Many thanks to the MPs from all parties, including a Minister, who have written to us in response to letters about the SWT re-franchising exercise. An especial thanks to Mike Hancock MP for raising three Parliamentary Questions in relation to our Group’s concerns (Hansard 26-6-2006; 19-10-2006; and 2-11-06)

Also, our congratulations to the House of Commons Transport Committee on their masterful Fourteenth Report of Session 2005-06, “Passenger Rail Franchising”. Their findings look exactly right. We are very grateful to have had the opportunity to submit a Memorandum, which appears as Appendix 1 to the Report.

Finally, since we don’t say this often enough, thanks to all the other people who keep in touch on the train, or by mail and e’mail, whether companies, organizations or individual commuters. Your efforts inform and make possible the continuation of this newsletter.

We had hoped that this issue could have celebrated a fresh start on SWT, with a warm welcome to a new operator who would be straightforward to deal with and genuinely customer-focused. That Stagecoach has been given back much of the 20 year franchise term which it lost through poor performance and financial instability does seem a particularly perverse outcome, especially given that the pre-qualification process purportedly relies to a considerable extent on past performance.

Hundreds of thousands of passengers a year will be the losers. and we feel sorry for the rival bidders who will have incurred substantial costs in mounting their bids and were very willing to meet and talk with people in a frank and open fashion. Unfortunately, they did not have the advantages of being able to rewrite the history of SWT to their own advantage or to manipulate the perceptions of SWT’s less informed customers.


We received this substantial report just in time to include a brief mention before this issue of Hogrider is released. Extracts from the press release:

The system of rail franchising is a complex, fragmented and costly muddle which is unlikely to provide the innovation and investment needed for the passenger railways of the future. The system has had a decade to prove itself, but it has failed to achieve its core objectives.

The Committee called on the Government to develop a set of coherent objectives for the passenger railways and a system capable of delivering those objectives at the best value for money for passengers and taxpayers. This should be done as part of the Government’s forthcoming long-term strategy for the railways.

Chairman of the Transport Committee, Gwyneth Dunwoody said: “This muddle is unsustainable. For the best part of a decade, the Government has tinkered timidly round the edges to try to resolve the many problems. But no amount of tinkering can resolve the fundamental flaws inherent in the system.”

She added: “The current franchising model has passed its sell-by date. The railways require a coordinated long-term strategy for development and investment to provide the capacity and service levels that future generations will demand. This can only be delivered through coordination, innovation and above all, stability. Franchising delivers only fragmentation and short-term thinking, and is, at best, a costly means to preserving the status quo.”

Mrs Dunwoody emphasized that “In the current system, the Government tries to entice bidders into promising ever greater premiums, but in return, it has to underwrite virtually all the risks to which operators are exposed. At the end of the day, passengers will pay the price when operators cut service levels or hike fares to pay the premiums, and taxpayers will foot the bill when operators default or walk away from their contracts. It is easy to see the costs to passengers and taxpayers, but we found it difficult to identify any benefits of this system.”

The report recommends a number of short term measures until a better system can be implemented:

* The Government must hold firm to its commitment not to re-negotiate franchise contracts with operators who have over-bid to win contracts.

* The Government must re-balance the way it evaluates bids so that more emphasis is placed on innovation, environmental improvements and wider socio-economic factors, and less weight is given to increasing premiums and reducing subsidies. Innovation should be rewarded through an option to invest parts of the franchise premium directly into the services or infrastructure of the franchise. The Government also needs to create incentives for operators to control their costs more effectively.

* More needs to be done to integrate passenger priorities, local and regional policy objectives and regional economic strategies, as well as broader strategic network considerations into the terms of franchise agreements. Franchise specifications also need to be coordinated better with wider Government policies.

* The Government must take action to ensure that new entrants are encouraged to the franchising market. The current concentration with a small number of large players dominating the market indicates that barriers of entry in the rail franchising market are too high.

* The Government must ensure that decisions to grant open access are fully coordinated with overall network strategy and the contractual commitments of franchise operators.

Our Memorandum to the Committee appears as Appendix 1 to their report:


What should be the purpose of passenger rail franchising?

In a DETR leaflet of January 1995, the Conservative Secretary of State Dr Brian Mawhinney justified privatisation in these terms: “We want responsiveness to passengers’ wishes. We want, in the railways, all the characteristics of the best of British industry. The Sainsburys of this world respond rather well to their customers’ changing demands without any help from the state, thank you very much. We want that responsiveness for the railway too”.

The purported principle of rail franchising therefore was that private expertise should improve on State provision, give passengers the product they wanted, adjust that product to reflect changing demand, and aim for financial self-sufficiency. This vision was fine but unrealistic. The success of the supermarkets was based on strong competition, aggressive expansion and economies of scale. Rail franchising brought very limited opportunity for competition or expansion, but substantial extra costs from fragmentation.

Although the franchised railway can cite success stories, overall it is doubtful whether it has delivered improvements which British Rail would not have delivered more cheaply. Operating costs have generally expanded in line with, or even ahead of, the additional resources which Government has made available. The development and introduction costs of a wider than necessary range of rolling stock are an obvious example of waste.

The evidence suggests that franchising has resulted in widely varying standards of leadership and ethos. BR had the advantage of some inspired leaders and a deeply-ingrained public service ethos. It was never likely that some two dozen train operating companies would simultaneously match BR’s best. In our Group’s response to the Committee’s 2001-02 Inquiry, we therefore contended that the railways needed a supremo to drive up standards in all areas of activity.

The Strategic Rail Authority brought the opportunity of a supremo which we envisaged, but failed to grasp the nettle. Handouts to the worst performing private operators soared. Stagecoach was given an extra grant of £29 million for a few enhancements on South West Trains such as additional evening services. Evening cancellations then became routine because the company failed to provide sufficient trains or crews for a robust service.

Responsiveness to passengers’ wishes has been patchy. Among the successes, GNER gained a formidable reputation for its customer service standards, with Chiltern and Anglia also widely acclaimed. To highlight its readers’ aspirations, the Yorkshire Post newspaper ran a campaign for Sea Containers to keep the GNER franchise when the original term expired. Passengers got what they wanted.

By way of contrast, Stagecoach’s South West Trains franchise was controversial from the outset, as recorded in Christian Wolmar’s book, ‘Stagecoach’. The company’s profiteering soon led to the cancellation of dozens of trains on a daily basis, followed by a reduced timetable. Stagecoach director Brian Cox referred to critics as “Fully paid up members of the Hindsight Club”. Chairman Brian Souter attributed hundreds of letters of complaint to commuters being bored with having nothing to do in their offices. There was a stark lack of public service ethos.

The outcry when Stagecoach got a second term was predictable. It can be summed up by the words of the BBC’s transport correspondent, Paul Clifton, when he wrote in the May 2001 edition of Rail Professional magazine, “Here’s the opinion of one regular SWT commuter, sent to me by e’mail: ‘The award to Stagecoach is the cruellest betrayal of passengers departing from Southampton since the unsinkable Titanic set sail’”.

How well does the process for awarding franchises work?

Under the SRA, the franchising process was opaque, but there was compelling circumstantial evidence of an uneven playing field, which raised ethical questions. Stagecoach Chairman Brian Souter had once told the Scotland on Sunday newspaper that “Ethics are not irrelevant, but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed. We call it a dichotomy, not hypocrisy”. As recently as February 2005, South West Trains’ e-motion magazine referred to him as “the tough Scots bruiser who came to dominate the UK’s bus services by ruthlessly driving rivals off the road”, despite the Monopolies and Mergers Commission having in August 1995 condemned this activity as “deplorable, predatory and against the public interest”.

Persistent research by Private Eye established that the father of the SRA’s chairman and chief executive Richard Bowker was a Stagecoach director and that Mr Bowker once worked with Graham Eccles, who became head of Stagecoach’s rail division. In the circumstances, Mr Bowker might have been expected to be particularly careful to demonstrate neutrality towards Stagecoach. However, Private Eye further established that he once attended Brian Souter’s church (a round journey of 1,000 miles from the SRA’s London base), and helped Stagecoach enter bidding for the Integrated Kent Franchise a second time. Mr Bowker also reportedly stated before your Committee that a £106 million grant to Virgin Trains had been to stabilise both Virgin and Stagecoach (which has a 49% interest in the company).

Against this background, the switch of franchising responsibilities from the SRA to the Department for Transport is welcome, and it has brought a more obvious willingness to take account of passengers’ interests. The Department’s franchise consultation and Network Rail’s Route Utilisation Strategy consultation for the South Western Rail franchise provided an opportunity for rail users to comment on what they needed for the future. Some major changes to the original proposals, particularly in respect of service patterns in South Hampshire, have resulted from the consultation.

Turning to the bidders for the new South Western franchise, members of our Group have attended very constructive meetings with Arriva, First Group, MTR/GNER and National Express. We gained the impression that these companies were genuinely interested in passengers’ views. We were not contacted by Stagecoach.

It is disappointing that passengers and other interested parties are not asked their views on how existing operators have performed. The patchy picture of achievement across the national network suggests that past performance is highly relevant to getting best value for money in the future. Official statistics play a role, but regular commuters are in the best position to comment on the facts behind the figures. As far back as August 2000, the Guardian reported that the National Audit Office was calling on the Shadow Strategic Rail Authority to get passengers to “snoop” on poor performing train operators.

Some aspects of the rail franchising process remain opaque. We had no idea how franchise bidders were chosen at the pre-qualifying stage until ‘Rail’ magazine recently reported that 80 per cent of the available score is awarded for “demonstrating a proven track record of service delivery and sound financial management”.

On this basis, it is remarkable that Stagecoach has pre-qualified to bid for the South Western Franchise. Recent reports indicate that over the past decade the franchise has received £499 million from public funds whilst building up the highest performance penalty for any franchise, of £54 million. In 2002, confirmation of the second SWT franchise period was delayed when Stagecoach shares dipped to 10p and SWT’s performance continued to deteriorate.

The fact that users are not consulted in more detail about their experiences of existing franchises creates vulnerability in the franchising process. It is difficult to imagine Department for Transport Ministers or officials developing the working relationship which apparently existed between Richard Bowker and Stagecoach. However, Secretaries of State come and go, and the Strategic Rail Authority was short-lived. What if an ethically-limited operator seeks advantage from re-writing history?

The kind of lines Stagecoach is taking in public in support of its bid are exemplified by SWT’s tenth anniversary press release. This states, for example, that “When we took over in 1996 the first few years were by far the hardest, but we put our heart and soul into delivering a railway to be proud of”. In fact, the company immediately sought to maximise profits by disposing of train crews and cutting services. Transport Minister Steven Norris commented, “We in the Conservative Party were very happy at the way rail privatisation was going – new investment, new ideas, new services …SWT instantly unwound all that”.

SWT claimed in the same press release that “Safety and security is our number one priority”. Commuters have watched with disbelief as SWT has carried off successive “secure station” awards at stations where the barriers are left open in late evening when there are fewer fares to protect but passengers are more vulnerable to attack. The Evening Standard campaigned on the broader issue of station security, and bidders for the South Western franchise have been warned that they will be required to step up station security.

The Department for Transport’s franchise consultation document highlights the issue of capacity. Yet it contains a glaring error in using Stagecoach’s standard line that: “SWT have recently completed the single largest order placed for new stock since privatisation (worth £1 billion)”.

Under the original order SWT was to hire 785 new coaches, worth £644 million. Only the addition of the long-term maintenance contract brought this figure to £1 billion. Euston and Northampton services then received 120 of the coaches. This reduced the pro-rata value of the 665 coaches which SWT has actually accepted to about £540 million, a little over half the value suggested in the government document. The term “single largest order” appears deliberately phrased to be misleading because Go Ahead ordered and accepted 742 coaches for their Southern franchise.

SWT’s improved performance isn’t a great triumph either. From its December 2004 timetable, it slowed services even further, a phenomenon which has not happened with operators of comparable services. By way of example, in 1990 Brighton-Victoria fast trains required 52 minutes and Southampton-Waterloo fast trains 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 minutes with two intermediate stops and Southampton-Waterloo 79 minutes with three intermediate stops, with an average speed of about 60mph in both cases.

Despite the introduction of such a slow timetable, train doors close before departure time, and stops are omitted and trains curtailed short of destination on a daily basis. This helps disguise late running but makes services very unsuitable for vulnerable passengers like frail and disabled people. Provision for disabled people is at times farcical. For example, the down platform at Totton station is not wheelchair accessible but has a wheelchair loading ramp.

It sometimes seems that Stagecoach is paranoid about its record on SWT. It has resorted to advertisements exhorting passengers to talk to the company rather than to each other. In addition, it has largely conducted consultation through ‘Meet the Managers’ sessions on trains and at stations. This means that passengers have not learned one another’s views as they have at meetings arranged by rival bidders.

Since MPs are likely to recall constituents’ complaints against SWT, the company apparently doesn’t want commuters talking to them either. SWT’s e’motion passenger magazines contain what are purported to be the views of its ‘Passengers Panel’. The Panel is attributed with this suggestion that MPs who claim to support their constituents’ aspirations are as trustworthy as petty thieves: “Counting the spoons: As the voice of train passengers on SWT, it’s vital that we understand the issues that really matter to you so that we can protect your interests and ensure your views are strongly represented. The politician faced with a rail problem and little idea of how to deal with it cries “We have to put our passengers first”. If they have no idea at all, “have” becomes “determined” and they shout even more. Isn’t there a saying ‘the louder they shout their innocence, the faster we count the spoons?’”

E’motion appears essentially to be a vehicle for manipulating public opinion. The number of published letters attributed to individual members of the public is limited. Instead, the Passengers Panel puts forward the “most frequently asked questions”, like: “I think that South West Trains has done a pretty good job recently and deserves a new franchise, and I’m not alone in this. Before all of you at the Panel groan and consign my letter to the waste-paper basket as just a note from another sycophant, let me hasten to add that there are a number of my fellow passengers who would not agree, which is exactly why I am writing. What can the ordinary passenger do to make his or her views heard by whoever awards the new franchises?”

What passengers don’t hear is comments like that of Stagecoach director Rufus Boyd, as recorded on CD at the February 2005 meeting of the Hampshire Economic Forum. He opined that performance across the rail network was fine and the only problem was poor press coverage due to long-distance commuters who made the “ultimate distress purchase” in buying a home remote from their workplace.

The overall impression therefore is of a company hell-bent on profiteering and still without public service ethos. Even with the projection of a false façade of achievement on SWT, official customer satisfaction statistics have struggled from 64% to 84% over four years – with 162 million passenger journeys a year, this equates to an improvement from some 135,000 dissatisfied passengers a day to 70,000.

Are franchise contracts the right size, type and length?

In practice, the Government seems to have decided that franchise periods of around 6-7 years, which can be extended to10 years if performance is satisfactory, will in future be the norm. This seems ample, given that operators are no longer expected to undertake major enhancements.

With a booming economy, increased mobility and climate change, it is hard to imagine that franchise bidders have hitherto worried much about risk, especially while SRA handouts have been generous. Now that the Government is requiring operators to move from subsidy to premium, competition is likely to be restrained even in the context of bidding. For example, in the current South Western franchise exercise, Go Ahead, National Express and GNER have withdrawn their bids in order to concentrate on other, recently awarded, franchises. There is already speculation in the press that Stagecoach may retain the franchise, effectively by default. If that happens, it is difficult to see how the process will have achieved a good outcome for passengers.

Do we need more competition and vertical integration?

Competition was supposed to drive up standards and offer variety. With a few exceptions, as for example between London and Birmingham, there is little scope for competition on the network, so the question of whether we need more is probably academic. The award of franchises appears to ignore service competition with even the two busy commuter routes between London and Southend now operated by the same parent company. The underlying problem, however, is lack of capacity. In theory it is fine that an open access operator should be bidding to run direct services between Sunderland and London, but it makes little sense that this would use capacity which has been promised to GNER for extra London-Leeds trains.

The Integrated Kent Franchise will bring a new element of competition. However, it is open to question whether Kent commuters will want to pay premium fares for fast services to St Pancras, and probably Tube or bus fares on top, when normal fares are already about the highest in Europe. The existing slower services direct to the City and West End may well retain most of the custom. London commuters typically like trains which take them to work without onward journeys by bus or Tube. This is apparent for example in the well-recognised aspirations for more SWT trains to stop at Clapham Junction for Victoria connections.

On the Cross Country routes, Virgin now runs an improved service, but with trains often too short to cope with demand. If competition is desired, the Cross Country franchise should logically run fewer and longer trains, and give up some of the track capacity to other potential operators. It may be that the Route Utilisation Strategies which are now in vogue should be complemented by a national utilisation strategy to identify where longer trains or dual portion trains could help meet demand and extend rail markets into areas which have traditionally been excluded from good rail services.

Vertical integration would be just another step in the fragmentation of the rail industry. Network Rail has taken maintenance in-house because problems with sub-contractors led, literally, to disaster. The normally good safety record of rail travel relies to a considerable extent on proper standards of infrastructure maintenance, and this is an area where best practice is essential.


- The original vision for the franchised railway was unrealistic. Despite pockets of success, the rail network is more costly and no better overall than British Rail.

- There is little scope for service competition, because of lack of capacity and infrastructure. In future the premiums required of operators are likely to restrict competition in the bidding process also.

- The process for awarding franchises is tending to become more transparent since responsibilities were transferred from the SRA, but the Department for Transport does not consult regular users on operator issues. This will tend to impede any goal of getting best value for passengers and other taxpayers.

- There are issues around the integrity of the franchising process. The evidence suggests that Stagecoach was unfairly favoured by the SRA in the first South West Trains re-franchising exercise and is seeking advantage in the current exercise by re-writing history and manipulating public perceptions.


- The case for franchising is not made, but we assume that franchising will remain. A tightly regulated railway therefore offers the best route to good value, for example through economies from having fewer types of new rolling stock.

- There is little capacity for competing services, but better value might be extracted from the network by adopting a national utilisation strategy to identify demand for longer trains and promote inclusivity through dual-portion trains.

- There should be consultation on operator issues in the course of franchising exercises, so that Government knows the facts behind the figures from regular users who are best equipped to provide informed opinions. This would help remove the risk of an ethically-limited incumbent operator bolstering a bid by re-writing history.

- If the franchised railway is to be more joined up, but there remains little scope for more competition and the pool of potential operators stays small, it is difficult to see the sense of having individual operators’ franchises scattered around the country. It would seem preferable to merge adjacent franchises (such as ONE and C2C). This could create a structure like the old BR regions.

- Vertical integration shouldn’t be considered because of the potential risks to safety in the event of deviation from best infrastructure maintenance practice.


“On 7 September, a train derailed at Strawberry Hill depot – the responsibility of rail operator South West Trains. The cause is not yet known……On 11 September, an empty train came off the track as it was entering Waterloo south side depot; this was due to ‘twisted track’”. (Evening Standard 31/10/2006)

On 12 September, “Hundreds of terrified commuters had to be led from a train that derailed at Epsom station. Commuters reported a “severe jolt” and a horrendous noise on the 7.09pm Waterloo to Effingham Junction service. No one was injured”. (Evening Standard 13/09/2006)

Work to remove the train didn’t finish until 06.00 the following day, resulting in long delays. There were no SWT trains to London from Dorking, with services starting from Leatherhead.

On 24 October, the 17.35 from Dorking derailed on entering Waterloo station, which is used by 330,000 passengers a day. Passengers were thrown about and suffered shock. (Evening Standard 25/10/2006) This incident reportedly arose because Network Rail’s engineers ground too much off the corner edge of a rail to make tracks smoother. A senior source said, “The tracks were incorrectly ground. This meant all eight carriages were fighting to stay on the track. The whole train could easily have come off, causing injuries or worse”. (Evening Standard 31/10/2006) Platforms 1-4 were closed all night and through the next day, joined by platforms 5-7 when it was found that lines leading to these platforms also had an incorrect profile.

Fortunately, nobody has yet been killed, but the incidents have become progressively more serious. If derailments continue, coupled with SWT’s programme of ripping out thousands of seats to cram in more passengers, can a major disaster be far away?

Unsurprisingly, there are suspicions about the reasons for the overnight engineering works in the Bournemouth area during week commencing 30 October. These repeatedly overran, causing huge problems for commuters. The morning of 2 November was spectacularly bad, with some trains cancelled or several hours late, and the first direct train from Totton to London departing at about 09.40 instead of 05.48.


The October half-term week is always dreaded by regular commuters because SWT double- sell their homebound seats to grab more money from concentrated end of season day-tripping.

This year’s half-term period was truly horrific. It started and ended with severely extended journey times due to weekend engineering works, plus the normal delays and cancellations due to duff stock and SWT’s eternal failure to employ enough train crews.

Monday afternoon saw additional huge disruption due to a fatality at St Denys. Tuesday evening saw a derailment at Waterloo which crippled SWT services for the rest of the working week. West of England trains were axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. Southampton and Portsmouth via Eastleigh trains were retimed to compensate and omitted some stops whilst some longer distance trains made additional stops. Overcrowding was therefore often inhuman.

Passengers sitting on the vestibule floors of the Wessex Electric trains must have loved the squalid state of the carpets, presumably neglected by Stagecoach to save a few more quid before they withdraw these trains from service in order to cram passengers even more.

Wednesday morning saw the position much exacerbated on the Southampton line by a 90 minute overrun of engineering works.

