". The 17.48 from Waterloo to Southampton Central has a very leisurely run at the end of its journey, being timetabled with 12 minutes from Southampton Airport Parkway to Southampton Central when almost all other services do it in half the time. As performance figures are measured on arrival at the final destination, that'll cut down on the recorded delays! Noted most, but not all, of the rubbish on the approach to Totton station has been removed.
25/08/06 Obtained schedule for next Tuesday' strike day - just 4 trains a day between Southampton and London Waterloo.
29/08/06-04/09/06 Did not travel.
05/09/06 Totton ticket office closed at 06.00 and the permit to travel machine was showing "not in use". Departure information screen was blank at Millbrook. Air conditioning in the 2nd carriage of the 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo was not working. Waterloo and City line still closed - now reported to be re-opening next week. On the 18.05 from Waterloo the air conditioning in the 5th carriage of unit 2403, "The New Forest", was not working (as also observed on 18 August!).
06/09/06 Totton ticket office closed at 07.30 with the permit to travel machine again showing "not in use". Rubbish on the platform included an empty beer can and broken glass. A poster about changes to weekend train times was out of date. On the 07.46 from Totton to London Waterloo, my seat had a spike protruding from the forward edge of the seat base. As we Passed through Millbrook, the departure information screen was still blank. Stock for the 18.35 from Waterloo arrived at 18.28, causing a scrum on the platform. Air conditioning still not working in 5th carriage of unit 2403 - despite the unit having been recently refurbished. At Southampton Central, a tourist asked if she was in the right carriage for Weymouth and I had to direct her to quickly move to the front 5 carriages before her train departed. At Totton the departure indicators were showing "due to a fault, no information can be displayed at present".
07/09/06 Totton ticket office closed at 06.00. Departure information screen at Millbrook is still blank. The 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo used the same unit as the 07.46 from Totton yesterday and I managed to get the same seat with the protruding seat spike. After the 17.05 from London Waterloo split at Southampton, a woman in the rear half of the train was overheard on her mobile phone talking to a friend in the now departed front half of the train saying "but they told me to get on here".
08/09/06 Totton ticket office closed and the permit to travel machine "not in use". Millbrook departure information screen was blank and I noticed that the train times poster was on an unlit notice board - so if you want to use Millbrook on a dark morning, bring a torch! 18.05 from London Waterloo ran slowly between Southampton Central and Totton due to "5mph speed limit" at Millbrook - 11 minutes late at Totton.
APPENDIX 2: 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.
Saturday 01/07/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 12.23/13.23/14.53/15.53/16.53/17.53/20.23 Ascot-Guildford; 13.31/14.31/15.31/16.31/17.01/19.01/20.01 Guildford/Ascot; 21.31/22.31 Guildford-Aldershot. 23.38 Aldershot-Guildford; passengers on the 15.23 Ascot-Guildford thrown off at Aldershot; passengers on the 18.23 Waterloo-Alton thrown off at Farnham; 19.05 Waterloo-Poole; 19.14/20.14 Alton-Waterloo; 19.52 Waterloo-Weybridge; 20.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke; 21.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo; 21.33 Weybridge-Waterloo; 22.53 Waterloo-Alton. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 16.55 Southampton-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 17.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 20 minutes late. 17.55 Southampton-Waterloo 27 minutes late. Passengers on the 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton thrown off at Basingstoke. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 19.21 Woking-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 19.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 18 minutes late.
Sunday 02/07/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 19.17/22.17 Guildford-Ascot; 20.13 Ascot-Guildford; 23.13 Ascot-Farnham. 14.06 Plymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 21.05 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed. 21.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Monday 03/07/06 Seat collapsed under passenger on the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo. 06.38 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 14.24 Basingstoke-Fareham axed. 15.37 Haslemere-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. At 16.50, both the 16.50 Waterloo-Woking and 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil had fitters attending. At 17.07 a Woking train was noted leaving Waterloo almost empty – presumably this was the 16.50 after passengers had crammed into the 17.02 to Guildford? Some coaches of the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth baking hot due to duff air conditioning; other coaches fine, so clearly a poor maintenance issue and nothing to do with the heatwave. 17.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 17.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 18.05 Dorking-Waterloo 51 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading axed. 18.41 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. The lines of modern out-of-use class 458 units in Wimbledon depot, whilst passengers were crammed into short-length trains in heatwave conditions, highlighted the poor value which taxpayers get from Stagecoach. 18.55 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke due to duff stock. 18.57 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Hove. 19.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed. 20.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed.
Tuesday 04/07/06 Passengers alighting at Southampton Central off the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil heard an incomprehensible, muffled announcement. As they crossed the footbridge for the 06.30 to Waterloo, they met passengers rushing the other way who shouted that the London train was cancelled and they had been told to get the Yeovil train and change at Southampton Airport for the 06.50 to London. This didn’t do them much good, because the Yeovil train was sent off, in typical Stagecoach fashion, as they raced to catch it. It was then announced that the 06.30 had failed in Bournemouth depot. Interesting that the identical 10-coach train, which formed the 05.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo before the Stagecoach axe fell, still carried its thin air from Bournemouth to Southampton Central sidings and then wait for an hour before splitting to form two stopping services. Meanwhile, dreadful conditions for passengers on the 07.00 Southampton-Waterloo, and 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo via Winchester. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole axed between Waterloo and Southampton Central. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. Passengers arrived at Waterloo to find the 16.35 Wessex Electric train to Weymouth with a “Do not move” plate attached to the rear coach. Fitters removed this and the guard apologised for the extreme heat in the front coaches and buffet area. Passengers who switched at Southampton Central to the 17.56 Desiro train to Bournemouth, found the guard waiting to tell them not to use the rear coach due to extreme heat. Passengers on the 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Fratton due to duff stock. 17.45 Salisbury-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 18.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Twickenham and Waterloo axed for operational convenience.
Wednesday 05/07/06 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 28 minutes late; advertised as running normally at Southampton Central but, once passengers had boarded, the guard announced that all intermediate stops would be axed. 05.25 Woking-Waterloo diverted from the Chertsey line due to overrun of engineering work, and omitted all intermediate stops before Clapham Junction. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo was already 6 minutes late by Hedge End; it reached Waterloo 5 minutes late with the blame attributed to congestion in the London area. 05.48 Dorking-Waterloo axed between Dorking and Ashtead. 05.59 Brockenhurst-Lymington axed. 06.14 Lymington-Brockenhurst axed. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth 19 minutes late due to delay on previous journey. 07.50 Brighton-Basingstoke axed. 13.55 Southampton-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed for operational convenience. 14.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 27 minutes late. 15.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 24 minutes late. AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 16.36 Portsmouth-Southampton; 17.56 Southampton-Bournemouth; passengers on the 18.35 Dorking-Waterloo thrown off at Epsom. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 19 minutes late due to delay on the previous journey. Passengers on the 18.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo thrown off at Strawberry Hill due to duff stock.
Thursday 06/07/06 Slow line at Fleet blocked by a duff train in early afternoon and services unable to call. 20.50 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late due to duff stock.
