HOGRIDER 111 : NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 2006
SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS' GROUP NEWSLETTER
A DESTRUCTIVE GREED - Stagecoach:
- attacks government policy to improve bus services
- attacks Hampshire’s concessionary bus fares scheme for pensioners
- hires the least reliable trains for SWT in place of the most reliable
- introduces cattle truck conditions for thousands of SWT commuters
SWT PERFORMANCE PLUMMETS DESPITE THE SLOWEST SCHEDULES SINCE STEAM
STAGECOACH CUSTOMER (DIS)SERVICE
CROSS COUNTRY FRANCHISE
NEW TIMETABLE FROM 10 DECEMBER 2006
STAGECOACH LOBBYIST HAS APPARENTLY SEEN THE LIGHT, BUT PASSENGER FOCUS’ SWT LINK HEADING FOR THE HINDSIGHT CLUB?
SWT MAGAZINE HELPING TO RECRUIT PROSTITUTES
STAGECOACH BUS DRIVER BRINGS WINCHESTER TO A STANDSTILL
APPENDIX 1: DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER – 9
APPENDIX 2: RAIL PERFORMANCE REPORTS
APPENDIX 3: MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
APPENDIX 4: MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
A DESTRUCTIVE GREED
“Ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed” (Stagecoach Chairman Brian Souter)
Public money not realising public objectives
* The Deputy Prime Minister, when responsible for transport, consistently argued that the interests of passengers should be paramount on the railways.
* The Chancellor of the Exchequer reportedly wants his concessionary bus fares scheme for pensioners to play a major part in reducing social isolation.
* The Government generally wants public transport to play a greater role in order to constrain global warming.
* Accessibility to public services by disabled people is a key objective of government policy.
* A recent report by the Transport Committee drew attention to the high levels of stress suffered by rail commuters, particularly from overcrowding, and the enhanced risks in the event of accidents.
* There are concerns about the risks to longer-distance passengers of deep vein thrombosis.
Stagecoach operates South West Trains, bus services in cities across Britain, and the Sheffield tram system. It also has a 49% share in the two Virgin Trains franchises. Thanks in a great part to generous public funding, the company’s two founders have a joint wealth estimated at various times as between one third and two thirds of a billion pounds.
Yet there is a considerable body of evidence that the company is focused on none of the above objectives and that the public is getting a shameful deal while the founders’ wealth increases in leaps and bounds.
This position can currently be attributed to Stagecoach’s perverse responses to the Department for Transport’s policies on rail and bus. In broad terms, Stagecoach’s position is that it will (i) withdraw from bus operations in the passenger transport authority areas, in order to avoid the government’s proposed extension of the kind of regulation which has been so successful in boosting bus travel in London and (ii) grab rail franchises by overbidding and then making passengers pay a high price by transporting them like cattle in order to achieve maximum returns from minimum outlay.
Who gains from the award of the South Western rail franchise to Stagecoach?
* The decision to award the franchise to Stagecoach was seemingly rushed because the parliamentary recess was coming to an end. It was reportedly taken, after tough wrangling, in the middle of the night and just hours before the announcement was made. It seems unlikely that there was a level playing field. The Department for Transport procured 17 additional trains for the franchise beforehand. In new Minister Tom Harris’ statement, the franchise would bring substantial gains in seating on longer-distance trains and in capacity on suburban trains. Yet all the gains appear to come from initiatives already in hand. Although they were expressed in precise percentages, our Group’s Freedom of Information request for details of the train fleet changes on which these figures were based has been refused, even though the Department has admitted that the information is available.
* A Freedom of Information request by others has already established that the claim on SWT’s website that they would increase seating on both longer-distance and suburban trains by 20% was untrue. The false claim remained on the website for weeks after it was exposed in the Evening Standard so SWT was clearly unrepentant and it seems reasonable to suppose that it was deliberate. In the circumstances, it seems likely that Mr Harris was provided with wrong information by his Department. Circumstantial evidence which points to this conclusion is that the Department’s consultation paper on the December 2007 SWT timetable had repeated Stagecoach’s much trumpeted lie that the company had introduced a fleet of new trains worth £1 billion (actual value about £540m).
* Press reports, after the franchise award, showed the financial world as unanimous that Stagecoach had seriously overbid for the franchise, and the company’s shares actually suffered a slight fall. Since it has become evident that severe economies will be introduced at the expense of passengers, the shares have increased by around 50%.
* The Evening Standard of 8 December reported that the two Stagecoach founders had just shared a £100 million bonus, only two years after a similar £65 million bonus. Overall, there would be a £400 million cashback bonus for shareholders.
Department for Transport?
* The Department was nominated for the ‘Whitehall and Westminster World’ award for the quality of their procurement process for the South Western franchise:
“The Office of Government Commerce considered the valuation process to be sound, robust and auditable, and to have been conducted in full accordance with best practice. Key stakeholders were noted to have worked together as a very effective project team, and team spirit was seen to be strong. The assessors particularly commended the integration of all relevant parts of DfT into the project, and the continuous drive to make the bid process more efficient, reducing costs for both sides. In conclusion, the assessors stated that several of these features could stand as exemplars for similar projects elsewhere in government.”
* In the event the nomination failed and the award went to DEFRA. Perhaps the judges had read the Transport Committee’s balanced and thorough report on rail franchising which had reached some damning conclusions. Surely the nomination had been a case of praise the process and damn the outcome?
South West Trains’ passengers?
* From an online poll on South West Trains’ website, as at 16 December 2006:
“Do you agree that we should have won the South Western rail franchise?
Results so far:
Yes: 30% No: 70%
* This result is after Stagecoach has for several years invested big money in deceptive and manipulative PR, for example in SWT’s e’motion magazine and posters. Alas, many commuters are getting wise to SWT and its lobbyists. Take the first letter in issue 19 of SWT’s E’motion magazine. Headed “SOUTH WESTERN SAVED”, its writer conjures up a golden age of steam on the Waterloo-Exeter line, and considers that the old railway is in safe hands now that SWT has saved him from the class 50 locomotive failures of the Network SouthEast era. The truth is that the class 50s disappeared in 1993 and Stagecoach took over in 1996. For a typical example of the new golden age, on Friday 22 December when passengers were heading for their Christmas breaks, the 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter was reduced to 3 coaches and SWT’s website blamed its 12 minutes’ delay on a larger than usual traffic flow – in other words passengers were having difficulty in boarding and alighting in cattle truck conditions.
Stagecoach and buses
Undermining provincial bus travel
Travel on London’s regulated bus services has increased by 40% since 2000. De-regulated bus travel elsewhere in Britain is, overall, in fast decline.
So it seems perfectly sensible for Secretary of State Douglas Alexander to want a change. He stated at the Labour Party Conference that bus use has declined by over a half and fares have risen 86% in the major English conurbations since deregulation in 1986; and that real powers over bus services would be handed to councils to force private operators to improve failing services.
Predictably, this doesn’t suit Stagecoach Chairman Brian Souter who:
* established Stagecoach through driving other bus operators off the road, to the fury of the then Monopolies and Mergers Commission;
* first got the company out of the red by buying Hampshire Bus and selling off the less-profitable South Hampshire routes, along with Southampton’s much-missed bus station (now the Marlands Shopping Mall), for more than he paid for the whole operation; and
* then continued to cause havoc by aggressive competition on well-served routes such as Sunderland-South Hylton and Manchester-Stockport.
The December issue of ‘Today’s Railways’ states of the Secretary of State’s proposals:
“Stagecoach Chief Executive Brian Souter has threatened to pull out of bus operations in major British cities in that event. He says he would prefer to sell his operations and give bus depots to developers for housing or supermarkets than allow councils to dictate how he should run his business. That should encourage First, Arriva etc to work alongside local authorities!”
With Stagecoach operating in some 100 cities and towns, bus stations could become a thing of the past, whilst city centre supermarkets increase the misery and pollution of road traffic congestion even more. The company has already disposed of its regulated and heavily subsidised London bus services, after just a few years, for a £120 million profit.
Undermining the pensioners’ concessionary fares scheme
Despite receiving huge subsidies, Stagecoach has linked with First Group and Go-Ahead to attack Hampshire County Council’s bus free local travel scheme for people aged 60 and over. Their challenge is on the basis that “local” should be given the most restrictive possible interpretation. A counter-attack launched by the Southern Daily Echo means that Hampshire is effectively at war with the bus companies. The stakes are high: the scheme was intended to relieve social isolation among older people - a key plank of government policy.
“War” may sound dramatic, but when Dame Vera Lynn is drawn into the fight (Southern Daily Echo 10/11/2006) and one pensioner is driven to seek signatures against Stagecoach and others at the annual service of remembrance at the Cenotaph (Southern Daily Echo 11/11/2006), it’s clear how much hostility this money-grabbing tactic by the bus companies has attracted.
The petition to protect the current scope of concessionary travel had attracted 6,500 signatures by 16/11/2006, when the Echo noted that the Prime Minister had stated through the Queen’s Speech that over-60s must have the right to free travel on buses. Mr Blair subsequently congratulated the paper on its campaign, calling it “a very fine example of all that is best about local media” (Southern Daily Echo 28/11/2006).
So how much does ethically-limited Stagecoach care about older people? The editor of the Echo was surprised when Edward Hodgson, director of Hampshire Bus complained that carrying pass-waving passengers on his vehicles reduced the number of regular passengers attracted to the service. On 4 December, just 4 days before the Evening Standard reported the Stagecoach founders’ little £100 million bonus, Andrew Dyer, Managing Director of Stagecoach South, had a letter published in the Echo, in which he accused the paper of “deliberately trying to undermine bus services in South Hampshire” with its petition. He opined that the paper should be urging the government to give the bus companies even more subsidy.
To set the record straight, we had a response published in the Echo of 12 December:
“Stagecoach threatening local bus services
In reply to Andrew Dyer (Letters, December 4), it is Stagecoach, not the pensioners’ concessionary bus scheme, which threatens to undermine bus travel. Stagecoach first got out of debt with a big profit from buying Hampshire Bus, selling Southampton bus station for development, and disposing of less profitable routes. Chairman Brian Souter threatens a similar tactic in cities across Britain if the government gives passenger transport authorities control over services to repeat London’s boom in regulated bus travel. Mr Souter has already disposed of his heavily subsidised London services for £120m. So, if MP Alan Whitehead’s representations achieve a passenger transport authority for southern Hampshire, we can expect to be rid of Stagecoach." Meanwhile Stagecoach shares have soared since the company broke its promise to provide 20% more seating across South West Trains, and is instead to cram suburban trains with standing passengers and make many longer-distance passengers travel in narrow suburban seating.”
Extraordinarily, the Echo of 13 December reported that the concessionary fares scheme was still under threat after the government told councils they must review their payments to Stagecoach. This inevitably looks like a case of the government undermining one of its own flagship policies in order to fuel Stagecoach greed. The same point is made in a letter from B Painter of Eastleigh in the Southern Daily Echo of 21 December. We reiterate our hope that MP Alan Whitehead’s well thought out ambitions for a passenger transport authority for South Hampshire (Southern Daily Echo 23 November) succeed and that Stagecoach packs its bags.
Stagecoach and South West Trains
With the future of its urban bus operations at risk through its rejection of government policies which could bring the success of London buses to provincial towns and cities, Stagecoach was no doubt desperate to cling to South West Trains. Their bid is widely seen as too high, and the fact that the deal was reportedly cobbled together just hours before the announcement of the franchise award speaks volumes.
The result is that standards of travel will be downgraded across SWT and commuters will pay about the highest fares in Europe for being transported like cattle.
The starting point is that SWT will run Reading line services with the class 458 trains which it has already largely taken off-lease on the basis that they are incurably unreliable. Rail expert Roger Ford had predicted that this would happen, on the basis that, since the class 458s now have an uncertain future, the lease rentals have halved (Modern Railways, October 2006). At the other end of the scale, the Wessex Electrics on the Waterloo-Weymouth run - now by far the most reliable third-rail electric trains (Modern Railways, January 2007) - will be taken off lease, achieving a big saving because the maintenance facility for them at Bournemouth will become redundant.
Long-distance passengers on the Waterloo-Weymouth line will get the hard-seated class 444 Desiro trains from the Waterloo-Portsmouth line, instead of the more comfortable but poorly-maintained Wessex Electrics. The Railway Gazette International reported that "Although the 444s are destined to operate on journeys of up to 3 hours, the vehicle ambience is more commuter than intercity”. At a meeting in October 2006, SWT justified the swap on the grounds of needing to increase capacity.
In fact, SWT’s website shows that each Wessex Electric unit has 281 standard class seats and 50 first class (total 331). Each class 444 Desiro unit 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). The inevitable consequence of the swap is that some Winchester first-class season ticket holders will be forced to travel to work in standard class accommodation.
[From ‘Rail’ No.552] “After reading that SWT will hand back its Class 442s (Rail 551), is the company aware it is letting go of the best, most comfortable and stylish unit of latter years because of the need to provide a ‘better service’ to its public?
SWT needs to do its homework, because since their introduction in the late 1980s, passenger numbers significantly increased and three services an hour were provided. In the ideas put forward to get the new franchise, SWT said it would increase the frequencies on the Weymouth line to two an hour, and now it’s letting them go after refurbishment. So come on, SWT – let the ‘458s’ go, not the ‘442s’. Tim Slark”
[Alas, Mr Slark “thinks passenger”, ethically-limited Stagecoach “thinks greed”]
At Hampshire County Council's Rail Forum on 25/9/01, councillors and members of the public were told that the new Desiro trains would increase seats across the fleet by 11% (recorded in the minutes). However, the Southern Daily Echo of 29/10/01 reported that in terms of seating Stagecoach is replacing like with like. A challenge about this discrepancy at the Rail Passengers Committee meeting on 30/10/01, drew a letter from SWT Managing Director Andrew Haines which stated that "The Siemens Desiro order will provide for a significant increase in capacity but that is in the inner suburban area".
The order for the Desiro trains was then significantly reduced, despite a big increase in subsidy to Stagecoach, including a £29 million one-off payment in the year that its shares collapsed to 10p. Only a limited number of Desiro trains will now operate on suburban duties, and these are to have reduced seating to cram in more standing passengers. This comes on top of the 6,500 seats being ripped out of the existing suburban seats even though the vast majority of passengers want a seat.
SWT claimed that the “reconfigured” coaches were what people wanted: “We’ve also introduced new high-back seats with a two-plus-two configuration. Passengers told us they didn’t like sitting in the middle seats” (E’motion magazine, issue 3). Unfortunately, SWT had failed to make clear that thousands more passengers would stand because of the reconfiguration.
Shadow Transport Secretary Chris Grayling wrote in the Evening Standard of 27 November that you just couldn’t make it up. As part of the Conservative Party’s Rail Review, members of the shadow transport scheme were travelling to Euston to meet about 40 rail bosses. His SWT train to Waterloo arrived at Epsom and ground to a halt because of a train failure at Clapham Junction. So he got a slower Southern train to Victoria. Those who stayed on the SWT train were an hour late. One constituent e’mailed him later to say that conditions were so bad that one unfortunate commuter had a heart attack. [We wonder whether delays in these circumstances count against SWT for performance purposes]. He eventually arrived at the meeting just in time but his team were all delayed on trains or the Tube. Already official figures show that large numbers of commuters are travelling in trains which are in excess of capacity, in other words commuters are packed in like sardines. Since SWT started ripping out seats to create extra standing room, it’s not usually too far from Epsom before the seats have run out. What commuters are concerned about is a decent, reliable journey to work. Instead, all we have to look forward to is more and more standing room as the seats and the toilets are ripped out in order to create more space to pack people into.
On the same day, the Standard reported a unanimous verdict on ‘nightmare’ journeys. Students Rebecca Harman and Lucy Crone travel from home in Barnes to Thames Ditton via Clapham Junction (largely in the commuting counter-flow!). Every day they squeeze on to the SWT service and never find a seat. Ms Harman said the hour and a quarter journey was so unpleasant that it put her off the idea of commuting. She said, “It’s horrible, you have to stand in a tin squashed up against people who look miserable – I cannot understand how people do this for the rest of their lives.” A South African City worker said “Today we have been waiting on the platform at Clapham Junction for 20 minutes and missed three trains during that time – we could not get on because they were just too full”. Her husband, who also works in the City said commuting conditions had ruined his life. A financial adviser who travels from Clapham to Waterloo every day said, “We are talking thousands of people elbowing each other out of the way to get on to one of the 12 tiny carriages. It is certainly not a civilised way to get to work”. An investment banker who makes the same journey said, “Some people turn into monsters in the crush. You get elbowed in the face, kneed in the groin, pushed and shouted at. Packed in like sardines is a cliché but there is no other way to describe it”. Only one per cent of Waterloo’s passengers said they never had problems with overcrowding.
Wendy Fanner of Kingston wonders how train firms can possibly justify the latest increase in fares. In a letter published in the London Paper of 30 November, she writes, “Every year you hear about how an increase in fares will help improve the services. However, I have only seen the services worsen and heard of more fat cat salaries going to bosses and profits for incompetent rail firms. I am certainly not profiting from the service I get on South West Trains and the Tube. I pay £157.50 every month for the privilege of using their overcrowded, delayed/cancelled trains jostling with angry crowds and standing for up to 50 minutes with no relief and no refund (a refund which is impossible to achieve unless you want to waste hours trying to get your money back). This is annoying at best but why is nothing being done about it? How do we change this and put an end to being shunted around like cattle?”
Jeannette Winterson, writing in the Standard of 30 November, calls for the railways to be brought back into public control. She complains that “We are living in the Voodoo Years, where ordinary people are told that everything is difficult, complex, needs experts and specialists, costs a fortune, and is a miracle that it happens at all. When we complain that things don’t work, some witch-doctor steps forward and shakes statistics at us – 89% punctuality across the network! In fact, they have lengthened published journey times so that a train can take forever, arrive late, and still be on time. Magic! Sadly, we are not catching the Hogwarts Express; most of us just want to get to Guildford. When we ask how our railways can be so poor and yet so expensive, a Head on a Stick, belonging to a bloated body, such as the Association of Train Operating Companies, makes excuses about the costs of CCTV and refurbishment, and then blames overcrowded trains on rising passenger numbers. So, when they spend our money, it’s all for our own good, and when we are suffocated on our feet, it’s all our own fault. These are the days of Pay Up and Stand Up. Overcrowding is at record levels, and anybody who dares complain to an anointed railway official, such as a guard, will be threatened with a visit from the transport police for abuse”.
Andrew Gilligan, in the Evening Standard of 4 December, similarly writes of the “scandal of the can’t-do railways”, noting that in some French cities a new mayor [like Brunel in Britain if he were still alive?] is able to build an entire metro from scratch before he finishes his first term. Contrast that with Network Rail, which is very negative about the practicability of double-decker trains on inner-suburban routes, even though they were introduced on South East London routes in 1949 and ran for over 20 years. Turning to a parallel issue with freight, independent railway consultant Dorian Baker claims that gauge enhancement for container trains from Southampton Docks would cost only £50m, compared with the £800m Network Rail wanted.