Thursday morning was a clearcut case of the 05.45 from Poole being delayed by deception. The train was held at Winchester for five minutes whilst the guard announced repeatedly that it would not stop at Basingstoke or Woking. A Winchester passenger said that these extra stops had been displayed on the platform information screens. They would have been very useful to compensate for the 06.45 Southampton-Waterloo stopping train being axed between Southampton and Basingstoke. On the approaches to Basingstoke and Woking the guard of the 05.45 apologetically announced that the train would be stopping after all, but he had now been informed that the stops were to pick up only. Meanwhile, passengers on the 06.04 Bournemouth / 06.08 Poole-Waterloo reported that their driver was handed an “extra stop” notice for Eastleigh and Woking at Southampton Airport station – it then took 15 minutes to close his defective door, and they reached Waterloo 45 minutes late.

The Evening Standard and London Lite of 26 October reported that commuters at Waterloo were now expressing fury at their ordeal. A Surbiton economist said he had tried and failed to board three trains because there were so many people waiting to get on. “They are packed like sardines,” he said. “Everyone is angry and upset, there are children crying and people are getting elbowed in the ribs. It is like being taken to a cattle market.” One City worker added: “It was like the Tokyo underground. People were being physically pushed into carriages.” A teacher travelling to Surrey said, “Passengers stand for hours staring at the information boards but nobody tells you anything. As soon as a train flashes up everyone runs like mad. Those who cannot, the elderly and those with children, got left behind.”

Friday morning saw the Southampton line further crippled by “condensation on signals” between Winchester and Micheldever (this appears to have been a particularly ludicrous example of fobbing-off passengers with the first excuse which comes to mind; the Southern Daily Echo of 28 October published confirmation from Network Rail that the real reason was a fault with a signal power supply cable). Trains were in queues behind failed signals. Two empty trains ran ahead of the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo. This train was therefore severely delayed even before stopping at Basingstoke and Woking to both set down and pick up (unlike the previous day when passengers were delayed by SWT deception), and was 70 minutes late into Waterloo. Quite why it was necessary to run the empty trains when Basingstoke sidings, further up the line, had lines of empty stock which would normally be carrying commuters to London, is anyone’s guess. It seems to be all part of the Stagecoach shambles.

Predictably, the evenings saw large numbers of uncomfortable and restless children. With the current strange TV obsession with child control programmes, might we suggest that bizarre ideas like “naughty steps” might be abandoned in favour of the threat of a trip on South West Trains?


(1) From letter dated 28/09/06 to Ben Bradshaw and copied to other MPs in the SWT area

“How Stagecoach qualified to compete after misrepresenting its track record, and then won with a bid that it has little chance of honouring

I am very grateful to you for drawing my attention to the letter which Ian Dobbs, Chief Executive of Stagecoach Rail Division, sent you on 7 June in response to the paper which I sent to MPs in the SWT area on 31 May 2006. SWT tell me that Mr Dobbs’ letter was sent to others, so I am copying this letter widely.

At your request, SWT has now sent me a copy of Mr Dobbs’ letter, though not of the “track record” document which accompanied it. However, it would be surprising if that document were other than “Building on Success” since that is the slogan which SWT has used in advertising to MPs through the ‘House’ magazine.

I would make the following points:

* Mr Dobbs simply ‘refutes’ the paper which I circulated. This is somewhat odd, because the paper was evidence-based, referring to scores of statements and findings by Ministers, MPs from all parties, Stagecoach and SWT directors, members of the public, the SRA, the Monopolies and Mergers Commission, the Advertising Standards Authority, the High Court, the Employment Tribunal Service, the Rail Passengers Committee, and expert rail journalists. Presumably everyone has been wrong over the past 10 years and Mr Dobbs, who was appointed only last year, is right?

* “Building on Success” presents a glowing picture of 10 years of continuing progress, but nothing could be further from the truth. In 2001, Stagecoach was chosen for a new 20-year franchise on SWT. That period was reduced to 3 years, and the deal not concluded until 2003, because of Stagecoach’s financial collapse and SWT’s exceptionally poor performance. The costs to taxpayers, and to rival bidders, of the latest re-franchising round, are uniquely attributable to those failures.

* “Building on Success” is riddled with inaccuracy and deception. This is important, because the Department for Transport reportedly awards 80% of marks for companies’ track records when deciding which will be allowed to bid. It would require a massive exercise to check all the claims which “Building on Success” makes, so I will offer just a few comments. Its recurrent theme is “we have invested” but it does not point out that much of the money has come from taxpayers and partnerships.

* CLAIM: “Experience across a variety of transport sectors has allowed Stagecoach to develop integrated travel opportunities for its customers, making the journey from door-to-door one seamless process”. WHAT THIS MEANS: Unclear, but possibly it refers to the failed experimental home-to-station road service in Petersfield. When commuter trains from London are late, the doors of “connecting” services are routinely slammed shut, up to a minute (officially 30 seconds) before departure time, in the faces of those running to catch them, which is scarcely a seamless process.

* CLAIM: “Stagecoach’s success has been built on listening to customers and using their special insight to improve services even further”. WHAT THIS MEANS: One member of SWT’s Passengers Panel resigned, complaining that the Panel’s views were generally ignored. There was no consultation with passengers on the 2004 timetable changes which adversely affected large numbers of people. This contrasts with the massive consultation which First Group has undertaken on their 2006 Great Western timetable. The paper which I circulated on 31 May illustrates how passengers complain about the same things, like the omission of stops for operational convenience, year after year.

* CLAIM: “2005 Passenger Operator of the Year / 2005 HSBC Rail Business of the Year”. WHAT THIS MEANS: This has little relevance to passengers. The latest official passenger satisfaction statistics show SWT as fifteenth best. Rail expert Christian Wolmar recently attended an awards event and commented, “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”. The Lymington Times recently reported that SWT had awarded Brockenhurst station the title of “best medium station for the standard of facilities and customer service offered by the employees”. It also reported that a passenger was stunned when his train was cancelled, his son was locked out of the house, he had an urgent business appointment, and a member of Brockenhurst station staff to whom he turned for assistance was “arrogant and totally unhelpful”.

* CLAIM: “We will not compromise when it comes to the safety of our passengers and employees”. WHAT THIS MEANS: Where ticket gates have been installed, they have been locked out of use in late evening when fewer people are about and passengers are more vulnerable to attack. The Evening Standard earlier this year focused on a number of SWT stations which passengers were scared to use.

* CLAIM: “Our old timetable hadn’t altered fundamentally since 1967”. WHAT THIS MEANS: This is completely untrue, but was used as a rationale for introducing a new timetable from 2004 which brought by far the slowest services on SWT since the steam era. Only after 20 months of running this poorer service has SWT managed to meet its performance targets. Other operators have met their targets while maintaining existing speeds on equally congested routes.

* CLAIM: “£1bn on new Desiro trains”. WHAT THIS MEANS: About £545m on new Desiro trains, though a small additional tranche has now been ordered. According to ‘Modern Railways’ magazine, the extra units are partly to compensate for the unreliability of the initial fleet.

* CLAIM: “South West Trains was the first operator to replace all old slam-door trains”. WHAT THIS MEANS: These trains still operate on the Lymington line. Modern trains would be available if the decelerated Brockenhurst-Wareham and Southampton-Portsmouth stopping services didn’t each require three trains against two in the past. The day after the new SWT franchise award was announced, Lymington had no service because of a train failure. It still had no service the next morning.

* CLAIM: “We are also upgrading our urban workhorses, called class 455 trains, to give more space to passengers, particularly during peak rush hour periods, and to make them more reliable”. WHAT THIS MEANS: 6,500 seats are being removed to cram in more standing passengers, contrary to the serious concerns about overcrowding expressed by the Transport Select Committee, and more general government concerns to promote stress awareness. Southern also operates these trains but abandoned similar plans to remove seats following an outcry from their passengers. SWT confused the issue by asking passengers whether they liked the existing 2+3 seating layout rather than whether they would rather stand. SWT’s new class 450 Desiro trains have a high proportion of the unpopular 2+3 seating.

The new South Western franchise

The Department for Transport has always said the result of the franchise competition would be announced “in the autumn”. The announcement on the second day of autumn, during the parliamentary recess, at the height of the party conference season and (according to the Evening Standard) just seven hours after the financial wrangling with Stagecoach ended, seems to have taken the media by surprise. For example, the Southern Daily Echo, which usually allocates two to three pages to major rail news, wrapped its brief report around an article about a new abattoir at Whitchurch.

The DfT’s requirements of Stagecoach are ambitious, but what price will passengers pay in terms of fares and customer service? Stagecoach first won SWT in 1996 by bidding just £200,000 more than its rival. The City considered that it got a particularly good deal. It then more than made good the £200,000 by disposing of so many drivers and middle managers that dozens of services had to be suspended and then permanently withdrawn. The Conservative Government was livid.

Despite the financial failure of Stagecoach, and unacceptable performance of SWT, the company got another good deal in 2003. The Telegraph (23/9/06) comments that it was this deal which “pulled the company out of reverse gear, since when the shares have trebled in value. It turned out to be a licence to print money” and “Stagecoach Finance Director Martin Griffiths says, “We have never shied away from the fact that we negotiated a very profitable franchise back in 2003.”” Notwithstanding this deal, passengers then got the slowest timetable since the steam era because of Stagecoach’s continuing failure to meet its targets.

Stagecoach has been more vulnerable since the collapse of its USA bus operations. Keeping SWT is “vital” to the company (Financial Times 23/9/06). There has therefore been a strong incentive to mislead, as above, and Stagecoach Chairman Brian Souter has in the past expressed the view that “ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed”.

Perhaps it is this “vital” need to retain SWT which led Stagecoach to bid up to £200 million more than some of the rival bidders in the latest round. The City appears highly sceptical about its ability to deliver. The Evening Standard had reported that Stagecoach shares were expected to rise 50% if Stagecoach won. They have actually fallen by about 3%.

The final level of Stagecoach’s bid followed its disposal of its London bus operations after just a few years, reportedly to the fury of some MPs from opposition parties because the buses were heavily subsidised and Stagecoach made a profit of £120 million from the sale. Stagecoach has also disposed of its stake in ScotAirways.

In selling the London bus operation, Brian Souter told ‘Buses’ magazine that he didn’t like its contractual nature and Stagecoach “kind of likes uncertainty”. So that uncertainty presumably now hangs over the two billion passenger journeys which can be expected to be made on SWT over the next decade. In reality, Mr Souter will realise that no government could allow a major London rail network to collapse. So commuters and other taxpayers can reasonably expect a large begging bowl and a ‘whittling away’ process in all areas of service.”

(2) SWT’s further claim from their press release on the franchise award

“Significant increase in capacity, with 21% more mainline peak seats and a 20% increase in peak suburban seating.” This completely untrue statement is being perpetuated on SWT’s website so is clearly intentional.

Another error on the website is “8 [class 458 units] leased until delivery of 450s”: the class 458 trains are to be brought back into service despite having been mainly withdrawn on grounds of unacceptable reliability. Add the “£250m” (in reality £250,000) which SWT claimed had been spent on Southampton Central, and a clear pattern emerges. If these were simply unintentional errors, wouldn’t it be odd that they are all so favourable to Stagecoach?

At the time of writing, only the figure for works at Southampton Central has been revised. However, the November-December edition of e’motion magazine has resorted to weasel words on capacity: “Through the purchase of new trains and the reconfiguration and redeployment of existing ones, capacity will increase on both mainline peak-time and suburban peak-time services…. We are not taking our commuters for granted. As well as wanting to attract new leisure travellers, we need to provide an ever-improving service to existing passengers”. Why not just say: “We’re ripping out seats on suburban services, switching to more-cramped seating on outer-suburban services, and introducing spartan, hard-seated trains all the way from Waterloo to Weymouth”?

And now it’s not just seats that are going. The Evening Standard of 1 November reported anger among passengers and commuter groups that SWT is planning to rip out all but one toilet on 28 blue Desiro trains employed on its most crowded services. Spokeswoman Jane Lee said these were trains serving stations within 40 minutes’ travelling time of the capital. However, the paper noted that journeys often take much longer because of breakdowns and there is industry concern that SWT paid too much to retain the franchise.

The Metro of the next day noted that the Continence Foundation, which represents the estimated 15% of adults with bladder and bowel problems, condemned the move as uncaring and pointed out the problems when the last toilet is out of order [or when the train is so crowded that people can’t reach it?]. Their spokesman justifiably argued that, “South West Trains’ facilities are woefully inadequate as it is”.

(3) What the deception conceals
(Evening Standard 2/10/06)

“Now SWT rips out seats ‘to ease overcrowding’

Ellen Widdup

THE EXTENT of the overcrowding crisis on London’s busiest commuter trains can be revealed today.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show scores of passengers are forced to stand every day on services run by South West Trains, the busiest rail franchise in Britain.

The statistics are revealed as SWT said it was now ripping out seats on some of its most crowded routes to create more standing room.

The Department for Transport does not consider a train overcrowded until there are more than 35 people standing for every 100 seats – “the acceptable number of passengers in excess of capacity”. But SWT breaches even that limit. The 8.04am from Isleworth to Waterloo has 792 seats but carries an average of 1,138 passengers – 44 standing per 100 seats.

The 6.42am from Haslemere to Waterloo has 598 seats but carried 845 passengers – 41 standing to every 100 seats.

SWT is already officially the most overcrowded franchise, carrying 160 million passengers a year, and is forecast to carry 20 per cent more by 2016.

The scheme to rip out seats will see extra handrails installed and “perches” created instead of seats as a cheap solution to overcrowding. Almost 500 carriages, including some which entered service only two years ago, will lose more than a fifth of their seats.

The increase in floor space will let the Government claim that it is meeting targets on reducing overcrowding because passengers with 0.54 square metres of floor space are not deemed to be on an overcrowded train. An SWT spokesman said the changes “will allow more people to stand in comfort”.

The company has already begun removing 72 seats from each of its 20-year-old trains, which operate between Waterloo and the suburbs, including Kinston and Epsom. It is also planning to take seats out of 28 Desiro trains, which serve Wimbledon and Surbiton and were delivered from their German manufacturer less than two years ago.

But the plans will anger commuters who were promised more seats by 2016 and have criticised services for packing them in like cattle.

Last month SWT claimed it would increase seating capacity on peak services by 20 per cent under its new 10-year contract. Today bosses said that had been a mistake and capacity would be in the form of standing room.

Shadow transport secretary Chris Grayling said: “It is unacceptable that people are paying more for tickets but are less likely to get a seat”.”

(4) ‘Rail’ magazine says Stagecoach deception will “anger” passengers

What everyone making more than the shortest journey wants is a seat. Papers like the Evening Standard, London Lite and Metro routinely print complaints related to lack of seating, for example about Tube passengers not giving up their seats to pregnant women. So for passengers who stand for much greater distances on SWT, it is difficult to think of anything more cruel than the false promise of extra seats.

‘Rail’ magazine (issue 550), which is usually pro-Stagecoach, commendably takes issue on the point: “Bosses at SWT have come up with a novel way of creating much-needed extra space on trains – take out some of the seats. Work has already begun on removing them from class 455s which are employed on inner-suburban services to and from Waterloo. Now SWT is planning to extend the practice by removing more than a fifth of seats from almost 500 other carriages, including Desiros that are only two years old…… What will anger SWT customers is that they have been sold the idea for months that the operator would increase seating capacity by 20%.”

“Rail” is obviously au fait with the “Megaplaint” history of SWT on our website, because issue 550 also contains the following: “UNHAPPY IN HAMPSHIRE South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group (SHRUG) has never been South West Trains’ greatest fan, possibly because most of its members are captive on its daily services.

These are some of its recent complaints:

Soaring profits from public subsidy are completely disproportionate compared with those of other operators; it has suffered increasingly huge fines for bad performance, running short trains, omitting scheduled stops and terminating trains short of destination; it uses ruthless clamping contractors at some station car parks, sometimes with cavalier treatment of disabled people.

It refuses to hold vital connections for even a few seconds; there is a lack of information, particularly when things go wrong; trains have caught fire; poor maintenance has led to the protracted absence of passenger facilities and non-functional information systems; trains have broken seats and faulty air-conditioning; there are poor industrial relations with recurrent strike action; and letters of complaint often take months to gain a reply and are then stereotyped responses.”

(5) SWT’s self-justification is clutching at straws

The taking off-lease of the 24 5-car Wessex Electric units was confirmed on BBC South Today and Radio Solent on 11 October. The news appears neither on SWT’s website nor in the November-December issue of e’motion magazine (so much for the “As soon as we know, you’ll know” slogan on their posters) and there has apparently been no press release. These are the best trains which have ever operated between London and the South Coast and are only 18 years old, against a typical operating life of 35-40 years for modern electric trains. This is hardly good value for the taxpayers who bought them in the days of British Rail.

In October, SWT stated at a meeting that the Wessex Electrics had to be replaced by existing longer-distance Desiro units in order to meet SWT’s undertaking to increase capacity on this route; the Wessex Electrics had wasted space because of their larger buffet area. In fact, SWT’s website shows that each Wessex Electric unit has 281 standard class seats and 50 first class (total 331). Each longer-distance Desiro has 299 standard class seats and 35 first class (total 334).

It would be a simple matter to modify two 6-seat first-class compartments in the Wessex Electric units to 8-seat second class compartments. This would give 297 standard seats and 38 first class (total 335). In addition, since the buffets are often closed, and either a refreshment trolley or nothing provided, the buffet area could be converted to seating. Potentially, therefore, the Wessex Electrics have considerably more capacity than the Desiros and SWT’s argument appears to be rubbish.

The Wessex Electrics should be in good mechanical condition because an overhaul is already underway. This suggests that either (1) the overhaul was designed to trick SWT’s passengers into thinking that the Wessex Electrics would remain in service or (2) Stagecoach was so determined to retain SWT that it was willing to take cost-cutting steps, whatever the disadvantages for its passengers.

The Desiros are inferior in a number of respects: limited stowage for large luggage (which for security reasons passengers are these days required to keep with them during the journey) – on the Bournemouth holiday route this is a serious problem even with the Wessex Electrics; reliability far below specification; less comfortable seating; and catches on the pull-down tables at the back of the airline-style seating which make use of a laptop virtually impossible (except in first class where no catches are fitted! Presumably Stagecoach wants you to pay 50% more to use a laptop).

Such is the confusion that Stagecoach has sown through its deception that at the end of October ‘Rail’ magazine reported the withdrawal of the Wessex Electrics and, two days later, the new issue of ‘Modern Railways’ didn’t.

(6) SHRUG Freedom of Information request to Department for Transport

1. I refer to Mr Harris’ public statement, and the notes thereto, about what the new South Western Rail franchise from February 2007 will mean for passengers in terms of capacity, namely:
“Rail Minister Tom Harris said:

"This is a good deal for passengers and a good deal for the taxpayer. We want to build upon improvements in reliability and the major investment in rolling stock on the South Western franchise. "Today's contract will mean that capacity will further increase and there will be more seats for many passengers on busy routes, with longer trains and extra services operating.”; and

“5. Capacity: The franchisee is contracted to increase capacity. This will include:

* 21% more mainline peak seats by the end of the franchise and 20% increased capacity on peak time suburban trains

* An extra 10 vehicles to operate 10-car operation on peak time Windsor Line services

* Refurbishment of existing fleet to boost capacity”.

2. The references to 21% and 20% are clearly precise figures and must be based on assumptions about the composition and capacity of the rolling stock fleet at February 2007 and at the end of the franchise period.

3. I would be grateful therefore if you could provide a breakdown of the changes envisaged in the size and capacity of the fleet over the course of the franchise period.

4. According to information published at various times by Stagecoach, at February 2007 the SWT rolling stock fleet will be as follows:

Diesel classes 158, 159, 170: 650 extra seats will have been added through current programme to replace 2-car class 170 units with older 3-car class 158 units.

Class 442: 24 units with 281 standard class and 50 first class seats.

Class 444: 45 units with 299 standard class and 35 first class seats.

Class 450: 127 units with 246 standard class and 24 first class seats [17 of these units are reportedly to replace the remaining class 458 units, which I am therefore not including]

Class 455: Approximately 60 refurbished units with 244 standard class seats, and approximately 31 unrefurbished units with 316 standard class seats. [units are being refurbished under current programme at the rate of about two a month from September 2004 to March 2008 inclusive]

Class 421: 2 historic units on the Lymington line which will presumably not feature in the capacity increase.

(7) Are civil servants competent to deal with such a ruthless, greed-driven company as Stagecoach?

This excerpt from Christian Wolmar's column in ‘Rail’ of 11 October (copied on his website) is worth repeating:

The interim three-year arrangement agreed by Richard Bowker at the Strategic Rail Authority in 2002 [...] was far too generous to Stagecoach. Under that contract, Stagecoach has been making super-profits at the expense of passengers and the taxpayer, netting a fabulous £58.9m in the last year on turnover of around £500m. That’s 12% of turnover. As I mentioned in my book, ‘On the Wrong Line’, a senior Stagecoach executive told me privately that the SRA had been a pushover and the company had been delighted by the deal.

Even with the help of external consultants, there may be a problem for civil servants, required to adhere to high standards of ethics and integrity themselves, in recognizing how far the most ethically-limited private sector companies may be removed from their own standards.