Friday 07/07/06 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 08.20 Yeovil-Waterloo, between Yeovil and Salisbury; 16.05 Waterloo-Poole. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth crammed so full that some commuters declined to travel on it. Passengers on the 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo thrown off at Winchester due to duff stock. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops after Woking axed for operational convenience. 20.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 36 minutes late. 20.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 13 minutes late. 20.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 21.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 26 minutes late. 22.00 Romsey-Totton axed due to duff stock. 22.01 Totton-Romsey axed due to duff stock. 22.35 Waterloo-Poole axed due to duff stock. 23.00 Romsey-Southampton axed due to duff stock. 23.01 Totton-Romsey axed due to duff stock.
Saturday 08/07/06 Passengers on the 08.05 Portsmouth-Reading thrown off at Eastleigh due to duff stock. 10.04 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Winchester due to duff stock. 10.07 Paignton-Brighton 24 minutes late due to previous service being late. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 15 minutes late due to no crew. 12.24 Basingstoke-Brighton 27 minutes late due to delay on previous journey. Passengers thrown off at Worthing. 14.37 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Worthing due to delay on previous journey. 21.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 20 minutes late due to duff stock.
Sunday 09/07/06 Morning West of England services axed between Exeter and Yeovil due to a tree on the line. 07.48 Weymouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. Passengers on the 08.07 Basingstoke-Paignton thrown off at Yeovil. 08.46 Honiton-Waterloo axed between Honiton and Yeovil and 31 minutes late. 09.20 Exeter-Waterloo axed between Exeter and Salisbury. 11.20 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late due to no crew and reduced to 3 coaches; passengers thrown off at Salisbury. 11.35 Waterloo-Weymouth reduced to 5 coaches. 11.57 Salisbury-Bristol axed due to duff stock. 12.25 Paignton-Waterloo axed between Paignton and Exeter, reduced to 3 coaches, and 38 minutes late. 12.56 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke due to duff stock. 13.25 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Salisbury due to delay on previous journey. 14.00 Bristol-Salisbury axed due to duff stock. 14.06 Plymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 15.27 Paignton-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 16.15 Waterloo-Yeovil reduced to 3 coaches. Afternoon services collapsed due to overrunning engineering work: 14.39/15.39/16.39/17.39 Waterloo-Reading axed; 16.24/17.24/18.24/19.24 Reading-Waterloo axed; passengers on the 14.50/15.50/16.50/17.50 Waterloo-Woking thrown at Staines; 16.52/17.52/18.52 Woking-Waterloo axed between Woking and Staines.
Monday 10/07/06 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth braked very sharply in the Basingstoke area, filling carriages with a burning smell. This was presumably the start of signalling problems which destroyed evening services and resulted in Stagecoach having an orgy of stranding or dumping passengers for operational convenience. 17.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 17.45 Waterloo-Havant reduced to 5 coaches. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton reduced to 5 coaches and 50 minutes late. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil 52 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Salisbury. 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 58 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 48 minutes late. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton 18 minutes late. 18.18 Waterloo-Haslemere 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 53 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton 58 minutes late. 18.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.55 Reading-Brighton 47 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Worthing. 18.55 Southampton-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 42 minutes late. 19.07 Weybridge-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 37 minutes late. 19.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Surbiton. 19.25 Waterloo-Alton axed. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton 30 minutes late. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 11 minutes late. 20.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 20.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 20.23 Waterloo-Alton axed between Waterloo and Surbiton. Passengers on the 20.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo thrown off at Surbiton. 20.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed. 20.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 39 minutes late due to no crew. 20.53 Waterloo-Alton axed between Waterloo and Surbiton. 20.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 21.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 21.23 Waterloo-Alton axed between Waterloo and Woking. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury axed between Brighton and Worthing. 21.53 Waterloo-Alton axed between Waterloo and Woking. 22.23 Waterloo-Alton axed between Waterloo and Woking. Passengers on the 23.39 Waterloo-Farnham thrown off at Woking.
Tuesday 11/07/06 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton and 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth 10 minutes late. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo axed between Honiton and Salisbury. Passengers had difficulty boarding the second coach of the 06.30 from Southampton to London due to duff internal door - response of customer-indifferent station staff was to blow whistles loudly; the guard apologised for duff air conditioning in the fourth coach, and at Waterloo a fitter appeared and attached the familiar “do not move” sign. 15.12 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot. 15.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.54 Waterloo-Dorking axed due to duff stock. 16.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.05 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. Passengers on the Poole portion of the 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth thrown off at Bournemouth due to duff stock.
Wednesday 12/07/06 07.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 16 minutes late. 07.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 07.54 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 08.09 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 09.02 Dorking-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 09.38 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 10.16 Waterloo-Chessington axed due to duff stock. 11.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 16.03 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. Passengers on the 16.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo thrown off at Syon Lane due to duff stock. 16.09 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 16.50 Waterloo-Woking axed due to duff stock. 16.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 18.03 Woking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 18.31 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 23.01 Guildford-Ascot.
Thursday 13/07/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches.
Friday 14/07/06 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late at Hedge End, 10 minutes late at Waterloo. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 8 minutes late. Part of 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth very overheated. 18.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late.
Saturday 15/07/06 06.31 Kingston-Waterloo axed between Kingston and Strawberry Hill. 07.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 19.12 Waterloo-Twickenham axed. 20.11 Twickenham-Waterloo axed. Mainline arrivals at Waterloo around 19.20 generally 5-10 minutes late.
Sunday 16/07/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 12.55 Totton-Romsey; 13.40 Romsey-Totton between Romsey and Southampton; 14.40 Romsey-Totton between Southampton and Totton; 15.55 Totton-Romsey; 16.40 Romsey-Totton between Romsey and Southampton. 11.45 Guildford-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 12.14 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 12.25 Paignton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 13.00 Waterloo-Guildford 13 minutes late. 13.10 Waterloo-Guildford 13 minutes late. 13.25 Yeovil-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 13.54 Reading-Waterloo 11 minutes late due to duff stock. 14.05 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 14.05 Bournemouth-Waterloo 38 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Eastleigh. 14.31 Penzance-Waterloo 31 minutes late due to duff stock. 15.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Fratton, due to duff stock, and 23 minutes late. 16.54 Waterloo-Bournemouth 24 minutes late.
(Unable to provide snapshots for this period, but see ‘Diary of a Totton-Waterloo Commuter’ above)
Tuesday 18/07/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 12.55 Totton-Romsey. 09.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 22 minutes late due to duff stock. Mid-day lineside fire in the Earlsfield area: Waterloo-Dorking services axed; Waterloo-Shepperton services diverted via Richmond; Waterloo-West of England services axed east of Basingstoke. Passengers on the 11.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Woking. 12.15 Waterloo-Haslemere axed. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth reduced to 5 coaches. 12.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed. 12.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed. 12.46 Waterloo-Chessington axed. 13.23 Waterloo-Alton axed between Waterloo and Woking. 13.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 13.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed. 13.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 13.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 13.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 13.58 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 14.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 14.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 14.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed.
(Unable to provide snapshots for this period, but see ‘Diary of a Totton-Waterloo Commuter’ above)
Friday 28/07/06 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 13 minutes late, due to a late running Virgin train. 19.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 20.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 23.23 Alton-Waterloo expected to run 44 minutes late (National Rail website update at 21.30). 23.50 Waterloo-Guildford expected to run 30 minutes late (National Rail website update at 22.30).