It’s good to read what people really think. But, isn’t it odd that you read so many sycophantic letters in SWT’s glossy E’motion magazine? The first thing Stagecoach could do is stop wasting money on E’motion and use it to the benefit of passengers, however small. Funding an extra page in their Christmas brochure, to show the times of last trains on Christmas Eve, would have been one worthwhile use. Train operators usually have magazines with an eye on PR but no other, so far as we are aware, indulges in such a constant stream of deceptive, insulting and unrepresentative drivel as E’motion (see the critique of issue 19 at the end of Appendix 1). The second thing which Stagecoach could do is invest more than peanuts. The £165m which the two founders have reportedly gobbled up in bonuses in the past two years would buy 165 new carriages outright. With selective door opening to counter the problem of short platforms, proper maintenance, an accelerated timetable without huge layover times at the end of journeys, and adequate crewing, this could make a huge contribution to eliminating the human misery of overcrowding on SWT.
With the transfer of the class 444 Desiros to the Weymouth line, Stagecoach is stuffing Portsmouth commuters into outer-suburban class 450 Desiros which have many of the cramped two-plus-three seating configuration, the unpopularity of which was the stated reason for their removal from inner suburban trains, as above.
This has naturally caused a furore. Commuters suffering the slowest trains since steam, and some of the highest fares in Europe - with the threat of even higher fares to come, will now be crammed into conditions where deep vein thrombosis and stress seem all too likely. The seating has got much narrower just as people are tending to get bigger. One obese person, and you lose a seat. At floor level, things are even worse. The old-fashioned hot air ducts at the carriage sides mean that people sitting next to the window will have floor space about half the width of their extra narrow seat. They will be forced to sit with one foot on top of the other for long periods.
The Portsmouth “News” is now running a campaign. We hope the Prime Minister will be as supportive as he is of the Southern Daily Echo’s campaign against Stagecoach and other bus companies for undermining the pensioners’ concessionary fares scheme. Portsmouth commuters thought SWT might be prepared to do something for them when SWT Managing Director Stewart Palmer agreed to travel from Waterloo to Portsmouth on 19 December. However, SWT’s chairman Ian Dobbs hi-jacked the occasion by issuing dark warnings about travel into Waterloo increasing by 50% within 10 years, in order to justify the inhuman conditions they were imposing. What was it Stagecoach said in their prospectus “Building on Success” during the recent re-franchising exercise:
“Stagecoach’s success has been built on listening to customers and using their special insight to improve services even further.”
Don’t they mean that they ignore their customers, run off with multi-million pound bonuses and invest in castles (Stagecoach co-founder Ann Gloag reportedly has two)?
Correspondent Paul Jessop (Evening Standard, 21 December) has condemned the SWT chairman in the following terms:
“SHAME on South West Trains’ chairman Ian Dobbs for disingenuously raising the prospect of future overcrowding (19 December). SWT appears to be trying to hide the introduction next year of class 450 commuter trains on the Portsmouth-Waterloo intercity route, while transferring its Class 444 intercity trains to the Southampton route to achieve contractually required upgrades at minimal cost. The 450 trains are no longer than the Class 444s and have shorter carriages. They only achieve greater capacity by cramming more passengers into the same space by using narrow seats suitable only for the likes of Kate Moss. Such cramped conditions are banned on aircraft because of health risks. Companies that make their profits by continually screwing their customers should expect a rough ride: high-density suburban stock should be banned from long distance routes.”
Hopefully, Stagecoach will now get the rough ride it has earned. Note the following from the “News”:
“Commuter fury over new 'cattle truck' train [10/11/06]
Portsmouth rail passengers are furious that a change to trains has halved their leg-room. The 6.30pm rush-hour commuter train from London Waterloo has been swapped for a different 'cramped' model, so it can/hold more passengers. South West Trains said a rise in passengers had prompted the change. Spokeswoman Simone Spinks said: 'The passenger demand to Portsmouth is growing and we are looking at ways to re-allocate our services to best meet that need.
The new service to Portsmouth has extra carriages that provide seating for up to 142 more passengers. 'The trains are not inferior quality - that is a matter of opinion. We know we have to address the issue of capacity right across our services and this is one way we are doing that.'
But regular rail users say the new trains are totally inadequate for the 1hr 40min journey. Sandra Mauso, of Becket Court, Old Portsmouth, travels to and from her Job in London every day, but the change in trains is making her doubt her decision to commute.
She said: 'There is no leg room or arm rests and people are forced to sit slumped in their chairs because we are crammed in. 'In this weather there are winds and draughts and the trains are freezing. They are clearly not commuter trains. I pay around £3,800 for a year's season ticket - that's a lot of money to travel on a cattle truck.'
Train of thought [20/11/06]
>From the beginning of December the rolling stock on the Portsmouth-Waterloo service is being changed from the comfortable five or 10 carriage units to what can best be described as six and 12 carriage commuter cattle trucks with no legroom, no tables, no at-seat trolley service, and no room for bicycles.
This change is supposed to alleviate overcrowding on this service, although as a regular traveller, I know that overcrowding seldom occurs before Woking.Commuters from Woking must have six to eight trains per hour to Waterloo at peak periods so should have no need to board a crowded train; besides, it's a relatively short journey for them. This new rolling stock was designed for use on the frequently-stopping London suburban network NOT the 1hr 40 min - 2hr journey to the south coast.
I suggest all regular commuters contact South West Trains, the Rail Regulator, their MPs, or use any other means to prevent South West Trains from implementing these ridiculous changes and treating Portsmouth commuters like cattle. Incidentally, the Southampton-Waterloo service/which also calls at Woking, isn't having its rolling stock changed even though it's a shorter service. E Spencer
Commuters launch campaign to bring back old carriages [12/12/06]
Protest at trains packed too tight by Jenny Haworth
FED-UP commuters have launched a protest after spacious trains to London were replaced with cramped new carriages with more seats. With the backing of Havant MP David Willetts, the group is lobbying bosses at South West Trains to bring back more spacious trains. David Habersham, from Emsworth, who commutes to London every day, is heading up the 'No450 Campaign' to scrap the new blue 450 trains from Portsmouth to London and return to the former white 444 rolling stock. Many of the 444 trains were replaced last month, with the rest due to be replaced by the end of January.
Mr Habersham already has the support of more than 50 angry commuters, who say the new trains are cramped, uncomfortable and do not have enough space for people to work or even stretch out. 'There is the health and safety issue of people being cramped for long periods of time, 'he said.
Campaigners are fuming that the new cramped carriages have no arm rests, no room to work on a laptop and a narrow aisle which cannot fit a trolley service, which they say makes them suitable only for short journeys.
Mr Habersham, a charity worker, has persuaded SWT managing director Stewart Palmer to travel with him on the 5.30pm train from Waterloo to Petersfield next Tuesday to experience the journey for himself and talk to those with concerns.
Fellow commuter Havant MP David Willetts has thrown his weight behind the campaign. In a letter to SWT chairman lan Dobbs he described himself as 'disappointed' by the decision to change the trains to the 450 stock, which he said are 'less comfortable and far less suitable'.
South West Trains spokesman Simone Spinks said the change in rolling stock was necessary to extra passengers on the trains. 'We are sorry if passengers are not happy with this, but by doing this it provides an additional 142 seats per train,' she said.
Make Your Views Known
Campaigners are urging those commuters fed-up with the cramped trains to make their views known by:
Emailing SWT with views at email@example.com
Getting in touch with the No450 campaign by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Going to 'Meet the Manager' events organised by SWT: visit www.southwesttrains.co.uk for more details
Writing their views to Havant MP David Willetts.
“Commuters rail against their pain on new trains [21/12/06]
A train boss braved the wrath of angry commuters to join them on a journey to find out why they are complaining about new cramped carriages. But after sitting with furious commuters from Waterloo to Cosham Stewart Palmer, managing director of South West Trains (SWT), refused to make any pledges to act on their concerns.
New white 450 trains have recently replaced blue 444 trains on the Portsmouth to Waterloo line, meaning an extra 142 seats per train but leaving travellers jammed together, and complaining their health is being put at risk because they are so cramped. Since making the journey on Tuesday evening Mr Palmer has merely promised a review of the rolling stock, as well as a study to look at commuters' concerns about health and safety.
David Habershon, of Emsworth, is heading the 'no450 Campaign' to scrap the 450 trains, and said he is happy with the success of the meeting between Mr Palmer and 60 commuters, despite failing to win guarantees of change. He said: 'It was good. There were lots of comments, all basically telling him the same message, and I take my hat off to him because he handled a barrage of complaints with remarkable fortitude.'
Many commuters are complaining of bad backs, not being able to use lap-tops and being crushed in seats for long periods. South West Trains argues it needs to increase capacity on the trains to cope with growing numbers of users, but Mr Habershon said there were hundreds of empty seats when Mr Palmer joined them for a journey. He is delighted Mr Palmer has decided to carry out a review in the new year. But, he added: 'Our aim is to ban high-density suburban trains from the Portsmouth route and we will keep the pressure on until that happens.'
SWT spokesman Jane Lee said once the remaining 444 trains are replaced there will be a review into how the new stock is working. She said the health and safety department would also be carrying out a study into concerns about the seats being unsuitable for longer-distance journeys. She added: 'We have to provide more capacity, and while we understand some commuters might not like that, we have to have everybody's interests at heart.'
Commuters shouldn't have to feel the strain
Comment - The News (Portsmouth) - 21 December 2006
The old British Rail adverts used to invite us to "let the train take the strain'. These days, it seems, the strain is all on the part of the passengers. Commuters who use the Portsmouth to Waterloo line have been angry for a long time - not least because of a series of price rises which have made their trips to the capital more and more expensive.
But the introduction of new trains on to the route has tipped them over the edge. Now, those who have to endure the daily journey and pay high prices for a season ticket have to do it in less comfort than ever before. It stands to reason that you simply cannot squeeze in more than 140 new seats into each train service and expect there to be no knock-on effect on passengers.
And those passengers have found the new trains to be more cramped and far less comfortable than the old ones. They were well within their rights to be annoyed enough to ask Stewart Palmer, managing director of South West Trains, to share a journey with them.
To his credit, Mr Palmer took me trip and listened to their concerns. But shouldn't he have been aware of the new trams' shortcomings before his company brought them into service? At the end of his journey, Mr Palmer promised there would be a review of the rolling stock and a study to look at health and safety concerns.
But note that there was no promise of action. Commuters rightly say they will be on their guard and will keep the pressure on Mr Palmer to find out what his findings are. The News will back them every step of the way. We await the outcome of Mr Palmer's review with interest, and trust be win make it public.
We are being encouraged - and rightly so - to leave our cars at home and find other ways to get to work. Instances like this do not encourage faith in public transport. And they do nothing to change the perception that large companies care more about profit margins than they do about customers. Train companies need to be speaking to customers and potential passengers and asking them what they would like from their service before they impose changes like these.”
SWT PERFORMANCE PLUMMETS DESPITE THE SLOWEST SCHEDULES SINCE STEAM
Now that SWT has created the illusion of improved performance by slowing its trains, it shows only the latest, “improved”, statistics on its website. However, even with the slower services, performance is declining rapidly.
In the 4-week period to 16 September 2006, 91.7% of mainline peak trains were within 5 minutes of time, within the very slack target of 89%.
By the 4-week period ending 14 October, the figure was below even that target, at 88.3%.
By the period ending 11 November the figure was down to 87.1%.
By the period to 9 December the figure was down to 81.5 - almost one train in 5 significantly late (and the performance of suburban trains only 2% better). At 31 December, SWT had still thoughtfully failed to put this latest information on its website. Yet the website says: “We believe in being open and honest about train performance, which is why we have developed this section of our website to give you a true and accurate account of our performance”. Quite so! At Southampton Central and Waterloo the information is posted where you would spot it only when buying a ticket (when you are likely to be focused on your purchase, especially given the complicated fares structure).
STAGECOACH CUSTOMER (DIS)SERVICE
NO TIME OR ROOM FOR DISABLED PEOPLE
(1) From a SWT poster: “We use whistles at busy times to warn you that you need to hurry”. Guess how people with mobility problems feel about that.
(2) In the first week of November, the Scotsman, Sun and Daily Record reported that a disabled wheelchair user from Dumfriesshire had been barred from Stagecoach buses. The company claimed that his wheelchair was too large to meet health and safety rules and could prove a hazard to other passengers. The Disability Rights Commission warned that the company could be guilty of discrimination because it did not carry out a risk assessment before making the decision. The company now had to make an assessment.
(3) From the Evening Standard of 29 November: “From Basingstoke, there are plenty of trains but they are always full. On newer trains the seats are so narrow they are extremely uncomfortable. I will not stand as I am waiting for a hip replacement but I do not see why I should sit on the floor. – L Hardy, Basingstoke”.
RAILWAY INSPECTORATE CONDEMNS SWT OVER UNSAFE STATION
Norbiton station, which serves Kingston hospital, has a poor safety record. The Kingston Area Travellers’ Association has focused on the problems since one passenger landed unconscious under a train after falling through the gap between carriage and platform, and another was fatally electrocuted crossing the tracks when the subway was flooded. They now report that a dog had to be rescued after falling between platform and train. The Railway Inspectorate has expressed disappointment that the “Mind the Gap” markings are in such poor condition as to be illegible [obviously no use to passengers with impaired sight], has asked the company how the markings came to be in such a bad state, and has asked for the situation to be rectified as soon as possible.
NO TIME FOR COMMUTERS
A great manifestation of SWT’s failure to promote a passenger-focused culture! Totton station is so bleak that early morning commuters tend to sit in their cars until a few minutes before their train is due to depart. Two passengers who use the 06.07 to connect into the 06.30 from Southampton to Waterloo had the doors slammed shut in their faces as they hurried to board it on 20 November. The train then moved off as the departure screen displayed 06.04.59. Fortunately this was one of the fairly unusual occasions when the station was staffed from around the advertised time (05.40) so, under pressure, the booking clerk was able to get the London train stopped to pick them up.
No such luck on 22 December. The 06.07 was cancelled, the booking office was closed 25 minutes after its scheduled opening time, and passengers were left in the freezing cold until 06.46, with no waiting room. A seasonal “Go to hell” from Stagecoach when other people were exchanging more customary greetings? A passenger who drove to Southampton Central for the London train had to pay £5.50 to park. Since SWT’s machine swallowed his money without issuing a ticket, he then had to report the failure and give his registration number to a booking clerk.
On 6 December, a number of commuters missed the 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth. We are reliably informed that this was because, at 18.33, they found a line of staff forming a barrier to prevent them boarding. They were told this was to ensure the punctual departure of the train. In reality it is likely to be because of the downhill trend of performance on SWT – having overbid for the franchise, Stagecoach is no doubt terrified at the possibility of returning to season ticket discounts in compensation for delays and cancellations. Such inhuman arrogance and contempt is not what commuters expect in return for about the highest fares in Europe.
TOO MUCH TROUBLE TO DEAL WITH COMPLAINTS?
The standard procedure for handling complaints is for passengers to contact rail operators and, if dissatisfied with their reply, to write to London TravelWatch or PassengerFocus. SWT’s timetable booklet offers no opportunity to write to them but advises passengers to write instead to their independent Passengers’ Panel which comprises, er, passengers on short term appointment! So passengers must sort out complaints themselves whilst SWT is using its resources to concoct its latest disbenefit or deception?
PARTIAL ATTITUDE TO COMPLAINTS
Commuters are remarking that when a morning peak train is delayed because of problems with Network Rail’s infrastructure, staff are waiting at the barriers at Waterloo with piles of complaint forms. When the problem is SWT’s crew shortage or duff rolling stock, the staff are invisible. This is presumably to distort statistics about complaints.
ANY OLD DECEPTION GOOD ENOUGH?
>From 11.17 on Saturday 2 December, SWT’s website proudly proclaimed that it was expected that an extra train would run, departing from Salisbury at 12.48 and arriving at Paignton at 15.31. This could be quite difficult because the 09.57 from Brighton also departs from Salisbury at 12.48 and arrives at Paignton at 15.31. A check of the National Rail website showed that the train from Brighton had left Chichester on time, but was expected at the next stop, Havant, 16 minutes late at 11.10. At 13.30, the train was still shown as expected to arrive at Havant at 11.10. What betting that it had failed, and the generous extra train from Salisbury was in part- replacement? Perhaps advertising the failure was too sensitive because the next direct train from Brighton to Paignton was 168 hours later. Shouldn’t SWT change the message on that poster of the man with the mobile from “As soon as we know, you’ll know” to “That’s for us to know and you to find out”?
It seems that, with the deterioration of performance on SWT since re-franchising, “cancelled” is not always a vogue word. On Tuesday 5 December, the departure screen at Totton showed a 06.21 departure to Waterloo. This only happens when (i) the 06.07 to Yeovil Junction is cancelled and (ii) SWT can be bothered to make alternative arrangements for Totton’s booming commuter market. However, the 06.07 was shown as departing on time until about 06.20 when it was shown as departing a couple of minutes later, and 06.22 when it disappeared off the screen without having been sighted.
On Saturday 9 December the 15.20 Waterloo-Reading was inventively advertised on SWT’s website as reversing at Twickenham because of defective stock!
CATTLE TRAINS FROM HELL
Overcrowding on trains from Waterloo is usually at its worst on Friday evenings, yet on Friday 24 November the 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter was reduced to 3 coaches. The train was 15 minutes late by Andover, presumably because of the difficulty in alighting and boarding in such crushed conditions.
On Thursday 7 December the 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil was first announced as reduced to 2 coaches and then as reduced to 5 coaches.
On Friday 22 December, when people were heading for their Christmas break, the 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter was reduced to 3 coaches. With typical contempt, SWT’s website showed the train as running 12 minutes late due to an unusually large traffic flow – so the delay was all the fault of passengers rather than difficulty in boarding and alighting due to the ludicrously short train?
SOUTHAMPTON CENTRAL CAR PARK IN UNSAFE CONDITION
For weeks the downside car park at Southampton Central was in a permanently dangerous state. It accumulated a thick mulch of leaves which caused passengers to slip (and hid the parking space markings).
SOUTHAMPTON CENTRAL IN LATE EVENING: DEARTH OF SECURITY; DEARTH OF INFORMATION; DEARTH OF INTERCHANGE
On 6 November 2006, a passenger meeting someone at Southampton Central off the 22.47 arrival from Edinburgh found it easy to get on the station because at that time of day secure station status is not an issue and the barriers were open. However, entering via platform 4, he did find it difficult to work out the arrival platform for the train, because all the summary information screens showed either departures or “next direct train to”. These omitted the Edinburgh train because it terminated. So he had to go from platform to platform to see where the Edinburgh service would arrive. Great for anyone off the train who wanted Totton: At 22.39.45 the 22.40 to Totton departed, just as the lights of the train from Edinburgh appeared in the tunnel – almost 7 minutes “early” because the train is allowed 13 minutes for the 6 minute journey from the previous stop (Southampton Airport) to facilitate cheating on performance. Next train to Totton was at 23.32.