(8) Concerns about the Government’s performance

On the morning that the Department for Transport announced that South West Trains had been re-franchised to Stagecoach, the Guardian reported poll findings that 64% of the population agree that the Government has run out of steam and ideas; 62% agree that, on their performance since the last election, they don’t deserve to win the next election; and only 35% agree that they are generally taking the country in the right direction. Look no further than South West Trains to see why people think like that.


Winchester commuters who stand to London every morning because Stagecoach axed the 05.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo would like nothing better than more seats. So Stagecoach’s promise of 20 per cent more seats if it won another franchise term was obviously attractive.

Lobbyist Barry Doe appeared cock-a-hoop when Stagecoach won, writing: “It was interesting that when, for the main evening TV news, the BBC reporter went on to stations to ask users their reaction to Stagecoach winning another ten years, all he got was enthusiasm and relief. “Excellent news; we have good, clean and reliable trains so we’re pleased there will be no change” was typical – and let’s face it, if the BBC could have found “disgusted of Winchester”, it would have interviewed him (or her)!” (Rail, issue 550).

Tell Winchester people the truth, that seating is not to be increased by 20% and that they will get trains with much harder seats, and huge groans arise. We suspect that their displeasure will be the thin end of the wedge. In issue 15 of SWT’s e’motion magazine, readers were told, “We would like to know how South West Trains has improved its service to you in the last 10 years”. That’s a cleverly crafted question. Given that the service fell apart when Stagecoach took over, it should not be too hard to think of improvements. A few people who have since written to e’motion have apparently been brought on side, but they are unlikely to be happy when they discover that SWT has been misleading them.

So did Mr Doe know the truth? In the same issue he proclaims that “there’s nothing elitist about first class travel”, yet Winchester people who pay for first class seasons in the desperate hope of a seat will have far fewer first class seats when class 444 trains replace the current class 442s.

Other writers in this issue of “Rail” have entirely different views from Mr Doe. “Industry Insider” says “I think Stagecoach will make hay while the sun shines”. Chris Randall writes that SWT passengers will be angry at loss of seats when they have been told that the operator would increase seating capacity by 20%.

In one of Mr Doe’s recent outbursts, he suggested that Southern and South Eastern were more like scruffy tramways, contrary to his beloved SWT. Doesn’t stripping out dozens of toilets and thousands of seats to cram in more passengers, and getting rid of the deep-cushioned Wessex Electrics in favour of the hard-seated Desiros, ensure that SWT is getting more and more like a tramway?

So did Stagecoach deceive even one of its prime lobbyists and, if it did, will he accept that, in the terms of the Heath era which he admires, the company is truly the unacceptable face of capitalism?


With slower timetables, fewer seats, less comfortable rolling stock, and decaying stations, you might think that things couldn’t get any worse on SWT. However, Stagecoach has always shown arrogant contempt for passengers racing to catch connections when one of their trains is late. See the doors slam shut in your face as you reach your “connection” panting for breath!

Now they are making announcements telling passengers to allow for doors closing early when they plan their journeys. In other words, you’ve got less time to make your connection than is advertised.

In addition, around half the summary departures screens at Southampton Central have been changed to display times only for the “next direct service” to a couple of dozen destinations. So at 06.00, the screens tell you that the next direct train to Clapham Junction is at 08.00. If you catch the 06.30 and get a sharp connection at Waterloo, you should be able to get there by that time!

Passengers, including of course those who are disabled or accompanied by small children or heavy luggage that they are required to keep with them at all times, therefore have unnecessarily long walks to find out the platform for their connecting train.

It is even more unfortunate, therefore, that the external displays on SWT’s cheapskate Desiros show only final destinations. In this environment, the superiority of the moving external banner displays on Southern’s trains is clear for all to see.

One further point: there has long been a problem with trains which split, so reducing the need to rely on connections, in that non-regular passengers may not know whether they are in the correct part. South Eastern’s automated address system actually tells them which coach they are in – an excellent refinement.


>From the Evening Standard of 18/10/2006: “Confident Stagecoach may wheel out £150m cashback Buses and trains operator Stagecoach today said its results would beat market forecasts, and it may distribute to shareholders the £150 million exceptional profit it made from recent disposals. The South West Trains franchise holder and Virgin Rail part-owner said it would beat the £133 million pre-tax, pre-exceptional profit tally expected by the market for its year to 30 April. The firm completed the sale of its London buses operation to Australia’s Macquarie for £120 million in the summer and will say what it will do with its spare cash when it unveils half-year results on 6 December.”


Commentators generally consider that Stagecoach and First Group overbid to keep South West Trains and Great Western. Now one of their attempts to improve their revenues is to challenge Hampshire County Council’s county-wide free bus travel scheme for people aged 60 and over. The Government requires the scheme to operate locally from April 2006 and nationally from April 2008. Stagecoach and First Group want “locally” to be given a restrictive interpretation. Go Ahead’s Wilts & Dorset joined them, but not Go Ahead’s Solent Blue Line. The companies’ action has sent shock waves through Hampshire. If the challenge succeeds, councils may have to pay them retrospective compensation.

The Southern Daily Echo has mounted a campaign and has carried articles in 11 consecutive issues from 16 October, and intermittently since. Thousands have put their name to it. Age Concern is also highly critical. Local MPs from all three major parties have joined the fight to protect the current concessions. Hampshire pensioners even travelled to London for the National Pensions Lobby. There are real fears that the scheme may be scrapped with devastating effects for older people.

Typical comments in the Echo are “just plain greedy”; “despite receiving millions of pounds to pay for the passes, bus companies say they want more”; “adding one pensioner when you’ve got 10 or 15 paying customers on a bus adds virtually nothing to its running costs”; “there might be more people using the buses but that doesn’t mean it costs them [the operators] more – that’s just silly”; “they should be grateful anybody’s doing anything to encourage people to use their rapidly deteriorating services”; “They just seem greedy. They’ve seen an opportunity to make some money and they’re trying it on”; “I think the bus companies should have a good look at themselves – I don’t know any bus companies that aren’t making a profit”; “The companies need to be reasonable in what they are expecting”; “When you take into account the deal already struck ensures the bus companies receive some £7m in guaranteed fares from councils, to demand more takes some cheek”; “Shame on them. They’ve got to run the buses anyway – do they want to run them empty or do they want to help the pensioners?”; “all we read about these days is people and companies wanting more and more money”; “they are after all they can get”; “Shylock and Fagan were mere amateurs compared to the bus company directors when it comes to picking the pockets of those who rely on public transport”….

“We are horrified to hear that the bus operators are mounting some sort of legal challenge to prevent older and disabled passengers from benefiting from the consideration shown by the government and local authorities”; “devastating effects on the elderly”; “the lack of transport is a cause of greater social isolation, which leads to increased depression, apathy and malnutrition”; “if the bus companies won their case, it would reduce the quality of life of many pensioners in the Hampshire area”; “it’s about freedom for older people”; “I think it’s opened up a lot of people’s lives because of the fact that they can get out and about”; “the consequences would be terrible”; “it’s a lifeline”; “you don’t want to be stuck indoors in a chair”; “If we lose it, it will limit people’s lives considerably, and there’s the environmental issue as well because it is reducing the number of cars”; “If it was taken away I’d have to stop at home and look at the four walls all day”; “Free bus passes have set old people free; “If something goes wrong with this scheme it will be the poorest and those who suffer from isolation that will be the hardest hit”.

>From the editor of the Southern Daily Echo: “I’ll leave the last word to Edward Hodgson, director of Hampshire Bus, who complained that carrying pass-waving pensioners on his vehicle reduced the number of regular customers attracted to the service. Why Mr Hodgson believes full paying customers are afraid to share a bus with OAPs I cannot imagine”.

Perhaps the answer lies in the words of Stagecoach chairman Brian Souter, “Ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed”. Mr Souter has no doubt looked after his much older sister, Stagecoach co-founder Ann Gloag, who reportedly owns two castles and not long ago shared a £65m bonus with him. However, his company’s concern for the generality of people aged 60 and over appears to be nil, and he is presumably content for them to fade away in social isolation rather than risk Stagecoach being marginally less awash with spare money. Has the company moved on from ethical limitations to ethical void?

One bus driver is so incensed about the threat to free travel that she contacted the Echo. She says she has seen a marked increase in the number of old people using the buses, and says it is clearly having a positive effect on their quality of life. She added that passes have also benefited the environment and other motorists because people who are using the bus for the first time are clearly leaving their car behind.


It’s the tip of an iceberg

The attack on bus concessions is tip of the iceberg. Stagecoach and First Group are no doubt trying to sabotage pensioners’ bus concessions (Daily Echo 16-17 October) because they are reckoned to have overstretched themselves in bidding for rail franchises.

Stagecoach’s South West Trains’ passengers are in for some nasty shocks as well.

The Wessex Electric trains on the Waterloo-Southampton-Weymouth route are to be taken off lease, with loss of over 7,900 seats.

The longer-distance Desiro trains are to be shared between the Weymouth and Portsmouth routes, with thousands more passengers between Waterloo, Basingstoke, Alton and Portsmouth switched to outer-suburban trains with cramped seating.

Suburban trains are to lose more seats on top of the 6,500 already being stripped out so that, in Stagecoach’s words, passengers can stand in greater comfort.

Finally, the Waterloo-Reading route is to be served by trains which are cheaper to hire but have been progressively withdrawn because Stagecoach said they were too unreliable.

Fortunately, some Opposition MPs are taking a keen interest.”


* Passenger Focus replaced the regional Rail Passenger Committees to give passengers a single national contact point for complaints and comments about train services. Throughout the re-franchising period and since, SWT trains have continued to carry only information about the defunct regional committees.

* September’s ‘Rail User Express’ contains a report from the Windsor Lines Passenger Association that the 18:07 from Waterloo to Hounslow is so overcrowded that several attempts have to be made to close the doors and some people get left behind.

* Although SWT already runs the slowest services since the steam era, some trains were further slowed by up to 5 minutes from the beginning of October to allow for leaf fall, despite Network Rail’s claims that it is now much better at dealing with the problem..

* A passenger wanting to travel from Waterloo to Eastbourne via Clapham Junction inadvertently boarded the wrong train. The guard made him pay the return fare from Waterloo to the first stop: Winchester.

* On 14 September, the 13.05 Waterloo-Poole had dreadful riding qualities. A man lost his balance and a coat was hurled off the rack. The air conditioning in the seating area of the middle coach and the fridge in the buffet were both duff.

* On 15 September, a woman on the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth ripped her trousers due to a sharp metal spike protruding from beneath the seat cushion.

* On 18 September, the 4-car 17.56 to Bournemouth was parked at the far end of Southampton Central’s 12-car platform 3. A train dispatch officer watched a group of people from another train race along the platform, in some cases with luggage. As they reached the train the doors slammed in their faces and they remonstrated angrily. The dispatch officer just pointed at the footbridge towards the other end of the platform. They then had to retrace their steps, cross the footbridge, and wait 30 minutes for another service. The 17.56 departed about 15 seconds after the doors were closed. A young man on board was noted telling an older passenger that it was typical of SWT’s “contemptible” attitude to passengers.

* On 23 September, and the morning of 24 September, Lymington had no rail service because the ancient train which serves the town had failed yet again.

* On 29 September, there was the usual Friday afternoon hell because of Stagecoach’s 5-car mini-trains. The 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth was heaving with passengers, with many standing to Winchester, where the long station stop was extended by 2 minutes because people had difficulty getting their luggage past others who were standing or sitting in the corridor. Duff air conditioning completed the misery. The 16.05 Waterloo-Poole was much worse. Even at Southampton Airport, the crush was so bad that some standing passengers had to step off the train to make room for those who were trying to alight. Things were no better at Southampton Central, where the train had already lost 15 minutes.

* On 1 October (a Sunday!), the 11.15 Waterloo-Plymouth was axed between Waterloo and Woking due to SWT’s train crew shortage. The 11.07 Waterloo-Basingstoke was therefore delayed until 11.20 to provide a replacement service to Woking. To compensate for the delay to the Plymouth service, SWT simply axed its Overton, Whitchurch and Grateley stops, but the train still managed to run 50 minutes late. It’s what Stagecoach calls a “right-time” railway! (Information from SWT and National Rail websites)

* On 2 October the lights had failed at the London end of Southampton Central’s platform 1. The 06.30 to London arrived in the dark 5 minutes late, and there were many passengers to board. The doors started to close before all the waiting passengers could board the front door of the second coach, so they had to grab the rear door of the adjacent first class coach and force their way on board. Members of our Group can bear witness to the event. Does any other operator demonstrate such reckless disregard for passenger safety?

* On 5 October, there were two sharp spikes protruding beneath a single seat cushion on the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo.

* On 6 October, the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth was so overcrowded that the guard kept apologizing for not being able to reach some passengers. Loading problems meant a 5 minute delay at Winchester. The train arrived at Southampton Central at 17.55.40. The first of the furious passengers to race across the footbridge was just in time to see the 17.56 “connection” for intermediate stations to Bournemouth disappearing round the bend towards Millbrook, having departed early. It then no doubt had a long wait for the 16.35 to overtake as the latter didn’t leave Southampton until 17.59, achieving a full 10 minutes’ lateness by Brockenhurst. Is any other operator so cruel to its passengers?

* On 14 October, the 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth was 17 minutes late due to duff stock, and the 21.35 Waterloo-Weymouth axed between Waterloo and Bournemouth due to duff stock.

* On 21 October, the start of the autumn half-term illustrated once more that Stagecoach does not employ enough drivers to cover times of peak holiday demand. Passengers on the 18.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo thrown off at Woking. Passengers on the 20.06 Weymouth-Waterloo thrown off at Southampton Central. 20.20 Waterloo-Yeovil axed. 22.20 Waterloo-Salisbury axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke.

* On 2 November, when morning commuter services were running up to several hours late because of overrunning engineering works, passengers awaiting at Southampton Airport Parkway could scarcely believe their ears when an announcement was made reminding them that doors would close up to 30 seconds early to ensure punctual departure. The expression “stupid clowns” was clearly overheard towards the London end of the platform.


Portsmouth’s “News” held a poll about local stations during October. Here are some findings – they seem to mirror the picture uncovered by the Southern Daily Echo in the Southampton area and Evening Standard in the London area earlier this year:

Fareham Joint-worst. Toilets seem to be permanently closed because of vandalism. No café and nowhere to get a decent cup of coffee or hot snack. Litter everywhere. Waiting rooms unpleasant and cramped. Staff rarely around and not always helpful when they are. Dangerous to carry prams over the footbridge. No safe pick-up or drop-off points. Shortage of information screens.

Bedhampton Joint-worst. Often in an appalling state. Incredibly limited facilities. No toilets. No adequate seating area that is not covered with cigarette ends or other rubbish. Needs better waiting area because the service is so infrequent.

Portsmouth & Southsea Third worst. The toilets are a disgrace, stink and never seem to be cleaned. The staff need to be friendlier and more helpful.

Petersfield Fourth worst. Waiting room too small and platform exposed and can be freezing cold. No refreshments when the shop is closed.

Do Waterloo-Portsmouth via Eastleigh services have the slackest schedules in Britain? National Rail’s live running information showed that on 17 August the 14.51 Portsmouth Harbour-Waterloo was 40 minutes late at Portsmouth & Southsea but only 20 minutes late at Woking. On 14 September it showed the 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth Harbour as starting 16 minutes late but completing its journey on time. In neither case was there any indication of cancelled stops.

Things can be faster on the Guildford line. On 29 October, trains were rescheduled because of diversions during engineering work. The 19.32 Portsmouth Harbour-Waterloo left Fratton at 19.40 against a rescheduled departure time of 19.42, and left Havant at 19.49 against a rescheduled departure time of 19.51. Why bother to wait for customers when you’ve taken their money?


“Occasionally South West Trains guards are thoughtful enough to announce to passengers that their train has stopped for several minutes because it’s running early, and not because something’s wrong.

Actually something is wrong. SWT, owned by Stagecoach, changed its timetables in December 2004. Updating timetables to reflect changes in travel habits is sensible, but at the same time SWT decided that replicating the performance of British Rail would be too difficult. Instead, it padded schedules with extra minutes and the official statistics duly improved (although SWT is only marginally better than Southern and South Eastern Trains, which haven’t padded their timetables and have more complex tracks).

The result for SWT passengers is slower journeys with tedious waiting en route. Often the doors shut before advertised departure time and trains sometimes depart early, leaving behind passengers who turned up on time.

Passengers though are incidental to a production-led outfit like SWT, whose task is to move trains around the network, meet performance targets and collect fares and subsidy. But even in that context SWT’s surplus padding is questionable, as a train standing for several minutes for the clock to catch up blocks the track for other trains. Rail managers have strived over the last couple of decades to exploit Britain’s limited tracks to the full, but SWT has managed to reduce the railway’s effective capacity in a period of growing demand.

So it’s just as well Stagecoach announced last month that, under the terms of its new SWT franchise, it would provide 20 per cent more seats on its peak London suburban trains. That pledge allayed the disappointment Stagecoach caused previously by telling SWT passengers it had ordered 785 new trains, when in fact it had ordered 785 carriages.

Whoops! Last week SWT said the promise of extra seats was a mistake. Instead it will remove seats, to create more standing room so that more passengers can be crammed in! In the world’s fourth richest economy, seats on commuter trains are wasted space.” (Private Eye No. 1169)


“Stagecoach’s joint venture with former rival Scottish Citylink has been attacked by the Competition Commission, which has ordered the companies to sell some bus services on two key routes in Scotland to restore competition. Inquiry chairman John Baillie found evidence of fares increasing more than costs on some routes and said “Customers benefit from competition and we do not see how this joint venture can preserve these benefits for passengers when previously these companies had been competing for their custom”. Last year all Stagecoach’s Scottish services were brought together with Scottish Citylink’s.” (Evening Standard 23/10/2006)


The Evening Standard of 25 September reports a survey’s finding that rudeness is the prime hate of modern Britons. Although many members of SWT’s staff are commendably polite to passengers, and others are acceptably or generally polite, the very common incidents of the type which occurred at Southampton Central on 18 September (see “SWT Customer (Dis)service” article), which are arguably abusive rather than just rude, seem all too likely to persist for as long as Stagecoach runs our trains. Last January, a train dispatch officer at Woking was noted being head-butted by an angry passenger when the doors of a West of England train which he had been running to catch slammed in his face before departure time. The furious passenger then stormed off the station leaving the member of staff looking rather shaken and muttering into his mobile. Not the best way to run a railway?


Thirty-one Lincolnshire pupils were taken to hospital after suffering breathing problems on a school bus. They were treated for suspected carbon monoxide poisoning after being taken off the bus, police said. All the pupils, from Birkbeck School, in North Somercotes, near Louth, were later discharged from hospital.

The coach operator, Stagecoach, said the incident could have been caused by water leaking onto an exhaust pipe, causing steam to pass into the vehicle.

The pupils - aged between 12 and 16 - had arrived at school on Monday morning complaining of nausea and headaches. The school's head teacher Gary Loveridge said: "It appears that for a significant part of the journey the main body of the bus had obvious fumes in it, according to the children." He added he initially phoned the Accident and Emergency Unit at Louth County Hospital and was advised to call the ambulance service.

All the youngsters' parents had been informed, he said, and he expected the vast majority of the pupils involved to be back in school on Tuesday.

Eight of the affected youngsters were taken by ambulance to the Diana Princess of Wales Hospital in Grimsby, with the rest travelling by coach.

"The injuries that I've been made aware of were only minor so I should imagine it was shortness of breath, possibly watering of the eyes and some blockage of the nasal passages," said Phil Morris, from the East Midlands Ambulance Service.

Police investigation

Police officers are working with the coach company to investigate the circumstances of the incident. Lincolnshire County Council said it had been informed by Stagecoach that the vehicle concerned had now been traced.

Denise Carr, head of transport services for the council, said: "The vehicle that took the children to school has been withdrawn from service. A full and thorough investigation will take place into the incident." [Source: BBC]


Date: 16 September 2006

New Cross-Country Franchise Manager, DfT Rail Group

A number of people have contacted me to express alarm at your proposals to reduce services from Bournemouth to an hourly Manchester train.

The current pattern of service from Hampshire and Dorset is pretty good; travel seems to be booming and the main problem is lack of capacity on some trains.

The Government foresees big population growth in Hampshire, particularly between Eastleigh and Fareham, and the County Council considers that better transport infrastructure must be one of the adjuncts of such growth.

Removing direct train services is clearly a disincentive to rail use, which implies more pressure on the roads (already congested), and boosting air traffic (like the roads, a major cause of global warning) even more.

There are large numbers of students in Cross Country’s Hampshire and Dorset catchment area, particularly in Southampton which has two universities – in my experience Cross Country has large student flows.

Many elderly people live along the South Coast. Age brings an increasing incidence of disability – one estimate is that that 80% of people aged 80 or over have some degree of mobility problem. Direct services are particularly helpful to these more vulnerable people and their removal would tend to limit choice and create social exclusion on the railways.


Letter in similar terms sent to MPs in the South Hampshire area along the route of Cross Country (Brockenhurst-Winchester)

Many thanks to National Express for the opportunity to attend a stakeholder meeting on 14 September about their current franchise bids, and to make the same points to their management. They considered that the service pattern changes were the most controversial aspect of the new Cross Country franchise, and were sympathetic to the views put forward. A further stakeholder meeting was to be held for Hampshire County Council. Invitations to tender are expected to be issued in October.

