HOGRIDER 114 : MAY-JUNE 2007
SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS' GROUP NEWSLETTER
ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION – WHAT EVERYONE’S SAYING ABOUT SWT
PENALTY FARE CHANGES – CENTRAL TO THE AGENDA OF EXPLOITIVE GREED
ABUSING SENIOR CITIZENS BUT APPREHENSIVE OF THE POLICE
LEGAL ADVICE ON PENALTY FARES: STAND UP TO SWT EXTORTION
SATISFACTION STATISTICS – LIMITED RELEVANCE?
IS STAGECOACH BECOMING A POLITICAL IRRITATION YET AGAIN?
PARLIAMENTARY SEMINAR, 20 JUNE 2007
PORTSMOUTH-WATERLOO RAIL USERS GROUP MEETING 5 JUNE 2007
HERDED LIKE CATTLE BY SWT
SIR ALAN GREENGROSS AND HIS PANEL: TO THEIR CREDIT, SWT’S PASSENGER CHAMPIONS?
RAT INFESTED TOTTON STATION
SWT CUSTOMER CARE THAT RARELY CARES
SWT’S WRONG ON-TRAIN INFORMATION ANNOUNCEMENTS
SWT’S MINUSCULE INVESTMENT IN CYCLE FACILITIES
CLASS 444 NAMING BANNED BY OLYMPICS COMMITTEE
DISSATISFACTION WITH LYMINGTON LINE
A WET DAY ON SWT AND THE LYING IS SOPHISTICATED
DANGEROUS BUS AND TRAIN DRIVING AT BASINGSTOKE
ONE OF STAGECOACH’S WINNERS
FIRST GREAT WESTERN STAKEHOLDER CONFERENCE @BRISTOL, 16 MAY 2007
FIRST GREAT WESTERN HELPS HUNDREDS OF STRANDED SCHOOLCHILDREN
FIRST GREAT WESTERN’S GREAT NEW MAGAZINE
APPENDIX 1- DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER –12
APPENDIX 2-REPORTS OF POOR SWT PERFORMANCE - A MAJOR CAUSE OF OVERCROWDING
APPENDIX 3 - TRANSPORT IN CLIMATE CHANGE
APPENDIX 4 -TRANSPORT MISCELLANY
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND CONTACT DETAILS
ABUSE AND EXPLOITATION – WHAT EVERYONE’S SAYING ABOUT SWT
Like their massive rolling stock downgrade, SWT’s 20% fare increases, following huge rises from January, have attracted widespread condemnation. They apply to trains arriving in Waterloo after the morning peak up to ‘around midday’ – which means 12.49 if you live on the Dorset coast west of Poole. They do not apply for example at Basingstoke, where a less rapacious operator provides an alternative service. SWT may yet get its just deserts – on 20/06/07, the 09.00 from Weymouth left Winchester for Woking and Waterloo only with nearly all its first class seats and 337 standard class seats carrying thin air. A few extracts from published comments:
* A 10-page submission to the rail regulator claims rises introduced by South West Trains in the New Year abused competition and gender-equality laws. Fares on some routes increased by more than 35%. A peak day return from Surbiton to Waterloo went up from £6.80 to £9.20. Liberal Democrat MP, Ed Davey, said the rises penalised low-income part-time workers who had to buy tickets for irregular journeys and cannot benefit from season ticket discounts. The majority of part-time workers are women. The submission also argues there was an abuse of monopoly power. A train from London to Wimbledon cost 32p a mile, but from Wimbledon to Surbiton costs 48p a mile. The document claims this amounts to a breach of the 1998 Competition Act by penalising commuters from Surbiton. [Evening Standard 02/05/07] The submission did not succeed, but there is electoral danger for the government in that it expressed a widely-held view.