COMMUTERS NEED TO BE MORE PROACTIVE
The 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth is often overcrowded due to Stagecoach having axed the 16.45 Waterloo-Poole from December 2004. On Thursday 30 November it had dozens of passengers standing to the first stop at Winchester. On the approach to Southampton Central the guard apologised to “the passengers who had been unable to alight at Southampton Airport station”. It is unclear whether this was due to the overcrowding or to defective doors, but when passengers start to be carried beyond their station through no fault of their own, it is essential that they cause a furore. Stagecoach may then start to understand what focus on passengers means.
CROSS COUNTRY FRANCHISE
Thanks to Arriva for the chance to attend the forum on their bid for Cross Country, which was held at Reading on 28 November. The Department for Transport is reportedly obdurate in its plans to make many more passengers change trains, leaving Southern Hampshire with an hourly service just as far as Manchester. This is presumably to dampen demand and will no doubt make more passengers switch to air travel with a further small boost to global warming, destructive weather patterns, and famine in Africa.
The focus of thinking has now switched to where passengers might change trains, other than at inconvenient and overcrowded Birmingham New Street. I suggested that passengers from South of Reading to the North East might be booked to change at Oxford, for same-platform transfer (the Bournemouth-Manchester trains will form a half-hourly service north of Reading in conjunction with hourly Reading-Newcastle trains). This will obviously slow journeys to the North East by 30 minutes but some passengers are likely to prefer such an arrangement to travel via Waterloo and Kings Cross.
The Department for Transport is apparently ducking the problems it will create, by arguing that passengers do not see Cross Country as a network, and just want to travel between two points. That’s not the issue. The issue is that having to change trains is for many people a disincentive to travel, whatever two points they are travelling between.
Arriva is unlike the other principal bus/rail operators in that it looks to the European market rather than to Australia and America. It is very ready to work closely with stakeholders like regional and devolved governments. It has also been willing to purchase new trains outright on the continent.
We wish them well.
NEW TIMETABLE FROM 10 DECEMBER 2006
(Information copied for guidance; please check times as we cannot take responsibility, for example in case there are changes)
VIRGIN CROSS COUNTRY
On Sundays during February and March, buses replace trains between Oxford and Birmingham International, with big delays for passengers. Also on Sundays (except during February and March), there is a welcome additional 20.40 Bournemouth – Birmingham train (21.15 from Southampton Central).
Although not a change as such, passengers might want to avoid the Sunday trains at 08.39 from Southampton to Manchester and 13.50 from Edinburgh (11.55 from Aberdeen from 1 April) to Southampton which are very circuitous, running non-stop between Southampton Airport and Basingstoke via Romsey and Andover. This is presumably a cheap way of familiarising crews with this diversionary route. The southbound train is allowed 13 minutes for its 6 minute journey from Southampton Airport to Southampton Central (9 minutes in February and March, when the train is replaced by a bus between Birmingham International and Oxford). Performance cheating schedules are a wonderful thing. [Extraordinarily, the train was announced at Southampton Central on 17 December as arriving late due to engineering works at Romsey. There were large numbers of people waiting at Basingstoke for the final service to Wareham (for bus to Wool and another train to Weymouth); presumably many had been thrown off the Virgin service to avoid being stranded overnight. Is railway operation really so stolid and indifferent to the interests of passengers that the Virgin train couldn’t have run down the main line from Basingstoke so as to avoid Romsey?]
On Mondays to Saturdays, the 13.05 from Edinburgh and 17.23/17.24 from Manchester are now officially overtaken between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth by the 19.35/ 20.35 from Waterloo instead of between Southampton Airport Parkway and Southampton Central (matching the pre-existing arrangement for the 12.52 from Edinburgh and 18.35 (front half) from Waterloo). There is no passing point between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth, so this can’t happen in reality. The advertised schedule is simply a mechanism for cheating on performance when the Virgin trains are late.
FIRST GREAT WESTERN
There are significant changes due to the specification for the new franchise and subsequent revisions.
The draft timetable, which went out for consultation, showed the hourly services between Portsmouth and Cardiff as extended to run between Cardiff and Rhoose (Cardiff International Airport), calling at Barry, but this has not materialised.
The daily Penzance-Portsmouth and Portsmouth-Plymouth/Par services are discontinued.
The Southampton-Westbury/Bristol stopping service, which calls at Dean and Dunbridge, is far from satisfactory. It would have been a simple matter for DfT to have advanced the December 2007 diversion of the Romsey-Southampton-Totton service to run Romsey-Southampton-Salisbury, in order to provide a more adequate service on the Southampton-Salisbury route. Totton could have had a replacement service by stopping the Waterloo-Weymouth trains, which have plenty of slack in their running time. As it is, up to Friday 8 December, commuters have stopping trains from Southampton via Salisbury at 16.27, 17.27 and 18.40 plus a semi-fast Westbury train at 17.58. From Monday 11 December this becomes 15.39 and 18.27. This substantial service reduction has provoked strong complaints about inconvenience and overcrowding, for example in the Southern Daily Echo of 23 November and 4 December. However, First Group deserves recognition for providing significantly more trains than were specified by the Department for Transport.
The stopping First Great Western service from Southampton to Salisbury on Mondays to Fridays comprises trains at 07.48 and 08.25 to Cardiff; 09.32 and 12.32 to Westbury; 14.26 to Cardiff; 15.39 to Westbury; 18.27 to Cheltenham; 20.26 to Westbury; 21.30 to Bristol; 22.22 to Westbury.
The Saturday times are 06.47 and 08.25 to Cardiff; 09.31 and 12.31 to Westbury; 14.16 to Cardiff; 15.31, 18.48 and 20.31 to Westbury; 21.25 to Bristol.
The Sunday service is at 09.54 to Cardiff; 15.40 and 16.24 to Westbury; 19.30 to Bristol; 22.54 to Westbury. There are also Sunday trains at 18.24 and 20.24 to Swindon not calling at Dunbridge or Dean.
Note in particular that (i) there is no Saturday service between Southampton and Salisbury between 21.25 and 23.09 (the 22.17 is cut) or Sunday service between 20.54 and 22.54 (last train is 43 minutes earlier than under the previous service); (ii) the 19.30 from Cardiff to Portsmouth no longer runs via Eastleigh; and (iii) the 21.12 Southampton-Gloucester (Mondays-Fridays) and 20.22 Portsmouth Harbour-Bristol Parkway (Saturdays) are replaced by the 20.22 Portsmouth Harbour-Cardiff Central.
[Historical interest note: The 18.27 to Cheltenham almost certainly provides Southampton’s first direct service to Kemble, Stroud and Stonehouse. Fifty years ago, you could catch the 16.43 steam train from Southampton and travel via Andover, Marlborough, Swindon (18.57) and Cirencester to Cheltenham (20.06). Now you can catch the 18.27 and travel via Salisbury, Melksham, Swindon (20.20) and Kemble to Cheltenham (21.27). So, half a century on, it’s 23 minutes quicker by a completely different route.]
Finally, it appears that First has ended the practice of requiring compulsory seat reservations on a handful of services from South Hampshire.
SOUTH WEST TRAINS
Although Stagecoach deliberately caused huge inconvenience (and huge overcrowding) when it axed the 06.05 from Totton (05.34 from Bournemouth) to Waterloo, it is wasting a further three-hours-plus a year of commuters’ lives from 10 December, by retiming the 06.07 connectional service to Southampton to 06.06. This change applies on Saturdays as well as Mondays-Fridays.
The 06.12 Mondays-Fridays train from Waterloo to Wareham calls additionally at Millbrook and Redbridge, the only electric train to do so, with no corresponding service in the opposite direction.
The 16.35 (Mondays-Fridays) from Waterloo will now split at Southampton Central, with the front half running 3 minutes later to Bournemouth and then its existing timings to Weymouth, the rear half running 1 minute later than the current 17.56 to Brockenhurst and then the existing timings to Bournemouth. This will be a relief to London commuters who have so often had the doors of the 17.56 shut in their faces as they ran to join it. However, many more passengers are likely to stand between Southampton and stations to Bournemouth because there will be four coaches fewer for local peak travellers.
The 18.05 (Mondays-Fridays) from Waterloo will be 2 minutes later at Winchester, other timings remaining the same.
The 18.39 from Waterloo (Mondays-Fridays) will run 1 minute later between Basingstoke and Southampton Airport Parkway but arrive at Southampton Central 4 minutes earlier than currently (reducing the Southampton Airport - Southampton Central time from a ludicrous 17 minutes to a still silly 12 minutes for a journey which needs only 7 minutes on Saturdays).
On Sundays all Portsmouth and Southampton line trains have a Clapham Junction stop, and the arrival times of most services at London Waterloo have been adjusted by up to 3 minutes (earlier or later).
SWT’s own timetable booklet
The last phrase on the Managing Director's introduction on the inside of the front cover has changed from striving "towards a right-time railway" to striving to "make a positive difference to your journey." Portsmouth-London commuters crammed into outer-suburban trains, Reading line passengers crammed into trains previously considered too unreliable to run, and suburban passengers standing because of ripped-out seats will certainly note a positive difference!
Some services are coloured light brown for an unknown reason (eg 05.45 from Poole, 09.01 from Totton as far as Southampton Central). Connection time entries for Haslemere and Poole removed. (Note the text: "If we delay one train to wait for passengers from a late running train, we may cause major problems for the whole network and may also cause other passengers to miss their connections at other stations". That might be true of significant delays but, since Stagecoach slams doors shut in passengers’ faces so that trains can depart on time and wait at signals up the line for delayed trains to overtake, it is presumably a euphemism for shuffling trains around the track without regard to passengers.)
Also note the text under Personal Safety / Help points: "You can also report emergencies or suspicious behaviour by pressing the emergency button [on] the help point". Weren't SWT whingeing in their last e-motion magazine that only 1% of uses of this button were genuine emergencies? So why are they inviting other uses of the button here?
STAGECOACH LOBBYIST HAS APPARENTLY SEEN THE LIGHT, BUT PASSENGER FOCUS’ SWT LINK HEADING FOR THE HINDSIGHT CLUB?
* ‘Rail’ columnist Barry Doe, who so memorably and irrationally supported Stagecoach throughout the SWT re-franchising period, has discovered the genuine quality of First ScotRail particularly in the Glasgow area. In an article headed, “Saluting First Scotrail’s excellence” he refers to “an enviable and well-run system” (‘Rail’ issue 553). This reflects our comment in Hogrider No. 109 that “If Stagecoach really cares about focusing on passengers, it could do much worse than consult First Group. A couple of days using ScotRail trains around Glasgow revealed an impressive level of customer service.”
Perhaps by chance, Barry’s article is accompanied by a picture of a Glasgow Central-Gourock train at Paisley Gilmour Street station. The Hogrider article praised First ScotRail for not terminating a Glasgow Central-Gourock train, SWT fashion, after it was severely delayed at Gilmour Street station by a bridge being hit by a road vehicle!
Although Barry doesn’t refer to the obvious contrasts with SWT’s appalling service, he subtly highlights Stagecoach profiteering, when he contrasts Glasgow-Edinburgh and Waterloo-Basingstoke fares, for journeys of the same distance. The SWT return fares are £15.40 cheap day; £27 peak; and £49.60 first class. The ScotRail fares are: £8.90 cheap day; £16.20 peak; and £27 first class – around 40% cheaper.
* Events since the announcement of Stagecoach’s retention of the SWT franchise could scarcely have illustrated more dramatically that no-one should take a word uttered by the company at its face value. Remember how SWT services collapsed after the first franchise award, and Stagecoach Director Brian Cox described critics as “fully paid up members of the Hindsight Club”? With the second franchise round SWT promised a long list of service and infrastructure improvements and then admitted they were simply aspirational. With the third franchise round, 20% more seating was falsely advertised in SWT’s press release. During this third round, Stagecoach’s prospectus “Building on Success” rewrote the history of SWT with little regard to the truth.
Our ‘Megaplaint’ history of SWT set on record how, against this background of letting down passengers, Stagecoach sought to win over its critics. So:
- Sir Alan Greengross, once the chairman of London’s transport users’ official watchdog body, was given a Stagecoach directorship, and apparently steers SWT’s Passengers Panel on a sure course between anodyne criticism and sycophancy;
- ‘Modern Railways’ columnist Alan Williams, once the scourge of poor service on his daily SWT commute, gained a commemorative plaque on his home station and opined that SWT’s new timetable on his line was OK despite being a bit slower and having a few less trains; and
- Barry Doe, once a passionate advocate of good service on the railways, considered himself privileged to provide the bus link information in SWT’s ‘superb’ timetable and thinks Stagecoach an exemplar of train operation.
Now, at the meetings of the regional Rail Passenger Committees which Passenger Focus replaced, passengers could always put their points before representatives of rail companies operating in their area, usually including the Managing Directors. So it is interesting that Jocelyn Pearson, the SWT link of Passenger Focus, has had a meeting, alongside two members of the Passengers Panel, with SWT’s Head of Commercial Services, and another meeting even more remarkably with Alan Williams. In other words, she has been drawn into the SWT PR net.
Unsurprisingly, the meetings didn’t seem to achieve much for passengers, but are featuring large in SWT’s PR. The November-December version of e’motion and SWT’s website both now report that “Rail users on the South West Trains network can be confident in the knowledge that they have Jocelyn Pearson on their side.” On SWT’s side surely? And, despite this nice little compliment, can she be confident in the knowledge that SWT will stop misrepresenting its history and its intentions, so that she can have meaningful discussions? History suggests not.
SWT MAGAZINE HELPING TO RECRUIT PROSTITUTES
One would expect an ethical operator to take the bother to ensure that doubtful advertisements don’t appear in its magazines, especially where only a quick glance at a web address may be all that is needed to ensure propriety.
The November-December edition of South West Train’s e’motion magazine, that oracle of twisted words, fact manipulation, deception and attacking MPs who care about their constituents’ interests, carries a recruitment advertisement for prostitutes. It is located on page 46, next to an advertisement for the Great Western Museum which is likely to attract young people.
The advertiser, ‘Stansted Escorts’, states, “We are currently recruiting new ladies NATIONWIDE. If you consider yourself attractive, sweet natured, have a keen interest in meeting new people, this could be for you. Excellent rates of pay”. The website address provided is unashamedly adult, and shows that the ladies will also need to adopt provocative poses in their underwear.
The cover of this edition therefore seems peculiarly apt in its offer of “Hot ideas for things to do”.
Some commuters were already bemused at the heading “What lies beneath?” on the cover of the previous issue, when SWT’s website had been promising 20% more seats across their network, which was found to be untrue through a freedom of information request.
STAGECOACH BUS DRIVER BRINGS WINCHESTER TO A STANDSTILL
A Stagecoach bus driver refused to pass a faulty traffic light in the centre of Winchester which was showing red. This caused a major traffic snarl for more than 30 minutes. Scores of passengers were delayed as other buses and taxis were caught in the jam. (Southern Daily Echo 25/11/2006)
APPENDIX 1 - DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER –9
06/11/06 Ticket machine on Totton station was out of order this morning - ticket office staff reporting that the screen had been covered with litter and that cigarette butts had been stuffed into the bank card reader slot. Southampton Central's Caffe Ritazza unit was closed at 06.20. 17.35 from Waterloo was running 7 minutes late at Winchester, but only 2 minutes late at Totton, showing the slack in the timetable.
07/11/06 Platform information screen is still blank at Millbrook (this has been noted since 2 November). The stock for the 18.35 from Waterloo arrived only 5 minutes before its scheduled departure time, to be met by a large crush of passengers waiting on the platform. The in-carriage indicator showed "Not in service" and then just "South West Trains" for the whole journey. The guard apologised for the "slight delay in our departure tonight, due to signalling problems just outside the station" - we left 3 minutes late and then stopped again within sight of the station due to a "slight signalling problem in the Waterloo area causing congestion". The guard then announced that the driver had informed him of a "points failure ahead of us" and that we were "in a queue of trains waiting to get past". As we moved slowly down the line, the guard reported that we would suffer continuing slow movement due to "three tracks of traffic going through one track". Passed though Vauxhall at 18.54 and Clapham Junction at 19.03. When the guard announced the Winchester stop, he said that the cause of the delay had been "a points failure in the Wimbledon area". 34 minutes late at Totton, where the following 19.05 departure from Waterloo was shown as running 20 minutes late.
08/11/06 Platform information screen is blank at Millbrook. Out-of-date passenger "information" notice on the 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction referred to Regional Rail Passenger Committees which were phased out from about 18 months ago. A seat collapsed under an unfortunate passenger on the 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo. Out-of-date passenger "information" notice also on the 17.35 from Waterloo.
09/11/06 06.30 from Southampton Central was 8 minutes late at Waterloo due to "congestion in the Clapham Junction area".
10/11/06 06.46 from Totton stopped on the approach to Waterloo which the guard announced was due to "congestion", triggering a vocal complaint from one passenger on how poor an excuse that was as all the trains are timetabled.
13/11/06 The new ticket machines at Southampton Central are very quick to use, as long as you know the secret code to find where the car parking tickets are displayed (it is far from obvious) - although you do have to bend over to see the messages displayed on the card reader screen. The large Network Rail screen over the platform 1 at Southampton Central was showing a start button at the bottom of the screen and a message box was advising passengers that a "Java update is available". 06.21 from Southampton Central to Portsmouth and Southsea was cancelled. The 06.30 from Southampton Central was made up of recently refurbished stock, but still had an out-of-date passenger "information" notice displayed suggesting passengers could complain to the long-abolished Passenger Rail Committees. Guard on the 06.30 apologised for the "few minutes delay into London Waterloo this morning". 18.05 from London Waterloo (initially announced by the guard as another service) left 3 minutes late "awaiting the signal to leave the platform".
14/11/06 At Totton the 06.31 departure to Weymouth was shown as running 14 minutes late due to "overrunning engineering works at Basingstoke", although when the delay was announced on Southampton Central station this was just described as "engineering works at Basingstoke" without mentioning the overrunning bit. Also at Southampton Central the 06.45 stopping service to London Waterloo was announced as a platform change to platform 2B, the platform it always leaves from. As the 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo reached Winchester, the 07.35 departure from Winchester to Weymouth was shown as "delayed". As the 06.30 approached Clapham Junction the driver announced that the train was delayed due to "broken track at Clapham Junction". Guard later repeated the announcement from "my driver" that there was "broken track in the area". At Clapham Junction the 07.45 for Southampton Central was shown as "delayed" and the 07.57 to Salisbury was shown as cancelled. As we approached London Waterloo, the guard apologised for the "slight delay" - arrived 16 minutes late (not most passengers’ definition of "slight").
15/11/06 After the 07.00 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo left Winchester, the guard apologised for the overcrowding on the train and also to passengers in the quiet coach in the front half of the train for the "noisy door which will be repaired at London".
16/11/06 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left just before its scheduled departure time. Departure information screen at Millbrook is still blank (last known working was before 2 November).