Saturday 29/07/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 07.03 Weybridge-Waterloo; 17.23 Waterloo-Alton; 19.14 Alton-Waterloo; 20.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke; 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury between Brighton and Havant; 22.35 Portsmouth-Havant. (Signalling problems at Walton on Thames most of the day, and person hit by a train at Ashford in the afternoon. Many West of England services axed east of Basingstoke and many Alton services axed east of Woking. Shuttle service between Woking and Guildford, and buses between Woking and Surbiton) 05.30 Southampton-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 06.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth 27 minutes late. 06.45 Wareham-Waterloo 40 minutes late. 06.50 Waterloo-Woking 6 minutes late. 06.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 43 minutes late. 07.03 Woking-Waterloo axed. 07.39 Waterloo-Southampton 39 minutes late. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 69 minutes late. 08.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 37 minutes late. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 57 minutes late. 08.39 Waterloo-Southampton 43 minutes late. 08.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 08.50 Waterloo-Woking 18 minutes late. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 45 minutes late. 09.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late. 09.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 13 minutes late. 11.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 11.01 Poole-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 11.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 11.55 Southampton-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 12.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 12.01 Poole-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 13.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 13.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late; stops from Brentford axed for operational convenience. 13.23 Windsor-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 13.53 Windsor-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 14.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 14.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 14.28 Waterloo-Windsor 17 minutes late. 14.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Wokingham. 16.15 Waterloo-Haslemere axed between Waterloo and Woking. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 17.20 Waterloo-Reading 30 minutes late; stops at Clapham Junction, Richmond, Twickenham, Feltham, Martins Heron, Bracknell, Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle and Earley axed for operational convenience. 21.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 24 minutes late; stops at Barnes Bridge, Chiswick, Kew Bridge, Brentford, Syon Lane and Isleworth axed for operational convenience. 21.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 12 minutes late.
Sunday 30/07/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 09.15 Waterloo-Paignton between Exeter and Paignton; 15.27 Paignton-Waterloo between Paignton and Exeter. 07.50 Waterloo-Woking 17 minutes late. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late. 08.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 50 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Woking. 09.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 09.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late at Brockenhurst but shown by the National Rail live running webpage as expected at Waterloo 10 minutes early (12.44). 10.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 45 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Eastleigh. 10.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 10.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 11.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 11.24 Eastleigh-Portsmouth axed. 14.13 Penzance-Waterloo 15 minutes late. Passengers on the 18.05 Bournemouth-Waterloo thrown off at Eastleigh due to duff stock. 18.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches.
Monday 31/07/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 09.08 Guildford-Waterloo. 08.46 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. Parts of 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth suffered from duff air conditioning. Guard of the 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth intriguingly broadcast a request for help from any member of SWT staff about an issue affecting the train.
Tuesday 01/08/06 Passengers on the 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth thrown off at Winchester due to duff stock. Passengers on the 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Portsmouth & Southsea due to duff stock. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. 07.30 Southampton-Poole 21 minutes late due to duff stock. 07.46 Waterloo-Chessington axed due to duff stock. 08.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Guildford. Poole portion of 17.05 from Waterloo 4 minutes late leaving from Southampton due to duff doors. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed.
Wednesday 02/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth. 08.25 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late due to duff stock. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth 37 minutes late. 16.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 40 minutes late. 16.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 27 minutes late. 16.56 Havant-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 25 minutes late. 17.08 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.38 Guildford-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 19.46 Guildford-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 19.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 19.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 20.08 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 20.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed. 22.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed.
Thursday 03/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 06.07 Totton-Yeovil between Southampton Central and Yeovil; 14.59 Wareham-Southampton between Wareham and Bournemouth; 21.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth. 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 05.49 Weymouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth reduced to 5 coaches; passengers for intermediate stops to Bournemouth thrown off at Southampton. 20.28 Waterloo-Windsor axed due to duff stock. 21.53 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Friday 04/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 14.24 Basingstoke-Fareham; 16.02 Southampton-Wareham; 17.59 Wareham-Bournemouth. 13.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 15.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 15.39 Waterloo-Southampton stopping train axed between Waterloo and Woking (where it is not scheduled to stop) and then ran as a Woking-Southampton non-stop service: when is a cancellation not a cancellation? 16.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late. 18.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 38 minutes late due to duff stock. 19.50 Waterloo-Woking 24 minutes late due to duff train. 20.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. Passengers on the 21.20 Waterloo-Reading thrown off at Staines due to duff stock.
Saturday 05/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 05.25 Woking-Waterloo. 07.12 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to duff stock. 08.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. Guard of the 21.05 Waterloo-Poole repeatedly apologised for all toilets on the train, except those between the fourth and fifth coaches, being unusable.
Sunday 06/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 13.44 Lymington Pier-Brockenhurst; 15.15 Alton-Waterloo. 06.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo started 6 minutes late due to duff stock. 10.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes early due to slack timetable. 11.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 45 minutes late. 11.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 12.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo expected to terminate 8 minutes early due to slack timetable. 13.05 Bournemouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 13.34 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 14.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 14.05 Bournemouth-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.27 Paignton-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth axed between Waterloo and Bournemouth due to duff stock. 16.40 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 17.56 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 21.09 Waterloo-Reading 16 minutes late due to duff stock.
Monday 07/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 09.59 Brockenhurst-Lymington; 10.14 Lymington-Brockenhurst; 10.29 Brockenhurst-Lymington; 10.44 Lymington-Brockenhurst; 21.55 Southampton-Waterloo between Basingstoke and Waterloo.
Tuesday 08/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking; 18.38 Winchester-Southampton; 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo. 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. Not even a light breeze yet the 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton and 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth 13 minutes late “due to debris blown on to the line at Woolston”. 07.30 Shepperton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Bridge at Byfleet hit by road vehicle in afternoon; delays of up to 25 minutes advertised. 15.30 Waterloo-Alton 20 minutes late; intermediate stops before Woking axed for operational convenience. 16.03 Waterloo-Guildford 12 minutes late; intermediate stops before Surbiton axed for operational convenience. 18.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late due to no crew. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches.
Wednesday 09/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 20.00 Romsey-Totton between Southampton Central and Totton; 21.01 Totton-Romsey between Totton and Southampton Central; 22.01 Guildford-Ascot; 23.23 Ascot-Aldershot. 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 128 minutes late. 05.15 Yeovil-Waterloo 86 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 112 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 36 minutes late after running non-stop Eastleigh to Waterloo via Guildford. 05.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 67 minutes late. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 66 minutes late. 05.54 Weymouth-Waterloo 43 minutes late. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 60 minutes late. 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 06.24 Weymouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 85 minutes late. 06.45 Southampton-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 33 minutes late. 08.20 Waterloo-Exeter 14 minutes late. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 67 minutes late. 09.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 48 minutes late. 09.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late. 09.58 Guildford-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 10.05 Waterloo-Poole 22 minutes late. 10.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 24 minutes late. 15.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 22 minutes late. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 15.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 26 minutes late. 15.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 24 minutes late; stops at Hook, Weybridge, Walton-on-Thames, Surbiton and Clapham Junction axed for operational convenience. 15.59 Wareham-Winchester axed between Wareham and Southampton due to rolling stock shortage. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 16.01 Poole-Waterloo 38 minutes late due to rolling stock shortage; all intermediate stops between Southampton Central and Waterloo axed for operational convenience. 16.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 29 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Woking and Waterloo axed for operational convenience. 16.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.33 Woking-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 18.32 Waterloo-Guildford 13 minutes late. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 18 minutes late. 19.38 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 20.53 Windsor-Waterloo 15 minutes late.