* Passenger Focus chief executive Anthony Smith said, “These rises are unacceptable and come only a matter of months after their latest rises. The affordable, turn-up-and-go railway has been further eroded and SWT is exploiting a monopoly. Families making day trips to London will be hard hit”….Brian Cooke, chairman of regional watchdog London Travel Watch said the real reason behind the “money-grabbing” increases was a move by SWT to claw back the £1.2bn it must pay the Government over the next 10 years to keeps its franchise. “The move will increase overcrowding during the morning peak – passengers who currently travel off-peak to get cheaper fares will think it not worthwhile anymore.” [Evening Standard, 08/05/07]
* “A new rail swindle….Anyone like tourists and shoppers, hoping for an economy day trip to London, the destination for most SWT passengers, has to fit their journey into a ridiculously small window after the end of the morning period. SWT, whose parent company made a profit of £146m last year, justifies its change by comparing its pricing policy with that of budget airlines like Easyjet. This category error was comprehensively dismantled by the last report of the Commons Select Committee on Transport. Rail travel should be easy, accessible, and affordable if it is to be genuinely accessible. But this is a blatant exploitation of passengers.” [Evening Standard editorial 08/05/07]
* “How can people be expected to use their cars less when train operators keep putting their prices up? I think the fare increases are disgusting.” [Danielle Goodman, Southern Daily Echo 08/05/07]
* “I don’t think South West Trains can justify the price increases – the quality of their services is just not good enough.” [Paul Rolfe, Southern Daily Echo 08/05/07]
* South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group said “The Government wants people to go green and use rail transport more but raising fares is not going to encourage this. All it will do is put more people off using the trains. It will kill the notion of going on day trips around the south on the trains, and it will affect hundreds of families, especially during school holidays. It’s absolutely ridiculous”. [Southern Daily Echo 08/05/07]
* “Although the recent price rises by South West Trains are cynical and exploitative, the true villain in this national disgrace is the Government. It is now painfully evident that although privatisation is capable of delivering real benefits to the consumer (such as in telecoms and electricity), it does so only when a truly competitive market can be established…. It is interesting to see that South West Trains refuses to raise prices at the few stations which are served by other train companies – a glimpse of what true competition would offer. The Government must open all train lines up to more competition, either by adding infrastructure to overcrowded lines, or by allowing high-performing operators to take over those which are failing.” [Jonas Twitchen of Deptford, in the Evening Standard of 09/05/07]
* “South West Trains are profiteering. In the early nineties, I remember the Tory government saying that privatisation and competition would lead to lower prices for all. BR was bad but don’t hold privatisation up as an example of something better.” [Ian of Bitterne Park, in the Southern Daily Echo of 09/05/07]
* I blame the franchise machinery as the root cause and SWT is exploiting it because it can…. The Tories are to blame for the original misguided concept but it’s a typical New Labour centralised shambles to keep it going.” [Andy of Locks Heath, in the Southern Daily Echo of 09/05/07]
* “Try National Express for trips to London. It’s only about half an hour longer than a train journey but fares start from £1. We need to show these profiteering train companies can’t carry on putting fares up.” [Lorna of Southampton, in the Southern Daily Echo of 09/05/07]
* “It’s typical! While we are supposed to be using public transport we get this situation where not only are fares increased for late morning rail users but there are threats hanging over services from stations like Totton… I had hoped that when SWT won the franchise last year they would improve the service. This is a step backwards!” [Steve of Southampton, in the Southern Daily Echo of 09/05/07]
* South West Trains have admitted they are only implementing 20 per cent ticket price hikes from Hampshire stations where it faces no competition. The admission comes 24 hours after the Daily Echo told how thousands of commuters are facing massive increases in ticket fares following a pricing restructure by the rail operator…. Despite South West Trains saying the increases will ensure fewer people travel during their busiest times, the fare rises only affect travellers leaving from stations where South West Trains have no competition. From Basingstoke or Reading, where the company competes for business with First Great Western the fare rises are just one per cent. Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne said, “There can be no justification for making off-peak travellers pay so much more when the trains are far from full, and when there is no extra cost to carrying an extra passenger”. [Southern Daily Echo, 09/05/07]