The Southern Daily Echo of 19 September reported that Southampton has a population of around 221,200 and student population of 41,500. It also reported that Southampton Airport serves more than 1.4 million passengers a year, and is forecast to serve around 6 million by 2030 – anyone heard of global warming?

The Department for Transport has now confirmed that it is going ahead with its plans despite the many concerns received. The loss of thousands of direct journey opportunities will inevitably give the airlines a big boost. And loss of Cross Country trains to Glasgow via Preston in favour of Manchester Airport-Glasgow trains seems to be looking to the interests of air passengers. Again – anyone heard of global warming, and is it a government priority or isn’t it?


I attended the New Forest Transport Forum on 18 October 2006.  Attendance was slightly down on last time but with the majority of the Parish Councils being represented. This time South West Trains/Stagecoach sent Phil Dominey.  However, 99 % of the meeting was concerning bus, mini-bus and taxi routes. Only one railway question was asked, and that was concerning Ampress Halt. The answer was a Feasibity Study is on-going and there was nothing to report.  

A Slide Presentation was given by Ian Reeve, Special Transport Project Manager, Hampshire County Council (HCC) who was concerned with long term transport strategies for Hampshire. The vision is a transport strategy that enhances quality of life and economic prosperity by connecting people, communities, employment goods, services and amenities. There will be an agreed action plan in Spring 2007 and a travel review in Spring 2008.  

Immediate matters within the New Forest Area Review were presented by Colin Wright, Transport Officer, HCC South West.  Financing and subsidies are the real problem and therefore, delegates were given service cuts news and more economic plans.   

1. Fordingbridge Cango services to be withdrawn at the end of October.  Sway Cango will remain for the time being, but subject to further consultation. The plan is to redeployment with more tailored replacement.

2. The 56 / 56A bus route times to change soon to reflect Lymington Hospital calls and better connections with the 123 at Lymington bus station.  Additional early morning Lyndhurst - Lymington service.

3. The 175 and 176 services to be  withdrawn. Replaced by 8- or 12-seater mini-buses to run between Christchurch and Bransgore with some extended to and from Burley (peak to Ringwood) at selected times.  For most journeys, an 8-seater would be more than sufficient but perhaps a 12-seater in the peaks.

4. Combine the Lymington and New Milton town services.  Currently under discussion.

5. Financial support is made for three journeys on X35 - depending on support from Dorset and Bournemouth councils - HCC to provide support between Southampton and Ringwood only.  

Other items

 1. The 31A routes were withdrawn due to no patronage.  A Councillor told me he had travelled the two routes to Fritham and Minstead and he was the only passenger, apart from a woman who travelled from Cadnam to Lyndhurst.  A taxi operates on Tuesdays and Fridays only Fritham / Minstead - Totton by pre-booking. Fare passes are valid.

2. Dismay was expressed that there will be only 120 parking spaces at Lymington Hospital and HCC need to act quickly to improve public transport access.  (This was where the Ampress station question was raised).  (The proposal to run a 56X bus service between Southampton and Bournemouth seems to have been dropped).

3. Over 60's bus passes will continue despite rumours that they may be withdrawn. In 2008, most English bus routes will be available to the over 60's at no charge.   

That’s about it.  I am personally rather sorry that there seems to have been a U-turn and some New Forest bus services have been, or are soon to be, withdrawn.


Train passengers were left startled when they were asked if they could fix a fault on their broken down train. The appeal on the Virgin Trains service from London Euston to Manchester came on Friday afternoon when the Pendolino stopped in Rugby.

The train had a faulty windscreen wiper and was unable to continue in heavy rain. Travellers were asked if anyone had a cable tie to repair it. Two passengers tried to help with repairs but the service was withdrawn. Damian Gaskin, 37, from Didsbury, Manchester, said: "There was astonishment and mild surprise to say the least. Everybody just looked at each other. It was so unbelievable it was funny. I have heard some excuses in my time but I have never heard of passengers being asked for tools to help fix the train before."

Mr Gaskin told train staff he had some plastic cable ties and a tube of superglue in his briefcase. Another passenger, who was a former Network Rail engineer, climbed on to the front of the engine and tried to fix the loose windscreen wiper blades but was unsuccessful. A Virgin Trains' spokesman said: "After staff consulted with the train manager, it was decided to ask anyone on board if they had a cable tie. One person did kindly volunteer but the cable tie was not long enough and unfortunately the train had to be taken out of service."


South West Trains

Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent research he has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the current operational performance of South West Trains; and how many complaints he has received from rail users’ groups in Hampshire about failures to operate timetabled services; and if he will make a statement. [78369]

Derek Twigg: The South Western franchise replacement process included a “base-lining” exercise undertaken in 2005, in which performance for South West Trains was reviewed. This showed that operational performance had increased significantly since the December 2004 timetable change under the Public Performance Measure (PPM) which records the percentage of trains arriving within five minutes of their planned destination arrival time. The moving annual average of the PPM statistic rose from 75 per cent. in July 2004 to 87 per cent. by September 2005, and currently stands at 90 per cent.

The Department for Transport has recently received an extensive report from the South Hampshire Rail Users Group setting out a range of complaints associated with the current South West Trains franchise. A response will be made shortly to this specific letter.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had with the South Hampshire Rail Users Group; and if he will make a statement. [93335]

Mr. Tom Harris: Ministers have had no such discussions, although there has been correspondence between the group and departmental officials.


Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 19 October 2006, Official Report, column 1340W, on railways, what the outcomes have been of correspondence between officials in his Department and the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group. [98238]

Mr. Tom Harris: Letters have been sent to the South Hampshire Rail Users Group in May and October by officials in the Department who have noted the material provided, and explained the franchise replacement process for South Western. They covered the franchise objectives, the development of the specification, the timescales for bid evaluation and award of the new franchise, and the key outputs of the winning bidder. The day-to-day operation of the franchise is a matter for Stagecoach, and South Hampshire Rail Users Group should take up such issues with them.

[NOTE: These are very common styles of reply and add virtually nothing to information in the public domain, except to confirm that SWT’s “improved” performance is entirely due to their much slower schedules. The replies do however confirm that Ministers and Department for Transport officials were aware of our concerns. Stagecoach’s plans to make more people stand longer distances and packed more tightly, despite successive derailments, and their initiative aimed at sabotaging pensioners’ bus concessions, suggest that our concerns about the company’s ethical limitations were well founded.]


11/09/06 Totton ticket office open again after being closed last week. 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left the station before the scheduled departure time. Shock at Millbrook as the departure information screen is working again. Buffet area on platform 1 at Southampton Central was closed at 06.20 (and a notice by the entrance asked for comments on a planning application to be sent to Southampton City Council by 19 January 2006!). 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo also left the station before its scheduled departure time. The Waterloo & City line is working again after a 5 month closure- hooray! Noticed that the nameplate on the rear half of the 17.05 from Waterloo (unit 2407 "Thomas Hardy") has almost been erased, even though this unit has recently been refurbished. The guard on the 17.05 apologised that the front half of the train (unit 2419 "BBC South Today") has a "technical fault" and due to this was running at "half-power" and with no air conditioning in the first-class carriage. After starting to move on time, the train stopped again after just a few yards - the guard announcing (3 times in 6 minutes) that "the driver is trying to rectify the problem". Left Waterloo 10 minutes late with the guard saying "hopefully there should be no further delays to your journey". 10 minutes late at Winchester, 8 late at Southampton Airport Parkway, 5 minutes late at Southampton Central and Totton.

12/09/06 Totton ticket office was again closed at 06.05. 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction was not at the platform at its scheduled departure time, eventually arriving 4 minutes later with a large damp area on the floor by the rear doors of the 1st carriage and less than half the lighting on in the carriage. Left Totton 5 minutes late - no announcement made by the guard to explain the delay or the reduced lighting. As we were coming to a stop at Southampton Central, the "connecting" 06.21 service to Portsmouth & Southsea was seen departing from the adjacent platform. Loud initial announcement on the 17.35 from London Waterloo (unit 2405 "City of Portsmouth"); 4 minutes late at Totton, where the 19.01 to Romsey was also running 4 minutes late.

13/09/06 Having just missed the 08.00 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo, I decided to test out the alternative route to London via Reading by joining the 08.15 Virgin Trains service from Southampton Central to Edinburgh. Plugged laptop into power point at the seat. Cheery announcement from buffet steward, "Kevin in the Shop". Arrived at Reading 09.05 and then caught one of the many 30-minute fast services to London Paddington.

14/09/06 Totton ticket office closed at 06.05. 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left before the scheduled departure time. The Millbrook departure information screen is blank again. 18.01 from Totton to Romsey was seen leaving the station before its scheduled departure time.

18/09/06 Did not travel.

19/09/06 Just made the 06.07 from Totton! At Southampton Central the 06.26 to Weymouth was reported as "Delayed" and then as running 40 minutes late due to a trespasser on the line at Basingstoke. The 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo ran normally through Basingstoke but was 10 minutes late at Waterloo due to “following an empty train from Winchester” and “missing our slot from Woking”. No free seat on the 17.35 from Waterloo until Winchester.

20/09/06 Totton ticket office open, with the regular staff member who asked if the office had been open while he had been away (one day only as far as I knew) – he said that there had been a lot of rubbish and out-of-date posters when he returned. Replaced my worn-out, almost blank, ticket for the second time this year! 07.16 from Totton to Waterloo was delayed by 3 minutes at Southampton Central awaiting the rear half arrival from Poole, ran slowly from Clapham Junction to London Waterloo due to “congestion” and was 8 minutes late at Waterloo. The Waterloo and City services were suspended at 17.20 this evening due to a points failure at Bank, just a few days after the line reopened following a 5-month refurbishment. When the 18.05 from Waterloo reached Winchester, a message included on the departure indicators said “Buses replace trains between Portsmouth & Southsea and Portsmouth Harbour until Friday 22 September.” – due to a problem outstanding since Thursday 14 September.

21/09/06 At the platform 4 entrance to Southampton Central this morning, one of the two newly installed ticket machines was out of order. As the 18.35 from Waterloo stopped at Winchester the departure indicators read "We regret that owning to a fault no information can be displayed at present". At Southampton Central, the departure indicators just read "Welcome to Southampton".

22/09/06 Police on Totton station at 06.05. 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo left before its scheduled departure time. Stagecoach wins the South Western franchise for 10 years - words fail me!

25/09/06 Over the weekend, I followed the link on the SWT website to the transcript of their last live chat session (http://www.southwesttrains.co.uk/SWTrains/ Customerservice/LC) but the page was unresponsive and provided no information (*insert your favourite ironic customer service comment here*). 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left before the scheduled departure time. The newly reopened Waterloo and City line continues to give passengers grief. According to a staff member, it failed 4 times on its opening day. Last Wednesday, passengers were ejected from the Bank platforms at 17.20 due to points failure, only to find that the instruction to find alternative routes was unreliable as the line was announced as running again as the ejected passengers were reaching the Circle/District line at Monument. On Thursday morning the service was suspended due to faulty trains and then opened again with a reduced service (and lots of crowding). This evening the line was closed at 17.20 due to signal failure at Waterloo, but a large number of passengers hung around the entrance at Bank (several quoting last Wednesday's experience as a reason) before eventually moving off disgruntledly to find a different, but longer, route to Waterloo. 18.05 from Waterloo was 7 minutes late at Totton due to "congestion in the Basingstoke area".

26/09/06 Temporary staff at Totton again as reports suggest the normal staff member has been injured playing football for a railway team. The station has not been cleaned today, so passengers wait for their trains alongside beer cans, cigarette cartons, general litter and the remains of someone's fish supper. Seat 29 (of 2nd carriage of unit 2419) broke under a passenger on the 06.46 from Totton to Waterloo and another seat made a noise described by the passenger sitting down on it as "pretty explosive". The 17.35 from Waterloo ran without a buffet in the rear half of the train due to "staff shortages in Bournemouth". Arrived on time at Totton to see the 19.01 to Romsey leave before its scheduled departure time.

27/09/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.05. 0607 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left before the scheduled departure time. Departure summary screen at London Waterloo in the middle of the subway under the platforms is blank this evening. Platform 2 at Totton has a very large amount of litter.

28/09/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.05. 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo was the newly refurbished unit 2407 (Thomas Hardy) but the nameplates have almost been erased, presumably during the refurbishment process. Blank departure summary screen at London Waterloo again. Noted that litter sacks have appeared on both platforms at Totton station.

29/09/06 Arrived at Totton before the scheduled departure time of the 06.07 to Yeovil Junction to find all the doors on the train were closed and there was no sign of the guard. As I pressed the door release button, the train moved off from the platform while I was actually in contact with it. So not only appalling customer service, but dangerous operation to boot, as the guard was not keeping a proper lookout as the train departed the station. Following the lead of Brockenhurst station simultaneously getting an SWT customer service award and a stinking complaint in the local press for how passengers were treated, perhaps we should congratulate this staff member for his forthcoming award. Blank departure summary screen at London Waterloo - and the clock in the subway under the platforms that shows 17.58 as 17.50 is still unrepaired after many months.

02/10/06 Totton ticket office open again this morning. The 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo was reported sequentially as running 6, 4, 6 and 4 minutes late on the departure indicators at Southampton. The guard was obviously in a rush and started closing the doors when some passengers were still on the platform - the second example of unsafe SWT operation in two working days. Left 7 minutes late. On the approach to Waterloo, the guard apologised for the delay which he claimed was due to "following a stopping service between Eastleigh and Winchester" - no reason being given for the initial delay up to Southampton Central. 22 minutes late at Waterloo. Waterloo subway departure summary screen still blank this evening. While waiting at Waterloo, I noticed that the bank of concourse departure screens outside platform 13 appears to behave strangely - the information on screens 8 and 9 (counting from the left) is in the wrong order as screen 9 shows earlier departures than screen 8; one screen is blank causing train information to disappear when it is supposed to be displayed on this screen; the arrivals screen showed the 17.20 arrival from Poole for an hour even though the train had long since left Waterloo on its return working and, whereas some banks of screens update in order when a departed train comes off the screens, this bank updates its screens in a random order making it difficult to see what has happened to your train. 18.35 from Waterloo was 4 minutes late at Southampton Airport Parkway.

03/10/06 Since the end of the 5-months' line closure, the ramp down to the Waterloo & City line has had 3 screens showing news programming, presumably to entertain the expected peak hour queuing, but for the last two days all the screens have displayed "no satellite signal". The 17.35 from Waterloo was not at its usual platform this evening, but the departure summary screen in the subway under the platforms was no use at all to passengers looking for the train as the screen remained resolutely blank. Broken seat in the 5th carriage of unit 2407 (newly refurbished but with the "Thomas Hardy" nameplates almost erased). The 17.35 was delayed at Southampton Central "waiting to make a detachment". After leaving Southampton Central the guard apologised for the delay due to "problems splitting the train". 7 minutes late at Totton.

04/10/06 06.46 from Totton arrived at Waterloo 7 minute late due to "congestion in the Surbiton area and waiting for our platform at Waterloo". 17.35 from Waterloo was 4 minutes late at Totton (following a late-running Virgin service). Noted that the refuse sacks on Totton station have disappeared again and the wall fixing for one of them is broken.

05/10/06 A passenger on the 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo was favoured with two spikes protruding forward from the underside of her seat instead of the more common single spike. The 16.05 from Waterloo is only 5 carriages long, described by the guard as "always full this one". Many people standing from Waterloo including a heavily pregnant lady for whom I gave up my seat (fortunately, someone was so ashamed that I had offered my seat before they did that they gave their seat up for me - which, being full of cold and feeling grotty, I accepted!). The service was so full from Waterloo that the guard could not battle through the carriages to check tickets - while SWT obviously couldn't give a monkey's for passenger comfort and safety, they might be motivated by the thought that some people might take advantage of the fact that the train is always so over-crowded to omit buying a ticket. Even after stops at Basingstoke, Winchester and Southampton, there were still many people standing. 18 minutes late at Totton - I think a reason for the delay might have been given earlier in the journey (although I didn't hear it clearly), but there was no reason given for the delay to passengers joining from Winchester onwards.

06/10/06 The new ticket machines installed at Southampton Central sell car parking tickets, but finding where the tickets are listed is so non-intuitive as to be comical. You have go to the end of 3 pages of "Popular Destinations" - which, having previously looked for the tickets and failed, was found only because a fellow passenger told me where to look (I had previously tried to find the tickets listed under Southampton Central - how foolish of me!). Waterloo station is showing signs of under-maintenance as we still have a blank departure summary screen, misleading digital clock and missing satellite signal. Unexplained delay of 13 minutes at Winchester on the 18.05 from Waterloo - only after having left Southampton Airport Parkway did the guard report that the delay was due to "an incident that took place at Winchester" (other passengers reported that it was actually due to a broken door window) - "As soon as we know, you’ll know" anyone?

09/10/06 Totton station car park closed today (apparently to allow access for installation of a new ticket machine). At Millbrook on the 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction, the carriage lights went off for a second or so, leaving us temporarily in total darkness. No sign of weekend repair & maintenance activity at Waterloo - the departure summary screen is still blank and no signal on the newly installed screens by the Waterloo and City entrance ramp.

10/10/06 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction did not arrive at the platform until after its scheduled departure time and left 3 minutes late. Blank departure screen at Millbrook again. Passengers waited for about a minute for doors on the 06.07 to open at Southampton Central. Shock at Waterloo as the previously blank TV screens by the Waterloo and City entrance ramp are working today! 17.35 from Waterloo was on time at Totton, just in time to see the 19.01 from Totton to Romsey leave the station before its scheduled departure time.

11/10/06 07.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo stopped before Eastleigh, the guard apologising for the "short wait" due to "being held up by a freight train". Seat collapsed under a passenger before Winchester. As we approached Clapham Junction the guard announced that we were "experiencing some congestion ahead" and we were "running approximately 8 to 9 minutes behind schedule". Actually arrived at Waterloo 4 minutes late. Double shock at Waterloo this evening as the departure summary screen in the subway under the platforms has burst back into life. 21.35 from Waterloo was the barely visibly named "Thomas Hardy" - with no reason given we were 4 minutes late at Southampton Central where I walked through the "security" barriers which had been left open as usual when station staff went off shift earlier in the evening.

12/10/06 The 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left before its scheduled departure time. Millbrook departure screen is working again. On the 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo, as we left Southampton Airport Parkway the guard announced that "the train is becoming extremely full". A fellow passenger commented that the guard on the 16.05 from Waterloo last night deliberately gave the impression that the overcrowding on the service was due to running with a short formation that day, when it actually runs as only 5 carriages (and is grossly overcrowded) each and every day. Too good to last - the screens by the Waterloo & City ramp are showing "no satellite signal" again.

13/10/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.05. 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left just before the scheduled departure time. At Southampton Central, the display above the platform 1 entrance said our "Duty Station Manager is   and he is Happy to Help". No satellite signal by the entrance to the Waterloo & City line. This evening, the Waterloo & City is not operating at all due to "faulty communications equipment”. The concourse screens at Waterloo opposite platform 13 are still operating strangely. The 18.05 from Waterloo was 5 minutes late by Winchester.

16/10/06 Totton ticket office closed at 06.05 and the station looked very messy with lots of litter on the platform. 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left before its scheduled departure time. Passenger "information" posters on this train have dreadfully out of date information on how to complain, complete with the addresses of the now long-defunct Regional Passengers' Committees. No satellite signal on the Waterloo & City ramp screens. 18.05 from Waterloo left 6 minutes late due to late incoming stock (and the traditional scrum on the platform) - 4 minutes late at Totton.

17/10/06 Totton ticket office open again. 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil departed 4 minutes late due to "waiting for to leave the depot". 06.30 from Southampton Central arrived at Waterloo approximately 10 minutes late due to "following a service in front of us" and "speed restrictions between Woking and Waterloo". No satellite signal on the Waterloo & City ramp screens. 18.05 from Waterloo left 13 minutes late as the incoming stock had not arrived even by the scheduled departure time and then stopped after departure just outside the station for a further few minutes. Guard announced that the reason for the delay was "a vehicle crashing into a bridge at Byfleet & New Haw". At Winchester the departure indicators displayed "We regret that owing to a fault no information can be displayed at present". 26 minutes late at Totton, where the following 18.35 from Waterloo was shown as running 10 minutes late.

18/10/06 07.16 from Totton to Waterloo pulled into platform 2 at Southampton Central, with a Wessex Electric standing at platform 1 disgorging passengers - a fellow passenger reported that it was the 07.00 from Southampton Central to Waterloo which had just been cancelled due to train failure. Lots of passengers standing from Southampton Central. Guard gave "sincere apologies to those of you from the earlier train who have been inconvenienced on your journey today" and also apologised for the "obvious overcrowding". No satellite signal on the Waterloo & City ramp screens - someone paid for these to be installed during the 5 month line closure (probably us!) and they have hardly worked since.

19/10/06 As the 07.00 Southampton-Waterloo approached Winchester, the guard announced that "after Winchester the train will call non-stop to London Waterloo" - arrived at Waterloo 4 minutes late due to "congestion at Woking". The satellite signal for the screens on the ramp down to the Waterloo & City line are working again. When the 16.35 from Waterloo arrived at Southampton Central, the platform departure indicators displayed "We regret that owing to a fault no information can be displayed at present". The large display in the platform 4 station entrance was working and advised that the 18.10 service to Cardiff had been cancelled.