Thursday 10/08/06 Doors on the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil closed 35 seconds early and the train departed 10 seconds before 06.07. 06.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 07.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo axed between Bournemouth and Waterloo due to duff stock. 07.30 Southampton-Poole axed due to duff stock. Passengers on the 15.28 Waterloo- Windsor thrown off at Twickenham. 16.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 18.36 Shepperton-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 20.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 21.28 Waterloo-Windsor 16 minutes late. 21.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 23.23 Ascot-Guildford axed. 23.31 Guildford-Farnham axed between Guildford and Aldershot.
Friday 11/08/06 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.41 Shepperton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 25 minutes late.
Saturday 12/08/06 06.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 13.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 66 minutes late and 14.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 51 minutes late; unable to establish why because SWT’s Journeycheck facility was down. 14.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 14.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 49 minutes late. 14.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 17.14 Alton-Waterloo 9 minutes late; West Byfleet stop for operational convenience. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.50 Waterloo-Reading 23 minutes late due to duff stock. 20.53 Waterloo-Alton 16 minutes late due to duff stock. Hamworthy stop of 21.10 Weymouth-Waterloo axed long in advance “due to the police dealing with a problem”!!!
Sunday 13/08/06 08.07 Wimbledon-Chessington axed. 08.42 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 08.52 Woking-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 09.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late. 10.07 Waterloo-Basingstoke/Alton 19 minutes late. 10.10 Waterloo-Guildford 13 minutes late. 14.05 Bournemouth/14.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late due to duff stock. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late due to duff stock. 17.05 Bournemouth/17.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 17.56 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.15 Alton/18.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 18.45 Alton/18.52 Basingstoke-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 19.13 Ascot-Guildford-14 minutes late. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 33 minutes late. 21.13 Ascot-Guildford 12 minutes late. Brookwood station closed by evening flooding.
Monday 14/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo. Line between Brookwood and Aldershot, including Ash Vale station, closed due to landslip and not reopened until Saturday morning; Alton trains generally ran to Guildford instead of Waterloo, with Guildford-Ascot trains axed between Guildford and Aldershot. 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 07.36 Basingstoke-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.51 Southampton-Portsmouth axed. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed due to no rolling stock. 16.05 Waterloo-Reading delayed due to delay on previous journey. 16.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 16.24 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. Rolling stock for the17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth didn’t arrive until 16.50; passengers then had to wait a further 4 minutes for a guard to turn up and take the trouble to open the doors. 17.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter axed between Waterloo and Salisbury due to duff stock. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading 6 minutes late due to no crew. 18.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court reduced to 4 coaches. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading axed due to duff stock. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Tuesday 15/08/06 07.37 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 07.53 Waterloo-Alton axed. 14.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 16 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Richmond axed for operational convenience. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth arrived at Winchester 4 minutes early due to slack scheduling. 18.54 Poole-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 19.12 Waterloo-Eastleigh 40 minutes late. 19.20 Waterloo-Honiton 40 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton 27 minutes late. 19.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 21 minutes late. 19.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 25 minutes late. 20.56 Salisbury-Bristol 38 minutes late. 22.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 24 minutes late.
Wednesday 16/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 08.24 Waterloo-Dorking; 09.35 Dorking-Waterloo. 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.00 Haslemere-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. Duff stock on the 06.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo; passengers thrown off at Hinton Admiral and mainline morning peak service collapsed: 05.54 Weymouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late; 06.11 Poole-Waterloo axed. 06.24 Weymouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late; 06.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late; 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late; 07.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 07.15 Southampton-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 07.20 Poole-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 20 minutes late. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 30 minutes late. Late morning disruption due to a train failure on the Chessington line. Two passengers stabbed in gang warfare on the 11.20 Waterloo-Reading. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 25 minutes late. 14.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 25 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines axed for operational convenience. 14.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Kingston axed for operational convenience. 14.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed due to duff stock. 15.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading delayed due to no crew; all intermediate stops before Staines axed for operational convenience. 18.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 18.32 Waterloo-Basingstoke 26 minutes late due to crew shortage.
Thursday 17/08/06 Hazard warning tape affixed to a door of the 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth. 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo omitted Southampton Airport and Winchester stops for operational convenience following a locomotive failure (unclear what failed but a SWT locomotive noted in the sidings at Winchester later in the afternoon). Passengers on the 14.01 Poole-Waterloo thrown off at Winchester. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 14.55 Southampton-Waterloo 49 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth axed between Waterloo and Woking; passengers told to use the 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth as far as Woking; on approach to Woking the guard announced that the Weymouth train was following the 17.00 from Clapham and would leave from platform 4 but it arrived in platform 2 from the opposite direction; it was clear from the empty seats that many passengers had been left at Waterloo; passengers on the 17.00 were then seriously delayed because an elderly gentleman had collapsed in the severely overcrowded conditions. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late. 21.52 Waterloo-Weybridge axed due to duff stock. 23.33 Weybridge-Staines axed due to duff stock.
Friday 18/08/06 07.53 Waterloo-Alton axed. 07.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.42 Waterloo-Shepperton omitted all intermediate stops before Norbiton for operational convenience. 16.03 Waterloo-Guildford axed between Waterloo and Wimbledon. At 16.50 many platforms at Waterloo were empty, with incoming trains simply advertised as “delayed”. 18.08 Guildford-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 18.36 Shepperton-Waterloo 26 minutes late.
Saturday 19/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 07.28 Guildford-Waterloo; 12.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo; 13.53 Waterloo-Alton between Farnham and Alton; 15.44 Alton-Waterloo between Alton and Farnham; 15.58 Guildford-Waterloo; 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo between Bournemouth and Waterloo; 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth between Southampton and Weymouth (website said passengers to change at Southampton for other services to Weymouth but there aren’t any until the 21.35 from Waterloo); 20.39 Waterloo-Southampton; 23.10 Weymouth-Bournemouth. 06.35 Salisbury-Totton axed between Salisbury and Eastleigh. 12.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 19 minutes late due to no crew; stops at Barnes, Barnes Bridge, Chiswick, Kew Bridge, Syon Lane and Isleworth axed for operational convenience. 19.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 19.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo failed at Queenstown Road on its outward journey; the station was then left with departures in one direction only.
Sunday 20/08/06 17.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late.
Monday 21/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 07.20 Poole-Waterloo; 10.05 Fareham-Basingstoke; 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth; 16.59 Wareham-Brockenhurst. 05.26 Poole-Brockenhurst axed. 06.16 Brockenhurst Poole axed. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 22 minutes late. 15.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 14 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Hounslow and Clapham Junction axed for operational convenience. 16.01 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late due to duff stock. 17.30 Waterloo-Epsom reduced to 4 coaches. Passengers on the 17.55 Waterloo-Alton thrown off at Farnham due to points failure. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 18.54 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. 19.05 Alton-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 19.35 Alton-Waterloo axed. 19.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed between Waterloo and Surbiton. 21.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 15 minutes late due to no crew.