17/11/06 One ticket machine at the platform 4 entrance to Southampton Central was not working - instead showing an Application Load page - and the other was in use by a customer who did not appear to know which type of ticket she wanted and was viewing several options. So I approached the ticket inspector, who was standing by the gates, about buying a car park ticket (the ticket office not being open at 06.20). He appeared initially reluctant ("you should use the ticket machines") but did sell me the ticket. I mentioned the customer who was having some difficulty and the fact that one machine was out of action but there was no reaction to the former and just the statement that the ticket machines are remotely controlled and can be restarted by the system operators if they are "tampered with" to the latter. The only ticket gate marked for incoming passengers was not working either. On the 06.30 from Southampton Central, passengers in the second carriage were unable to understand the very, very faint announcements being made by the guard after departure from Southampton Central, Southampton Airport Parkway and Winchester. Noted the new barrier arrangements on the down platform at Winchester which reduce the available platform width to passengers leaving trains at the London end of the platform to one-third of what it was - surely leading to crowding dangerously near the edge of the platform.
20/11/06 Advised at Totton station, when arriving at 07.10, that overrunning engineering works at Basingstoke were causing serious delays with the 05.48 from Totton to Waterloo still at Winchester and other services rerouted (apart from two services where train crews were not trained on the alternative route) via Havant - this normally involves at least a 1 hour delay. Also the 06.07 to Yeovil Junction has left 3 minutes early, leaving passengers on the station for whom the station staff organised an additional stop on the 06.30 from Southampton Central - it was fortunate that the office was open, as it quite often unmanned when the normal staff member is on leave or unwell. At Totton the 06.31 departure to Weymouth was announced as running 1 hour 19 minutes late, and the following down service was announced as more than 50 minutes late. As Radio Solent had not indicated such serious delays, I called their travel service phone line to make sure they knew of the disruption and they said that South West Trains had advised them of delays of just 30 minutes. The 07.16 was 2 minutes late leaving Totton. At Southampton Central, the departure indicators showed "Due to engineering work services to/from Waterloo will be subject to delay". However the guard's announcements after Southampton Central and approaching Winchester gave no indication of possible delay. Slow running into Winchester - 7 minutes late leaving there. After leaving Winchester (when passengers no longer had the option of changing their journey plans) the guard announced "I have been advised at Winchester of overrunning engineering works at Basingstoke" and that there are "8 trains in front of this train", "progress could be quite slow" and there may be "a bit of a delay" - as this information was already available to station staff at Totton, it was entirely unnecessary to wait until after Winchester to advise passengers on the train, yet again giving the lie to "as soon as we know, you'll know" posters. Several announcements were subsequently made without giving any further information, variously "we are in a queue", "ongoing delay", "we are making slow progress", "can't anticipate how long the delay will be". Just after 09.00, while still halted on the way to Basingstoke, the guard announced "will all buffet stewards issue free teas and coffees and soft drinks", but on the outskirts of Basingstoke the buffet steward announced that the rear buffet was closing due to lack of stock. Passed through Basingstoke at 09.36. Ran fast from Basingstoke, with a lot of dead leaves falling from the roof as we speeded up. Arrived at Waterloo 1 hour and 35 minutes late where SWT staff were on the platform giving out complaint forms - something I have never, ever seen them do when a problem due to SWT has happened! No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. Travelled to Rugby on the Virgin 13.46 Glasgow service from London Euston. Ran exactly to time on the outward journey but on the return journey the Virgin 17.50 service to London Euston was announced as running 65 minutes late due to "late inward workings at Liverpool Lime Street due to problems on a preceding train". Took the Central / Silverlink 17.54 semi-fast service for London Euston instead, which was shown on the departure indicators as running 10 minutes late, but there was confusion when the train pulled into the station as the destination indicators on the train only showed Northampton. Joined the train anyway but the on-train announcement again gave the destination as Northampton. When the guard came through checking tickets, I asked him about the conflicting information, and he reported that the train is a Central train until Northampton but is a Silverlink train from Northampton to London Euston so it doesn't really terminate at Northampton - "sounds stupid I know"! Approaching Northampton the automated announcement said "all change please" and then when we arrived "this train has now completed its journey". Sticking my head out of the door to double-check, I saw the platform departure screen show London Euston as the destination. 10 minutes later the train was announced as a Silverlink County service to London Euston and it left 5 minutes later. Arrived at Euston 20.45, where I headed to the Northern Line platform in time to see carriages disappearing into the tunnel and due to "severe delays" the next service shown as arriving in 10 minutes’ time. Missed the 21.05 from Waterloo by 7 minutes! 20.35 10 minutes late by Winchester following a slow train ahead, 17 minutes late at Southampton Airport Parkway, 15 late at Southampton Central where the "security" gates had been left open as it was now after 10pm. Total travelling time today including London Underground and travelling to/from stations = 11 hours.
21/11/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.05. The 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left slightly before its scheduled departure time (and had Exeter Central on its destination indicator at the front of the train). Millbrook departure screen is still blank. On the 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo, a fellow passenger remarked that Radio Solent had not given any indication of the severe delays yesterday. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. Blank platform departure indicator on platform 14 at Waterloo this evening. Travelling on the 18.35 from Waterloo, the train came to a halt after about 20 minutes with the announcement "can the guard please contact the driver", shortly followed by "hello driver over" and then by the guard apologising for the delay although he had "no idea what is going on", the driver telling him there were "two trains in front of us". After about 7 minutes, the guard reported he "still hadn't been informed what the delay was due to" but we have been given "green aspects to continue". 10 minutes late at Winchester.
22/11/06 06.30 from Southampton Central arrived approx 5 minutes late at Waterloo. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line.
23/11/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.05. The 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left before its scheduled departure time. Millbrook departure screen is still blank. 06.30 from Southampton Central arrived approx 3 minutes late at Waterloo. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line.
24/11/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 05.45, with a notice on the window that the office would be closed today and Monday. 05.48 from Totton ran slowly on the approach to Woking but was only a minute late departing, demonstrating some slack in the timetable. Approaching Waterloo we heard the announcement "can the guard please contact the driver". No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. 17.05 from Waterloo was 8 minutes late at Totton with no reason for the delay being given.
27/11/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.05. Totton departure indicators were warning of buses operating between Clapham Junction and Barnes due to overrunning engineering works. Millbrook departure screen is still blank - now coming up to a month since it was last known to be working. At Southampton Central, the 06.21 to Portsmouth & Southsea was inaccurately shown as "On Time" at 06.17 as the incoming 0614 was announced at the same time as running 6 minutes late, leaving a highly improbably 1 minute for the turnaround - a target that was unsurprisingly missed. At 06.47 at Winchester, the departure indicators on both platforms displayed a message "THIS PLATFORM IS CLOSED" and the 06.38 Winchester to Weymouth departure was running 9 minutes late. Guard was thrown sideways and hurt his shoulder as the train lurched about 15 minutes after Winchester, just as the outer reaches of Basingstoke were reached. Slow running into Woking and halted further up the line - guard apologised for the delay due to "problems on another line" and trains being diverted onto the main line "causing congestion", but gave no estimate for the amount of delay caused. Platform 9 at Clapham Junction very overcrowded. As we arrived into Waterloo, the guard announced that we were running 17 minutes late. No satellite signal on the ramp down to the Waterloo & City line. 19.05 from Waterloo was only 5 carriages this evening, and therefore crowded with some disappointed-looking families searching in vain for groups of seats together.
28/11/06 At Southampton Central this morning the 06.26 to Weymouth was shown as running 5 minutes late and the 07.01 to Weymouth was shown as running 7 minutes late. After the 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo had left Southampton Airport Parkway, the guard announced that a road vehicle had hit a rail bridge in the Woking area. He reported that the line was still open but with a speed limit of 20mph and was therefore warning of a possible delay into London Waterloo. At Winchester the 06.38 departure to Weymouth was shown as running about 15 minutes late. Later on the guard reported that the bridge strike "has been resolved" and he did not now anticipate any delay into London Waterloo. However, we passed through Clapham Junction at the time we were due at Waterloo, the guard apologising for the "ongoing late arrival" due to "congestion through Clapham Junction and upward to London Waterloo" - 7 minutes late at Waterloo. No satellite signal on the Waterloo & City ramp.
29/11/06 Arrived at Totton just before the 06.46 departure to London Waterloo to find a local commercial vehicle parked in one of the station car park spaces on the mini-roundabout. While squeezing the car into the only remaining (and hard to park in, given its location lengthways along the fence) station car park space, the 06.46 came and went, and then immediately after the train had left the station the commercial vehicle drove off. Totton ticket office still closed. Millbrook departure screen still blank. At Totton the 07.07 to Weymouth was shown as running 12 minutes late - but when I reached Southampton Central, the same service (07.01 from Southampton Central) was shown as running 17 minutes late with a platform alteration to platform 3 - the delay announced as due to "engineering works at Wimbledon". Two minutes after its delayed departure time, a freight train rumbled through platform 3 and the 07.01 was now shown as "Delayed" (and disappeared from the "Next Direct Train To" screens which now showed services to all destinations as running "On Time" - and directed Weymouth passengers back to platform 4 for the 07.58 departure). It was then announced that another freight train would pass through platform 3 before the Weymouth train arrived and, as it did so, the 07.01 was now shown as running 28 minutes late (and it reappeared on the "Next Direct Train To" screens - redirecting Weymouth passengers to platform 3 again). The 07.36 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo (stopping service) was shown as "delayed" and the platform announcement advised passengers to await further information. On the 07.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo the 5th carriage was too cold. No satellite signal on the Waterloo & City ramp.
30/11/06 Totton ticket office still closed. Millbrook departure screen still blank. 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo was 5 minutes late at Waterloo due to "congestion between Clapham Junction and London Waterloo". Still no satellite signal on the Waterloo & City ramp. The in-carriage destination indicator on the 18.05 from Waterloo was showing "This train is for London Waterloo" until after the train had left the station, when it updated to "Not in service". Eventually it displayed "This train is for Poole" but declined to give details of any intermediate stations.
01/12/06 Totton ticket office was just being opened by relief staff at 06.45 and the ticket machine was displaying "Out of service". The 07.07 from Totton to Weymouth was shown as running 11 minutes late. Overheard a fellow passenger describing a farce at Southampton Airport Parkway yesterday (after leaving London around 4pm so presumably on the 16.05) where passengers were asked to get off the train, then get on again and then get off again. 06.46 from Totton to London Waterloo left both Totton and Southampton Central 2 minutes late. Slowed to a halt at West Byfleet where the 08.06 from West Byfleet to Waterloo was shown as cancelled. The guard apologised for the delay and reported there is "another train in front of us who have just had their signal to proceed so we should be on our way very shortly". Then he said the reason for the delay is "a problem with a freight train which is now on the move" - 13 minutes late at London Waterloo. No satellite signal on the Waterloo & City ramp.
04/12/06 Heard on Radio Solent that the Waterloo & City line was closed due to "too much dust on the platforms". Totton ticket office was open at 07.40 with relief staff - I enquired about the permanent staff member and was told he was working "in the offices" this week at Southampton Central. Passengers joining the 07.46 from Totton to London Waterloo were blocked from taking their seats by the presence of a buffet trolley in the carriage. Noted on this train that a SWT route map opposite the "how to complain" notice which doesn't mention Passenger Focus 18 months after it replaced the Regional Passenger Committees is also very out of date as it doesn't show Eastleigh - Chandlers Ford - Romsey as a passenger route. The Waterloo & City was indeed closed (and there was still no satellite signal on the ramp). The stock for the 18.05 from Waterloo did not arrive until 18.20 and the service did not leave until 18.32, 27 minutes late. The guard reported that the delay was due to the "incoming train being delayed by a security alert at Winchester". Passengers awaiting this service at Winchester and Southampton Central were unable to see details of the delay as the platform departure indicators were showing "we regret that owing to a software fault no departure information can be displayed", just when they needed the information about this train and the following 18.35 service from Waterloo. In the event, one passenger loudly complained that he had been told by staff to join the delayed 18.05 service rather than the 18.35 service to get to his destination quicker, only to find that we were held at Millbrook signals to let the front portion of the 18.35 speed past us. Arrived at Totton 43 minutes late where a fellow passenger said that he was giving up commuting after 4 years as he couldn't cope with it any more.
05/12/06 06.07 from Totton did not run but remained on the departure indicator until 06.21 when it simply disappeared from the list of services with no cancellation notice being displayed - a replacement stop at 06.21 on the 06.30 from Southampton Central was already shown on the indicator so someone must have known that the 06.07 was cancelled, although the relief ticket office staff at Totton wasn't one of them (and he didn't know that the 06.21 was not a normal scheduled departure either). Very hard luck to the passengers waiting to catch the 06.07 at Millbrook, who have not had a working departure screen for a month and so are also deprived of information just when they need it - and if they want to see the time of the next train, the notice with details of train services from the station is unlit. The 06.21 left Totton 4 minutes late. Waterloo & City line closed again this morning due to "emergency engineering works" (reported in the press as a recurrence of yesterday's dust problem).
06/12/06 The 06.31 from Totton to Weymouth was shown as running 4 minutes late until 06.29, when it changed to being shown as running on time, which it did - the stock for this service was Blue Desiro (class 450) which must make for a long and uncomfortable journey for long-distance travellers as this stock is generally regarded as suitable for suburban services only primarily due to its seating configuration (and particularly the lack of armrests). Totton ticket office open at 06.30. Millbrook departure screen is still blank. The first set of departure information screens on platform 13 and 14 at London Waterloo this evening were blank, as they were last week I believe.
07/12/06 Stock for the 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction arrived at the station after its scheduled departure time. Millbrook departure screen is still blank - SWT could at least hang some tinsel or decorations on the pole to use it as a Christmas tree because it is no use as a passenger information system! Arriving at Southampton Central, services were shown as running on time - this was suspicious as the 06.30 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo is almost always shown as running a minute late at around 06.20 even if it is running to time, and true enough a few minutes later the 06.30 was shown as "Delayed" and then running 8, then 10 and then 12 minutes late. Also the 06.21 to Portsmouth & Southsea was shown as running on time until after its scheduled departure time, when there was an announcement that the incoming service was delayed by 12 minutes - the 06.21 was then shown as departing 6 minutes late and it actually left 8 minutes late. A fellow passenger complained that access to the 18.35 from Waterloo last night had been blocked 2 minutes before departure time by a line of station staff - causing several passengers to miss the service. The 06.30 from Southampton Central was 15 minutes late at Winchester, 19 minutes late at London Waterloo - all without any word of apology or explanation from the guard. No satellite signal on the screens on the Waterloo & City line ramps. When the 17.35 from Waterloo reached Southampton Airport Parkway the departure indicator just said "Welcome to Southampton Airport Parkway" without displaying any departure information. At Southampton Central, the platform indicators and the "Next Direct Train To" screens both said "Welcome to Southampton Central" without displaying any departure information and the large wallboard by the platform 4 station entrance was blank - a member of staff told me it had "not been working all day - total chaos it's been". Before the train left Southampton, the platform departure indicators changed to "We regret that owing to a fault no information can be displayed at present" and the "Next Direct Train To" screens were blank. Arrived at Totton in time to see the 19.01 from Totton to Romsey leave before its scheduled departure time.
08/12/06 Just missed the 06.07 from Totton to Yeovil Junction which left the station before its scheduled departure time. At Southampton Central, only one out of the 3 ticket gates was working at the platform 4 entrance and the ticket barrier staff were seemingly more interested in chatting to their colleagues than paying attention to passengers. The 06.21 to Portsmouth and Southsea left 5 minutes late, the incoming service having arrived 9 minutes late (this not being displayed on any information screens as arrival information is no longer provided, having been replaced by "Next Direct Train To" screens) - after the 06.21 had actually left the station, passengers heard the service being announced again and were told that it "will leave from platform 2A". At Waterloo, there is still no satellite signal for the screens on the Waterloo & City ramp. On the 17.05 from Waterloo, the guard announced that we were running 10 minutes late approaching Winchester due to "following a late-running train from Basingstoke". After standing at Winchester station for some time, we left 14 minutes late and the guard made "an important announcement for passengers who have joined the train at Winchester", apologising for the incorrect information that had been given by a platform announcement at Winchester and giving the stopping pattern for the service.
11/12/06 No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City Line. A free newspaper stand abandoned at the top of the steps to platform 14 from the subway under the platforms caused difficulty for a blind passenger this evening. Another passenger was injured when someone trailing a wheeled bag cut across them, striking their leg with the bag - the victim was seen limping painfully up the platform. The 18.05 from Waterloo was very crowded due to the cancellation of the 17.48 to Southampton Central and, for some reason, the doors on the 6th carriage were locked out of use. 14 minutes late at Southampton Central where the platform departure indicators were not working again on platform 4 (and only half of the large display at the platform 4 entrance was working).
12/12/06 06.43 from Southampton Central to London Waterloo was shown as "Delayed" at 07.00. 06.53 to Portsmouth Harbour was a 2-car unit in a transPennine Express livery! No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City Line. Boarded the stock for the 18.35 from Waterloo to Weymouth about 15 minutes before departure - a few minutes later, an announcement was made "the next stop for this train is London Waterloo" and "this train terminates here - all change please" before the correct announcement of "welcome to this South West Trains service to Weymouth" was made. The stations listed by the in-carriage message indicator in the rear half of the train were the stopping pattern for the front half of the train after it splits at Southampton Central - this caused some passengers to become uncertain whether they were on the right train. When we reached Southampton Central, the stopping pattern for the front half of the train was announced in the carriage - "the next station is Bournemouth", again causing a minor panic for less frequent travellers. 6 minutes late at Totton.
13/12/06 No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City Line. 17.05 from Waterloo was delayed more than 8 minutes at Southampton Central, with station staff apparently unable to split the front half of the train from the rear half.
14/12/06 Totton ticket office open at 06.00 with a different relief staff member. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City Line. The 22.05 from Waterloo to Poole was just 5 coaches but was standing at the platform in front of 5 coaches that were not in service. I had to rescue one passenger who was trying to join the out of service train by the unlocked guard's door. I also observed a lady trying to open the internal door to the 4th carriage on the train by pressing the button to open the door to the disabled toilet!
15/12/06 A notice by the entrance to the Totton ticket office states that "due to increased demand" car park charges will apply at Totton from 1 January 2007. We suspected that SWT would not be able to restrain itself from pinching a few more pennies from passengers, in fact more likely to be a considerable number of pounds. No details of the charges are yet stated so, given the holiday period, passengers will have less that one weeks' effective notice of them. The introduction of charges will immediately reduce the number of spaces in the main part of the car park by 1 as the unofficial (but staff approved) parking space along the wall to the left of the ticket office will surely be lost with the threat of penalty charges or clamping - one car park space having already been lost to a useless disabled-only parking space (useless because although the down platform has a disabled access ramp to be used for trains, there is no disabled access to the platform itself, so disabled passengers can join Southampton-bound trains but cannot then return to the station). It will be interesting to see whether the 2 marked and 1 unofficial parking spaces around the mini-roundabout will be included - the previous permanent staff member was adamant that the marked spaces were part of the station car park but the current permanent staff member has not confirmed this. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City Line. Just as on Tuesday, passengers on the 18.35 from Waterloo to Weymouth heard an announcement "the next stop for this train is London Waterloo" and "this train terminates here - all change please" before the correct announcement of "welcome to this South West Trains service to Weymouth" was made. A recorded announcement of the stopping pattern for the front half of the train only was made before the guard made an additional announcement about the split at Southampton. Again, the stations listed by the in-carriage message indicator in the rear half of the train were the stopping pattern for the front half of the train only. 7 minutes late at Winchester due to "speed restrictions in the Woking area". Stood in the Millbrook area for an extended period due to "congestion in front" (at 20.15!). 21 minutes late at Totton.