20/10/06 The guard on the 18.05 from Waterloo appeared to be in a time warp, reporting the "expected arrival time this morning" before correcting himself.

23/10/06 16.35 from Waterloo departed 23 minutes late and very overcrowded. Guard made announcements that were too loud in the carriage giving the reason for the delay as "a passenger at St Denys being struck by a train leading to delays of an hour to services from Southampton Central". We were 37 minutes late leaving Southampton Central, where platform staff were busy blowing their whistle at passengers who had waited patiently for others to leave the crowded train. At Southampton, the following 17.05 from Waterloo was shown as running 31 minutes late and the 17.35 from Waterloo 11 minutes late. Platform announcements at Southampton Central reported the reason for the delays as "late running services into London Waterloo".

24/10/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 09.50. The 09.51 from Totton to Waterloo was cold in the second carriage. Buffet steward announced after Southampton Airport Parkway that there would be no at-seat buffet service today due to "overcrowding of this 5-car train". At 11.30, the Waterloo & City line train I was travelling on stopped in the tunnel with the driver reporting that the traction power had been turned off, triggering some concern amongst my fellow passengers. Power was restored a minute or so later, but no explanation for the power loss was given. The 20.35 from Waterloo was approx 14 minutes late at Winchester due to "temporary speed restrictions between Basingstoke and Winchester" - 19 minutes late at Southampton Central, where (it being after 10pm) all the "security" barriers on the station were open.

25/10/06 Noted that the display screen next to the steps on platform 4 at Southampton Central is showing "Next Direct Service" information for a number of stations - all very well, but connecting services can be much quicker, eg before 07.00 the screen was showing the next service to Clapham Junction as the 08.00 departure when it would be far quicker to go to Waterloo and back out again or even change at Woking. 07.00 from Southampton Central to Waterloo stopped in Southampton tunnel. Guard reported that we were "held at a red signal" with a "late running service ahead of us" possibly due to "earlier power supply problems in the St Denys area" - 4 minutes late at Southampton Airport Parkway, 9 minutes late at Winchester. Slow running on the approach to Waterloo and stopped within sight of the station due to "restricted access into Waterloo following an earlier incident". The guard also reported that we had "lost our pathway" following the earlier delay at Southampton. Arrived at Waterloo 21 minutes late. No signal again on the screens by the Waterloo & City ramp. Almost total collapse of the evening service with only 8 services listed with departure times on the concourse screens, none of which was for Southampton. However, station staff advised that the stock for the 18.05 was approaching the station, so I joined the now traditional scrum on the platform for this service. 18.05 left Waterloo 13 minutes late, with the guard apologising for the delay which was due to "the incident at London Waterloo yesterday" but without actually saying what the "incident" was. Running 22 minutes late at Winchester, where the platform departure indicator misleadingly reported the first service as the delayed 18.15 Portsmouth Harbour service instead of our Poole service that was standing at the platform. 24 minutes late at Totton, although the guard repeatedly reported the delay as being 5 minutes less than it actually was.

26/10/06 - 27/10/06 Did not travel.

30/10/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.00 with lots of litter on the station, including beer cans, cigarette cartons and (indicating something about the age of the ones doing the littering?) the remains of a McDonalds Happy Meal. At Southampton Central the screens above the platform 1 entrance are now also showing the "Next Direct Train To" information - highly misleading for Clapham Junction which (at 06.20) was showing 08.00 as the next departure when taking the 06.30 will get you there, with connections, so much quicker. Other stations where you may get there quicker than a direct service include Havant, Chichester and Reading. The 06.30 from Southampton Central was shown consecutively as departing at 06.32, 06.37 (when two fellow passengers were heard to groan - not looking forward to a repeat of last week's delays) and 06.33 before arriving at 06.33 and leaving 5 minutes late, due to "following a late-running preceding service before Brockenhurst". Before we left Southampton, the platform indicators showed the front half of the 07.00 from Southampton Central (described as 06.55 Terminates Here) as cancelled. The 06.30 from Southampton Central arrived at Waterloo 3 minutes late now reported to be due to "congestion due to overrunning engineering works at London Waterloo". Only one Waterloo & City platform in use at Bank this evening due to a "platform defect". On the 17.05 from Waterloo, a spike was protruding from the underside of the seat in a recently refurbished unit - 5 minutes late at Southampton Central with the guard apologising for the "slow delay" due to "waiting for a platform to become available at Southampton Central" - however, when we got into the station we used platform 3 while platform 4 was empty and had no service scheduled for another 15 minutes, so that may not have been the whole story. 7 minutes late at Totton. Travelling by bus this evening, I missed the connection for the last no. 30 service of the day, but a fellow bus traveller said that there had been no bus passing in the last 15 minutes, so I waited in the hope that it was running late - it was, eventually arriving at Totton 15 minutes late, where the driver demonstrated a pretty weak grasp of his route by not recognising the location of a well-known landmark.

31/10/06 Totton ticket office open at 05.45 - staff reporting they had returned from a week's leave and expressing some surprise that an out-of-date engineering works notice had not been replaced in their absence. 05.48 from Totton to Waterloo left Totton over a minute late, but arrived at Southampton Central a minute early. We were held just outside Waterloo for a while but arrived just 2 minutes late. The stock for the 18.35 from Waterloo was White Desiros which only arrived 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Left on time but ran slowly for parts of the journey - four times during the journey an announcement was made "can the guard please contact the driver" - 12 minutes late at Totton.

01/11/06 05.48 to Waterloo left Totton 15 minutes late - after leaving Southampton Central, the guard reported that the delay was due to "overrunning engineering works between Bournemouth and Brockenhurst" and that "due to the late-running of this service", the scheduled stops at Eastleigh, Winchester and Clapham Junction would be omitted - passengers for Eastleigh and Winchester were told to get off at the next stop (Southampton Airport Parkway), passengers for Clapham Junction were advised that a "special service would run from Basingstoke" - guard apologised for the "inconvenience and delay caused", advising affected passengers at Southampton Airport Parkway to "wait on platform 1 for the next train to these stations" (actually the 06.22 Virgin Trains service to Edinburgh for Winchester passengers, causing a total delay of 13 minutes, and the 06.28 service to Yeovil Junction for Eastleigh passengers, causing a total delay of 23 minutes, however passengers from Eastleigh to Winchester would now have a total delay of 37 minutes and the next direct trains from Eastleigh and Winchester to Clapham Junction would not leave until 08.13 and 08.18 respectively) - as we flew through Winchester station at full speed, the "next station is Winchester" announcement was made, shortly followed by the "this train stops at Basingstoke, Woking, Clapham Junction and London Waterloo", which it wasn't going to do. When a passenger who joined at Parkway asked how they were going to get to Clapham Junction, the guard reported that he estimated that we would be at Basingstoke at 06.50 and that the 06.52 service from Basingstoke would stop at Clapham, saying of Basingstoke station staff "they know that everyone will be going across for it, they should hold it for you". As we pulled to a stop at Basingstoke and passengers for Clapham Junction were moving towards the doors, the guard however reported that he have been "just advised by SWT Control" that due to "the amount of time we had made up, this train will now stop at Clapham Junction", the announcement being made to considerable ironic laughter from commuters. Left Basingstoke at 06.38 (just 2 minutes late) with the guard apologising for the "confusion with regard to the stopping order of this train" - arrived at London Waterloo 1 minute late. The 18.00 from Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour was shown as running with only 5 carriages this evening. The 18.05 from Waterloo was not allocated a platform until about 5 minutes before the scheduled departure time and the stock arrived shortly after that. 11 minutes late leaving Waterloo and 20 minutes late at Winchester (which the guard underreported by 5 minutes while failing to give a reason for the delay). Leaving Southampton Central he fessed up on the real delay and said it was due to "delay on the inward journey and subsequently losing our pathway from London Waterloo". 20 minutes late at Totton. The 19.55 30A bus service from Totton did not run and I had a long period waiting in freezing temperatures - I subsequently discovered that it had been removed from the timetable at the beginning of September, but the timetables on the bus stops have not been updated - such inefficiency will really encourage the use of public transport!

02/11/06 Utter chaos as the London service collapses due to overrunning engineering works in the Bournemouth area. The 0.548 from Totton to Waterloo did not run. The guard on the 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction advised that no London-bound services were yet running from Bournemouth and (after a passenger's suggestion) recommended that we stay on the service to Southampton Airport Parkway in order to catch the 06.50 service that starts there - noted that both the 06.30 and 07.00 departures to Waterloo were shown as delayed at Southampton Central but that passengers were still waiting on platform 1 and had not been advised to take our train to Parkway (at Parkway a fellow traveller said that someone at Southampton Central had called him on his mobile and that people there were being advised to catch the 07.15 Virgin service to Edinburgh and change at Basingstoke). The 06.38 service from Parkway (the 06.30 from Southampton Central) was shown at Parkway as delayed, then as arriving at 07.14 and then immediately afterwards shown and announced as cancelled. The departure screens at Parkway then showed an additional 06.50 service starting from Southampton and following the normal 06.50 departure by 1 minute, but this was not announced and silently removed from the screens a short while later. While at Parkway, South West Trains repeatedly allowed a (muffled and indistinct) announcement from their "Communications Centre" to play advising passengers how they could help SWT to run a punctual service. The 06.50 departure from Parkway was announced as the next service on platform 1 and passengers went out onto the freezing cold platform to join the train - but although the 06.50 was shown as departing on time up until 0650, the platform indicators were then "corrected" to show that it was running 12 minutes late. When the 06.50 did arrive, it was more than half full with passengers even though it is scheduled to start at Parkway - it was then discovered that when Parkway passengers were being told that the service was approaching, it was actually going in the opposite direction from the Northam depot to pick up passengers at Southampton Central first, but no-one thought to tell Parkway passengers until after its scheduled departure time by which time everyone was waiting in freezing temperatures on the platform. As a result of the detour, some passengers from Southampton Airport Parkway were unable to find a seat and had to stand all the way to Waterloo - passengers from Winchester, where we were running 13 minutes late, had absolutely no chance of a seat. Arrived at Waterloo 15 minutes late on this service - 37 minutes late overall. Clocks not working on platforms 11/12 at Waterloo and the 08.35 to Weymouth was cancelled due to "emergency engineering works" between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth.

03/11/06 Was told that "the maps" that provide station staff with information were down yesterday morning and the first London-bound train from Totton did not run until about 09.40, with the 06.30 from Southampton Central running 90 minutes late. This morning "All services are subject to delays due to overrunning engineering works" according to Totton platform indicators. 05.48 ran 12 minutes late. Departure screen at Millbrook is blank, as it was yesterday. At Southampton Central the indistinct announcement from their "Communications Centre" advising passengers how they could help SWT to run a punctual service was again played, causing adverse customer comment given yesterday's events. The 17.35 from Waterloo was exactly on time this evening (the first for some time), just arriving in time to see the 19.01 from Totton to Romsey leave the station before its scheduled departure time.

More news from SWT’s E-motion passenger magazine:

Issue 16 (p.6): Improved services at new-look Kempton Park.....the station has received a £110,000 facelift, including a complete repaint and new Customer Information Screens. Does this mean that Redbridge is now the only station on the network without information screens?

Issue 17 (p.5): Spring 2006 National Passenger Survey findings "reveal that 83% of passengers are satisfied with our service" without revealing that this is in fact 1% lower than in the Autumn 2005 survey. While claiming that the latest survey results were "generally positive", there is no mention of the statistically significant drops in the satisfaction figures for the upkeep/repair of the station buildings /platforms (down 5%), cleanliness of station facilities (down 4%) or the value for money for the price of your ticket (down 4%). The text referred particularly to a 2% increase in satisfaction regarding punctuality /reliability, but this was described as not statistically significant in the survey results. The text also said "the results show" that passengers had noticed improvements in the information provided on trains (actually no change since Autumn 2005) and stations (a 1% increase, not statistically significant) and reported they have "jumped 10 points" in the results for how they handle delays - but the text doesn't mention that the jump gets them up to a satisfaction rating of just 46%, making it a jump from "appallingly bad" to just "very bad". They even get some figures wrong, reporting a 2% drop in satisfaction regarding the overall station environment as an increase of 2% while claiming credit for the "increase" due to £6m of station improvements.

Issue 17 (p.27): One of the Q&A responses is worth repeating in light of recent news! Q: I note that the Department of Transport has awarded a £70m contract to Siemens to supply 17 additional Desiro 450 trains for South West Trains services. From my experience on the Portsmouth to London Waterloo via Basingstoke line, 450s are being used in place of Desiro 444s, indicating a shortage of 444s. Can you explain why 444s aren't being purchased, so freeing up the apparent abundance of 450s for use where they are really needed? A: The new blue Desiro 450s (built as four-carriage trains) will be able to operate on routes previously serviced by the white Desiro 444s (five-carriage trains). Increasing the formation from 10 carriages (comprising two 444 trains) to 12 carriages (comprising three 450 trains) provides more seats and frees up some 444s for use on longer distance routes, such as the Portsmouth to London Waterloo via Basingstoke service. For more details, please turn to Inside Story on page 10.

(On page 10 it says "Routes that are likely to benefit from the bigger fleet [due to the additional blue Desiros] include services from London Waterloo to Portsmouth, Basingstoke, Windsor and Alton. Some of these will see four- or five-carriage services increased to eight cars, whilst some eight-carriage trains will be bumped up to 12-carriage units." which hardly seems consistent with the Q&A response).

Some interesting points in SWT’s announcement of their successful franchise bid can be found at -

- "the new franchise is an excellent results for passengers, taxpayers and our shareholders" - bad news for the staff, then?

- "building on the success we have achieved over the past decade" - ha! - “the franchise was developed following extensive consultation" - double ha!

- "21% more mainline peak seats and a 20% increase in peak suburban seating" - oink, flap.

-"Plans to introduce 10-car trains on Windsor to Waterloo services in 2010" - we know what happens to "plans".

- "More visible staff presence to improve personal security" - so not legging it and opening the "security" barriers at 10pm then?

- "Every mainline station linked by CCTV to a central monitoring point" - Redbridge to come out of the Stone Age?

- "Retention of guards on every train" - not exactly a benefit of the new franchise - who was suggesting that they wouldn't be retained anyway?

- "personal alarms" for guards and revenue-protection staff - if someone is willing to attack a guard, how will this put them off?

- "More effective deployment of TravelSafe Officers" - removing their newspapers perhaps?

- "Accreditation of 13 additional secure stations" - like Southampton Central at 11pm?

- "an option to increase this [number of secure stations]" - implies a price would be charged for this option - who would pay and how much?

- lots of things for ticket office staff to worry about: "Smartcard technology to make ticket purchasing easier", "promotion of internet purchasing and telesales", "self-service ticket vending machines".

- "extension of Stagecoach's budget rail service megatrain.com" - how is this a key highlight of the new franchise operated by SWT?

- "flexible ticket options, with different prices depending on the time of travel" - this will be very complex for new passengers to understand, what happens if you miss a train, or it is full or it is delayed or cancelled?

- "introduction of automatic gates at 13 additional stations to improve security and reduce ticketless travel" - somehow they appear to have accidentally put the real reason last!

- "lighting, painting and cleaning improvements at all 185 stations" - so no station closures then (assuming that 185 is the current number!)

- "new passenger charter with clear targets" - can't get much clearer than they are currently and they are still missed.

- "better customer information with passenger information systems extended to cover every train on the mainland network" - so either they were planning to put systems into the Wessex Electrics or they knew all along that they would be scrapping them (and didn't see fit to mention it in the "extensive consultation")

- "a commitment to further improve performance" - this is so far down the list of "key highlights" that it shows the level of priority it has - and it is just weasel words.

- "a line speed and signalling enhancement on the main suburban network" - now claiming Network Rail work as a key highlight of the SWT franchise.

- potential closure of the Island Line (is this why it was merged into the franchise by the DfT rather than being separately bid for?) is signalled with the use of the words "ensure the continued viability" and "place Island Line on a firm footing".

There has been continual finger-pointing at Network Rail as the cause of delays in recent editions of e-motion: (issue 17 - p.14) "regular travellers on South West Trains will know the dreaded phrases "signal failure" and "points failure" (or, thankfully much more rarely nowadays, "broken rail"), which precede announcements regretting delays or cancellations" and also "[signal failures] are rarely dangerous in themselves but, because of Network Rail's stringent safety regime, inevitably cause delays"; (issue 18 – p.4) "despite some areas of unforeseen disruption that we have experienced recently, caused by hot weather, points failures around Clapham and lineside track fires at Raynes Park and Clapham Junction..."; (issue 18 – p26) "Andy suggests that the signal controller has probably been too late in lowering the level crossing barriers" and also "[the positioning of some speed restriction signs at Wokingham is] an issue for Network Rail and it appears reluctant to admit the inconsistency. A small point, but one that can contribute to late-running trains".

From e-motion 18:

- p.4: the message from the Customer Service Director about running a punctual service (a "right-time" railway, as they call it) would be better received if train services did not regularly leave stations before their scheduled departure time, and it would be even better received if the times printed in the customer timetable were the (customer-focused) times passengers could actually join the train rather than being the (operations-focused) time the train leaves the station, passengers having been prevented from boarding some time previously. They bat on about the "Right-Time Railway" on p.26 as well.

- pp.4-6: references to 7 awards in just 3 pages, a veritable award-fest of self-congratulation: National Customer Service Week (inviting nominations); National Transport Awards in July; Railway Industry Innovation Awards in June; Bombardier Award for Innovation in Sustainable Development; Group Travel Organiser Magazine's 2006 awards; Godalming in Bloom, and Winchester in Bloom.

- further coverage of Stagecoach's megatrain service in the SWT customer magazine (presumably free advertising that would not be available to other companies if they tried to introduce such a service).

- p.5: "our" popular low-cost service megatrain.

- p.15: with fares as low as this "we" cannot afford to advertise.

- p.15: "we" may expand it [megatrain] to other stations in the future.

- p.16: "our" new budget service - and the old canard about fares being "as little as £1" is repeated with no mention of the compulsory booking fee.

- p.8: "new [ticket] machines ... are currently being installed at all of our stations" - any sightings at Millbrook or Redbridge?

- p.8: a poor reply to a sensible letter regarding unused but inaccessible bicycle storage on the 06.30 from Southampton - the reply claims that "some passengers did leave the door open, which is unsafe", while at the same time also claiming "the driver cannot move the train when it is open"; then it says that "the driver ... must walk down the platform to shut it", leaving you to wonder what the guard and station staff waving the train off are doing at this time. The replay ends with "we don't plan to change the current system" - so stuff you, customers.

- p.9: a letter "setting the standard" for sick-inducing sucking up to SWT.

- p.14: Jocelyn Pearson of Passenger Focus giving credibility to SWT's "independent" Passenger Panel by taking part in a joint interview.

- p.14: Question about SWT's large profit obtained a response which did not even mention the word "profit".

- p.14: reference at the bottom of the page to travelling earlier in the evening to save money by using a Cheap Day or Saver Return ticket,but are there in fact any evening restrictions on these tickets?

- p.15: The first answer on this page implies that SWT stashed away profits prior to the refranchising so they could promise improvements in their franchise bid - making it a fairly uneven playing field for the other contenders! The same answer says that smartcard technology will help Season Ticket holders to get better value fares (how?) and that "much of our more recent investment has been put into new trains...."

- p.15: "if you pay [for an annual season ticket] in installments, it would be the same as buying a monthly" - no it wouldn't. It is standard business practice to offer lower discounts for longer periods of commitment, eg I have seen subscription services with a 12 month commitment period priced 30% higher than exactly the same services with a 36 month commitment period.

- p.15: what happens if you bought an Apex or SuperAdvance ticket and the service is cancelled or omits your stops? Did you know that Apex (to save up to 60%) or SuperAdvance (to save up to 50%) tickets are only available from stations between Weymouth and Brockenhurst according to a map on the SWT website?

- p.15: Gold Card is claimed as "52 weeks' travel for the price of 40 weeks" – except that you never actually travel 52 weeks a year.

- p.25/p.28: Passengers Panel - the "independent" voice of South West Trains' passengers - and provider of multiple articles, and praise of SWT, for every edition of the magazine.

- p.26: "in spite of slippery rails and adverse signals, we glide into Platform 4B on time, which highlights the wisdom and robustness of South West Trains' revamped timetable".

- p.28: "24-hour Help Points" - we have had little luck in getting a response from the one at Totton at 6am, only once as far as I recall and even then it was a "no help at all point".

- p.28: "only 1% of those who press the Emergency button on the Help Points are reporting a genuine emergency" - surely this indicates poor layout or instructions on the help point itself or the possibility that they got no response by using the information button.


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.

Sunday 10/09/06 08.54 Waterloo-Bournemouth/Portsmouth 22 minutes late. 09.15 Waterloo-Paignton 76 minutes late (shown as 38 minutes late on SWT’s website) DUE TO DUFF STOCK; Southampton Central stop axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.00 Waterloo-Haslemere 18 minutes late.