Tuesday 22/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 07.51 Southampton-Portsmouth; 09.32 Portsmouth-Southampton. Passengers on the 07.30 Shepperton-Waterloo thrown off at Mortlake. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 39 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Newton Abbot and Exeter axed for operational convenience. 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Eastleigh due to duff stock. 16.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham due to duff stock. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo axed. 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.41 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches. No buffet on 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth because of late change of rolling stock. 20.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking.
Wednesday 23/08/06 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo 17 minutes late due to no crew; all 11 intermediate stops between Ascot and Waterloo axed for operational convenience.
Thursday 24/08/06 08.03 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.07 Waterloo-Reading 23 minutes late due to duff stock. 08.28 Waterloo-Windsor axed. Passengers on the 08.33 Waterloo-Guildford thrown off at Clapham Junction due to duff stock. 08.48 Effingham Junction-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
USEFUL EVENING ENTRIES ON SWT’s website:
* 2N56 17.01 Guildford-Ascot running 14 minutes late Aldershot after signalling equipment failure at Aldershot South Jct JH WICC
* Reports received that 2G52 causing trippings enroute. Train currently at Claygate. More info when known JH WICC 1712.
* 2G52 now on the move train will terminate at Wimbledon.
* 2P63 1945 Waterloo to Portsmouth 12 mins late start after passcom operated onboard JH WICC.
Friday 25/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 07.25 Weymouth-Brockenhurst between Bournemouth and Brockenhurst. 15.50 Waterloo-Gillingham 32 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops between Waterloo and Salisbury axed for operational convenience. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 37 minutes late. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil 13 minutes late. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 12 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late.
Saturday 26/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 06.31 Guildford-Ascot between Guildford and Aldershot; 07.08 Aldershot-Guildford; 07.31 Guildford-Ascot; 08.53 Ascot-Guildford; 10.01 Guildford-Ascot between Guildford and Aldershot; 16.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 09.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 09.50 Waterloo-Woking 10 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Surbiton and Weybridge axed for operational convenience. 10.03 Woking-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 10.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late. 12.44 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham due to duff stock. Train failure at Farnborough: 19.01 Poole-Waterloo 23 minutes late; 19.55 Southampton-Waterloo 28 minutes late; 20.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 15 minutes late.
Sunday 27/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 16.26 Guildford-Waterloo. 07.24 Epsom-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 08.21 Waterloo-Chessington 25 minutes late. 13.10 Brighton-Reading 40 minutes late due to duff stock; passengers thrown off at Basingstoke. 15.56 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke due to duff stock. 17.40 Waterloo-Guildford axed between Waterloo and Wimbledon due to delay on previous service. 19.10 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Basingstoke due to duff stock.
Monday 28/08/06 06.07 Totton-Yeovil 11 minutes late. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 07.10 Waterloo-Paignton 10 minutes late starting. 12.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late.
Tuesday 29/08/06 TEN PER CENT SERVICE ON SWT, DUE TO INDUSTRIAL ACTION
Wednesday 30/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo between Exeter and Honiton (fortunately FGW allowed Exeter-London passengers to travel to Paddington on the 05.58); 05.41 Salisbury-Totton between Salisbury and Eastleigh; the Pokesdown, Christchurch, New Milton, Ashurst and Totton stops of the 16.01 Poole-Waterloo, which was delayed 18 minutes due to crew shortage (2-hour gap in direct London services from these stations; call at Brockenhurst – the only station with alternative London trains – honoured); 22.35 Portsmouth-Havant. 06.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 11.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed due to duff stock. 14.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.57 Brighton-Reading 27 minutes late due to duff stock.16.31 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court reduced to 4 coaches. 18.00 Waterloo-Epsom reduced to 4 coaches. 18.39 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 19.32 Waterloo-Surbiton axed due to duff stock.
Thursday 31/08/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 19.55 Southampton-Waterloo between Basingstoke and Waterloo; 22.39 Waterloo-Southampton. 06.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 07.15 Southampton-Waterloo 21 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed for operational convenience. 08.40 Chessington-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 09.02 Dorking-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.32 Waterloo-Basingstoke 21 minutes late due to duff stock. 18.57 Brighton-Reading axed due to duff stock. Passengers on the 20.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Haslemere due to duff stock.
Friday 01/09/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth between Waterloo and Poole; 09.55 Southampton-Waterloo; all intermediate stops of the 15.36 Portsmouth-Southampton (to compensate for 40 minute delay); 16.14 Alton-Waterloo between Alton and Woking; 18.38 Winchester-Southampton; 19.31 Guildford-Ascot; 20.53 Ascot-Guildford; 23.01 Guildford-Ascot. 07.57 Waterloo-Strawberry Hill axed due to duff stock. 07.58 Weymouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. Passengers on the 15.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Bournemouth due to duff stock. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth due to duff stock. 20.06 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 22.01 Guildford-Ascot 24 minutes late due to no rolling stock; passengers thrown off at Aldershot. 22.52 Waterloo-Woking 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 23.23 Ascot-Aldershot axed due to no rolling stock.
Saturday 02/09/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot; 06.35 Salisbury-Totton between Salisbury and Eastleigh; 14.14 Alton-Waterloo between Farnham and Waterloo; 15.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke; 15.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo between Basingstoke and Waterloo; 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo between Salisbury and Waterloo; 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton between Waterloo and Basingstoke; 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth between Basingstoke and Portsmouth; 19.23 Waterloo-Alton; 21.14 Alton-Waterloo; 21.51 Portsmouth-Eastleigh; 22.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke; 23.31 Guildford-Farnham between Guildford and Aldershot. 06.33 Woking-Waterloo 22 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops between Surbiton and Waterloo axed for operational convenience. 09.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 10.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 11.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 11.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 11.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 11.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops after Kingston for operational convenience. 11.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 12.03 Woking-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 12.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 12.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Waterloo and Norbiton axed for operational convenience. 12.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late. 15.12 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 16.04 Reading-Brighton axed. 16.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 22 minutes late; stops at St Margarets, Richmond, North Sheen and Mortlake axed for operational convenience. 16.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Bracknell. 17.12 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late; stops at Sunningdale, Virginia Water, Egham, Staines and Feltham axed for operational convenience. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Wokingham. 21.10 Weymouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late due to duff stock. 22.23 Bristol-Salisbury axed between Bristol and Westbury due to duff stock.
Sunday 03/09/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 15.59/16.29/16.59 Brockenhurst-Lymington; 16.14/16.44/17.14 Lymington Brockenhurst. 07.52 Woking-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 07.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 19.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late.
Monday 04/09/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth between Waterloo and Poole; 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo; 07.20 Poole-Waterloo between Poole and Southampton Central. 07.22 Waterloo-Weybridge axed due to duff stock. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury axed due to duff stock. 08.09 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to duff stock. 08.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 12 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Norbiton axed for operational convenience. Afternoon security alert: 15.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 16 minutes late; stops at St Margarets, Richmond, North Sheen and Mortlake axed for operational convenience; 15.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops from Clapham Junction to New Malden inclusive; 15.39 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 15.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed; 15.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 25 minutes late; 15.46 Waterloo-Chessington 27 minutes late and omitted all intermediate stops to Wimbledon inclusive; 16.11 Shepperton-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops from Kingston; 16.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed between Shepperton and Teddington. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo delayed by duff stock. 16.42 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 18.42 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late due to duff stock; Longcross stop axed for operational convenience.