18/12/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.45, so we cannot ask about car park charges being introduced, effectively in 5 working days’ time. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. Stock for the 19.05 from Waterloo was not cleaned after its previous, presumably delayed, journey.
19/12/06 Totton ticket office was open with a relief staff member. Daily car parking charge will be £2.40, weekly/monthly season tickets will be available (but will not guarantee a car parking space). This staff member was unsure whether bays on the mini-roundabout would be included (but mentioned 11 spaces, which would imply that they are) – he referred queries to the permanent ticket office staff, who we haven’t seen now for at least 2 weeks and may not do so before Christmas. Given the forthcoming holiday period, this was effectively 4 working days’ notice of the charges (and then only because I saw the single notice by the ticket office entrance that season ticket holders rarely use, and then went out of my way to ask for details at the earliest opportunity). No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The 17.05 from Waterloo was 9 minutes at Southampton Central as the “line ahead of us has been occupied by a late-running container train” - no platform departure information indicators working at Winchester, Southampton Central or Totton.
20/12/06 No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The 21.35 from Waterloo still had reserved seat markers showing reservations from Poole to Waterloo. The carriage was cold with passengers keeping their coats on, but the buffet area a few steps away was very warm. Continual vibration in the carriage meant that the coffee cup would not stay where it was put! On reaching Southampton Central, passengers were shocked to hear that the train would be held at the platform for 4 minutes to await a connecting service - we have previously been told repeatedly that connections were no longer held, even for a few minutes, and we have seen trains being sent off while passengers from connecting services have been racing to join them, but here was some customer service being blatantly performed. A few minutes later, a Virgin service from Edinburgh pulled into the station, announced as terminating at Southampton Central, with passengers for stations down the line advised to join the SWT service (which was standing at platform 2 just so that Virgin passengers alighting from their train at platform 3 did not need to use the stairs to join the connecting service). Perhaps I was dreaming and it was the ghost of customer service past!
21/12/06 Obtained the car parking season ticket costs from a different relief staff member at Totton - weekly £9.70, monthly £35.80, yearly £384.60. The email listing the prices was seen to refer to about 5 other previously free-of-charge stations also affected, including Parkstone. This staff member predicted that the unmarked parking space next to the ticket office door which has been used with staff agreement for years would still be available and that the parking charges would not apply to parking spaces on the mini-roundabout (this would make just 9 parking spaces included in the scheme + 1 disabled parking space). The automatic ticket machine at Totton was switched off. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The stock for the 18.05 from Waterloo was at the platform well before departure time but we still left 7 minutes late with no reason given. Ten minutes late at Winchester which the guard announced as due to a "late start from Waterloo" and "congestion in the Woking area". Ten minutes late at Totton.
22/12/06 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.45 and, while the automatic ticket machine was switched on, it reported itself to be "out of service". On the 06.46 from Totton, the guard apologised to passengers in the rear coach of the front 5 carriages (unit 2403), saying that the "air conditioning has a fault" and that the other 9 carriages on the train were heated (although the 2nd carriage didn't feel very warm) - strangely enough, air conditioning faults in the 5th carriage of this unit had been noted back in August and September. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. A special Christmas present for commuters this evening as the Waterloo & City line was suspended with no reason being given. The 5th carriage of the 17.35 from Waterloo (unit 2414) was very cold - 7 minutes late at Totton.
Points on SWT’s E’motion magazine, issue 19
Page 4 : The punctuality figures quoted by SWT Customer Service Director Ian Johnston do not state which period they refer to, just "our latest data"; but for this Nov/Dec issue, the figures do not match those for the period from 17 Sep to 14 Oct. Surprisingly there does not appear to be any readily available source for historic punctuality figures.
Page 4 : Refurbishment of class 455 units (stripping out 6,500 seats) said to provide "greater passenger comfort and safety".
Page 5 : Jocelyn Pearson of Passenger Focus again giving credibility to the SWT Passengers' Panel by judging SWT's Station Pride awards. The reference to "passenger group representatives Jim Reside of the Passengers' Panel and Jocelyn Pearson of Passenger Focus" suggests she is on par with the Panel, which is controlled by a Stagecoach director and gives an often false picture of the company. Passenger Focus is supposed to be an independent watchdog.
Pages 5-6 : This edition's self-congratulatory list of awards:
Best Small Station (SWT Station Pride awards) = Godalming
Best Medium Station (SWT Station Pride awards) = Brockenhurst
Best Large Station (SWT Station Pride awards) = Basingstoke
Best Station Operating in Difficult Circumstances (SWT Station Pride awards) = Putney
Most Improved Station (SWT Station Pride awards) = Lymington Town
Outstanding Teamwork (National Rail Awards)
Best Medium-Sized Station of the Year (National Rail Awards) = Basingstoke, which cannot decide which size it is!
Outstanding Personal Contribution (National Rail Awards)
Maintenance Team of the Year (National Rail Awards), mentioned even though they did not win it!
Our Top Employees (12 SWT employees nominated during National Customer Service Week)
South West Trains' Service Excellence Award.
(As Christian Wolmar recently commented, it is odd that there are so many award ceremonies in an industry with such an unenviable record.)
Page 6 : The article on SWT's Top Employees could have done with some Top Proofreading as the first paragraph had "Ron Cox, pictured bottom right with one of this (sic) nominators" and Drusilla Hodges was apparently "always happy and cheeful".
Page 6 : "Travelsafe" - the ongoing initiative to "crack down on crime and anti-social behaviour in stations and on trains" obviously isn't ongoing after 10pm when the "security" barriers at Southampton Central are left open for all and sundry to wander into the station and onto trains. The described security operation was called a success because only one knife was found, but it would of course been called a success if lots of knives had been found, so it was always going to called a success whatever happened.
Page 7 : "We're with you all the way" "until February 2017" - unlikely as SWT is either going to go bust long before then or be merged with another operator to survive or surrender the franchise as it won't be able to afford the annual DfT payments. At least I can "rest assured" that they are going to "work even harder" for passengers - I think the following letter page shows exactly how hard they are going to work for passengers and it isn't going to be much. Even their PR department must be embarrassed to see the claim that SWT has an "excellent past record"; "We are not taking our commuters for granted" says Ian Dobbs, when trains are being "reconfigured" to rip out seats while claiming "capacity will increase". Implications in the final paragraph that commuters are going to be priced out of car parks as they want to see empty spaces after 09.00 and the 2,000 additional car-parking spaces spread across the network map to an average of only 11 spaces per station.
Page 8 : The first example of SWTs promise to "work even harder" for passengers appears in the Star Letter where the reply confirms that customer service will be reduced for operational convenience.
Page 8 : Is the writer of "South Western Saved" a major shareholder in SWT? If not, they should give him some shares for the gross sucking-up he did in his letter. In any case the letter is based on a deception. The writer thanks Stagecoach for saving him from the unreliability of the class 50-hauled trains on the Waterloo-Exeter line. Alas, the class 50s went in 1993 and Stagecoach took over in 1996.
Page 9 : The Voxpops are clearly from 3 non-commuters (and one hopeless optimist) - "I always look for plenty of leg room" says one non-commuter, "when I use South West Trains" says another and "I have only used South West Trains for a couple of weeks" says the third. The hopeless optimist says "In the future, I'd like to see more carriages and seats, especially during rush hour".
Page 10 : SWT claims "we actually subsidise our on-board catering". [Not for two and a half hour journeys from stations like Christchurch to Waterloo on Sundays!]
Page 11 : SWT is spending some if its vast profits from the last incredibly generous franchise award to appear community minded - £12,000 to Dunk the Junk in Guildford and £5,000 to a games area in Farnham. [Doesn’t mention the £100,000,000 about to go to the two Stagecoach founders to add to their last £65,000,000 bonus]
Pages 14-16 : Not only does the "independent" Passengers' Panel supply articles for each edition of e-motion, but it appears that Jocelyn Pearson of Passenger Focus is doing it too. Turning the quoted statistics, around one-fifth of all passengers are not satisfied with their rail journeys - hardly a ringing endorsement - and the satisfaction figures are the highest level ever recorded, but they weren't recorded before autumn 1999. Nice of SWT to acknowledge Passenger Focus (former Rail Passengers Council) which 18 months ago took over the work of the former Rail Passengers Committees. If only they would get around to updating the "how to complain" notices on their trains to give their contact details instead of those of the former committees… SWT happily quotes Jocelyn as saying they are "near the top and up with the best in dealing with complaints" - but many passengers simply don't bother to make complaints now as they have been brushed off in the past with meaningless responses. She also gifts SWT potential criticism of some rail user groups as "too parochial" and praises travelling on the "heritage trains" on the Brockenhurst to Lymington line. The satisfaction rating among passengers for how SWT deals with delays is 46% described as "one of the highest scores among train operating companies" but is considerably below the ratings for GNER (67%) and Virgin West Coast (61%). The overall satisfaction with SWT is a "near-record" because the level actually dropped in the latest Spring 2006 survey from the level in the Autumn 2005 survey.
Pages 25-26 : While purporting to set out its priorities for the new franchise, the "independent" Passengers' Panel manages somehow to slip in the odd word of praise for the organisation employing its chairman.... "Levels of service and information provision have greatly improved under South West Trains", "high level of staff training" and "well-trained employees","introduction of TravelSafe Officers was widely welcomed", "ticketing is undoubtedly easier", "cleanliness on trains has leapt ahead" and "it has made an enormous difference to the quality of our journeys", "South West Trains' work on this [slowing down of the timetable], while much criticised initially, is now praised", "standards of communication....has (sic) improved out of all recognition", "huge progress and improvement over the past few years", and a dig at Network Rail..."carrying out [engineering works] on the basis of what is good for the engineers rather than the passengers", which is a case of the pot calling the kettle black given the Star Letter on page 8.
Page 27 : A passenger's question about the failure to hold a connection for just 3 minutes gains the admission that SWT knows there are such things as connections as known about ("Our On-Train Manual gives guard information about the connecting services from each station") but ignored as a matter of policy - "We do not hold trains for connecting service because even a wait of a few minutes will have a knock-on effect across the network", which is poppycock of the highest order. Any sign here of a desire to "work even harder" for passengers? No, I didn't think so.
Page 27 : A strange set of photographs on this Q&A page apparently intended to relate to the questions raised and answers given - one picture is titled "First Class upgrades are available weekends and public holidays" but the question was about passengers with advance tickets or railcards for which the upgrades are not available and another picture is titled "trains being cleaned at Waterloo" but the question was pointing out that this hadn't been done on the train in question.
Page 27 : Given the furore about replacing class 444 stock with class 450 stock on the Portsmouth line, the question about making changes between 10 carriage Desiros and 8 or 12 carriage Desiros looks suspiciously convenient for SWT. Surely they couldn't have planted the anonymous question, could they?
Page 27 : SWT admit they are even more useless at managing suppliers than they were at trying to run a train service (before they decided just to give up and slow the trains down) as the brand new ticket machines have display screens above the numeric keypad used for credit card PIN entry that cannot be read by anyone of average height without having to bend over. When this problem for "some users", ie the vast majority of users, had "come to light", the supplier simply told them that it would take 12 months to fix so SWT went ahead with the installation of the ticket machines anyway.
Page 28 : The South West Trains Passengers Panel is still described as the "independent voice" and as an "independent body" when it is nothing of the sort. This "Meet the Panel" interview manages to get a few more digs in at Network Rail: "the management of tracks and signals by Network Rail still leaves a lot to be desired - there are too many delays due to signal or electrical faults"; "I also find the huge amount of trackside rubbish unacceptable"; "I do acknowledge that South West Trains relies heavily on Network Rail in managing the stations properly" after complaining about inadequate lighting and dirty or vandalised seats and shelters.
Page 39 : The list of sporting fixtures for Portsmouth FC omitted to mention the restricted service to Fratton for the fixtures on 23 Dec and 1 Jan.
Pages 46-47 : The "LifeStyle Collection" includes an advertisement for women to work for an escort agency (just 3 pages from the children's activity page, and on the page opposite an advert for Southampton Guildhall). In fact, do Southampton City Council know the type of company their advertisement is keeping? - as well as the nearby escort recruitment drive, there is a 9-day course to change your life with "avatarepc", a six week course in East Dulwich to improve your sexual well being, a hearse that can be hired as a limousine for weddings and parties, a "proven" system to earn up to £5,000 per month using your PC and, in a surreal touch, a dental clinic in Abu Dhabi.
APPENDIX 2 - RAIL PERFORMANCE REPORTS
Note: These details are snapshots, based on passengers' own experiences and website information. The Group does not have the resources to provide a full picture of the performance shortcomings which passengers suffer. We are able to provide fuller coverage on some days than on others. Please note that trains can become increasingly late during the course of their journeys, or make up time where stops are omitted and passengers thrown off, so the "minutes late" figures may not represent the position at the end of a journey.
Sunday 05/11/06 06.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 7 minutes late starting. 06.55 Southampton-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 07.16 Basingstoke/07.30 Farnham-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 07.26 Salisbury-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.52 Woking-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 08.54 Waterloo-Bournemouth 16 minutes late. 09.24 Epsom-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 11.55 Totton-Romsey axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.40 Romsey-Totton axed between Romsey and Southampton DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.05 Bournemouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 14.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 15.15 Alton/15.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 15.45 Alton/15.50 Basingstoke-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 15.54 Waterloo-Bournemouth/Portsmouth 40 minutes late; omitted all stops before Eastleigh and then Southampton Airport, DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 29 minutes late. 16.05 Hampton Court-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.10 Waterloo-Guildford 26 minutes late. 20.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 47 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN.
Monday 06/11/06 05.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 05.49 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 12.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 9 minutes late. Front carriage of the 13.05 Waterloo-Poole too overheated to use. 14.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 16.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.37 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late.
Tuesday 07/11/06 05.40 Basingstoke-Weymouth 9 minutes late. 05.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 05.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 9 minutes late; stops at Surbiton, Wimbledon and Clapham Junction axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.20 Waterloo-Reading 10 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 06.55 Reading-Brighton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.55 Reading-Brighton 23 minutes late.
Wednesday 08/11/06 06.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth severely overcrowded and 15 minutes late due to road vehicle hitting a bridge; connection at Southampton Central for intermediate stations to Bournemouth not held.
Thursday 09/11/06 04.57 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 05.38 Honiton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 06.14 Alton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.32 Woking-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 07.02 Woking-Waterloo axed due to person being injured. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 07.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth started 8 minutes late. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury started 5 minutes late. 07.51 Windsor-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 08.14 Alton-Waterloo axed. 08.20 Waterloo-Reading 13 minutes late. 08.37 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 15.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.57 Brighton-Reading axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO DRIVER. 16.54 Dorking-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO DRIVER. 17.45 Waterloo-Havant reduced to 5 coaches. 18.05 Dorking-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO DRIVER. At around 21.20 virtually all arrivals at Waterloo running a few minutes late despite such slow schedules.
Friday 10/11/06 DUFF TRAIN at Earley. 08.12 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late; Longcross and all intermediate stops after Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.42 Reading-Waterloo 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.35 Guildford-Waterloo 16 minutes late; replaced by a bus from Surbiton. 10.03 Waterloo-Guildford 10 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Wimbledon axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. DUFF TRAIN AT PUTNEY – EVENING PEAK SERVICE ON THE WINDSOR LINES COLLAPSED. 15.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 58 minutes late. 15.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 48 minutes late. 15.51 Windsor-Waterloo 51 minutes late. 15.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 16.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 16.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 16.12 Reading-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 51 minutes late. 16.21 Windsor-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 16.28 Guildford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 16.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 16.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 16.51 Windsor-Waterloo 45 minutes late. 16.58 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 17.01 Waterloo—Kingston-Waterloo axed. 17.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 17.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 17.21 Windsor-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 17.43 Waterloo-Shepperton axed. 17.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 18.06 Hampton Court-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 34 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.21 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 18.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 26 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Feltham axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.30 Waterloo-Epsom axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Barnes axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Reading axed. 19.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 22 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.06 Shepperton-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 19.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.42 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot. 22.38 Aldershot-Guildford axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 23.01 Guildford-Ascot axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Saturday 11/11/06 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot axed DUE TO NO CREW. 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 29 minutes DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth reduced to 4 coaches. 06.33 Woking-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 09.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 09.39 Waterloo-Southampton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 10.00 Weymouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 10.01 Poole-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 10.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 11.12 Reading-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 11.15 Waterloo-Haslemere 20 minutes late. 11.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 11.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 14.16 Portsmouth-Basingstoke thrown off at Fratton. Passengers on the 14.16 Brockenhurst-Wareham thrown off at Bournemouth. 14.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 14.35 Waterloo-Weymouth axed between Waterloo and Bournemouth. 15.44 Lymington-Brockenhurst axed DUE TO NO CREW. 15.59 Wareham-Brockenhurst axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 16.04 Reading-Brighton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.29 Brockenhurst-Lymington axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.44 Lymington-Brockenhurst axed. 17.16 Brockenhurst-Wareham axed between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth. 17.55 Southampton-Waterloo 30 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW; Fleet and Farnborough stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed. 18.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 19.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.06 Weymouth-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.50 Waterloo-Woking 22 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Barnes axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.43 Guildford-Waterloo 36 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 23.03 Waterloo-Guildford axed between Waterloo and Wimbledon.
Sunday 12/11/06 Passengers on the 01.05 Waterloo-Southampton thrown on to a bus at Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW. 08.55 Totton-Waterloo replaced by a taxi departing at 08.32 - this allowed the taxi 31 minutes to reach Southampton Central by the scheduled arrival time of the displaced train, against the normal running time for buses of 12 minutes. 10.17 Guildford-Ascot 16 minutes late. 19.35 Southampton-Portsmouth axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.44 Waterloo-Windsor 17 minutes late.
Monday 13/11/06 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.55 Reading-Brighton diverted to Fratton. 07.50 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Fareham. 09.02 Dorking-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.57 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Havant. 10.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Havant. 14.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Tuesday 14/11/06 05.40 Basingstoke-Weymouth 14 minutes late. Broken rail at Clapham Junction. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 20 minutes late. At 08.00 all mainline trains into Waterloo simply advertised as delayed, with no indication of how late they might be; Hampton Court services axed between Waterloo and Surbiton.12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 40 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Salisbury. 16.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 18.55 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke.
Wednesday 15/11/06 06.55 Reading-Brighton 100 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Barnham. 09.57 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Barnham. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 28 minutes late; stops at Dawlish and Teignmouth axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 16.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.55 Southampton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 40 minutes late. 18.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 19.02 Waterloo-Guildford 13 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 18 minutes late. 19.43 Guildford-Waterloo 26 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Epsom axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury axed between Southampton and Salisbury DUE TO NO CREW.
Thursday 16/11/06 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches. 08.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 19.32 Waterloo-Surbiton 15 minutes late.
Friday 17/11/06 Duff lighting on the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil started with the first coach being in total darkness and then switched to the second coach having only emergency lights. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches.