* Gerry Doherty, leader of the TSSA, told train operators they will face Competition Commission investigations if they follow the lead of South West Trains and raise fares more than once a year. He warned the other companies not to follow Stagecoach’s daylight robbery tactics. If they do the TSSA will report them to the Competition Commission for abusing their monopoly. Commuters should not be exploited like battery hens. [Evening Standard 14/05/07]
* “If I go out for the day, I mean a day. SWT should think again over these increases because it has just had a massive rise in fares. I can’t help feeling that SWT will end up being worse off than a few years back and lose a lot of customers and goodwill if it persists in this ridiculous idea. If SWT needs to make more money because it has overbid, the best way to get it is to improve the service and attract more customers. Listen to what watchdogs and, most importantly, the customers are saying.”[Dave Beach of Chandler’s Ford , in the Southern Daily Echo of 15/05/07]
* “South West Trains’ suggestion that the 20 per cent increase in morning off-peak fares from 20 May is necessary to spread the “load” of passengers does not stand up to scrutiny. I have an annual standard season ticket and travel fairly often after 9.30am. At no time have I failed to get a seat. When there is overcrowding, it tends to be because the train is too short or there have been cancellations.” [D.J. Isaac of Cranleigh, Surrey, in the Evening Standard of 15/05/07]
* Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne has described a 20% rise in off-peak fares as a “back door stealth tax. He was joined by fellow Liberal Democrats Sandra Gidley and Mark Oaten in signing a highly critical parliamentary motion calling on the government to block “excessive increases”. The motion accuses the operator of “failing to provide an adequate business case for fare increases of this size” and notes that “high rail fares can only undermine the incentives to use environmentally sustainable public transport”. Mr Huhne said, “This is a time when a lot of elderly people use the train to go on day trips and a lot of other people, often on pretty low incomes, commute to part-time jobs. To hit them with a 20% fare increase because it is part of the fare structure which is unregulated, unlike the season ticket, is frankly outrageous. It’s a back door stealth tax and it should not be allowed”. [Southern Daily Echo 17/05/07]
* “Prospective Liberal Democrat MP for Winchester, Mark Todd, is collecting signatures today at Winchester railway station from commuters opposed to the fare rises. He said it was unfair of South West Trains to penalize rail users simply because they had no option but to use South West’s services, while those with other options did not face the massive increases.” [Southern Daily Echo 21/05/07]
* “As a regular user of the South West Trains service, I believe the company’s market dominance has allowed them to exploit their passengers….The price rise sends the wrong message; consumers who want to cut their carbon emissions are being priced off the railways and on to the roads, adding to congestion and pollution. For those of us who don’t drive Stagecoach, the South West Trains operators monopoly power is going to hit us hard in the pocket….In economist terms, railways are a natural monopoly meaning that whoever controls that monopoly has the power to raise fares to the detriment of travellers but to the benefit of their own profits.” [John Spottiswoode, South West Hampshire Green Party spokesman, in the Southern Daily Echo of 23/05/07]
* South West Trains has been accused of abusing its monopoly with plans to raise fares by more than 20% at stations not served by other train companies. Passenger Focus Acting Policy Manager Mike Hewitson said in a letter to the Office of Rail Regulation that SWT had ignored the idea of ‘early-bird-style’ discounts raised in the South West Main Line Rail Utilisation Study and also lowering prices towards the end of the peak. The RMT union has slammed SWT for running the company as a ‘cash cow’. Gerry Doherty, general secretary of the TSSA, likened Stagecoach bosses to ‘highwaymen’ at his union’s annual conference. He warned the TSSA would urge the Office of Fair Trading to consider the abuse of monopolies, adding: “in the old days highwaymen used to rob stagecoaches – nowadays it’s reversed, it’s Stagecoach that robs passengers and taxpayers”. SWT was in the bottom 5 of the 22 Train Operating Companies in Passenger Focus’ autumn 2006 passenger survey in terms of value for money, scoring just 38%. SWT’s reshuffling of its rolling stock, which has seen class 458s – noted for poor ride quality, noise and cramped conditions – replace class 442s has also come in for criticism. [Rail, 23/05/07]
* It is the duty of the Office of Fair Trading to investigate situations where an abuse of market power is apparent and to refer such suspicions to the Competition Commission, which has powers under the 1998 Competition Act and the 2002 Enterprise Act, to carry out formal investigations to such allegations. It is very hard to see that the DfT and SWT have much of a defence against the allegations of abusing market power and if the case is proven there are some drastic remedies available to the Competition Commission, which could include a requirement to transfer some operations to an alternative operator… A structure that provides customers with a choice of operator is very much with the grain of European thinking as evidenced by recent news that Air France intends to start international services using the Channel Tunnel. Trains would serve Charles de Gaulle airport, offering an alternative to the current Eurostar service. [Rail, 23/05/07]