Tuesday 05/09/06 Severe discomfort on the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo due to duff air conditioning. 17.31 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 11 minutes late.
Wednesday 06/09/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 17.32 Waterloo-Guildford; 22.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops axed for operational convenience. 07.38 Waterloo-Southampton 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 07.58 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.59 Brockenhurst-Lymington axed due to duff stock. 10.14 Lymington-Brockenhurst axed due to duff stock. 12.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops, except well-served Haslemere and Guildford, axed for operational convenience. 13.50 Waterloo-Reading axed due to duff stock. 14.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 14.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 minutes late. Signalling problem affecting Brentford line services: 14.07/14.37/14.45/15.07/ 15.15/ 15.37/ 15.45/16.07/16.15/16.37/ 17.07/17.15/17.37/17.45/18.07/ 18.15/18.37/ 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed with the 15/45 services axed for the rest of the day. 14.12 Reading-Waterloo failed between Feltham and Twickenham. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.43 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 20.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 10 minutes late due to no rolling stock.
Thursday 07/09/06 07.27/07.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 08.12 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 08.41 Shepperton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.07 Twickenham-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Passengers on the 15.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo thrown off at Richmond. 18.36 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. 20.06 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late due to duff stock.
Friday 08/09/06 AXED DUE TO NO CREW: 18.35 Waterloo-Reading; 20.12 Reading-Waterloo. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 7 minutes late due to “congestion in the St Denys area”! 06.07 Totton-Waterloo 3 minutes late by Southampton Central. 15.42 Reading-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Ascot and Waterloo axed for operational convenience. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth left Southampton Central 15 seconds early and arrived at Totton 5 minutes late.
Saturday 09/09/06 20.53 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
APPENDIX 3: MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Friday 14/07/06 CLIMATE CHANGE. The weekend will see UV levels as high as those in Istanbul. Statistics show that in May 1996 the average temperature was 11C. This year it was 14C. Figures for August are 18.3C in 1996 and 18.9% in 2005. Experts cannot predict future extremes. There are also fears about pollution levels, and the Mayor of London has pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 20% by 2010. The Environment Agency considers that there is a very small probability of the Thames flooding but, if it did, the consequences would be enormous. If nothing is done to improve infrastructure around the Thames barrier and further downstream, a major flood could cause damage of up to £80 billion. About a sixth of the capital’s population, well over 1 million people, is at risk of flooding. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 20/07/06 LIGHTER ROUTE TO CLEANER AIR. London suffers from one of the worst air quality ratings in Europe. Official statistics suggest that air pollution contributes to the deaths of up to 1,600 Londoners every year. Three quarters of all air pollutants in London come from the roads. London is investing heavily in non-polluting hydrogen transport. Three hydrogen buses are plying between Covent Garden and the Tower. Soon, up to a dozen buses will be added as London spends tens of millions on its experimental fleet of “hydro-vehicles”. The Mayor champions hydro power which he believes could help make fossil fuels history. Similar projects are in place in various parts of the world. The downsides are that it takes up to ten times more to take a passenger one mile using hydrogen fuel cells instead of diesel, and hydrogen molecules must be extracted from other sources – in London’s case from natural gas. This process produces carbon dioxide, though about 30% less than the amount from an equivalent diesel engine. Some think London’s preferred choice of liquid hydrogen is not the best way forward. When Hatfield colliery reopens next year it will fuel a nearby power station. One by-product will be pure hydrogen gas, unsuitable for fuel cells, but ideal for hydrogen-powered internal combustion engines. This would be a much cheaper option but, as a gas, hydrogen is expensive to transport over long distances. However, Nicholas Carr, former editor of the Harvard Business Review, notes that new technologies often take years to take hold, with early versions prohibitively expensive. Fax machines, PCs and even railways took years to reach the masses. (Guardian)
Wednesday 26/07/06 ARID CONDITIONS. In Liverpool alone there are reported to have been 600 separate blazes, and fire brigades across the UK said yesterday that they have handled thousands more. Water tables in some areas of the South East are now at levels similar to the drought of 1976. The Met Office warned that higher pollution levels were an increasing danger. In Germany accident and emergency admissions are up 25%. In France 40 mostly elderly people have died in the past week. In Spain 8 people have died as temperatures have topped 40C. In the Netherlands a four-day walking event was cancelled after two participants dropped dead and there have been fatalities in Germany and Austria. Portugal has registered minimum night temperatures above 20C for 12 days running. The Po, Italy’s largest river, and the Elbe in Germany are both in danger of drying up. In Poland there are fears for crops. Czech nuclear power plants have been forced to reduce output as there is not enough cold water to cool reactors. (Guardian)
Monday 07/08/06 ‘GREEN TAX’. The Commons Environmental Audit Committee says air and car travel should face swingeing new taxes to help cut greenhouse gases. Jet fares should incur 17.5% VAT and airlines should be taxed per plane rather than per passenger to stop them running part-empty flights. Vehicle excise duty on petrol-guzzling vehicles should rocket from £210 to £1,800. The 70mph speed limit on motorways and trunk roads should be cut or rigorously enforced to bring down the amount of carbon dioxide given off by cars. The price of petrol should rise above inflation. Transport is the only sector of the British economy where carbon emissions have continued to rise consistently since 1990. Emissions from air traffic have already doubled and are predicted to double again as thousands take advantage of cheap flights. Meanwhile, Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander is seeking powers to introduce toll roads throughout the country. (Metro)
Friday 01/09/06 SOIL REACTION MAY REQUIRE BIGGER CUTS IN EMISSIONS. Peter Cox, a climate modeller at Exeter University, said changes in the soil and oceans over the coming decades could make it much more difficult for the atmosphere to cope with carbon dioxide spewed from cars, power stations and aircraft. Professor Cox told the annual meeting of the Royal Geographical Society in London that warmer temperatures could force soils across the world to release their stocks of carbon, potentially driving up global temperatures by an extra 1.5C. Half of mankind’s carbon emissions are soaked up by the land and oceans. Experts expect this to decline as global temperature rise, with warmer temperatures leading to increased carbon emissions. Models suggest up to 170bn tonnes of carbon could be released from the land between 2050 and 2100, equivalent to about 30 years of fossil fuel use. However Professor Cox said the true impact was difficult to predict. Our climate models grew from weather forecasts and forecasters don’t care much about carbon dioxide. He called for poorer countries to be paid not to cut down forests as a possible solution. (Guardian)
Friday 01/09/06 BATTLE FOR GREEN VOTE INTENSIFIES. David Cameron is to step up his campaign for the green vote by joining with the Liberal Democrats and Friends of the Earth to demand a bill to commit the Government to reducing carbon emissions. The Government sees a bill as unnecessary, but accepts it is likely to miss its target of reducing emissions by 20% between 1990 and 2010. It believes it can meet the 12.5% target set in the Kyoto agreement. The Shadow Chancellor George Osbourne committed the Conservatives to increasing the proportion of national income raised by green taxes. The Party was looking at recommendations for higher taxes on cars and a levy on short-haul flights. This would move some of the burden of taxation away from income and capital and towards taxes on environmentally damaging behaviour. This would reverse the trend since 1997, which has seen taxes on pollution fall from 7.7% to 6.2% of the total tax take. (Guardian).