Monday 11/09/06 05.41 Salisbury-Totton axed between Salisbury and Eastleigh DUE TO NO CREW. 05.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 10 minutes late and reduced to 3 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK; Woking stop axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.00 Haslemere-Waterloo axed. 06.32 Woking-Waterloo axed. 06.35 Salisbury-Totton axed between Salisbury and Eastleigh DUE TO NO CREW. 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 10.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 9 minutes late. Passengers on the 11.00 Weymouth-Waterloo thrown off at Parkstone DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.01 Poole-Waterloo 11 minutes late. Passengers on the 13.23 Windsor-Waterloo thrown off at Staines DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.54 Weymouth-Waterloo 42 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN IN FRONT. 19.55 Southampton-Waterloo 46 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN IN FRONT. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN IN FRONT. 19.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late. Passengers on the 20.33 Weybridge-Waterloo thrown off at Virginia Water DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 21.03 Weybridge-Waterloo thrown off at Virginia Water DUE TO DUFF TRAIN IN FRONT. 21.20 Waterloo-Yeovil axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 22.14 Alton-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK.

Tuesday 12/09/06 06.07 Totton-Yeovil started 5 minutes late with destination display of “not in public service”; emergency lighting only; and puddle in rear vestibule of first coach from water coming through the intercom area in the ceiling – train opened its doors at Southampton Central as the connecting 06.21 to Portsmouth departed from the other side of the platform, DUE TO INDIFFERENCE TO PASSENGERS. Passengers on the 07.22 Waterloo-Weybridge thrown off at Vauxhall DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.30 Waterloo-Yeovil 30 minutes late. 16.50 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth delayed by potentially suicidal person on the track at Basingstoke; train 26 minutes late arriving at Southampton, but only 22 minutes late departing DUE TO SLACK SCHEDULE. 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 29 minutes late; all intermediate stops except Woking axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth called additionally at Woking, Basingstoke and Micheldever because of the delay to the 18.39 to Southampton; train lost 14 minutes between Waterloo and Woking and was 27 minutes late by Basingstoke. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Winchester axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.09 Waterloo-Effingham Junction terminated at Epsom DUE TO ITS DERAILMENT; Waterloo-Guildford via Epsom services and Waterloo-Dorking services suspended until 06.00 the following morning.

Wednesday 13/09/06 07.11 Waterloo-Brighton 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.02 Dorking-Waterloo axed because of the derailment. Both external doors of the second coach of the 11.01 Poole-Waterloo duff. 15.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late; stop at Woking axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late; stops at Rowlands Castle, Petersfield, Liss, Liphook, Godalming and Farncombe axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. Even mid-week, many passengers stood from Waterloo on the 15.35 to Weymouth DUE TO ONLY 5 COACHES. Points failure at Southampton Central; the 16.56 to Weymouth had to depart in the wrong direction and reverse in Southampton tunnel; 15 minutes late by Ashurst.

Thursday 14/09/06 10.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 10.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 10.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 11.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 13.05 Waterloo-Poole had extra stops at Micheldever and Eastleigh to compensate for the axed 13.09. 13.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 13.39 Waterloo-Southampton advertised at Basingstoke as axed; empty 12 coach suburban train turned up, and platform staff told passengers it was for Southampton, where it was wrongly advertised as the 13.39 from Waterloo. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 40 minutes late at Portsmouth but only 20 minutes late at Woking DUE TO SLACK SCHEDULE. 15.00 Romsey-Totton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK (presumably the class 170 unit parked at Southampton Central had failed there on an earlier working). 16.01 Totton-Romsey axed between Totton and Southampton DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 15.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 15.55 Southampton-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 69 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 55 minutes late. 17.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 32 minutes late. 18.42 Reading-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 18.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed. 20.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 21.35 Portsmouth-Havant axed. 21.50 Waterloo-Guildford axed DUE TO NO DRIVER. 22.55 Guildford-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW.

Friday 15/09/06 Signalling problems at Portsmouth Harbour with station closed all day. Extraordinarily, from the 08.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo and 09.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth, the hourly Waterloo-Portsmouth via Basingstoke services ran only between Eastleigh and Fareham. SWT did not even bother with an excuse for the services being axed between Waterloo and Eastleigh, which led to speculation that they knew the decision on re-franchising had already been made. Additional stops were inserted in services between Waterloo and Poole, with inevitable overcrowding and inconvenience. Interestingly, the 17.05 Waterloo-Poole called additionally at Basingstoke, Micheldever and Eastleigh and was only five and a half minutes late from Southampton Central DUE TO SLACK SCHEDULE (each stop on these services would cost about 4 minutes extra in running time). 05.26 Poole-Brockenhurst 5 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late from Southampton. 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late starting. 15.12 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. Passengers on the 15.24 Basingstoke-Brighton thrown off at Havant DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.20 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Salisbury. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. Passengers on the 19.54 Poole-Waterloo thrown off at Hinton Admiral.

Saturday 16/09/06 Portsmouth Harbour services reduced to half-hourly shuttle to Portsmouth & Southsea all day. 06.45 Salisbury-Waterloo axed between Salisbury and Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW. 07.03 Waterloo-Guildford axed DUE TO NO CREW. 07.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 09.57 Brighton-Paignton 16 minutes late. 11.05 Dorking-Waterloo axed between Dorking and Epsom DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 11.05 Waterloo-Poole 45 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers thrown off at Bournemouth. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 14.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Bournemouth DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.54 Waterloo-Dorking axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.42 Reading-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.42 Waterloo-Twickenham axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.05 Dorking-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 18.53 Ascot-Guildford 19 minutes late.

Sunday 17/09/06 Portsmouth Harbour station closed. 07.52 Woking-Waterloo 14 minutes late. Crew of the 11.40 Romsey-Totton tasked at Southampton Central with removing an object (which turned out to be a heavy metal bar sitting across two live rails) from the track at Millbrook; problems with making audible contact with Eastleigh signal box was the major cause of a 14 minute delay. 14.44 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 16.01 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 16.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.44 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 17.44 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 18.01 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 18.15 Alton-Woking 17 minutes late. 18.24 Reading-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 18.34 Windsor-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 19.01 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 19.25 Yeovil-Waterloo 41 minutes late. 20.54 Reading-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 21.01 Windsor-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 21.20 Exeter-Salisbury 20 minutes late. 21.42 Haslemere-Waterloo 10 minutes late.

Monday 18/09/06 Portsmouth Harbour station served only by a peak period shuttle service to Portsmouth & Southsea. 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 07.10 Havant-Waterloo axed. 13.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 48 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Guildford. 14.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo shown on SWT’s website as 34 minutes late but shown at Waterloo as axed. 14.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 15.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Guildford. 15.33 Woking-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.02 Southampton-Wareham axed DUE TO NO CREW. 17.59 Wareham-Bournemouth axed DUE TO NO CREW. 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 5 coaches. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 8 coaches. 17.54 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. 17.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 8 coaches. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 5 coaches. 18.23 Ascot-Guildford axed DUE TO NO CREW. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 8 coaches. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 8 coaches. 20.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo delayed at Raynes Park; all intermediate stops between Twickenham axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.00 Romsey-Totton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.01 Totton-Romsey axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 22.00 Romsey-Totton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 23.00 Romsey-Southampton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 23.01 Totton-Romsey axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK.

Tuesday 19/09/06 Portsmouth Harbour station had only a very limited service. 05.40 Basingstoke-Weymouth 40 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late due to empty stock being given priority between Winchester and Basingstoke. Passenger had to join the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil via the guard’s van door when the other doors closed 30 seconds early; the train then overstayed 4 minutes at Southampton Central. 06.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 07.23 Waterloo-Alton axed. 08.25 Weymouth-Brockenhurst axed between Weymouth and Bournemouth. 14.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late; Woking and Guildford stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 15.57 Brighton-Reading axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 18.37 Weybridge-Waterloo axed. 18.52 Reading-Ascot axed. 19.15 Waterloo-Havant 15 minutes late. 19.20 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.55 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late.

Wednesday 20/09/06 06.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 06.30 Aldershot-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 06.48 Hounslow-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo axed. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.10 Havant-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK AVAILABLE. 08.42 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 25 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Havant. 09.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Hounslow and Barnes axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.03 Weybridge-Waterloo axed between Weybridge and Staines. 10.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Havant. Fareham-St Denys line closed during part of morning for emergency track repairs. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 21 minutes late. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 28 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo thrown off at Salisbury DUE TO NO CREW. 14.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 15.08 Guildford-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops from Wimbledon to Vauxhall inclusive axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil axed between Waterloo and Salisbury DUE TO NO CREW. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches and terminated at Fratton. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 17.45 Salisbury-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 19.50 Waterloo-Salisbury axed DUE TO NO CREW. 17.01 Totton-Romsey axed between Southampton and Romsey DUE TO NO CREW. 18.00 Romsey-Totton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 19.01 Totton-Romsey axed between Totton and Southampton DUE TO NO CREW. 20.01 Totton-Romsey axed – DUE TO NO CREW? 21.00 Romsey-Totton axed – DUE TO NO CREW? 22.01 Totton-Romsey axed – DUE TO NO CREW? 23.00 Romsey-Southampton axed – DUE TO NO CREW?

Thursday 21/09/06 08.48 Effingham Junction-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.46 Guildford-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 20.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late.

Friday 22/09/06 Storms at Dawlish; no SWT services west of Exeter. Passengers on the 08.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Eastleigh DUE TO NO DRIVER. 13.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.25 Waterloo-Alton axed between Farnham and Alton. 17.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Farnham and Alton. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Farnham and Alton. 19.35 Alton-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 20.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 20.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 14 minutes late.

Saturday 23/09/06 No service all day on the Lymington line DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.33 Woking-Waterloo axed between Woking and Surbiton DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton 21 minutes late. 19.13 Paignton-Basingstoke 27 minutes late. 21.09 Dorking-Waterloo 21 minutes late.

Sunday 24/09/06 No morning services to Lymington DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Putney station closed. 10.24 Eastleigh-Portsmouth 18 minutes late. 10.25 Southampton-Waterloo started 19 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 21.35 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK.

Monday 25/09/06 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late; Eastleigh and Winchester stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed DUETO DUFF STOCK. 07.38 Waterloo-Southampton 26 minutes late DUETO DUFF STOCK. 07.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late.

Tuesday 26/09/06 07.38 Waterloo-Southampton delayed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth delayed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.49 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK. 08.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Havant. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 22 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Exeter. 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth diverted via Eastleigh and omitted all scheduled intermediate stops. 16.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. Engineer attending 16.57 Waterloo-Strawberry Hill DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo axed between Plymouth and Exeter. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed. 18.32 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed between Waterloo and Woking. 18.54 Waterloo-Dorking 15 minutes late.

Wednesday 27/09/06 National Rail live running system collapsed – information not available during morning peak, except that a level crossing failure between Egham and Staines was causing delays. 10.32 Portsmouth-Southampton axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea due to delay on previous journey. DUE TO DUFF TRAIN at Queenstown Road, afternoon service collapsed. 12.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 12.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 57 minutes late. 13.01 Poole-Waterloo 42 minutes late. 13.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 13.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 66 minutes late. 13.35 Dorking-Waterloo 48 minutes late. 13.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 13.42 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 13.44 Alton-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 13.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 13.55 Southampton-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 13.58 Guildford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 14.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late. 14.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 41 minutes late. 14.03 Woking-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 14.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 22 minutes late. 14.10 Chessington-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 14.20 Waterloo-Woking 37 minutes late. 14.23 Waterloo-Alton 19 minutes late. 14.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 14.35 Dorking-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 14.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 14.39 Waterloo-Southampton 15 minutes late. 14.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 14.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 14.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 19 minutes late. 14.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 49 minutes late. 14.53 Windsor-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 15.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late. 15.03 Woking-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.05 Dorking-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 15.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 33 minutes late. 15.20 Waterloo-Woking 26 minutes late. 15.20 Waterloo-Reading axed. 15.24 Waterloo-Dorking axed. 15.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 15.35 Dorking-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 15.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 15.41 Alton-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 15.42 Reading-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 15.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 24 minutes late. 15.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 15.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 15.50 Waterloo-Woking 47 minutes late. 15.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 22 minutes late. 15.53 Waterloo-Alton 18 minutes late. 15.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 45 minutes late. 15.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 16.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late. 16.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 44 minutes late. 16.08 Guildford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 16.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 16.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 48 minutes late. 16.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 16.25 Waterloo-Alton 32 minutes late. 16.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Reading 27 minutes late. 16.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 16.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 16.41 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 16.42 Reading-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 16.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 40 minutes late. 16.50 Waterloo-Reading 17 minutes late. 16.50 Waterloo-Woking axed. 16.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 33 minutes late. 16.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 16.58 Waterloo-Windsor 30 minutes late. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford 19 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Aldershot 12 minutes late. 17.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 13 minutes late. 17.12 Reading-Waterloo axed. Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 17.23 Windsor-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 17.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.40 Chessington-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 17.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 19 minutes late. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 18.12 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 25 minutes late. 18.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed. 18.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late. 18.37 Weybridge-Waterloo axed between Weybridge and Virginia Water. 18.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 28 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Fulwell DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 18.50 Dorking-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading 14 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 31 minutes late. 19.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 19.02 Waterloo-Woking 26 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Reading 16 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 10 minutes late. 19.09 Waterloo-Effingham Junction axed. 19.18 Guildford-Epsom axed. 19.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 19.31 Guildford-Ascot axed. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 21 minutes late. 19.38 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 19.42 Shepperton-Waterloo axed between Shepperton and Teddington. 19.46 Guildford-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 19.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 20.08 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late.

Thursday 28/09/06 Early commuters found Totton ticket office closed yet again. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 6 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.53 Bristol-Salisbury axed DUE TO NO CREW. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 15.54 Basingstoke - Waterloo 19 minutes late; Hook stop omitted due to bridge being hit by road vehicle. 16.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo omitted Hook stop due to bridge being hit by road vehicle. 16.39 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 4 coaches. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 11 minutes late.

Friday 29/09/06 Passenger for the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil left behind because the doors closed early. 14.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth severely overcrowded. 16.01 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole severely overcrowded and 15 minutes late. Passengers on the 17.28 Guildford-Waterloo thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 17.39 Waterloo-Effingham Junction reduced to 4 coaches. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton axed between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 18.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court reduced to 4 coaches. 18.50 Waterloo-Woking 10 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Waterloo and Surbiton axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW.

Saturday 30/09/06 05.11 Southampton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 05.42 Reading-Waterloo 27 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines axed for operational convenience. 06.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo delayed DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 06.35 Salisbury-Totton axed between Salisbury and Southampton-Central. 06.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea; 4 minutes late starting and 13 minutes late by Haslemere – Surbiton and Clapham Junction stops then axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE and delay increased to 19 minutes. 07.08 Guildford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.06 Hampton Court-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 11.01 Totton-Romsey axed. 11.05 Waterloo-Poole delayed 20 minutes at Southampton Central. 12.05 Waterloo-Poole delayed 24 minutes at Basingstoke. 12.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 14.42 Reading-Waterloo thrown off at Bracknell. 14.56 Waterloo-Weymouth 13 minutes late. 15.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 64 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Woking DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.26 Waterloo-Poole 45 minutes late. 15.56 Waterloo-Weymouth 29 minutes late. 16.04 Reading-Brighton 64 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Worthing DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole 47 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Bournemouth DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.56 Waterloo-Weymouth 25 minutes late. 17.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 18.01 Poole-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 18.57 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Worthing. 19.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth; stops at Eastleigh, Micheldever, Fleet, Farnborough, Woking and Clapham Junction axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 19.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 21.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 41 minutes late. 21.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 21.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed. 22.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed.

Sunday 01/10/06 Passengers on the 07.32 Yeovil-Waterloo thrown off at Woking DUE TO NO CREW. 11.15 Waterloo-Plymouth axed between Waterloo and Woking DUE TO NO CREW; stops at Overton, Whitchurch and Grateley axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE, but train still 50 minutes late. 11.07 Waterloo-Basingstoke held until 11.20. 11.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo 4 minutes late; Wimbledon and Clapham Junction stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.52 Chessington-Waterloo 14 minutes late. Service between Chessington South and Motspur Park suspended during the afternoon due to electrical problems. Passengers on the 13.54 Waterloo-Bournemouth thrown off at Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.13 Penzance-Waterloo 41 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 20.09 Waterloo-Reading 13 minutes late. Passengers on the 20.17 Guildford-Ascot thrown off at Aldershot DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.13 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot DUE TO DUFF STOCK.

Monday 02/10/06 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 22 minutes late, principally due to following a slower train from Eastleigh. Passengers could not access the front coach of the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil from platforms due to duff door. 07.46 Effingham Junction-Waterloo 7 minutes late; stops from Ewell West to Motspur Park axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 26 minutes late. 08.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 25 minutes late. 08.31 Guildford-Ascot axed DUE TO NO CREW. 08.43 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 09.53 Ascot-Guildford axed DUE TO NO CREW. Many morning trains badly delayed by signalling problems at Waterloo.

Tuesday 03/10/06 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.34 Guildford-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.52 Epsom-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 14.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Woking. 15.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late; North Sheen and Mortlake stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.53 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot DUE TO DUFF STOCK.

Wednesday 04/10/06 05.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 18 minutes late; stops at Surbiton, Wimbledon and Clapham Junction axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 14.58 Waterloo-Windsor axed DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 15.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 16.21 Windsor-Waterloo axed between Windsor and Staines DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 17.12 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Bracknell. 19.50 Waterloo-Salisbury axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK.

Thursday 05/10/06 07.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.20 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.34 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.50 Waterloo-Salisbury reduced to 6 coaches. 16.52 Waterloo-Weybridge delayed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.21 Windsor-Waterloo 41 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Staines and Waterloo axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.37 Weybridge-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.28 Waterloo-Windsor 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.

Friday 06/10/06 00.09 Waterloo-Guildford axed between Woking and Guildford. 04.00 Guildford-Waterloo axed between Guildford and Woking. 08.04 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Hounslow and Barnes axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.33 Woking-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.58 Waterloo-Windsor 24 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Putney axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed between Waterloo and Barnes. 18.05 Waterloo-Aldershot axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton axed between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 32 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Hounslow axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.35 Waterloo-Reading 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Ascot axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 19.06 Shepperton-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 21.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 21.55 Southampton-Waterloo thrown off at Eastleigh DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 22.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 17 minutes late.

Saturday 07/10/06 05.11 Southampton-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Basingstoke and Woking axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.15 Salisbury-Waterloo 30 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 13.35 Exeter-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late.

Sunday 08/10/06 Lymington services temporarily suspended during the evening. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late. 18.05 Bournemouth-Waterloo 32 minutes late; the 18.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo, which attaches to this train, therefore incurred a 27 minute delay at Eastleigh. 18.55 Totton-Romsey axed DUE TO NO CREW. 19.05 Bournemouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late; the 19.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo, which attaches to this train, therefore incurred a 31 minute delay at Eastleigh. 19.40 Romsey-Totton axed between Romsey and Southampton DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 20.42 Romsey-Totton thrown off at Southampton DUE TO NO CREW. 21.55 Totton-Romsey axed DUE TO NO CREW. 22.40 Romsey-Southampton axed DUE TO NO CREW.

Monday 09/10/06 05.15 Yeovil-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Gross overcrowding on the 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth. 18.55 Reading-Brighton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury axed DUE TO NO CREW.

Tuesday 10/10/06 06.07 Totton-Yeovil started 2 minutes late; this was presumably due to duff doors because it took a full minute to release the doors on arrival at Southampton. 07.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo delayed due to delay on previous journey.

Wednesday 11/10/06 Signalling failure at Bagshot exacerbated problems. 06.12 Reading-Waterloo axed Reading-Bracknell. 06.30 Aldershot-Waterloo 44 minutes late; Longcross and all intermediate stops after Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 17 minutes late; Ash Vale and Brookwood stops axed due to diversion. 06.53 Ascot-Guildford 40 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Aldershot. Passengers on the 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo thrown off at Ascot. Ascot-Guildford 46 minutes late. 07.25 Weymouth-Brockenhurst axed between Weymouth and Wareham DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo axed. 07.31 Guildford-Ascot axed. 07.53 Ascot-Guildford axed. 07.58 Weymouth-Waterloo 32 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW; all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.01 Guildford-Ascot axed between Guildford and Aldershot. Passengers on the 08.07 Waterloo-Reading thrown off at Clapham Junction DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.25 Exeter-Waterloo 29 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.31 Guildford-Ascot axed. 08.53 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot. 09.42 Reading-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 49 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Woking DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.53 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot. 10.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo diverted via Eastleigh due to flooding. 10.42 Reading-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Wokingham and Waterloo axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. Passengers on the 12.15 Waterloo-Haslemere thrown off at Woking due to flooding. 12.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed due to flooding. 14.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed due to flooding. 15.01 Guildford-Ascot axed. 15.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 16 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Kingston and Waterloo axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.41 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 16.23 Ascot-Guildford axed. 17.05 Guildford-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 16 minutes late. 17.42 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 20.14 Alton-Waterloo 15 minutes late; West Byfleet stop axed for operational convenience.

Thursday 12/10/06 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 15.45 Salisbury-Waterloo axed. 16.39 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 17.32 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 18.009 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches. 18.55 Reading-Brighton 17 minutes late.

Friday 13/10/06 Passengers on the 08.02 Dorking-Waterloo thrown off at Leatherhead DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.12 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 17.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 5 coaches.