* Thanks to South West trains, railways in this country will maintain their reputation for being ridiculously expensive for passengers who want to turn up and go. Some interviewed on television said they would travel less because of the big increase. That is sad if, indeed, it turns out to be true. On the other hand it would be good if there were a dent in South West trains’ passenger figures. The operator really should be punished for its greed. Those who are behind this increase, and those who condone it, should be thoroughly ashamed. [Today’s Railways, June 2007]
* “Rail travel with South West Trains is just ridiculously expensive, and the service does not in any way justify the price.” [Roz Lucas in the Southern Daily Echo of 05/06/07]
* “For ad hoc journeys the tickets are hugely expensive, especially to London.” [Kevin Greenlough in the Southern Daily Echo of 05/06/07]
* “Tickets are too expensive for the service you get. Too often trains are delayed or even cancelled.” [Gurdandan Ambardar in the Southern Daily Echo of 05/06/07]
* “This week I had to renew my first-class monthly season ticket from Brockenhurst to Waterloo. It had gone up from £609.50 to £731.20, a rise of more than 20%. How can South West Trains justify this hike when it is delivering a worse service with an inferior buffet provider, less frequent trains and 15 fewer first class seats – which often means standing as far as Winchester on my return commute?” [Malcolm Benson in the Evening Standard of 20/06/07]
[South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group comment, published in the Evening Standard of 25/06/07
“Commuters such as Malcolm Benson are part of a captive market, but South West Trains’ 20% fare increases on off-peak morning trains to London are leaving carriages full of thin air. The day you published Mr. Benson’s letter – 20 June – the 9am service from Weymouth left Winchester for Waterloo with 337 standard-class seats and nearly all the first-class seats unoccupied.”]
* “There were two letters in the Daily Echo (June 26) which confirm what I said in my letter some weeks ago. I predicted that there would be a substantial loss of passengers with the introduction of the semi off-peak fare. >From what Denis Fryer of South Hampshire Rail Group says, there is a very significant loss of passengers, and therefore revenue, as a result. As to the supposed instructions to ticket collectors, what is implied is ridiculous. There are very many circumstances where it is impossible to get a ticket before boarding. I shall be travelling from Eastleigh to Gatwick at 11.15pm. The booking office is shut and Gatwick is not on the machine. Unless I prebook am I not able to use my Senior Railcard? If I do prebook, as I normally do, will I have to pay the rate applicable at the time I buy it or the real off-peak rate which is when I travel? SWT, go back to the simple peak and off-peak structure you had. So the trains are crowded between 9am and noon. Isn’t that what you want? From what I have read, SWT is losing customers and, probably money.” (Dave Beach of Chandler’s Ford in the Southern Daily Echo of 03/07/07)
As always, Stagecoach takes the money and blames the Government
The Evening Standard of 27/06/07 recorded that Stagecoach had reported a near-40% surge in full-year, pre-tax profits to £162 million. The company is paying another £33.5 million in dividends, including around £5.5 million to Brian Souter and nearly £4 million to Ann Gloag. Last autumn the two Stagecoach founders received a £175 million windfall. The Standard continued, “The shareholding of Souter, a fundamentalist Christian who in the past has been pilloried for his homophobic views, and Gloag, who collects Scottish castles and gets involved in African charities, is together valued at more than £340 million giving them a 28.5% shareholding in the company they founded”.
The Evening Standard of 28/06/07 reported: “Rail fares are to rise several times above inflation, it emerged today. The severe increase is part of a series of deals between the Government and rail companies to take advantage of record growth in demand for train travel. Stagecoach said it is planning to follow its 20 per cent increase on its South West Trains franchise with a substantial increase on the new East Midlands franchise, which it takes over in November”.
The Guardian of 28/06/07 reported: “Stagecoach said government policy was behind controversial fare increases on its South West Trains franchise. Stagecoach renewed the SWT franchise recently with a pledge to pay the government £1.2 billion over 10 years, followed months later by a 20% increase in some off-peak fares. Martin Griffiths, Stagecoach’s finance director, said: “There is investment required in UK rail and there is no doubt government policy is to maximise premium payments [made by franchise owners] or to reduce the cost of subsidies.” He added that, as a consequence, the financial balance between farepayer and the government had shifted.”