Saturday 18/11/06 06.55 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 09.05 Guildford-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 11.12 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 11.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 11.21 Windsor-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late.
Sunday 19/11/06 13.54 Waterloo-Weymouth 25 minutes late. 14.29 Worthing-Exeter 17 minutes late.
Monday 20/11/06 A day of travel from hell on South West Trains. Overrunning engineering work at Basingstoke destroyed the morning mainline peak service with many trains between one and two hours late; afternoon signalling failure at Feltham led to Windsor line services running up to an hour late, including through the evening peak; later afternoon services between Farnham and Alton replaced by buses due to a signalling failure; “poor rail conditions” caused delays to evening trains via Basingstoke; and line blocked at Wareham in the evening DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 06.07 Totton-Yeovil departed over 2 minutes early, leaving passengers behind. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo diverted via Fareham and 60 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo, which passes through Fareham, maintained its normal route and 85 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late. 17.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.51 Windsor-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 17.58 Guildford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 18.05 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 18.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 44 minutes late. 18.54 Waterloo-Dorking 16 minutes late. 18.55 Southampton-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 41 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 24 minutes late. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 19.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 30 minutes late. 19.37 Weybridge-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 19.51 Windsor-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 19.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 20.03 Woking-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 20.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 49 minutes late. 20.51 Windsor-Waterloo 58 minutes late. 21.14 Alton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 21.21 Windsor-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 22.20 Waterloo-Salisbury 11 minutes late.
Tuesday 21/11/06 15.42 Southampton-Portsmouth axed DUE TO NO DRIVER. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 17.55 Southampton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 18.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.35 Dorking-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.35 Guildford-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 18.36 Portsmouth-Southampton axed between Portsmouth and Fareham DUE TO NO DRIVER. 18.54 Poole-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 11 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 33 minutes late. 19.43 Guildford-Waterloo 22 minutes late.
Wednesday 22/11/06 05.15 Salisbury-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 06.12 Reading-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo 39 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Yeovil and Salisbury axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 07.11 Shepperton-Waterloo thrown off at Kingston. 08.12 Waterloo-Shepperton axed between Waterloo and Kingston. 12.53 Waterloo-Alton 16 minutes late. Evening signalling problems at Waterloo. Services collapsed from around 17.30. For a time, Shepperton services ran only to and from Kingston and Hampton Court services only to and from Surbiton. By 19.50 many trains into Waterloo were up to around 30 minutes late, with corresponding delays in the opposite direction. A few examples: 17.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 24 minutes late and passengers thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE; passengers on the 17.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE; 17.35 Dorking-Waterloo 18 minutes late; 17.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 16 minutes late; 17.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 16 minutes late; passengers on the 18.05 Guildford-Waterloo thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE; 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late; 18.54 Waterloo-Dorking axed between Waterloo and Clapham Junction; 19.00 Waterloo-Epsom axed between Waterloo and Wimbledon; 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 22 minutes late; 19.16 Waterloo-Chessington axed between Waterloo and Wimbledon; 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 13 minutes late.
Thursday 23/11/06 06.07 Totton-Yeovil reduced to two coaches and started 20 seconds early. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 7 minutes late. 07.20 Waterloo-Reading 19 minutes late. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo axed between Weybridge and Virginia Water. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Bracknell. Stock for 07.50 Waterloo-Reading expected to arrive at 08.00. 07.51 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 07.58 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 14.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 16 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Putney and Hounslow – except Brentford – axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.20 Waterloo-Yeovil axed between Waterloo and Woking. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 18 minutes late. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo axed. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton 15 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN IN FRONT. 18.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed between Waterloo and Kingston. 19.10 Paignton-Basingstoke 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 19.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed between Waterloo and Woking. 21.20 Waterloo-Reading 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.35 Portsmouth-Havant axed DUE TO DUFF TRAIN.
Friday 24/11/06 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo 17 minutes late. Passengers on the 08.01 Totton-Romsey thrown off at Southampton DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.09 Waterloo-Guildford 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Epsom axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.20 Guildford-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.00 Romsey-Totton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.42 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 15 minutes late. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 3 coaches and 15 minutes late. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 19.10 Paignton-Basingstoke 10 minutes late. 19.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 21 minutes late. 21.21 Windsor-Waterloo axed between Windsor and Staines. 21.42 Reading-Waterloo 16 minutes late and passengers thrown off at Clapham Junction DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.43 Guildford-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 21.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 22.03 Woking-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 22.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 19 minutes late. 23.35 Waterloo-Salisbury 13 minutes late.
Saturday 25/11/06 08.21 Andover-Paignton 31 minutes late. 08.25 Exeter-Andover 15 minutes late. 09.26 Andover-Exeter 34 minutes late. 10.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 10.10 Paignton-Barnham 25 minutes late. 11.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 11.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 11.42 Reading-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 11.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 12.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 40 minutes late. 12.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 12.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 12.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 30 minutes late. 13.01 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 13.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 17 minutes late; Woking and Guildford stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 39 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 17.44 Alton-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late; stops at Fareham, Havant, Guildford and Clapham Junction axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.00 Romsey-Totton axed between Southampton Central and Totton DUE TO NO CREW. 19.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 20.01 Totton-Romsey axed DUE TO NO CREW. 20.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 20.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 20.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 20.20 Waterloo-Reading 30 minutes late. 20.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 16 minutes late. 20.28 Waterloo-Windsor 28 minutes late. 20.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 29 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Hounslow axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.50 Waterloo-Reading 32 minutes late. 20.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 44 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 21.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 16 minutes late. 22.01 Totton-Romsey axed DUE TO NO CREW. 23.08 Romsey-Southampton axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 26/11/06 22.42 Portsmouth-Southampton axed.
Monday 27/11/06 Serious overrun of engineering work between Clapham Junction and Barnes with replacement buses running through the morning peak and horrific conditions for commuters. A few services diverted to the main line. Large numbers axed, curtailed or delayed. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 7 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo axed. Stock for 07.50 Waterloo-Reading expected at 08.17. 07.51 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 07.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. At 08.00 most main line arrivals into Waterloo were around 10 minutes late. 08.03 Waterloo-Teddington axed. 08.07 Waterloo-Reading simply advertised as delayed. 09.12 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Wokingham. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 15.23 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot. Stock for the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth reduced to 5 coaches, so stock for the 17.35 used on the 17.05 instead. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 21.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 21.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 21.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late.
Tuesday 28/11/06 04.55 Southampton-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 05.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late. 05.05 Waterloo-Reading diverted via Kingston due to overrun of engineering works. 05.49 Weymouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late from Southampton; the connecting service for intermediate stations was sent ahead from Eastleigh, ensuring that the 05.49 was 17 minutes late from Winchester. 06.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 12 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Kingston axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.18 Epsom-Waterloo axed. 07.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed. 12.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 23 minutes late. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.12 Reading-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 16.42 Reading-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late.
Wednesday 29/11/06 05.23 Poole-Brockenhurst ran late, delaying the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo by 8 minutes. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton about 20 minutes late: the short turnaround time of this train ensured that the return 06.21 service would be similarly late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 5 minutes late. Passengers awaiting the 06.07 from Totton stared at the big poster proclaiming that doors would be closed up to 30 seconds early to ensure punctual running; the 06.07 eventually staggered into the station 9 minutes late with only emergency lighting and some of the motors inoperative. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 09.00 Romsey-Totton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 15.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late; stops at St Margaret’s, North Sheen and Mortlake axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil 7 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.20 Exeter-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 22.04 Weybridge-Waterloo 11 minutes late.
Thursday 30/11/06 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.36 Portsmouth-Southampton axed DUE TO DUFF TRAIN IN FRONT. Stock for 07.52 Waterloo-Weybridge expected 16 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 30 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Dorchester DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Stock for the 16.50 Waterloo-Reading expected to arrive at 17.02; all intermediate stops before Feltham axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.54 and 18.54 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth. 18.57 Brighton-Reading axed. 20.06 Weymouth-Waterloo axed between Weymouth and Dorchester. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury axed between Brighton and Cosham. Passengers on the 21.55 Reading-Portsmouth thrown off at Fratton.
Friday 01/12/06 04.55 Southampton-Waterloo 24 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 05.12 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 05.15 Salisbury-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 06.15 Yeovil-Exeter 18 minutes late. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo 15 minutes late and all intermediate stops between Woking and Surbiton axed DUE TO ROLLING STOCK SHORTAGE. 09.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 10 minutes late. Engineer attending the 11.28 Waterloo-Windsor at the train’s departure time. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury axed between Brighton and Hove. 21.43 Guildford-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Epsom axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Saturday 02/12/06 09.57 Brighton-Paignton mysteriously disappeared off information systems before reaching Havant; an exciting extra train was to run in its path from Salisbury. 10.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 15 minutes late. 13.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 13.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 34 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 13.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 16.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 17.06 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 22.20 Waterloo-Woking axed. At 15.10 it was announced, without reason, that passengers on the 23.15 and 23.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth would be thrown off at Guildford.
Sunday 03/12/06 06.59 Windsor-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 07.00 Weybridge-Waterloo 62 minutes late. 07.42 Portsmouth-Southampton 29 minutes late. 07.52 Woking-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 07.54 Reading-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 08.26 Guildford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 08.42 Guildford-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 08.52 Woking-Waterloo diverted to start from Weybridge (axed between Woking and Addlestone) and 17 minutes late. 08.54 Reading-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 15.27 Paignton-Waterloo 59 minutes late. 15.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late.
Monday 04/12/06 04.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 33 minutes late. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 19.02 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 19.31 Guildford-Ascot 33 minutes late. 20.14 Alton-Waterloo axed. 20.44 Alton-Waterloo axed. 20.35 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 20.51 Windsor-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 20.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 19 minutes late.
Tuesday 05/12/06 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 20 minutes late. 06.07 Totton-Yeovil axed. 07.10 Havant-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo omitted Egham stop DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.22 Waterloo-Weybridge delayed at Waterloo. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed DUE TO NO CREW. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 15.23 Ascot-Guildford 15 minutes late. 15.53 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot. 16.54 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. 17.23/18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 8 coaches. 18.02 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches.
Wednesday 06/12/06 06.01 Kingston-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo axed. 06.55 Reading-Brighton 41 minutes late (attributed to a slow moving freight train!); passengers thrown off at Hove. 07.10 Havant-Waterloo axed. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 08.04 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 08.20 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 09.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late; stops at Isleworth, Syon Lane, Kew Bridge, Chiswick and Barnes Bridge axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.57 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Hove. 11.53 Waterloo-Alton 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.55 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.57 Brighton-Reading 15 minutes late. Passengers on the 19.01 Totton-Romsey thrown off at Southampton Central. 20.00 Romsey-Totton axed. 20.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 21.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Barnes axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Thursday 07/12/06 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 14 minutes late; after a turnaround at Southampton of under two minutes, it departed about 8 minutes late as the 06.21 to Portsmouth. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 20 minutes late; arrived at Waterloo at 08.05 to form the 08.05 to Poole. Eastleigh-Fareham line closed due to flooding during the morning peak. Several mainline trains scheduled to arrive at Waterloo around 08.00 were 15 minutes late. 08.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.39 Waterloo-Guildford 15 minutes late. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops to Norbiton axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.14 Alton-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth 14 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 16.05 Guildford-Waterloo 6 minutes late; all intermediate stops from Wimbledon to Vauxhall inclusive axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil reduced to 5 coaches. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.05 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 9 coaches. 18.30 Waterloo-Epsom reduced to 4 coaches. 18.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading 13 minutes late. 18.52 Reading-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.58 Waterloo-Windsor axed DUE TO NO CREW. 19.01 Guildford-Ascot 24 minutes late. 19.09 Waterloo-Effingham Junction 11 minutes late. 19.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late DUE TO ROLLING STOCK SHORTAGE. 19.16 Waterloo-Chessington 16 minutes late. 19.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 21 minutes late. 20.21 Windsor-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Friday 08/12/06 06.07 Totton-Yeovil reduced to 2 coaches. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 10 minutes late and left about 2 minutes later as the delayed 06.21 to Portsmouth. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth. After the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth departed from Winchester, the guard made an important announcement that the train was not the one announced at Winchester; train arrived at Southampton about 15 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 6 coaches. 18.28 Waterloo-Windsor 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.57 Brighton-Reading 10 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 23.01 Guildford-Ascot thrown off at Aldershot DUE TO NO CREW. 23.57 Waterloo-Shepperton 58 minutes late.
Saturday 09/12/06 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot axed DUE TO NO CREW. 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Andover axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 10 minutes late. 11.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 12.20 Waterloo-Reading 19 minutes late. 14.16 Brockenhurst-Wareham axed. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo axed. Passengers on the 15.20 Waterloo-Reading presumably thrown off at Twickenham DUE TO DUFF STOCK (SWT’s website merely said the train reversed!). 16.47 Winchester-Wareham axed. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 17.12 Reading-Waterloo axed. 18.59 Wareham-Brockenhurst axed. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole axed. 22.21 Windsor-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 10/12/06 07.32 Poole-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 07.42 Staines-Weybridge 13 minutes late. 08.35 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 08.45 Guildford-Wimbledon 6 minutes late DUE TO LATE ARRIVAL OF ROLLING STOCK. 08.54 Reading-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late; Woking stop axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 6 minutes late. 10.40 Romsey-Totton 26 minutes late. Passengers on the 12.05 Hampton Court-Waterloo thrown off at Wimbledon. 11.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 12.05 Hampton Court-Waterloo thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 14.24 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 15.37 Waterloo-Alton 12 minutes late DUE TO LATE ARRIVAL OF ROLLING STOCK. 15.52 Woking-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 16.48 Waterloo-Shepperton 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.52 Woking-Waterloo 25 minutes late.
Monday 11/12/06 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 08.10 Chessington-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.46 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 14.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed DUE TO NO CREW. 15.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. Afternoon replacement bus service between Teddington and Shepperton due to track problems. 17.05 Waterloo-Poole 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF PORTSMOUTH TRAIN AT WOKING. 17.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton axed. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 14 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 11 minutes late. 18.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 18.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 26 minutes late. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 18.50 Dorking-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 18.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 18.58 Windsor-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.38 Guildford-Waterloo 29 minutes late; stops at London Road, Clandon and Horsley axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.42 Shepperton-Waterloo 21 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Norbiton axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.50 Waterloo-Woking 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Raynes Park axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.08 Guildford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 20.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 20.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 20.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 20.42 Waterloo-Shepperton omitted all intermediate stops before Norbiton DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 20.45 Waterloo-Chessington 26 minutes late. 21.53 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 22.00 Guildford-Ascot axed DUE TO NO CREW. 22.44 Alton-Farnham axed DUE TO NO CREW. 23.23 Ascot-Aldershot axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Tuesday 12/12/06 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton axed. 06.06 Totton-Yeovil axed. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth axed. 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 06.38 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo 37 minutes late. 06.43 Southampton-Waterloo 35 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Basingstoke axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.47 Portsmouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 06.56 Reading-Brighton axed. 07.10 Havant-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops after Haslemere DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo axed. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 07.36 Southampton-Waterloo advertised as “revised” (too sensitive to say how many stops axed?). 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches. 07.54 Waterloo-Dorking axed. 07.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed between Waterloo and Strawberry Hill. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Guildford. 08.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed. 09.02 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 08.20 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Salisbury. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil reduced to 5 coaches. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 18.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court reduced to 4 coaches. 18.41 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 9 coaches. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late. 21.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late.
Wednesday 13/12/06 04.30 Portsmouth-Waterloo delayed at Petersfield DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 05.01 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 06.15 Yeovil-Exeter 15 minutes late starting DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 06.32 Woking-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 06.48 Hounslow-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 08.31 Dorking-Waterloo axed between Dorking and Epsom DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.02 Dorking-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Passengers on the 11.00 Weymouth-Waterloo thrown off at Bournemouth DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 19.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo thrown off at Queenstown Road on the outward journey. 19.55 Southampton-Waterloo 33 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Winchester axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 26 minutes late. 20.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late. 20.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 27 minutes late. 20.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 20 minutes late. 21.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed between Waterloo and Woking DUE TO NO CREW. 21.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 22.12 Reading-Waterloo 12 minutes late.
Thursday 14/12/06 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 08.22 Epsom-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 13.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 50 minutes late. 16.39 Waterloo-Fratton 40 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Eastleigh axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.57 Southampton-Weymouth 16 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 39 minutes late; passengers on the Poole portion thrown off at Brockenhurst DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 29 minutes late. 17.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 43 minutes late. 17.32 Portsmouth-Southampton axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton diverted via Guildford. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 18.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 19.25 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth. 20.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed between Woking and Waterloo DUE TO NO CREW. 21.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late. 21.15 Alton-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 22.23 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 22.53 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Friday 15/12/06 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 14.05 Waterloo-Poole omitted New Milton, Christchurch and Pokesdown stops DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.20 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 20 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Reading 18 minutes late; Vauxhall and Clapham Junction stops axed and passengers thrown off at Ascot DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.20 Waterloo-Exeter 10 minutes late. 19.30 Guildford-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 26 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Richmond axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 8 minutes late. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot. 20.50 Waterloo-Reading 21 minutes late. 20.53 Ascot-Guildford axed DUE TO NO CREW. 21.00 Exeter-Salisbury 10 minutes late.
Saturday 16/12/06 06.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.10 Chessington-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury axed. 18.23 Waterloo-Alton axed between Farnham and Alton DUE TO NO CREW. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 30 minutes late. 20.01 Totton-Romsey axed between Totton and Southampton. 20.15 Alton-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 21.23 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 22.53 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 23.15 Alton-Woking axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 17/12/06 08.15 Waterloo-Plymouth 24 minutes late. Broken down train caused morning delays on the Hampton Court branch. 21.35 Waterloo-Wareham 8 minutes late after becoming duff at Woking. At 23.15 the screens at Southampton Central were still showing the 23.15 to Romsey as the next departure, and at 23.40 the screens at Totton were still showing the same train as the next departure even though it should have left at 22.55. Naturally at this late hour the security gates at Southampton were out of use with passengers left to look after themselves.
Monday 18/12/06 06.12 Reading-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 06.22 Waterloo-Weybridge diverted via Twickenham. 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late and passengers thrown off at Fareham DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo omitted Witley and Milford stops DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.09 Haslemere-Waterloo axed. 06.48 Hounslow-Waterloo 41 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Richmond – except Clapham Junction – axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.54 Poole-Waterloo Desiro train freezing cold. 10.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 15.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.55 Southampton-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton 32 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Strawberry Hill. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading 35 minutes late; stops at Egham, Virginia Water and Sunningdale axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 19.06 Shepperton-Waterloo axed between Shepperton and Teddington. 19.23 Waterloo-Surbiton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 19 minutes late.