Saturday 14/10/06 07.09 Waterloo-Guildford 29 minutes late; stops at Horsley, Clandon and London Road axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 07.39 Guildford-Waterloo thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.35 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late and reduced to 4 coaches; all intermediate stops from Wimbledon inclusive axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.21 Windsor-Waterloo axed between Windsor and Staines and 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo omitted stops St Margarets to North Sheen inclusive DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.30 Exeter-Honiton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 15.42 Reading-Waterloo diverted via Hounslow, omitting Twickenham and Richmond stops. 15.51 Windsor-Waterloo diverted via Hounslow and omitted Whitton, Twickenham and Richmond stops. 16.01 Honiton-Exeter axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 16.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 16.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.35 Waterloo-Weymouth axed between Waterloo and Bournemouth DUE TO DUFF STOCK.

Sunday 15/10/06 07.54 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot due to duff stock. Signalling problems in the Poole area. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 52 minutes late. 08.43 Weymouth-Waterloo 78 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Bournemouth. 09.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 11.48 Weymouth-Waterloo axed between Weymouth and Wareham. 12.48 Weymouth-Waterloo advertised as delayed.

Monday 16/10/06 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; intermediate stops between Petersfield and Haslemere axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 6 minutes late; intermediate stops between Fratton and Fareham axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.31 Guildford-Ascot axed DUE TO NO CREW. 20.53 Ascot-Guildford axed DUE TO NO CREW. 23.01 Guildford-Ascot axed DUE TO NO CREW.

Tuesday 17/10/06 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot axed DUE TO NO CREW. 06.07 Totton-Yeovil started 5 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 15.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. Vehicle hit bridge: 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 79 minutes late; intermediate stops between Haslemere and Portsmouth axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 59 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Havant DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 61 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Woking DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth diverted via Eastleigh. 21.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 22.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking.

Wednesday 18/10/06 Passengers on the 06.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo thrown off at Southampton. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches. 14.00 Waterloo-Poole 7 minutes late. 20.20 Waterloo-Reading 17 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW; Clapham Junction and Richmond stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.

Thursday 19/10/06 06.07 Totton-Yeovil departed 20 seconds early. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo delayed DUE TO DUFF TRAIN in front. Passengers on the 07.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo thrown off at Hinton Admiral DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.54 Poole-Waterloo delayed DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.42 Southampton-Portsmouth delayed DUE TO NO CREW. 10.05 Waterloo-Poole axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.01 Totton-Romsey advertised in advance as being delayed 25 minutes at Southampton, presumably DUE TO NO CREW. 16.09 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 17.42 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 18.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 27 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Bournemouth. 20.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 15 minutes late.

Friday 20/10/06 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 13.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo advertised in advance as being delayed 25 minutes at Portsmouth, presumably DUE TO NO CREW; stops at Hilsea, Cosham, Portchester, Farnborough and Woking axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth due to previous service being axed. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late from Clapham Junction. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke and 16 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late.

Saturday 21/10/06 07.59 Wareham-Brockenhurst axed between Wareham and Poole DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 10.01 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late; Stops at Pokesdown, Christchurch and New Milton axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 18.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo thrown off at Woking DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 20.06 Weymouth-Waterloo thrown off at Southampton Central DUE TO NO CREW. 20.20 Waterloo-Yeovil axed DUE TO NO CREW. 22.20 Waterloo-Salisbury axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW.

Sunday 22/10/06 06.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 09.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 11.10 Southampton-Salisbury started 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.35 Southampton-Portsmouth 16 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 16.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.

Monday 23/10/06 Guard of 05.45 Poole-Waterloo had no ticket issuing equipment, and no barrier check at Waterloo. Totton ticket office still closed at 06.00. 06.07 Totton-Yeovil departed 10 seconds early and grossly overheated. 07.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 08.04 Guildford-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Fatality at St Denys. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 59 minutes late; 13.01 Pole-Waterloo 71 minutes late. 13.05 Waterloo-Poole 88 minutes late. 14.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed. Passengers on the 14.57 Brighton-Basingstoke thrown off at Havant DUE TO NO CREW. 15.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 22 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 26 minutes late. 15.56 Havant-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole axed between Waterloo and Woking. 16.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 16.33 Weybridge-Waterloo axed between Weybridge and Staines. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 43 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 32 minutes late. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed between Southampton and Basingstoke. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 17 minutes late DUE TO NO DRIVER. 18.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 19.10 Paignton-Basingstoke 16 minutes late. 19.53 Alton-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 20.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 20 minutes late. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury axed between Brighton and Hove.

Tuesday 24/10/06 EVENING DERAILMENT AT WATERLOO CLOSED PLATFORMS 1-4 AND CAUSED CHAOS. Trains between Waterloo and Shepperton then axed between Waterloo and Kingston. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 7 minutes late from Winchester – the guard blamed this on a speed restriction, a very severe one because the time was lost standing in Swaythling’s squalid station. 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo axed. 12.53 Newton Abbot-Waterloo 12 minutes late. Passengers on the 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo thrown off at Salisbury DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 15.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil axed between Waterloo and Woking DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Poole about 12 minutes late. 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.58 Guildford-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 18.05 Guildford-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.35 Guildford-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 18.35 Dorking-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 18.36 Shepperton-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.50 Dorking-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Woking 18 minutes late. 18.55 Waterloo-Alton 10 minutes late. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 25 minutes late. Passengers on the 18.57 Brighton-Reading thrown off at Basingstoke. 18.59 Effingham Junction-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late. 19.03 Woking-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.06 Shepperton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 19.10 Chessington-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 19.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 19.40 Chessington-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 20.20 Waterloo-Woking 14 minutes late. 20.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 20.33 Woking-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 20.35 Dorking-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.43 Guildford-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 21.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 21.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 21.55 Reading-Portsmouth axed between Reading and Basingstoke. 22.25 Bristol-Salisbury axed DUE TO NO CREW.

Wednesday 25/10/06 NO RECOGNISABLE SERVICE ON SWT DUE TO DERAILMENT AT WATERLOO. MASSIVE DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS. All services between Waterloo and Dorking axed. Services between Waterloo and Hampton Court axed between Waterloo and Surbiton. Services between Waterloo and Shepperton axed between Waterloo and Kingston. Most West of England services axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. From 09.30 services between Waterloo and Alton axed between Waterloo and Woking. 04.55 Southampton-Waterloo 94 minutes late. 04.57 Poole-Waterloo 40 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 06.08 Poole-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 06.32 Woking-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo axed. 06.45 Southampton-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 06.50 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 43 minutes late. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 07.06 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 07.09 Waterloo-Epsom axed. 07.14 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 07.22 Epsom-Waterloo axed. 07.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 07.36 Southampton-Waterloo axed. 07.39 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 07.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 44 minutes late. 07.46 West Byfleet-Waterloo axed. 07.52 Epsom-Waterloo axed. 07.53 Waterloo-Alton axed. 08.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 08.04 Guildford-Waterloo 44 minutes late. 08.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late. 08.14 Alton-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 08.22 Epsom-Waterloo axed. 08.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 minutes late. 08.25 Exeter-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 26 minutes late. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 31 minutes late. 08.39 Waterloo-Southampton 30 minutes late. 08.48 Effingham Junction-Waterloo axed. 08.53 Bristol-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 08.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 08.54 Poole-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 40 minutes late. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 27 minutes late. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 32 minutes late. 09.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 38 minutes late. 09.23 Waterloo-Alton 22 minutes late. 09.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 45 minutes late. 09.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 26 minutes late. 09.35 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 09.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 40 minutes late. 09.39 Waterloo-Southampton 31 minutes late. 09.39 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 09.40 Chessington-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 09.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 22 minutes late. 09.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 09.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 09.58 Guildford-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 10.03 Woking-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 10.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 10.05 Waterloo-Poole 13 minutes late. 10.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 23 minutes late. 10.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 10.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 10.23 Waterloo-Farnham axed. 10.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 10.28 Guildford-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 10.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 10.33 Woking-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 10.35 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 10.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 13 minutes late. 10.39 Waterloo-Southampton 15 minutes late. 10.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 10.58 Guildford-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 11.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 11.03 Woking-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 11.05 Waterloo-Poole 14 minutes late. 11.05 Guildford-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 11.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 24 minutes late. 11.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 11.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 11.28 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late.… and so on ……14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late. 15.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 15.28 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 15.35 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 16.02 Southampton-Wareham axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.09 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late. Passengers on the 16.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo thrown off at Twickenham. 16.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 47 minutes late. 17.12 Reading-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 17.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 14 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 27 minutes late. 17.37 Weybridge-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth 48 minutes late. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.59 Wareham-Bournemouth axed DUE TO NO CREW. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 23 minutes late. 18.05 Dorking-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 17 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 29 minutes late. 18.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late. 18.33 Woking-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 21 minutes late. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.50 Dorking-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 18.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 42 minutes late. 19.03 Woking-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 39 minutes late. 19.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 41 minutes late. 19.20 Reading-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 19.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 19.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 22 minutes late. 19.35 Guildford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton 16 minutes late. 19.43 Guildford-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 20.03 Woking-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 16 minutes late. 20.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 24 minutes late. 20.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 20.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 44 minutes late. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 20.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 21.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 21.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 21.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury 15 minutes late. 21.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 22.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed.

Thursday 26/10/06 NO RECOGNISABLE MORNING PEAK SERVICE ON SWT DUE TO DERAILMENT AT WATERLOO. PLATFORMS 5-7 NOW CLOSED. MORE MASSIVE DELAYS AND CANCELLATIONS. West of England trains still axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. Trains at 09 minutes past the hour from Waterloo to Portsmouth, and at 39 minutes past to Southampton or Portsmouth all retimed to leave at 20/50 past and omit some stops east of Basingstoke. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 06.08 Poole-Waterloo 45 minutes late. 06.45 Southampton-Waterloo axed between Southampton and Basingstoke. 17.03 Weybridge-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.32 Waterloo-Surbiton axed. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 17 minutes late.

Friday 27/10/06 NO RECOGNISABLE MORNING PEAK SERVICE ON SWT DUE TO DERAILMENT AT WATERLOO AND SIGNALLING FAILURE BETWEEN WINCHESTER AND MICHELDEVER. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 70 minutes late with following trains similarly delayed. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 46 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Exeter. Passengers on the 15.01 Poole-Waterloo thrown off at Southampton. 16.01 Honiton-Exeter axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 8 minutes late. 17.18 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo axed between Plymouth and Exeter. 18.43 Waterloo-Shepperton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW. 20.09 Waterloo-Dorking 20 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW.

Saturday 28/10/06 06.40 Salisbury-Bristol axed. 08.52 Bristol-Salisbury axed. 09.12 Reading-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 09.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 10.26 Waterloo-Poole 18 minutes late. 10.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 10.28 Waterloo-Windsor 15 minutes late; stops at Putney, Richmond, Twickenham and Richmond axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Kingston axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.51 Windsor-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 11.21 Windsor-Waterloo omitted stops at Whitton, Twickenham and Richmond DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.11.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 25 minutes late. 15.57 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Havant.

Sunday 29/10/06 07.52 Woking-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 10.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 10.10 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Havant and 40 minutes late. 16.48 Weymouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches.

Monday 30/10/06 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late because the preceding 05.23 Poole-Brockenhurst stopping train was late. 06.08 Poole-Waterloo axed. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo 35 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Salisbury and Basingstoke axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Barnes axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.00 Exeter-Honiton 19 minutes late. 08.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Richmond DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 25 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Salisbury. 16.20 Salisbury-Waterloo reduced to 6 coaches. 17.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late.

Tuesday 31/10/06 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 06.07 Totton-Yeovil arrived at Southampton Central in time for its scheduled 06.17 departure, but left behind the 06.21 to Portsmouth. 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford 10 minutes late due to duff stock. 08.09 Waterloo-Guildford 17 minutes late; stops at Horsley, Clandon and London Road axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Huge morning delays on the Southampton main line due to a fatality at Shawford. 14.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.38 Winchester-Southampton axed. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late due to a speed restriction after a driver had reported very rough riding in the Micheldever area. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 24 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late. 18.50 Dorking-Waterloo axed between Dorking and Ashtead due to a tree on the line. 19.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed between Waterloo and Surbiton.

Wednesday 01/11/06 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late. Passengers on the 07.10 Waterloo-Paignton thrown off at Salisbury DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late. 09.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 31 minutes late. 10.04 Reading-Brighton 13 minutes late. 11.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 7 minutes late starting DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo axed between Paignton and Exeter. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 31 minutes late. 14.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Haslemere and Guildford axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 45 minutes late. 15.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 15.05 Waterloo-Poole 26 minutes late. 15.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late. 15.50 Waterloo-Gillingham axed between Waterloo and Salisbury DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 3 coaches. 16.56 Southampton-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 16.56 Havant-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late.

Thursday 02/11/06 Engineering works at Bournemouth overran with devastating results. First train from Totton to London was around 09.40 instead of 05.48. 04.57 Poole-Waterloo axed. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 90 minutes late. 06.04 Bournemouth/06.08 Poole- Waterloo over 3 hours late. Passengers on the 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth thrown off at Woking DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.50 Southampton-Airport-Waterloo started from Southampton Central and ran 10 minutes late. 07.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo axed between Bournemouth and Southampton and 37 minutes late. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 07.54 Poole-Waterloo 47 minutes late. 08.16 Waterloo-Chessington axed. 08.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed between Waterloo and Strawberry Hill. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth axed between Waterloo and Winchester. 08.46 Waterloo-Chessington axed. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches. 15.35 Guildford-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 17.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 9 coaches. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil reduced to 3 coaches. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches. 19.06 Shepperton-Waterloo 10 minutes late and passengers thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO DUFF STOCK.

Friday 03/11/06 Engineering works at Bournemouth overran. 04.57 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 12 minutes late; stops at Hook, Winchfield, Fleet and Brookwood axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.57 Brighton-Reading 41 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Basingstoke. 17.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 15.55 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Brighton. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 6 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK.

Saturday 04/11/06 09.57 Brighton-Paignton axed between Brighton and Portsmouth DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.10 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late. Passengers on the 10.35 Waterloo-Weymouth thrown off at Woking DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.09 Waterloo-Southampton 19 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 27 minutes late. 20.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 18 minutes late.


Tuesday 12/09/06 - INCREASING OCEAN TEMPERATURES FUELLING MORE POWERFUL HURRICANES Hurricane breeding grounds in the Atlantic and Pacific are being warmed by greenhouse gases, raising fears that more intense and devastating storms will be unleashed on nearby coastlines. Researchers, led by Ben Santer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, used 22 climate models to investigate the possible causes of a rise in sea surface temperatures of up to 0.67C in the Atlantic and Pacific tropics from 1906 to 2005. Each computer model was run several times to work out how much sea surface temperatures would have warmed with and without rising levels of greenhouse gases and other pollutants. They found that tiny particulates from volcanoes and sulphates from industrial plants blocked the sun, and so cooled the oceans. But the effect was swamped by the rise in greenhouse gases, which led to warmer oceans. Hurricanes form in tropical waters when evaporating water is sucked up into storms. As the vapour rises, it condenses, releasing energy which fuels the storm. The warmer the ocean surface, the more energy is pumped into the hurricane. (Guardian)

Friday 15/09/06 – DRASTIC ACTION NEEDED IF BRITAIN IS TO AVOID CATASTROPHIC CLIMATE CHANGE The government-funded Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research – the leading climate change research body – has revised upwards by 50% the cuts in greenhouse gas emissions which need to be achieved by 2050. At the moment the Government says a 60% cut in emissions is needed to avoid a 2C increase in temperature by 2050. But the authors of today’s study conclude that a 90% cut is needed. Successive governments are accused of having misled the public on what has been achieved and what needs to be done. The government’s carbon reduction policies continue to be informed by a partial inventory which omits the two important and rapidly growing sectors of air transport and shipping. Measures need to be taken to stabilise emissions within 4 years, followed by annual cuts of 9% for the following 20 years. If the measures are not introduced urgently, much more drastic and less manageable cuts will be needed in the future. The study proposes that Britain should become the first nation to introduce a wide ranging carbon tax or an emissions trading scheme. Needs seen as: by 2010 - use of renewable energy increased to 10%, sale of inefficient bulbs halted, heavier investment in railways and less car travel, better insulated homes, and fewer flights; by 2030 – cover entire UK economy with carbon emissions trading scheme, use carbon capture and storage technology, develop hydrogen fuel cells and increase use of renewable energy, all homes to be insulated and new ones to have solar water heating, super-efficient LED lighting to become the norm, and more efficient appliances; by 2050 – energy consumption and carbon emissions down by up to 70% since 2004, fossil fuels still being used but emissions are stored, more people use trains, buses and more efficient aircraft which fly slower, city centres car-free, and biofuels in regular use. (Guardian)

Wednesday 20/09/06 – ROYAL SOCIETY GETS TOUGH WITH EXXON Scientists from the Royal Society, Britain’s premier scientific academy, have written to oil giant Exxon Mobil to demand that the company withdraws support for dozens of groups that have “misrepresented the science of climate change by outright denial of the evidence”. They also strongly criticise the company’s public statements on global warming, which they describe as “inaccurate and misleading”. In a letter earlier this month to Esso, the UK arm of Exxon Mobil, the Royal Society cites its own survey which found that Exxon Mobil last year distributed $2.9m to 39 groups that the society says misrepresent the science of climate change. The Royal Society’s letter also takes issue with Exxon Mobil’s own presentation of climate science. It strongly criticises the company’s “corporate citizenship reports” which claim that “gaps in the scientific basis” make it very difficult to blame climate change on human activity. Environmentalists regard Exxon Mobil as one of the least progressive oil companies because, unlike competitors such as BP and Shell, it has not invested heavily in alternative energy resources. (Guardian)

Friday 22/09/06 – BRANSON OFFERS £1.6 BILLION TO HALT GLOBAL WARMING Sir Richard Branson pledged £1.6bn yesterday to help tackle global warming. He would commit all profits from his travel empire, including 5 airlines and rail companies, over the next 10 years. The funds will be pumped into renewable energy research through an investment unit called Virgin Fuels. (Metro) [Will Stagecoach’s share of the profits from the two rail franchises be included?]

Thursday 28/09/06 – GREEN MOVES ON BUSES AND FUEL Labour yesterday attempted to reclaim the green agenda by seeking to reverse the decline in bus use and investing £10m to provide enough renewable energy to meet the domestic demands of Norwich, Oxford, Exeter and Newcastle combined. Douglas Alexander promised councils fresh powers over bus services, partly undoing Margaret Thatcher’s deregulation of the industry, while David Miliband vowed to unlock millions of pounds of private funding by partnering energy schemes which will provide enough electricity to serve 250,000 homes. Ministers shied away from the Mayor of London’s proposals to add a £10-£15 carbon tax to every plane ticket and roll out water metering. (Guardian)

Thursday 28/09/06 – GREEN POWER SUFFERS SETBACK The reputation of the green power sector was badly dented yesterday when Biofuels admitted it had been forced to halt deliveries due to another bout of technical problems at a new plant. Its shares dropped 18% to 64p when the company told its annual meeting that its Teesside facility, which makes biodiesel from soya, palm and rapeseed oils, had been forced to cut output. Biofuels says it is seeking a permanent solution, but the latest setback comes barely a month after it had to cut production to 53% of capacity due to other technical problems. Plant-based fuels are blended with conventional diesel and petrol at a ratio of around 5% to 95%. This will become an EU requirement by 2010. In a separate development, the industry was given a welcome boost when Lord Oxburgh, the former Shell UK chairman and a respected scientist, agreed to take on the chairmanship of D1, another emerging green energy company. (Guardian)

Thursday 28/09/06 – SUPPORT FOR BRANSON TO CLEAN UP SKIES IS SLOW TO GET OFF GROUND Sir Richard Branson yesterday called on airlines to take greater responsibility for global warming, but his plan to slash fuel emissions by a quarter received a lukewarm response from some corners of the green lobby and the aviation industry. He followed his pledge to spend $3bn on renewable energy by proposing an industry forum dedicated to reducing aviation’s contribution to climate change. Carbon dioxide emissions from aircraft account for 2% of the global total and are expected to reach 15% by 2050. He said these emissions could be cut by a quarter by 2008 if the industry adopts environmentally-friendly practices such as towing aircraft to starting grids, changing landing approaches, and unifying Europe’s 35 air traffic control systems under one body to shorten flight routes. Gatwick Airport has offered to run a trial of the starting grid concept. However, Richard Dyer, aviation campaigner of Friends of the Earth said Virgin should drop any support for new runways at Heathrow and Stansted. Many of Sir Richard’s proposals are already being considered or have been adopted. BA pilots have used a fuel-saving landing technique known as continuous descent approach for the past 10 years. BA said it was committed to tackling climate change but was puzzled by Virgin’s call for a new body to deal with the issue. Sustainable Aviation, an industry body dedicated to making flying more environmentally friendly was established last year with Virgin’s help. Easyjet welcomed the Virgin proposals. (Guardian)