Hang on! Isn’t there a slight possibility that Stagecoach severely overbid because it didn’t want to lose such a lucrative franchise? And is this the same Martin Griffiths who was reported in the Telegraph of 23/09/06 as saying, “We have never shied away from the fact that we negotiated a very profitable franchise back in 2003.” We don’t recall fares having been driven down by the government’s being overgenerous on that occasion.
PENALTY FARE CHANGES – CENTRAL TO THE AGENDA OF EXPLOITIVE GREED
In mid-June, Stagecoach’s greed-based ethical deficit came home to roost. One method SWT has used to intimidate passengers is to display posters warning that police travel by train too. And so do journalists. A Times transport correspondent and a BBC Radio Solent presenter who had difficulty obtaining tickets at stations were both penalised with hefty fares on board trains. This led to the Times and the BBC contacting our Group, and to a radio report and an article in the Times of 18 June.
Stagecoach went into denial mode, claiming that their policy had not changed, but a secret memo was leaked. Guards were being threatened with disciplinary action if they did not penalize passengers with maximum fares if they board without tickets. It means passenger pay more than double the normal price. The leaked memo tells guards to treat passengers as fare dodgers even if they ask to buy a ticket. It tells guards they will be accountable for accepting excuses even if passengers say they have queued for 15 minutes and could have missed their train. The memo says that children must be penalized even at weekends and bank holidays when cheaper fares are available. Guards must also tell passengers they could be liable for an additional £20 on the spot fine and could be prosecuted for fare evasion. “From now, your commercial duties will be measured in three main areas: the amount of revenue you collect; the type of tickets that you sell; and the number of penalty fare warnings that you issue.”
This was too much even for the Department for Transport, which said it was investigating queuing times at South West Trains stations. The leak led to SWT’s excesses becoming the lead article in the Times of 22/06/07, followed by a damage limitation attempt appearing on SWT’s website. The media repercussions were by now widespread, with many papers publishing derivative articles. By 23 June, Chris Huhne, Liberal Democrat MP for Eastleigh, was writing in the Southern Daily Echo that the policy was out of order. He called for a clause in franchises insisting on fair and proportionate treatment of passengers. Otherwise people would be put off using rail, at odds with environment policy.
The unadvertised agenda behind the announcements is that, as new ticket machines are put in, ‘permit to travel’ machines are ripped out (presumably without reimbursement of taxpayers who funded them). These machines were installed when the penalty fares scheme was introduced, so that people were protected if they joined a train without a ticket because they didn’t have the correct money for the ticket machine (which cannot always give change), or the machine would not accept their money, for example because coins were a bit worn or banknotes a bit crumpled, or they weren’t sure which of a bewildering range of ticket they needed.
The new ticket machines will accept credit and debit cards, but many lower-income and younger people will not have these. Clear therefore, why SWT is specifically telling guards to penalize children. SWT’s timetable booklet says starkly: “We have a policy to prosecute all deliberate fare evaders whenever possible”. Their leaflet ‘Buying your ticket before you board’ makes clear that people who make genuine mistakes will be penalized: “We’ve produced a leaflet to help you make sure you don’t get caught out by accident and have to face the consequences…. Some people make costly mistakes about ticket types when they travel on our trains … Having an invalid ticket counts as having no ticket at all.” Passengers who are not sure which ticket they need are warned to find out before purchase, even though enquiring at a help point can take ages and could mean missing a train and up to two hours’ delay. The leaflet boasts that SWT has got 800 guards on trains and 400 revenue protection officers, and a further 100 revenue protection officers at ticket gates. By way of comparison, Northern, the largest franchise, has about 90 revenue protection officers.
Guards regularly tell passengers they “cannot” issue discounted fares on board trains. However, one had to recently when a passenger presented a permit to travel from another operator’s machine. On the 16.35 from Waterloo on 22/06/07, a passenger was challenged for having a ticket dated the previous day. He produced a receipt which should have shown he purchased the day return ticket – from Shawford to Brentwood, at 10.20am on 22/06/07, but actually showed it was purchased at 10.20 pm on 21/06/07. The guard eventually accepted that the daytrip journey could not have been made at 10.20pm. Apparently a case of sloppy SWT ticket issuing.