Tuesday 19/12/06 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.28 Waterloo-Windsor delayed between Whitton and Feltham DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.53 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 15.58 Waterloo-Windsor diverted via Hounslow DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 16.05 Waterloo-Reading diverted via Hounslow DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 17.37 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.44 Alton-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 10 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.12 Reading-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.28 Waterloo-Windsor 16 minutes late. 18.39 Waterloo-Guildford 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.00 Waterloo-Epsom 14 minutes late. 19.02 Waterloo-Guildford 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.09 Waterloo-Effingham Junction 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo omitted Mortlake and North Sheen stops DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.42 Shepperton-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Fulwell DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops after Surbiton DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 19.53 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo thrown off at Clapham Junction DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed between Dorking and Epsom. 20.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 21.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed between Waterloo and Twickenham. 21.03 Woking-Waterloo omitted stops at Wimbledon, Earlsfield and Clapham Junction DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed between Waterloo and Clapham Junction.
Wednesday 20/12/06 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.10 Havant-Waterloo axed. 07.20 Waterloo-Reading 21 minutes late. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.50 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 13.00 Romsey-Totton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 13.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 14.01 Totton-Romsey axed DUE TO NO CREW. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 15.00 Romsey-Totton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.01 Totton-Romsey axed between Totton and Redbridge DUE TO NO CREW. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil 18 minutes late.17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 23 minutes late. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 8 minutes late. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 24 minutes late. 17.48 Plymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 9 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 32 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.57 Brighton-Reading 13 minutes late. 19.01 Reading-Brighton 21 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury axed between Brighton and Hove.
Thursday 21/12/06 14.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed DUE TO NO CREW. 15.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.00 Guildford-Ascot axed between Guildford and Aldershot DUE TO NO CREW. 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Hilsea and 14 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 29 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; Petersfield and Havant stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.35 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.55 Waterloo-Alton 44 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 19.30 Guildford-Ascot 35 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 19.35 Alton-Waterloo 29 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Farnham axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 21.15 Alton-Waterloo 22 minutes late; ran non-stop from Woking DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 21.23 Waterloo-Alton thrown off at Farnham. 21.44 Alton-Waterloo 14 minutes late; ran non-stop from Woking DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 22.15 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 22.44 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 23.15 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham.
Friday 22/12/06 06.07 Totton-Yeovil axed; Waterloo commuters stranded at Totton for 40 minutes in the freezing cold. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 24 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.05 Waterloo-Poole 14 minutes late. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton 16 minutes late. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.24 Basingstoke-Brighton 15 minutes late. 15.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late. 15.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 10 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 15.54 Waterloo-Dorking axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.57 Brighton-Reading 17 minutes late. Passengers on the 16.01 Totton-Romsey thrown off at Southampton Central DUE TO NO CREW. 16.04 Reading-Brighton 15 minutes late. 16.15 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.05 Waterloo-Aldershot 12 minutes late; stops at Bagshot, Camberley, Frimley and Ash Vale axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE (the first 3 of these stations have no other services, unlike the stations at which stops were honoured). 17.05 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 3 coaches and 12 minutes late. 18.00 Exeter-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 18.23 Axminster-Exeter 14 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Epsom 8 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 19.02 Waterloo-Woking axed DUE TO NO CREW. 21.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 31 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW; all intermediate stops before Haslemere axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.09 Waterloo-Dorking axed DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 21.55 Southampton-Waterloo thrown off at Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW. 22.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Saturday 23/12/06 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo axed between Honiton and Salisbury DUE TO NO CREW. 14.53 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 14.53 Ascot-Guildford axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.00 Guildford-Ascot axed between Guildford and Aldershot. 16.44 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham DUE TO NO CREW. 17.39 Waterloo-Southampton 30 minutes late. 18.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Basingstoke and Woking axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 11 minutes late. Passengers on the 19.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.42 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late. Passengers on the 22.30 Southampton-Waterloo thrown off at Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW. 22.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 16 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 24/12/06 11.10 Southampton-Salisbury axed. 14.15 Waterloo-Yeovil axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke and 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.48 Weymouth-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 27/12/06 Overrunning engineering work at Woking, on top of a reduced timetable and longer-term closure of the railway into Portsmouth, ensured a return to work from hell. Just a few examples: Most West of England trains axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. London-bound stopping trains ran fast between Woking and Surbiton. Hedge End line services reduced to a shuttle between Fareham and Winchester. Alton and Basingstoke stopping services reduced to hourly. 05.30 Poole-Waterloo 50 minutes late. 05.38 Weymouth-Waterloo 51 minutes late. 06.45 Wareham-Waterloo 95 minutes late. 07.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 74 minutes late. 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 07.33 Woking-Waterloo 63 minutes late. 07.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late. 07.39 Waterloo-Southampton 14 minutes late. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 07.52 Waterloo-Weybridge axed. 07.53 Ascot-Guildford axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.55 Southampton-Waterloo 67 minutes late. 08.01 Poole-Waterloo 79 minutes late. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 48 minutes late. 08.14 Alton-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 08.15 Waterloo-Petersfield 45 minutes late. 08.20 Fareham-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 08.30 Waterloo-Petersfield 26 minutes late. 08.33 Waterloo-Guildford 20 minutes late. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 81 minutes late. 08.39 Waterloo-Southampton 53 minutes late. 08.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed between Waterloo and Woking. 08.45 Waterloo-Haslemere 17 minutes late. 08.58 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 65 minutes late. 09.08 Guildford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 09.08 Petersfield-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 09.14 Alton-Waterloo 74 minutes late. 09.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 09.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 55 minutes late. 09.39 Waterloo-Southampton 21 minutes late. 09.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 09.44 Alton-Waterloo 65 minutes late. 09.58 Guildford-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 10.05 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 10.15 Haslemere-Waterloo 42 minutes late. 10.20 Petersfield-Waterloo 57 minutes late. 10.23 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 11.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 52 minutes late. 11.01 Poole-Waterloo 78 minutes late. 11.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 12.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 12.01 Poole-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 12.05 Waterloo-Poole 96 minutes late. 12.20 Fareham-Waterloo 43 minutes late. 12.44 Alton-Waterloo 48 minutes late. 12.55 Southampton-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 13.08 Petersfield-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 13.15 Haslemere-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 13.20 Petersfield-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 13.20 Salisbury-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 13.38 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 13.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 13.48 Petersfield-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 13.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 14.08 Guildford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 14.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed. 15.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 15.08 Petersfield-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 15.15 Haslemere-Waterloo 45 minutes late. 15.20 Petersfield-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late. 15.44 Alton-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 15.48 Petersfield-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 16.20 Petersfield-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 16.44 Alton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 16.48 Petersfield-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.15 Haslemere-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading; all intermediate stops before Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.57 Southampton-Bournemouth axed. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.20 Petersfield-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late. 18.38 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton axed. 18.44 Alton-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 18.48 Petersfield-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 18.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. Passengers on the 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Basingstoke. 19.15 Alton-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 19.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.42 Reading-Waterloo 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 20.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 47 minutes late. 20.15 Alton-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 20.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 20.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 26 minutes late. 20.44 Alton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.53 Waterloo-Alton 37 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 20.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed. 21.00 Guildford-Ascot axed DUE TO NO CREW. 21.05 Waterloo-Poole 20 minutes late. 21.09 Fareham-Basingstoke axed. 21.15 Alton-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 21.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 22.23 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot DUE TO NO CREW. 22.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 35 minutes late; all intermediate stops except Kingston axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 23.09 Fareham-Basingstoke axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Thursday 28/12/06 05.12 Guildford-Waterloo 7 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 05.14 Southampton-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches. 05.25 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 06.17 Basingstoke-Fareham axed DUE TO NO CREW. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW. 08.54 Poole-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. Sign of the misery to come: the 16.39 Waterloo-Southampton and 17.05 Waterloo-Poole were both formed of suburban Desiro units. 18.01 Poole-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 21.20 Waterloo-Reading 13 minutes late. 21.36 Portsmouth-Southampton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 21.48 Petersfield-Waterloo 9 minutes late.
Friday 29/12/06 05.30 Poole-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 05.38 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.06 Totton-Yeovil axed between Totton and Redbridge. 08.08 Petersfield-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 09.58 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 10.23 Waterloo-Alton axed between Farnham and Alton. 11.44 Alton-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 12.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. Passengers on the 15.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Haslemere. 15.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 15.56 Havant-Waterloo axed between Havant and Guildford. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Haslemere. 16.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 13 minutes late. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.54 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 23.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke advertised at 21.14 as omitting all intermediate stops after Farnborough due to signalling problems (which apparently weren’t affecting any other service).
Saturday 30/12/06 07.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.30 Southampton-Wareham axed between Southampton and Bournemouth DUE TO NO CREW. 09.45 Salisbury-Waterloo axed. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 18.23 Ascot-Guildford axed. Passengers on the 18.55 Southampton-Waterloo thrown off at Winchester DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.16 Brockenhurst-Poole 12 minutes late. 19.30 Guildford-Ascot 15 minutes late. 20.00 Guildford-Ascot 36 minutes late. 21.36 Portsmouth-Southampton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK (making a change from axed DUE TO NO CREW on Thursday). 21.38 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 21.39 Waterloo-Guildford 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
APPENDIX 3 - MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Thursday 09/11/06 – GREEN CREDENTIALS OF SHIPS AND RAIL Mark Brownrigg, director general of the Chamber of Shipping argues that transport by sea allows global trade without damaging the environment. Despite the fact that shipping carries 75% of world trade, last week’s Stern Report showed that shipping and rail combined produce only 1.75% of greenhouse gas emissions, compared with 10.5% for road transport. The UK Greenhouse Gas Inventory shows that, despite a significant increase in trade between 1990 and 2004, CO2 emissions from international shipping went down by 11%. Oil spillages at sea have reduced dramatically – in 2004 less than one tenth as much spilled as in 1992. UK shipping companies are at the forefront of work to reduce pollution further and the British fleet – which has quadrupled in size since 2000 and now earns £1.32m an hour for the UK economy – is modern, high-tech, efficient and clean. (Guardian)
Wednesday 06/12/06 – FIRMS FACE COMPULSORY CARBON QUOTAS Under proposals being drafted by Ministers, many big businesses, including supermarkets, banks, universities, hotel chains, hospitals and government departments, would be forced to sign up to a carbon trading scheme. The proposed system would require firms either to reduce their emissions or buy permits from other companies, giving them the right to pollute above their agreed ceiling. The plan would involve 5,000 companies not involved in an EU-wide trading scheme. These are companies with annual electricity bills of more than £250,000 or electricity consumption above 3,000 megawatts. Collectively, the firms account for annual emissions of about 15m tonnes of carbon. (Guardian)
Thursday 07/12/06 – ANGER AT CHANCELLOR’S LIMITED MEASURES TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE The Chancellor came under strong attack from opposition parties and green lobby groups after responding to the government’s own warnings on climate change with a modest £1 billion package of green taxes in his pre-budget report. Little more than a month after the prime minister described the report into climate change by the Treasury economist Sir Nicholas Stern as the most important since Labour came to power, the chancellor’s decision to double air passenger duty and raise duty on petrol by 1.25% was derided by environmentalists and tax experts. Tax experts who analysed the figures concluded that consumer behaviour would be unchanged. (Guardian)
Tuesday 19/12/06 – BIGGEST EVER OFFSHORE WINDFARM TO GO AHEAD The world’s largest offshore wind farm is to be built in the Thames estuary. The £1.5 billion project will consist of 341 turbines and generate up to 1,000 megawatts of electricity, enough to power 750,000 homes. It will be situated between Margate and Clacton and occupy an area of about 90 square miles. A date for construction is unlikely to be set before the outcome of a planning enquiry for the project’s electricity sub-station in Graveney, Kent. (Metro)
APPENDIX 4 - MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
Thursday 02/11/06 – CHINEHAM STATION DISAPPEARS OVER THE HORIZON Following a council meeting, hopes for a new station at Chineham, between Basingstoke and Bramley, have been put back 10 years. BR, Railtrack and Network Rail all set different criteria questioning whether the line could accommodate another station. Road congestion at Chineham Park is so bad that it is virtually impossible to get out around 5pm. (Basingstoke Observer)
Monday 06/11/06 – GETTING THE RAILWAYS BACK ON TRACK The Transport Committee’s report on passenger rail franchising leads to calls from correspondents for operating companies to co-operate on a national integrated timetable as in Switzerland; for rural railways to be revived to safeguard local communities and economies, and to reduce environmental damage by lorries; for full inter-availability of tickets across companies, and reliable connections; and for rail re-nationalisation and bus re-regulation with joined up services to ease the demand for air travel. (Guardian)
Tuesday 07/11/06 – COMMUTERS TRAVELLING FURTHER Commuters are travelling record distances to get to work in London, according to a report by the Centre for Transport and Society at the University of the West of England in Bristol. The number of people commuting more than 30 miles to get to work has risen almost a third in a decade to around 825,000 – and rising house prices are to blame. Londoners now spend an average of 225 hours a year on their commute, more than double the time spent caring for their children or going out with family and friends. This can be seen as a “blight on society”, damaging the environment, impacting on people’s health and affecting family relations. Commuting can give workers the chance to re-energise their mind or chill out, but can also cause negative emotional and physical reactions and greater reliance on junk food. (Evening Standard)
Wednesday 08/11/06 – FIRST GROUP IN RAILWAYS BOOM Boom times on the railways are boosting the profits at Britain’s largest train operator, First Group, by almost one third. Profits to the six months to the end of September rose by 28% to £44 million. Its London services (Great Western and Capital Connect) have seen unprecedented growth of 12%, while Scotrail is carrying even more people than in the 1960s. (Evening Standard)
Friday 10/11/06 – PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA Politicians espouse the greater use of rail freight but officialdom has a mental block over the terminals needed to load or unload goods. A group of companies lobbying on the issue claim that private firms are willing to spend £2bn on new rail-freight terminals but receive no advice or support in the planning process. One company spent £10m developing plans for a rail-freight terminal adjacent to Heathrow’s future terminal five, only to have them blocked by the Government. The Crossrail Bill gives priority to new passenger services on tracks west of Paddington. This threatens access to terminals where aggregates come into the capital by train, reducing lorry movements on some of England’s most congested sections of motorway. The Government wants Crossrail to be able to overrule the rail regulator in order to encourage private investors to back the scheme. It forgets the investors who have already backed rail freight on the understanding that an independent regulator will always ensure fair play. // The Scottish Executive is paying £4m to enlarge the clearance gauge between Glasgow and Aberdeen for trains to carry larger maritime containers. Aberdeen City Council is delighted but wants the city’s rail-freight terminal relocated far away from the harbour to make way for more shops. Transferring containers from ship to train would then become costlier and more complicated; they might end up going all the way by lorry or not coming ashore at Aberdeen. It is nine months since the planning deadline for the new shops expired, but work is expected to start later in the year.
uesday 14/11/06 – COMMUTERS HIT AS £70 MILLION SITS IN THE BANK £70 million of Government money for 171 “urgent” projects is sitting in the bank. Network Rail has begun just five of the projects, and last year spent only £4 million from a £50 million budget. Next year it will spend £25 million, leaving a total of £70 million unspent. Passenger Focus has expressed disappointment and London Travel-Watch considers the position shameful. The Office of Rail Regulation has accused Network Rail of forcing commuters to endure overcrowded trains. Projects include more double tracking on the Salisbury-Exeter line to permit an hourly service. (The London Paper)
Tuesday 14/11/06 – ST PANCRAS INTERNATIONAL STATION ONE YEAR AWAY St Pancras International is scheduled to open on 14 November 2007, with services transferred from Waterloo. (widely reported)
Wednesday 15/11/06 – DRIVERS SPEND ICE AGES IN TRAFFIC JAMS New research by Conservatives on the London Assembly has found that annual delays suffered by drivers of the 4 million vehicles on London’s key roads total around 19,500 years, equivalent to two ice ages. The cost to industry and business is estimated at around £1.55 billion. Critics allege that road traffic management is in meltdown. (Evening Standard)
Wednesday 15/11/06 – STATION ADDS £30,000 TO A HOME Research commissioned by estate agent Haart suggests that being near to a tube or mainline station could add £30,000 to the value of a house. Being close to a popular state school adds at least £28,000. Late night music venues, noisy pubs and takeaways can reduce values by £28,000. (Evening Standard)
Monday 20/11/06 – COST OF OLYMPICS COULD SCUPPER CROSSRAIL The Chancellor is understood to be unwilling to help fund the long-delayed cross-London scheme, because of the demands of hosting the 2012 games. Ken Livingstone and business leaders consider the scheme essential to keeping the capital moving, with half a million extra residents expected by 2016. A campaign by business organisation London First is stepping up lobbying for the scheme. Meanwhile estimates of the cost to public funds of the games have increased by over £1 billion. (Evening Standard)
Monday 20/11/06 – MAYOR OF LONDON UNVEILS CROSS-THAMES TRAM SCHEME The Mayor is today unveiling plans for his proposed Camden-Peckham/Brixton tram link via Waterloo Bridge. The link would carry 66 million a passengers a year and relieve overcrowding on the Northern and Victoria lines. The aim is now to have the route operating by 2016. Consultation six years ago found 92% of respondents in favour of the scheme but the related closure of parts of Camden High Street and Eversholt Street to road traffic is controversial. (Evening Standard)
Monday 20/11/06 – PARKING METERS BOW OUT Gangs are stealing £20,000 a week from parking meters in Westminster. Under a pilot scheme, the council is switching 440 bays in Covent Garden and Soho so that drivers pay instead by debit or credit card via their mobile phones. Wardens can check which drivers have paid, using hand-held computers. (The London Paper)
Monday 20/11/06 – OYSTER CARD DETAILS BEING USED TO TRACK CRIMINALS Police monitoring of Oyster cards has risen by 300% in a year. Officers now routinely use the smartcard tickets to track the movements of crime suspects. Each month they make about 170 requests to check Oyster card details compared with 43 a year ago and just one 18 months ago. It has also come to light that the cameras which enforce the congestion charge in London never stop rolling, even though the charge stops at 6.30pm. (Evening Standard)
Monday 20/11/06 – RISE IN OVERCROWDING AS NETWORK RAIL CHIEFS ARE HANDED HUGE BONUSES A survey by the Evening Standard resulted in three quarters of commuters saying they have to stand each day, and two thirds believe their train is more crowded than a year ago. Many say they are angry at having to pay thousands of pounds for nightmare journeys. At the same time, Network Rail bosses are in for bonuses of up to £1 million as the company announced a £747 million profit. Commuters on SWT suffered another day of delays as engineering works overran on the Windsor lines. The blame was placed on Balfour Beatty which last week caused huge delays on the routes through Basingstoke when engineering work overran. (Evening Standard)
Monday 20/11/06 – NEW STATION AT SHEPHERDS BUSH The new station under construction on the Hammersmith and City line, which will serve the Westfield retail development, is to be named “Wood Lane”. The next stop down the line will be renamed from “Shepherds Bush” to “Shepherds Bush Market”. (The London Paper)
Friday 24/11/06 – PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA Cross Country trains suffered a traumatic upheaval in 2002 because of Virgin’s botched shake-up. Cuts to improve the service included robbing Liverpool and other important places of Cross Country trains. Now the dust has settled, the Department for Transport is to mess up the services again for the new Cross Country franchise. To improve statistics without investing in infrastructure, the DfT wants to simplify operations in Birmingham by halving the direct journeys available on Cross Country. Passengers will have to change trains once or twice where they now have direct services. The DfT has responded to the overwhelming message from consultation by ignoring it. Bidders are required to demonstrate how they can ensure that the need to change does not become an inconvenience. DfT officials have no idea of the value of direct trains to elderly people, teenagers making their first unescorted long-distance journeys, holiday makers with heavy luggage, families with infants and buggies, and infrequent travellers who find railways confusing and esoteric. They have no idea of the stress caused by worrying about a connecting service, or the frustration of waiting an hour or more when a connection is missed. They have no idea that changing trains deters people with mobility or visual impairments, especially those in wheelchairs who have to pre-book help to board and alight. At a recent conference, Minister Tom Harris drew gasps of disbelief when he proclaimed fewer Cross Country passengers would in future change at Birmingham New Street (which already shuts when overcrowding threatens safety). The Department refuses to release statistics of where passengers travel on the grounds of undermining the commercial position of operators. Yet Virgin has received vast amounts of subsidy under a “management contract” where taxpayers cover the losses and pay Virgin an annual fee.