Tuesday 05/09/06 CLIMATE CHANGE WILL REACH POINT OF NO RETURN IN 20 YEARS. Speaking at the British Association festival of science in Norwich yesterday, Peter Smith, a professor of sustainable energy at Nottingham University, said the world has only 10 years to develop and implement new technologies to generate clean electricity before climate change reaches the point of no return. The scientific opinion is that we have 440 parts per million (ppms) of atmospheric carbon before there is a tipping point. The current rate of emissions, around 2ppm a year and rising, means that we could expect to see the tipping point reaching us in 20 years’ time. That gives 10 years to develop technologies which could bite the problem. The Government’s recent energy review was remarkable for paying hardly any regard to the country’s principal energy asset, its rivers, estuaries, coastal currents and waves, which could meet the nuclear shortfall several times over. The technology is robust, basically a water wheel. It is rubbish for the Government to claim it is innovatory. According to the energy savings trust, homes in the UK could potentially provide 40% of their own electricity using micro-generation. He thought the Government would remain apathetic until there was a two metre rise in the Thames, with the House of Commons under water. The Met Office believes the Thames is the most vulnerable place in Northern Europe to major storm surges. The existing barrage could be overwhelmed at almost any time, and estimates suggest this could cause £30bn of damage to London and the surrounding areas. (Guardian)
APPENDIX 4: MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
Monday 03/07/06 ROAD BYPASSES TRIGGER RISE IN TRAFFIC. Controversial bypasses at Polegate, Newbury and Blackburn have increased traffic according to a survey by the Campaign to Protect Rural England and the Countryside Agency. At the same time town shops lost trade and the landscape was seriously damaged. A better road building policy is needed for the future. (Metro)
Monday 03/07/06 CHEAP RAIL TICKETS ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO GET. Research has found that on 90% of rail routes it is impossible to get the cheapest ticket advertised. In some cases the only available fares cost almost 7 times as much. A spokesperson from the rail watchdog, Passenger Focus, branded the cheap fares a “mirage”. Discounted fares should be released 9 weeks in advance but Virgin [49% Stagecoach owned] and First Great Western had failed to put any on sale by the due date for the August Bank Holiday. (Evening Standard)
Monday 03/07/06 TUBE A POTENTIAL DEATH TRAP AS TEMPERATURES SOAR. The Mayor of London considers that there could be a serious loss of life if a train breaks down in a tunnel during the heatwave. The Department of Health raised its alert to level 3 as temperatures hit 34C at street level and 35.9C on the Underground. Experts warned that everyone is at risk of heatstroke. People need to drink plenty of water. The Mayor warned that with climate change it might become necessary to close the deep level Tube lines during hot weather within 4 or 5 years. (Evening Standard)
Tuesday 04/07/06 NETWORK RAIL SEEKS EXTRA £8 BILLION FOR INFRASTRUCTURE. Network Rail has asked the Government for an extra £8bn to modernise Britain’s creaking rail infrastructure. The company said it had been able to cut costs by almost £1bn last year, but still needed more money for essential improvements, particularly to overcrowded commuter routes in the South East. Almost half the extra money would go on the extension of Thameslink. Network Rail said efficiency savings would reduce the costs of running the network by £4.2bn between 2009 and 2014 compared with 2004-09. The Office of Rail Regulation had expected funding to be cut and shadow transport secretary, Chris Grayling, said the rail network had already received too much funding from taxpayers and that better value for money was needed. (Guardian)
Tuesday 04/07/06 BUSES HOTTER THAN TUBE. A combination of stifling heat and humidity is exposing bus and Tube passengers to conditions far hotter than in Miami, Bangkok and Casablanca. People who deserted the Tube because of the severe heat found London buses even hotter. The temperature rose as high as 42C on some buses, compared with 41C on the Central Line, a level which scientists consider dangerous. Two passengers asked drivers to open bus doors while the vehicles were stuck in traffic, but this was refused without a reason being given. Transport for London has fitted 1,500 new buses with more opening windows on the upper decks and installed ventilation on 472 more. Painting roofs white to reflect the sun had no effect. Air conditioned trains will arrive on Circle, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and District lines in 2009. Deep level Tubes can never have air-conditioned trains. Teams of engineers are working on a scheme to pipe cold water from London’s rivers around deep level stations and through tunnels, but installation would be years away. (Evening Standard)
Wednesday 05/07/06 RAIL COMPLAINTS SOAR OVER DELAYS. Complaints in the first quarter of 2006 have soared by 8% in London and the South East and 5% elsewhere. Although punctuality has improved overall [not just on SWT with its much decelerated schedules] there is mounting anger over a range of issues including fares, overcrowding, timetable changes and safety. A report from London TravelWatch reveals that only 35% of passengers across London and the South East think they get value for money. (Evening Standard)
Friday 07/07/06 SAFETY STANDARDS ON ROAD AND RAIL. Stacking the odds against rail freight in favour of lorries is a tradition going back half a century. Some lorry drivers are concerned about temporary electro-magnetic interference in their vehicles’ control systems. A driver complained that interference from powerful radio signals was knocking out the brakes and gearbox in his modern truck, equipped with a high-tech engine control unit. Testing for electromagnetic compatibility may become mandatory, but not until 2014 at the earliest. In the last decade, thousands of new rail vehicles have been kept in sidings while engineers demonstrated that they met the required safety standards, and EU standards are not accepted as safety approval for British tracks. Even track machines intended for occasional journeys have to have the decibel levels of their horns checked every month. Road vehicles run through residential streets, pass schools and share routes with pedestrians and cyclists. Rail vehicles don’t. (Private Eye)
Friday 07/07/06 ROLLING STOCK COMPANIES. It’s ironic that the three train leasing companies are to be referred to the Competition Commission on the grounds that they aren’t competitive enough. The idea of splitting ownership of trains and track came from Steve Robson, the Treasury civil servant responsible for rail privatisation. Five years later, as Sir Steve, he left government to pursue commercial opportunities, including as a director of the Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS does very well from its ownership of Angel Trains, one of the leasing companies to be investigated. Sir Steve, meanwhile, continues to promote the privatisation of public services so that they can “enjoy” the benefits of competition. (Private Eye)
Friday 13/07/06 TICKET PRICES DRIVING PASSENGERS FROM TRAINS TO CARS. Thousands of rail passengers are returning to their cars because they cannot afford train tickets. Seven out of ten leisure users told a Passenger Focus survey that they will not travel by train because it is too expensive, with 44% of those planning to switch to their cars. Many commuters lose out because they cannot afford annual season tickets. 41% of passengers think the railways offer value for money. (Evening Standard)
Friday 14/07/06 FIRST GROUP PLANS DUTCH TRANSPORT BUY. First Group plans to acquire a majority stake in Connexxion, the Dutch public transport group. This is in line with the Group’s plans to expand into continental Europe. (Financial Times)
Friday 21/07/06 PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA. Network Rail wants an extra £8 billion to help the railways cope with a 30% increase in demand. However, Government policy seems to be to reduce demand by increasing fares, as on First Capital Connect which is operated with almost 25% fewer carriages than in BR days. / The new Transport Secretary has berated the rail industry for not making trains more energy efficient while the car industry has “made great strides”. Perhaps someone should tell him that electric trains are more energy-efficient than diesels and in 9 years the Government hasn’t authorised a single major route electrification. / The Department for Transport is asking the rail regulators to investigate the high leasing charges imposed by the rolling stock companies. The high charges were highlighted by Private Eye in October 1997.