At least it’s easy to get a ticket from the booking office at major stations? Wrong again! On Saturday 09/06/07, a commuter went to the main booking office at Southampton Central in late morning to replace her annual season ticket which was virtually illegible through wear at the ticket gates. Only one ticket window was staffed and the clerk whinged that it wasn’t convenient to deal with her request. The commuter stood her ground because the booking office is never open when she gets home in early evening. A queue built up and eventually, at 11.25, a second window opened, but too late for some passengers, who missed the 11.30 London train.
It is increasingly the rule on SWT that everything is closed. At 21.00 on 5 June a passenger on Havant station was complaining that the toilets closed at 20.00. At 13.40 on 13 June the travel centre at Basingstoke station was closed.
A consequence of the new enforcement policy is that passengers are assaulted with endless announcements that they must have a ticket before boarding a SWT train or risk a penalty fare. It makes a mockery of the quiet zones on trains, and even Stagecoach lobbyist Barry Doe loathes it, but when did SWT care about passenger stress? Note this on their website and in their e-motion magazine: “You’re two minutes to departure and running to catch the train. You’ve slept through the alarm, it’s pouring down, your umbrella’s turned inside out in the wind—it’s not a good day. You reach the station out of breath, take one look at the ticket queue [our underlining] and another at your watch. You can’t be late for that meeting. You panic, head straight for the platform and hop on board. It may be tempting to do it at one time or another. “I’ll buy it on the train,” you think. “That’s all right, isn’t it?” Well, no. The National Rail Conditions of Carriage clearly state that all passengers must have a valid ticket or authority to travel for the journey they intend to make, unless a train operating company specifies otherwise [our underlining]. And now South West Trains will be enforcing this more consistently.”
A particular disgrace is the pop-up display on SWT’s website: ‘no more freeloading to Feltham’; ‘no more bunking to Bournemouth’; ‘no more sidestepping at Surbiton’; ‘no more winging it to Waterloo’; ‘no more blagging it to Basingstoke’; ‘no more chancing it to Chessington’. What serious commercial organisation could afford to address its customers like that?
Little seems to have changed during the decade since the High Court refused to issue an injunction banning the World in Action programme, ‘Cowboy Country’ about SWT’s ethically-deficient business practices which the then Monopolies and Mergers Commission condemned as “predatory, deplorable and against the public interest”.
Note of 25/06/07 from South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group to all MPs in the SWT area
‘The Times lead article of 22 June (copied overleaf) exposed harsh revenue protection procedures on South West Trains. The company has responded on its website by claiming that its fares enforcement policy has not changed.
This claim is preposterous. Previously, when passengers were unsure about which of a confusing range of tickets to buy, or a ticket machine would not accept their money or give change, they could put any coins into the ‘permit-to-travel’ machine. The money was deducted from the cheapest fare when they bought their ticket on the train.
Ticket machines which accept bank cards are being installed, but permit machines are then removed. People without bank cards, like children, are therefore particularly likely to board a train without a ticket, so SWT’s financial incentive in specifically telling guards to penalise children is obvious.
SWT certainly intends to penalise those who buy the wrong type of ticket. Their own leaflet ‘Buying your ticket before you board’ states, ‘We’ve produced this leaflet to make sure you don’t get caught out by accident and have to face the consequences… Some people make costly mistakes about ticket types when they travel on our trains … Having an invalid ticket counts as having no ticket at all.”
The leaflet continues, ‘To enforce our policy, we employ over 800 guards on trains, nearly 400 Revenue Protection Officers, and we’ve employed 100 additional revenue protection staff to man ticket gates”. By way of comparison, Northern Trains, which is now the largest passenger train franchise, has 90 Revenue Protection Officers.
SWT stations are often unstaffed or understaffed, sometimes for days at a time. Booking office facilities are poor. Passenger Focus, the official rail watchdog, recently found that booking offices were often closed during opening hours and SWT’s staffing of them was below average. Presumably booking clerks have been replaced by Revenue Protection Officers. In any case, long ticket queues are now commonplace.
SWT may increasingly need to get its revenue by exploiting vulnerable passengers like children. On 20 June, the 09.00 train from Weymouth, to which its new 20% fare increase applies, left Winchester for Woking and Waterloo with 337 standard class seats empty. Only 21% of SWT’s peak passengers think they get value for money. Higher overall satisfaction ratings include credit for things that ought to be taken for granted in any commercial activity, like cleanliness, maintenance and helpful staff.’