[Comments: (1) Presumably fewer passengers will change between Cross Country trains at Birmingham New Street because services to the North and Scotland via Preston will no longer be run by Cross Country – nice weasel words; (2) If train operators can keep passenger flow data secret, how can rival bidders for a franchise offer relevant additional commitments?]
// Some passengers on South Eastern are not permitted to travel between certain stations because National Rail Enquiries Online say the route is too difficult. The journey from Sevenoaks to Blackheath is not allowed because it involves a “double-back” at New Cross. Similarly, passengers from Blackheath and other stations along the line to Barnehurst aren’t allowed to travel to a swathe of stations in Kent, including Tunbridge Wells, Hastings and Ashford.
Monday 27/11/06 – WITHOUT INVESTMENT IT’S A ROUGH RIDE Tony Travers, director of the Greater London Group at the London School of Economics, calls for a new approach to the London commuter network. The Mayor is soon to be given control of some of the smaller lines, like the North London line, but there is no controlling brain for the vast network south of the river. Given the importance of these routes to the London and national economies, a single, coherent control mechanism is now needed along with more money. Ministers cannot escape the reality of the capital’s relentless population growth. London has to grow for reasons of British competitiveness and to stop sprawl into the Home Counties – there is a political consensus about this. The capital is lucky it has such an extensive rail network. It is a desperate waste not to invest in it, so that all commuters and the economy can work more effectively. Things will inevitably get far worse for rail commuters unless there is a substantial commitment to rail investment. (Evening Standard)
Tuesday 28/11/06 – TAXPAYERS PAYING FOR NETWORK RAIL’S PROFIT £1.3 billion of Network Rail’s £2.8 billion revenue comes from “revenue grants”, in other words taxpayers, who are contributing £7 million a day. Without this subsidy Network Rail would have half year losses of £500m, and the bosses would have to be arguing harder for their bonuses. (Evening Standard)
Tuesday 28/11/06 – DAY AFTER DAY THERE ARE DELAYS, CANCELLATIONS AND OVERCROWDING A survey by the Evening Standard found that three quarters of London commuters are having to stand and are demanding that their nightmare conditions should come to an end. Day after day there are delays, cancellations and filthy trains. Staff have been cut too, so there are never any to take complaints. Several people said the cattle truck conditions had forced them to give up working in Central London. One Middlesex passenger said we had a third world transport system which needs to be addressed. (Evening Standard)
Wednesday 29/11/06 – CROSSRAIL HOLD UP FOR OXFORD STREET The regeneration of Oxford Street is being delayed by the government’s failure to support Crossrail. Problems are worst at the eastern end of London’s premier shopping street, because of the planned Tottenham Court Road station which would help transform the run-down area around Centrepoint. The Mayor and Westminster Council have threatened to use compulsory purchase powers to evict landlords of shops which fail to attract quality tenants or allow their properties to become run-down. A report by the West End Commission says that the situation needs to be resolved as a matter of urgency. The Department for Transport says it is committed to Crossrail. (Evening Standard)
[In the Evening Standard of 8 December Rail Minister Tom Harris responded that the government has already provided £250m to fund development of the scheme, a Bill is before parliament, and the construction programme could start as early as 2008.]
Wednesday 29/11/06 – COMMUTERS CAN’T SWITCH WORK PATTERNS An Evening Standard survey has found that government attempts to price commuters off the busiest trains are doomed to failure. Almost two-thirds would not, or could not, alter the times they travel in return for cheaper fares. But almost two thirds backed removing lavatories or first class accommodation to provide more seats [SWT please note, and stop ripping out seats]. The Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce, which represents 10,000 businesses, said, “Seasoned commuters and those businesses which have tried to find a way around London’s chronic transport problems will not be too surprised. The workforce has got to get to work when and where it is needed… Business has brought in measures to support more flexible working but the biggest difference would arise from government investment in Transport for London’s vision”. (Evening Standard)
Wednesday 29/11/06 – Thursday 30-11-06 HUGE FARE RISES On average, London’s 500,000 mainline rail commuters will pay more than £2 extra a day for their standard and return tickets from January. This is an increase of 4.3% which is above July’s inflation rate of 3%. Returns between London and Basingstoke will soar 6% in the peak and 7.5% off-peak. The corresponding increases for Waterloo-Salisbury are 6.5% and 5.5%. The cost of an annual season from Southampton to Waterloo will increase by more than £230 a year [in return for the slowest service since steam, and less-comfortable trains]. Commuters are a captive audience who have no choice but to pay, but others will now look to their cars even more. Long-distance passengers will be priced off trains and on to more-polluting planes. (Evening Standard 28/11/06; Metro and Southern Daily Echo 29/11/06)
Thursday 30/11/06 – TRAIN LEASING COMPANIES UNDER SCRUTINY The train leasing companies, which made profits of £175m last year, have been warned by the Office of Rail Regulation that it plans to refer them to the Competition Commission. ORR is concerned that the £1 billion annual cost of renting rolling stock is contributing to fare rises. In response, the leasing companies threaten to stop investment in new stock to meet the expected 30% increase in passengers over the next decade. (Evening Standard)
December 2006 – SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAPID TRANSPORT SYSTEM FINALLY ABANDONED Hampshire County Council has now officially dropped its proposal for a tramway from Portsmouth to Fareham via Gosport. (Today’s Railways) [Alas, Government approval of this scheme in 2001 was seemingly used as a sweetener to compensate for Stagecoach being awarded a second franchise term on SWT.]
Friday 01/12/06 – EDDINGTON REPORT SENDS SHARES SOARING Transport shares soared with the publication of the Eddington report which was seen as heralding more Government expenditure on the existing infrastructure, the introduction of motorway tolls, and a further runway at Heathrow. Sir Rod sees Crossrail as essential to London’s future prosperity. However, the report was condemned by the Railway Forum for its lack of vision in rejecting other major new schemes to improve economic prospects, relieve congestion and reduce impact on the environment. Commuters would face even higher peak-time fares. (Evening Standard)
Monday 04/12/06 – ROAD RAGE OVER CHARGING PLANS Guardian readers express mixed views on road charging proposals. The estimated potential benefits suggest an annual charge of £770 per motorist. An increase in petrol and diesel tax would be much simpler. The proposed system involves even more “spying”. The real answer to congestion is to require all businesses to get their employees to work one day a week at home. The money wasted should be ring-fenced and not spent on invading foreign countries. (Guardian)
Tuesday 05/12/06 – TWO NEW BUS LANES OPEN ON LONDON’S ROADS EVERY WEEK Nearly two new bus lanes have been installed on London’s roads every week over the past 6 years, 546 since 2002. The length of the capital’s bus-only corridors is now 175 miles. The Conservatives say that, despite use of London’s buses increasing by 40% since 2000, almost 4 million bus service miles were lost last year, largely due to hold-ups. Transport for London said the number of bus miles lost to congestion was lower than in 2000, despite a massive increase in operations. The Mayor said bus ridership was up 40% to 1.8 billion passengers since he was elected. London has achieved a 4% shift from private cars to public transport. (Evening Standard)
Friday 08/12/06 – PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA Network Rail declared its first profit last week, and already train operators are dreaming up ways to get their paws on its cash. The flaw in Network Rail’s structure is lack of contact with passengers because it doesn’t run trains. Instead it focuses on engineering and ignores the problems caused when railways shut down for maintenance. Train operators want a change to Network Rail’s focus, but not to passengers. They told the rail regulator that Network Rail has little incentive to be efficient without shareholders to satisfy. Already they seem to have forgotten the lesson of Railtrack – that deferring maintenance looks clever when short-term profits are the goal.
GNER reckons that Network Rail must be changed “to incentivise a company that is not subject to pressure from equity holders”, but is hardly a good example itself: its parent company Sea Containers is bankrupt and its new franchise is already having to be revised.
Stagecoach’s South West Trains suggests an even better wheeze: tails I win, heads you lose. It says Network Rail should share with any franchisees any surplus from beating targets, and adds, “Any benefit sharing must be one way; train operating companies’ equity base prevents them from sharing the risk of Network Rail underperformance. So when Network Rail misses its targets and needs more cash, franchisees and their shareholders wouldn’t contribute a penny.
The Association of Train Operating Companies says operators already provide “free consultancy” to Network Rail by making suggestions about infrastructure projects. But shouldn’t the operational benefits, including better punctuality, be sufficient reward to franchisees to help Network Rail improve the infrastructure? Er, no. Network Rail’s improved performance is a nuisance to some operators. They find themselves having to pay bonuses to Network Rail for cutting delays. Northern Rail is so cheesed off that it’s considering asking for a cap on its bonus payments. Funny that operators never complained of the bonus system when Railtrack was paying them compensation for the delays it caused.
// Alistair Darling used the Railways Act to give his Department unprecedented control of railways while perpetuating the Tories’ franchising system, which even they admit was ill-conceived. So why does First Group Chairman Moir Lockhead choose Mr Darling as his “favourite transport minister?” Was it because First were awarded four rail franchises while he was transport secretary, two of which were expected by First to be highly profitable and were awarded after Mr Darling appointed First Group high-flier Mike Mitchell as his head of rail? Or could it be the transport secretary’s refusal to regulate buses, leaving First Group free to clobber the poor with huge fare rises? Or his blocking of tram systems in Leeds, Portsmouth and north Manchester which would have competed with First Group’s buses?
// The Regulator has pointed the finger at Metronet (a consortium formed of Atkins, Balfour Beatty, Bombardier, Thames Water and EDF Energy) for its predicted £750m overspend. However, the real culprit is the Chancellor who, against the advice of just about every transport expert in the country, insisted that PPP was the most economical way to pay for the £30bn scheme to run, maintain and refurbish the network. As a result, Londoners will be paying a heavy price until 2033. The Chancellor insisted on the scheme even when it became clear that it would cost taxpayers £1bn a year. Now even that annual bill may prove optimistic. Who will pick up the £750m bill? Metronet has been slammed for deficient management and being “inefficient and uneconomic” but it says it will prove some of the money was spent efficiently and that will mean the taxpayer having to foot part of the bill.
Thursday 14/12/06 – VIRGIN TRAINS (49% OWNED BY STAGECOACH) LANDS BILLION POUND SUBSIDY Virgin Trains has reversed the industry trend of promising billion-pound windfalls to government by securing a £1.36bn subsidy for its West Coast mainline franchise. Virgin will pass the State funding on to Network Rail, the quasi-public body that has spent £8.6bn upgrading the line. (Guardian). [This seems a remarkable way of churning public funds in order to let Network Rail’s bosses claim huge bonuses for getting the company into profit]
Monday 18/12/06 – TRANSPORT POLICY OFF THE RAILS Outrageously, it looks as though rural branch lines may be cut. In the Department for Transport and offices of the private rail operators, plans are being drawn up to hack back the size of Britain’s rail network, reducing services and closing lines, especially in rural areas. This threat was underlined in October by the publication of an extraordinary Department for Transport document, “Railways Closures Guidance”. There is no requirement for anything more than token public consultation or any regular need to consider the environmental consequences. “Domestic air services may… be a relevant alternative” to trains, it adds, in a mockery of green thinking. With malign ingenuity, rail closures are likely to be presented as environmentally wise, since empty trains pollute more than full cars. But no work has been done to test the implausible claim that passengers will club together to share their journeys, or switch to buses. Past closures suggest that road traffic will grow and car-occupancy stay low. Many of Britain’s remaining secondary lines boost tourism and employment. They survived Doctor Beeching and Margaret Thatcher. It is incredible that a government which claims to put the environment first is even thinking about shutting down railways. (Guardian)
[It does seem extraordinary that, having failed to identify transport as a priority in its first term, the government continues to ignore huge public dissatisfaction while its ratings dip and Labour Party membership is in steady decline – down more than 51% since 1997. John Cruddas, contender for the Labour deputy post says the party has to listen to its members more (Guardian 27 December). The Metro of 20 December reports that rail complaints are rising, even though punctuality has improved. In the past the industry has presented punctuality as a panacea when slamming carriage doors in the faces of passengers running for their connections off other, delayed, trains. The Government needs to put passengers’ aspirations above the operational convenience and greed of companies like Stagecoach.]
Tuesday 19/12/06 – £30 MILLION BOOST FOR THAMESLINK REVAMP The Government is giving Network Rail £30m for an in-depth feasibility study to rebuild Thameslink [formerly the Thameslink 2000 scheme]. A decision on the £3.5bn funding for the scheme itself is expected in the summer of 2007. (Evening Standard)
Wednesday 20/12/06 – RAIL TRAVELLERS FORCED TO PAY 300% MORE FOR LAST-MINUTE TICKETS Travellers face a triple blow this Christmas with high rail fares, major road works and drastically reduced public transport. Train services will not resume until 6am on 27 December, meaning that it will be virtually impossible for Londoners travelling by train outside the South East to be at their desk in time if they have to work. On Christmas Eve the last trains leave London between 8pm and 10pm, and passengers using them will have to pay three times as much as usual because reduced fares are already sold out. London TravelWatch said the absence of trains, especially on Boxing Day – a pretty normal day with shops open, is completely unacceptable. Anyone needing to travel to London on Boxing Day will be forced to use car or coach, but major road works mean these journeys may also be daunting. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 21/12/06 – NETWORK RAIL SAVES £150 MILLION BY CUTTING NUMBER OF CONTRACTORS Network Rail, which receives about £2bn a year in direct government subsidy, will cut the number of contractors it uses for track repairs from 4 to 6. This will save £150m a year. The company is spending £22.5bn on maintaining the rail network from 2004 to 2009, has been told by the Office of Rail Regulation to reduce costs by a third, and has cut operating costs by £1.1bn over the past two and a half years, which included moving its maintenance work in-house. (Guardian)
Thursday 21/12/06 – EU GREEN TAX TO PUT UP AIR FARES Airlines operating in Europe face new green controls which could push up fares. They will be required to pay for any increase in carbon emissions above current limits under a European Commission scheme. The EC said it expected short-haul air tickets to rise by about £5.00 each by 2020. Since 1990, aviation emissions have gone up by about 90% and by 2020 they are going to be doubled if business carries on as usual. (Metro)
Friday 22/12/06 – PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA The annual new year fares “change” has brought out the rail industry’s creative side, ensuring a public baffled by privatised railways doesn’t hear the real reason fares are increasing above inflation. The Association of Train Operating Companies (ATOC) produced this year’s zaniest excuse: “Passengers who have a high income are subsidised by people who are not so well off and don’t use trains as much”. In reality, Britain’s most heavily subsidised lines are in rural and depressed post-industrial areas where people who can afford cars tend to drive and the poor are forced to pay fast increasing bus and rail fares. ATOC also said “We need the revenue to pay for the ongoing improvements to the railways that passengers expect”. If passengers expect that, they are in for disappointments on many lines. First Great Western has just axed prime commuter services to Exeter and Swansea and is shortening many of its trains. First Group expected this franchise to be “highly profitable” and tried to pass the buck on 12.5% fare increases on some lines by claiming that “some of the money raised by these fare changes goes directly to the government”. In fact First pockets a £94.6m subsidy this year and £42.7m in 2007-08. It won’t pay premiums for its franchise until 2008-09.
South West Trains had the same idea but was cleverer with its wording. “Most train companies on the busy commuter lines in London are now paying the government big premiums, so are being forced to raise fares steeply.” Most companies perhaps, but not SWT which will get a £61.2m subsidy in 2007-08. SWT also said that “it’s not as if we’re just going to have a party with the extra money”. But shareholders of Stagecoach, which runs SWT, may feel in party mood. On 6 December they were told that Stagecoach profits had risen so much that they would receive a share of a windfall of at least £400m. Stagecoach founders Brian Souter and Ann Gloag reportedly gain over £100m. The £400m is enough to buy hundreds of new carriages but, instead SWT will raise fares and strip out seats to cram more standing passengers into existing trains.
Virgin Trains [49% Stagecoach owned] dazzled the public with figures to justify even higher fares: “Travelling on the West Coast main line costs an average of 17p a mile, and on the cross country route it is 13p a mile. A family car costs 44p a mile on average”. But the family car is ready whenever you want to travel. For equivalent convenience on the railways, you need tickets which don’t tie you to specific trains. A standard London to Manchester open return for just one person now costs 55p a mile.
Central Trains, a franchise in its death throes, tried to look on the bright side when explaining higher fares: “We’re committed to investing in our trains and stations”; but Central leases its trains from the banks and Network Rail maintains its stations (some have been improved by local authorities).
Last January Alistair Darling argued that in 1985 passengers covered 85% of spend on the railways, but now cover only 57%. But why do passengers now cover only 57% after years of big fare increases? And in 1985, passengers lost no money in profits generated by the rail network.
Meanwhile, Rod Eddington has been penning a report which proposes tackling traffic congestion by road pricing. This was happening in a small way on the Severn Bridge, which has a charge of £4.90 (about to rise to £5.10) for one car. Many passengers from Wales and the Forest of Dean had opted to park at Severn Tunnel Junction and travel by train to Bristol instead. But Great Western has just cut the rail service, allegedly on the orders of the Department for Transport. This benefits the Treasury because of the VAT payments on the road crossing.
Wednesday 27/12/06 – PASSENGERS SUPPORT BRANCH LINES The threat to branch lines (Guardian, 18 December – see above) shows that little has progressed since Dr Beeching’s reshaping report of 1963 – the right diagnosis but the wrong prescription. The distribution of traffic patterns on networks follows similar patterns, whether rail, road, air, telephone, post etc: 10% of the network carries about 50% of the traffic and 50% of the network carries about 10% of the traffic. In many respects, buses are a poor substitute for trains. They do not cater well for luggage, buggies or bicycles, and are often inaccessible to disabled people. A report in 2004 into the long-term railway requirements of Northern Ireland identified the negative differential impact of closures of the “non-core” network as falling mainly upon young people (40% of passengers were under 24); retired people (11% of passengers); and lower socio-economic groups (50% of all passengers were in groups C2 and DE). Would it be too much for a rail industry committed to the delivery of a public service rather than looking for easy options? (Guardian)