Wednesday 04/10/06 – COST OF CLIMATE CHANGE WILL BE IN TRILLIONS The Chancellor is due to publish the study by former World Bank economist Sir Nicholas Stern which will argue that the costs of not addressing global warming are far higher than those of doing so. The review will be used as a wake-up call to America and other nations who insist that moves to deal with climate change must not endanger economic competitiveness. Changes include more destructive droughts and floods, and longer and stronger heatwaves. More harvests would be destroyed, tropical diseases would spread, energy supplies could be threatened and soil erosion extensive. Africa and other poor regions of the world could have tens of millions more people struggling to feed themselves as agriculture yields drop 12% by 2080. A second report by British scientists is warning that drought could affect half the world’s land surface by the coming century. The Met Office’s Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research issued the warning at the Conservatives’ annual conference. A third report by PricewaterhouseCoopers has put the cost of curbing climate warming gases at $1 trillion. (Evening Standard)

Friday 13/10/06 – WARMING WILL COST TRILLIONS Failure to take action to tackle climate change will cause environmental catastrophe and cost the global economy £10.8 trillion a year by the end of the century, according to Friends of the Earth. In a report based on research from more than 100 scientific and economic papers, the group says that allowing global warming to continue unchecked will mean a temperature rise of 4C by 2100, causing global damage of up to 8% of GDP. The study coincides with research from the oil group Shell yesterday, which said the need to find solutions to climate change could create a £30bn market for British business over the coming decade. (Guardian)

Wednesday 25/10/06 – GREEN CAMPAIGNERS SAY EMISSIONS TARGETS ARE NOT TOUGH ENOUGH The Government will today agree plans for a climate change bill, setting new long term targets to cut carbon emissions in Britain in response to intense pressure from environmental campaigners. But the Government is resisting the idea of a law requiring a cut in carbon emissions year on year, arguing that unforeseen factors such as extreme weather or unexpectedly strong economic growth can be missed from one year to the next. Environment Secretary David Miliband is more likely to back specific targets for each decade, probably in concert with EU targets. More than 400 MPs, including Conservative and Liberal Democrat front benches, have backed the calls which they say should include a commitment to year on year reductions. Friends of the Earth want legally binding targets for reductions of about 3% a year. The Environment Secretary will also propose that Britain’s eight biggest cities should create energy service companies that make profits from reducing carbon use rather than selling more energy. (Guardian)

Thursday 26/10/06 – ECONOMIC REVIEW TURNS COST ARGUMENT ON HEAD Sir Nicholas Stern’s report will warn that climate change could tilt the world’s economies into the worst global recession in recent history. Sea level rises alone will cause the displacement of hundreds of millions of people where cities become inundated by flooding. This mirrors the comments of Margaret Beckett, who said on Tuesday, “This is not just an environmental problem. It is a defence problem. It is a problem for those who deal with economics and development, conflict prevention, agriculture, finance, housing, transport, innovation, trade and health”. The International Energy Agency predicts that £8 trillion of investment in new energy sources will be required over the next 15 years (Guardian)

Monday 30/10/06 – ENVIRONMENT SECRETARY URGES HIGHER COST OF MOTORING David Miliband is urging the Government to curb environmentally damaging behaviour by raising the cost of motoring and increasing the cost of flights. Proposals include offsetting significant drops in oil prices by higher fuel duty; increase taxes on high-emission company cars; introduce road pricing which reflects the full environmental impact of journeys to encourage a shift to public transport; £5 increase in air passenger duty and VAT on certain flights; adjust taxation, for example cut VAT on energy-efficient light bulbs and raise taxes on energy wasting washing machines; and increase landfill tax to three times its current level. (Guardian)

Monday 30/10/06 – CAR MAKERS AND EU HEAD FOR SHOWDOWN The global car industry is heading for a showdown with the EU commission over plans to curb carbon dioxide emissions from new cars as part of the fight against global warming. The industry has so far failed to hit voluntary targets for cutting CO2 emissions to 140 grams a kilometre by 2008. The European Automobile Manufacturers Association admits that the average emission in 2004 was short of target but disputes a claim by environmental campaigners Transport and Environment that three quarters of the 20 major car brands sold in Europe were failing to improve fuel efficiency at the rate needed to meet the EU’s target. (Guardian)

Monday 30/10/06 – AFRICA FACES FOOD CRISIS THROUGH GLOBAL WARMING The New Economics Foundation says that in the last year alone 25 million people in sub-Saharan Africa have faced food crisis. Global warming means that many dry areas are getting drier and wet areas are getting wetter. Africa is the continent that is probably most vulnerable to the negative effects of climate change, and the one that faces the greatest challenges to adapt. Whether the rains fall will determine if 2007 offers the prospect of recovery from the serious drought of 2005-06 or be another year of struggle to survive. (Guardian)

Monday 30/10/06 – UK SIGNS GORE TO SELLCLIMATE CASE IN UK Britain is to send Sir Nicholas Stern to try to win American hearts and minds to the urgent case of cutting carbon emissions. It has already signed up former US vice-president Al Gore to advise on the environment. The White House said it had not read Sir Nicholas’ report but the president has said from the beginning that climate change is a serious issue and he is taking action to tackle it. It disputed charges that the administration had been hostile to the concept of global warming, and that it had set back international efforts to tackle it by rejecting the Kyoto treaty. Alden Meyer, director of policy and strategy with the Union of Concerned Scientists, suggested the only prospect for a policy shift before the next presidential election in 2008 would be if a delegation from the vast majority of US business – including the coal, utilities and car manufacturing industries – lobbied the White House for action. (Guardian)

Monday 30/10/06 – DOUBTERS RUBBISH SIR NICHOLAS STERN’S REPORT EVEN BEFORE IT IS PUBLISHED Even before the comprehensive report by Sir Nicholas Stern on the global economic impact of climate change is published today, right wing commentators on both sides of the Atlantic have already begun rubbishing its comments. Stephen Milloy, a scholar with the Cato Institute, wrote on his junkscience blog “The British Government is preparing to fire a new round of global warming alarmism at the US next week”. Climate change sceptics in the UK had a pop at Stern in January when he released three papers that served as a preliminary report. A critique by a group of nine right wing economists, including the former chancellor Nigel Lawson, described the Stern review as a “misdirected exercise”. (Guardian)

Tuesday 31/10/06 – STERN REPORT PUBLISHED Sir Nicholas Stern’s inquiry into climate change has come up with a stark warning that by 2100 there could be an upheaval not seen since the ice age. Main points of his report are that carbon emissions have already increased global temperatures by more than 0.5%; without action to cut greenhouse gases, we will warm the planet another 2-3C within 50 years; temperature rise will transform the physical geography of the planet and the way we live; floods, disease, storms and water shortages will become more frequent; the poorest countries will suffer earliest and most; the effects of climate change could cost the world between 5% and 20% of GDP; action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and the worst of global warming would cost 1% of GDP; with no action, each tonne of carbon dioxide we emit will cause at least £45 of damage; levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere should be limited to 450-550 ppm; action should include carbon pricing, new technology and robust international agreements. (Guardian)


Monday 11/09/06 - LONDON TUBE AND BUS TICKET PRICES TO SOAR From January 2007, the Tube will cost £4 for one stop and London buses will cost £2 for one stop. The Mayor has ordered the dramatic increases to encourage people to use pre-pay Oyster cards. About 370,000 cash journeys are made every day out of the 6.4m journeys on the buses, but the Oyster card has been a massive success. Everyday more than £1m pay-as you-go Oyster card journeys are made, and 2m Oyster card season ticket journeys. The Chairman of London Travel Watch said the rise would mean that the transport system in London is becoming far too expensive for visitors and tourists. (Evening Standard)

Wednesday 13/09/06 – ASFORD INTERNATIONAL STATION TO BE LEFT WITH A TOKEN SERVICE Eurostar plans to axe all but 4 services a day from Ashford International station. Ebbsfleet, 34 miles away, would be served instead. This would threaten the economic growth of Ashford, whilst Sussex Coast residents would lose most of the continental connections provided by the new Ashford-Brighton direct trains. As at Waterloo International, to close next year, huge amounts of money were poured into the construction of the Ashford station. (Evening Standard)

Friday 15/09/06 - PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA On some summer holiday routes this year, passengers have been barred from boarding because of short trains. On one occasion police were called to Grantham station because of unrest among a crowd whose Skegness train was too short. Private Eye drew attention to this problem 9 years ago. A couple returning from Rhyl to West Yorkshire couldn’t board their 2-coach train with their bikes, even though they had reserved cycle spaces. On 26 June, in one hour 5 trains left Bristol for Weymouth, Portsmouth, Exeter and Taunton with only 2 coaches instead of the usual three or four. Short and cancelled trains reduce custom and give excuses for cuts. / The twentieth anniversary of bus deregulation is being celebrated with gridlock in Manchester due to competition between Stagecoach and UK North. Attendants were told to slap parking tickets on buses around Piccadilly. Meanwhile hundreds of communities across Britain are crying out for more buses which wouldn’t make big profits for the operators.

Monday 18/09/06 – NEW STATIONS IN WEST LONDON Plans for Britain’s second largest retail complex, after Bluewater in Kent, include new stations at Shepherds Bush on the Clapham Junction-Willesden Junction line, and at White City on the Hammersmith and City line. (Evening Standard)

Tuesday 19/09/06 – BIDDERS CHOSEN FOR CROSS COUNTRY FRANCHISE The chosen bidders for the new Cross Country franchise are Virgin, Arriva, First Group and National Express. (Evening Standard)

Monday 25/09/06 – MAYOR OF LONDON PRESSES GOVERNMENT TO FUND CROSSRAIL Ken Livingstone will today use the Labour Party Conference to press for the Government to help meet the £16bn cost of Crossrail (the Paddington-Liverpool Street main line rail link). He believes work could start in 2008 if funding is available. Construction would take about a decade. (Evening Standard)

Monday 25/09/06 – MORE PEOPLE USING LONDON BUSES Bus use in London has continued to grow. The number of bus and rail passenger journeys rose by almost 2% in 2005-06, compared with 2004-05, while outside London it fell by 1.2%. With over 8,000 buses on 700 routes, the London bus network is now the most comprehensive public transport operation in Europe. Bus usage has increased by 40% since 1999-2000. (Metro)

Tuesday 26/09/06 – REFIT OF WATERLOO AND CITY LINE DID NOT INCLUDE SIGNALS The 5-month, £40m upgrade of the Waterloo-Bank line did not include resignalling work. After the line reopened, 10 days late, it broke down six times in two days. On 25 September, the service was suspended from 16.53 until 17.30 because signalling failed at the Waterloo end. The 5-month shutdown was agreed because the line was breaking down virtually every day, often because of signalling failures (Evening Standard)

Wednesday 27/09/06 – HUGE EXPANSION OF SOUTHAMPTON CONTAINER PORT The size of Southampton’s container port is set to increase by 85%, using land in the Western Docks. Southampton would handle 3.7m containers a year, matching Britain’s largest container port at Felixstowe. ABP dismisses fears of 6,000 extra lorry movements a day, saying it plans to use smaller ships for onward transportation and hopes the Government will now proceed with the long-awaited rail upgrade. (Southern Daily Echo)

Thursday 28/09/06 – “TALKING” BUS STOPS London is to trial bus stops which will sense when a passenger is nearby and will announce all the routes from the stop. (Evening Standard) [Visions of a queue of passengers wishing the bus stop would shut up?]

Thursday 28/09/06 – CONSOLIDATION IN THE PRIVATE TRANSPORT SECTOR “Major consolidation in the UK trains and bus sector could be arriving by the end of the year, City whisperers say. With almost all small and regional players swept up, we’re left with five national firms. Three of them are under new management after the recent departures of National Express’s Phil White and Arriva’s Bob Davies, and the untimely death of Go-Ahead’s Chris Moyes. Meanwhile, the arrival on the board of Stagecoach of ex-Royal Bank of Scotland chief George Mathewson is thought to be concentrating the mind of chief executive Brian Souter as to his duties to the wider share owners. The fifth business is First Group, which at £1.8 billion, happens to be the biggest and is likely to come under the most investor pressure to do a deal.” (Evening Standard) [Note: Marchwood Motorways has followed Wilts & Dorset and Solent Blue Line into the Go Ahead group]

Friday 29/09/06 - PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA In most European countries, the answer to growing demand for transport is to provide more capacity. In Britain, shortage of capacity is now a policy goal as it helps government and business squeeze more cash from the public. The proposed nationwide road pricing scheme would charge premiums for the most congested roads. That’s an incentive not to increase capacity on roads and railways as premiums would fall if roads became less congested. Although the privatised railways get far more subsidy than British Rail did, little is being spent on expansion to cater for today’s rising demand, let alone people who will try to escape future road tolls. Instead the Government demands increasing premium payments from rail companies; as capacity is fixed, much of that extra money has to come from exploiting situations where demand exceeds supply, as First Capital Connect did by hiking evening-peak fares. The same policy can apply to crowded station car parks. The rail watchdog has referred GNER to the Government over this summer’s car parking hikes, which raised prices by up to 100 per cent. A day’s parking at Wakefield station now costs 60% more than the return fare to Sheffield, so local trains (not operated by GNER) may suffer loss of custom. That’s fine by GNER as passengers will pay £10 a day to park if they are making long-distance journeys to London, for which GNER pockets the money. Unusually, First Scotrail’s subsidy is planned to increase each year, so capacity could rise with demand. However the company says longer trains are precluded by short platforms, forgetting to mention selective door opening. Air is the only mode of transport the Government wants to increase. Airports are being enlarged to keep up with the growth stimulated by over-supply of flights. Average long-haul business fares fell by 20% between 2000 and 2004, while long-distance first class rail fares increased by 27%. Thank goodness global warming will wreck millions of lives in the third world rather than in Britain.

Tuesday 03/10/06 – REVENUE PROTECTION OFFICER THROTTLES PASSENGER Passengers shocked by revenue protection staff pinning a suspected fare-dodger to the ground at Southend East station, with one of them attempting to throttle him. Fortunately pictures were taken, and published on the front page of the Evening Standard. The offender has been taken off passenger-facing duties while the police investigate the incident. (Evening Standard)

Wednesday 11/10/06 – VIRGIN TRAINS [49% Stagecoach owned] WANTS MORE SUBSIDY Virgin is in negotiation with the Department for Transport about more subsidy for its West Coast franchise from Euston. It is believed to want to increase its Pendolino trains from 9 coaches to 11, to meet projected customer numbers of 34m a year by 2012 when the franchise ends. This would increase the passenger capacity per train from about 450 to 550. (Guardian) [A rather different approach from the destruction of thousands of seats which SWT passengers are having to endure.]

Monday 16//10/06 – SEA CONTAINERS’ DEBT CRISIS Sea Containers has filed for bankruptcy protection from its creditors under American insolvency laws. There are fears for the future of the company’s GNER operation from King’s Cross to Leeds and Edinburgh. (Evening Standard)

Tuesday 17//10/06 – WRONG TYPE OF LEAVES Network Rail is spending a record £50m to combat this autumn’s leaves on the line. Deciduous, broad-leaved trees cause most problems, particularly ash, sycamore, poplar, lime, sweet and horse chestnut. This year is seeing the combination of prolific leaf growth, late leaf fall and wet and windy conditions. (Evening Standard)

Wednesday 18/10/06 – CHANCELLOR HINTS AT DEAL TO END CROSSRAIL DEADLOCK The Chancellor has spoken of the critical importance to the future of the economy of “resolving key issues such as infrastructure”. His comment, in an article for the Financial Times, was interpreted as a signal that the Treasury will move to break the deadlock which has delayed progress on the £12bn east-west rail link for the capital. However, senior Treasury officials played down expectations of a Crossrail announcement. The scheme will feature in next year’s comprehensive spending review but there had been no recent decisions on what would be a substantial public sector cheque. (Evening Standard)

Wednesday 18/10/06 – MAYOR PUSHES ON WITH WEST LONDON TRAM SCHEME Ken Livingstone has vowed to press on with the 12-mile Shepherds Bush – Uxbridge tram scheme, despite falling public support for it. It is designed to tackle congestion along Uxbridge Road, which carries about 27,000 vehicles a day, would carry 40m passengers a year, and could open by 2013. (Evening Standard)

Wednesday 18/10/06 – THAMESLINK OVERHAUL Network Rail has been granted legal powers to “rebuild” Thameslink. Passenger capacity would more than double on one of Europe’s busiest railways with its core route via London Bridge, Blackfriars and Farringdon. The number of trains would treble to 24 an hour with lengths increased from 8 to 12 coaches. A huge viaduct at London Bridge and new junctions at King’s Cross would open up Thameslink to serve large sections of the East Coast main line and the commuter heartlands of Kent. Passengers could travel from Cambridge to Gatwick without changing. The number of stations served would grow from 51 to 172. Construction would take 7 years but real benefits would be seen in three. London Bridge would be completely rebuilt with capacity for an extra 60,000 people, and there would be major platform extensions at 50 outlying stations. (Evening Standard)

Thursday 19/10/06 – MASSIVE RAIL FARES SHAKE-UP From January, all single and return fares within the Greater London area will be based on the 6-zone system used by the Tube. This will affect more than 330 stations, and 97,300 different fares will be reduced to 21. A journey in Zone 1 will cost £1.80/£3.60 (adult peak single/return) or £2.70 (adult cheap day return). At the other end of the scale, the corresponding fares for a journey across all 6 zones will be £6.80/£13.20 and £9.70. The change will facilitate the use of Oyster cards on the surface railways. (Evening Standard)

Thursday 19/10/06 – BID TO SLASH £1 BILLION OFF COSTS TO RESCUE CROSSRAIL A cost-cutting blitz has been launched to rescue Crossrail, after estimates rose from £12m to £16m. Early indications point to a dramatic turnaround in finances with hopes of saving one, or even several, billion pounds. The changes include dropping plans for a station at Woolwich. (Evening Standard)

Friday 20/10/06 – VIEWS ON FARES SHAKE-UP Commuters welcomed the fares simplification, but there were concerns that the increased use of Oyster cards did not help people living outside Greater London. A cheap day return between Zone 1 and Zone 6 will cost £9.70, a 54% increase on the Travelcard price. (Evening Standard)

Friday 20/10/06 – CROSSRAIL AT RISK OVER WOOLWICH EXTENSION A Commons Committee is critical of the government for putting the Crossrail project at risk by refusing to include a new station at Woolwich, which would provide exceptional value for money and help regenerate one of the poorest parts of the UK. (Evening Standard) [The London Lite of 26 October reported that the row is further putting the future of Crossrail at risk; and the Evening Standard of 31 October reported that the Transport Secretary is now listening to the Committee’s argument.]

Tuesday 24/10/06 – ORBITAL RAIL NETWORK MOVES A STEP CLOSER A £363 million ‘main works’ contract has been placed to build a new railway line between West Croydon, Crystal Palace and Dalston Junction, which incorporates the existing East London line. From June 2010 the East London Railway will operate as part of the London Overground network. It will join up with the existing North London Railway via a link at Dalston Junction. This will be the first significant move towards an orbital rail network for London, connecting 20 London boroughs and bringing huge regeneration opportunities to some of London’s most deprived areas. (Metro)

Thursday 26/10/06 – RED BUSES GO GREEN The Mayor of London wants every new bus from 2012 to run on hybrid motors which emit 40% less carbon dioxide than those powered by diesel only. The plan is to introduce 500 hybrid buses – which run on a battery pack combined with a diesel engine – a year. The hybrid buses, which will produce 200,000 fewer tonnes of carbon a year, are seen as key to London’s aim of reducing emissions by 20% by 2020. However, environmental campaigners prefer buses powered by hydrogen fuel cells which do not emit any carbon. The Government is expected to order rail operators to use hybrid engines when replacing the existing fleet of high speed diesel trains.

Friday 27/10/06 - PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA Last Spring First Great Western told the Department for Transport that “business fares” would rise “above inflation to meet DfT’s requirement for reduced taxpayer contribution to industry”. Around the same time First Group told its shareholders that its new First Great Western and First Capital Connect franchises “are expected to be highly profitable”. Strangely, high profits didn’t feature in any of FGW’s explanations to DfT for fare rises. FGW said its first class season tickets would rise “above regulation to reflect enhanced service offer and anomaly situation with first-class peak products”. Perhaps the enhanced service offer was improved performance since FGWQ has long had the worst punctuality record of any inter-city operator. Alas, its performance worsened slightly in the first three months of its new franchise compared with the last three months of the old franchise. FGW’s response is to remove buffet cars from some trains to reduce delays (and operating cost). Presumably first class passengers can look forward to a cut in season ticket prices to reflect debased “service offer”. // Twenty years ago this week buses in Great Britain, except London, were deregulated to create the bizarre situation where taxpayers subsidise buses through fuel duty rebate (£380m last year in England alone), but have no say in the fares charged or where, when and how services are provided. The result was a big fall in passengers (down almost 70% in Yorkshire) over 20 years, while bus passengers in London increased by 55%. Bus firms lobby hard against any form of regulation – an extraordinary case of an industry pressing for its own decline. They blame their losses on councils for not providing enough bus lanes. The cause of partnerships between councils and bus firms hasn’t been advanced by predatory tactics, most famously in Darlington where the council sold its bus services to one of Stagecoach’s rivals, and Stagecoach flooded Darlington routes with free buses until the council’s former company collapsed.

Friday 03/11/06 – RAIL FRANCHISE SYSTEM HITS THE BUFFERS Some train operators are saying the current franchise system is unsustainable. The Government has poured billions into restoring the railways but is now accused of taking too much money out of it. The structure has put intolerable pressure on GNER, arguably the most popular railway in Britain. Anthony Smith, head of PassengerFocus says the company is now hanging on by a thread. (Guardian)