Friday 28/07/06 GNER FAILS TO BLOCK RIVAL’S SERVICES. GNER has lost its legal challenge to the rail regulator’s decision to allow Grand Central Railway to compete on the East Coast main line. GCR’s new Kings Cross-Sunderland services are expected to start in December along with an additional daily journey by Hull Trains. The Department for Transport said the regulator’s decision would cost taxpayers £114 million over the next decade by sucking passengers away from GNER and other established train firms which pay a portion of their profits to the Treasury. (Guardian)
Tuesday 1/08/06 NETWORK RAIL TO RAISE CASH WITHOUT STATE BACKING. Network Rail said its performance was improving more quickly than expected, allowing it to give up government backing for its borrowings ahead of schedule. The company is expected to borrow an additional £3 billion over the next three years to fund continued investment in the network. (Guardian)
Friday 04/08/06 PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA. Conservatives now accept the shocking inefficiency of privatised railways, but they don’t seem to recognise the mismatch between the industry’s long timescales and private firms’ duties to satisfy shareholders every year. At least Network Rail saves hundreds of millions each year by taking maintenance in-house. Yet the shadow transport secretary wants to see track and trains merged so that private train operators look after tracks during their franchise periods. / Rail subsidy is justified by rail’s social, economic and environmental benefits. Yet it makes sense for Virgin [49% Stagecoach owned] to carry empty seats in and out of London and Manchester during peak hours because it can charge a fortune for peak fares. But then we’re subsidising train companies NOT to help cut road congestion and NOT to help poor people travel to work or healthcare appointments. / While David Cameron tries to convince voters that his party takes green issues seriously, Conservative Councils such as Birmingham and Ealing are making public transport less attractive by scrapping bus lanes. Ealing has voted to “remove” bus lanes under the pretence of assessing whether they lessen congestion for motorists. The whole point of bus lanes is not to make life easier for motorists but to encourage them to go by bus.
Tuesday 08/08/06 HAMPSHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL’S ASPIRATIONS FOR RAIL. With the deadline for SWT re-franchise near, the County Council and New Forest District Council have set out their aspirations. Top priority is the restoration of services to Hythe, followed by key recommendations for extended car park and reduced charges at New Milton, extended car park and improved disabled platform access at Brockenhurst, and consideration of moving Totton station to the west of Junction Road. Plans for a West Totton Parkway station are dropped. Other proposals include promotion of services on the Lymington branch with Ampress Halt reopened, promotion of Ashurst station for tourism, more weekday trains from Beaulieu Road, improvements to the forecourt at Totton station, and more CCTV at New Milton. Alan Shotter, Chairman of Railfuture Wessex said these proposals reflected their own. (Southern Daily Echo)
Friday 18/08/06 PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA. Consent for a rowing lake near Bedford will scupper one of Britain’s most cost-effective transport schemes. With nine miles of rebuilt track, east-west rail would provide direct trains between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford and Cambridge. Bedfordshire Council has consented to a 2.3km rowing lake that will destroy the former rail route east of Bedford. The East-West Rail Consortium, which included Bedfordshire Council, has spent 11 years promoting the scheme, which was supported by numerous studies. Central Government blocked a £240m east-west project in 2001, and then pencilled in thousands more homes along the route, and major expansion of East Anglian ports. The route would relieve some of Britain’s most overcrowded roads and railways for a pittance. Scarce capacity of the last 30 miles of routes into London is wasted because people travel into the capital only to catch another train out of it. East-West Rail would have diverted that traffic by connecting four main intercity lines. The new service could also have relieved the M25. Freight trains from the growing eastern ports could have used the line instead of the cramped North London Line. The service could also have relieved the West Midlands by providing a passenger route from North East to South West without having to travel via Birmingham New Street.
Wednesday 30/08/06 SWT PASSENGERS FACE WINTER OF MISERY. Thousands of Hampshire rail commuters face a winter of disruption as industrial action on SWT continues. On 29 August only 300 trains ran compared with the normal 1,700. (Southern Daily Echo)
Wednesday 30/08/06 SWT’S INDUSTRIAL ACTION COSTS LONDON MILLIONS. The London Chamber of Commerce said that the strike on 29 August caused misery for thousands of commuters and cost the London economy millions of pounds.
Thursday 31/08/06 LATE REOPENING OF THE WATERLOO & CITY LINE. Closed for 5 months for £40m rebuilding work, the Waterloo-Bank line will miss its reopening date of 1 September. No new date has been announced. (Evening Standard) [Subsequently announced that it would reopen on 11 September]
Friday 01/09/06 £24 MILLION FOR TRAM LINE WHICH MAY NEVER BE BUILT. £24.5m has been spent on the West London Tram scheme (Shepherds Bush-Uxbridge), but it may never be built. The construction cost of £648m would need to come from Government. (Evening Standard)
Friday 01/09/06 PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA. On 31 March the Government said that no new rail franchises will be rescued because the “market” is more mature. Yet the First Great Western franchise was renegotiated soon after it started. Now GNER is in trouble because its 10 per cent revenue growth in year one is only a third of what is needed if it is to meet its premium commitment to the Government. Over the life of the franchise a £1.9 billion premium is at stake. / Last year no passengers were killed in train accidents in Great Britain and 8 died in station accidents. In the same year, 3,201 died on the nation’s roads. In evidence to the energy review, transport department rail strategist Mark Gaynor wrote: “The case for public subsidy for rail rests primarily on the road decongestion, environmental and safety benefits. On the advent of road-user charging, the road-decongestion justification drops away. The safety benefit remains, but its value is small”. He seems oblivious to the gulf between road and rail safety. Roads are a free-for-all where many drivers are drunk, sleepy, distracted, disqualified, unqualified, impatient or aggressive. If traffic moves faster following de-congestion, accidents could become more violent. With franchisees maximising profits rather than numbers of passengers carried, it’s vital that no official connection is made between rail policy and the governments target for cutting road casualties.
Tuesday 05/09/06 CLASS 458 UNITS. Train leasing firm Porterbrook is elongating letters on the information screens on the class 458 units by 3mm to 35mm to comply with disability regulations. [This is the 120-coach fleet which SWT has been withdrawing after about 4-years’ service.] (Evening Standard)
Tuesday 05/09/06 ‘PARISIAN-STYLE’ TRAINS CONSIDERED. Railways Minister Derek Twigg has said that Ministers are looking at double-decker commuter trains which could carry 1,500 people, more than double the load of the average British train. They are also considering longer trains and platforms. (Metro)
Wednesday 06/09/06 NETWORK RAIL’S FREIGHT PLANS COULD DELIVER DOUBLEDECKER TRAINS. Network Rail says the rail system will need an expensive upgrade to cope with a 30% increase in freight traffic over the next 10 years. The number of freight trains using the system each day is likely to climb from 1,000 to 1,120. The Nuneaton to Felixstowe line needs a £60m upgrade, and £90m is needed to widen tracks and tunnels on the Southampton-Reading route for bigger containers. Network Rail will publish final proposals next Spring. This will determine how much funding the company will receive between 2009 and 2014. (Guardian)