Letter from South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group published in the Southern Daily Echo of 29/06/07
South West Trains is wrong to claim its revenue protection policy hasn’t changed.
SWT stations are often unstaffed or understaffed. Previously, when passengers were unsure about which of a confusing range of tickets to buy, or a ticket machine would not accept their money or give change, they could put any coins into the permit-to-travel machine. The money was deducted from the cheapest fare when they bought their ticket.
Ticket machines which accept bank cards are being installed, but permit machines are then removed. People without cards, like children, are therefore particularly likely to board a train without a ticket, so SWT has a strong financial incentive to penalise them.
SWT may increasingly rely on such exploitation. On 20 June, the 9am train from Weymouth, to which its 20 per cent fare increase applies, left Winchester for Woking and Waterloo with 337 standard class seats empty.
Only 21 per cent of SWT’s peak passengers think they get value for money. Higher overall satisfaction ratings include credit for things that ought to be taken for granted in any commercial activity, like cleanliness, maintenance and helpful staff.
Letter from an Eastleigh resident published in the Southern Daily Echo of 29/06/07
I was not surprised to read the story Train Guards Told: Take No Prisoners (Daily Echo, June 22). The last thing on SWT’s mind is its passengers. First there were the recent massive fare increases and now this penalisation of passengers for not buying a ticket before travelling. SWT’s sole purpose seems to be maximising income. They seem to think that their large, captive audience is there to be fleeced, especially as there is no competition. (MIKE JEATT)
Other press comments
* Councillor Angela Graham complains that passengers do not have adequate opportunities to buy tickets before boarding because of long queues. SWT promised to install additional ticket machines at Earlsfield station but have not done so (Times, 26/06/07)
* Sophie, of TW12 says “I’m so glad that my text, about people buying tickets before they board a train, provoked such a response. “Anon” clearly has not seen the queues at Hampton ticket office in the morning.” (The London Paper, 29/06/07)
* The train operators’ new strategy of punishing passengers who are genuinely unable to buy tickets before boarding is contemptible. David Atherton, Widnes. (Times, 25/06/07)
What won’t be clear to the average passenger, particularly the children whom SWT is set on penalising, is that the ‘Buying your ticket before you board’ leaflet is completely separate from the official Penalty Fares scheme leaflet for SWT, which was reissued in April and then had to be reissued again in June. The Penalty Fares leaflet (a joint Stagecoach / National Rail / DfT publication) omits explicit mention of specifically penalising error or of SWT’s disproportionate number of Revenue Protection Officers, and is more factual in tone than the comparatively brutal ‘Buying your ticket before you board’ leaflet. It is surprising that the latter is considered considered legal because, while it thoughtfully remembers the threat of imprisonment, it thoughtfully omits all reference to the statutory right of appeal under the penalty fares scheme and could risk passengers being left unaware of their rights.
Comment from Nigel Harris, the Editor of pro-industry ‘RAIL’ magazine (Issue no 569)
“Maybe it’s because many railway people don’t actually pay fares – or not in full – especially very senior managers. But no-one likes to feel ripped-off and once you offend the British sense of fair play, you’re in trouble. Politicians forget this too but a bloody nose at election time usually reminds them.
So, I watched in despair in mid-June as The Times ‘exposed’ South West Trains’ pre-meditated policy to “… fleece its passengers.” The harsh words “sharp practice”, and “profiteering” were used. SWT was “the unacceptable face of rail privatisation.”
This is all enormously damaging – not just for Stagecoach, but the whole industry. RAIL was critical of SWT’s recent moves to manipulate the peak and impose 20% increases on off-peak fares and The Times was equally unimpressed. SWT’s protests about easing the post-peak rush were unconvincing: this is all about maximising revenues.
Then The Times reported that SWT guards are ordered “on pain of dismissal” to charge maximum fares for passengers who don’t book before boarding – regardless of long queues, or the availability of ticket machines. The ‘Thunderer’ then sank its teeth in deeper with a further report that the cheapest fares which booking offices are legally obliged to sell, are not programmed into SWT ticket machines, so passengers can pay a 100% premium. The Times tried to buy return tickets from Waterloo to Weymouth for four and the machine charged £212.40, whereas the booking office, by law, would have had to charge just £106.20. Ouch.
You’d think it couldn’t get any worse, but when The Times discovered that Falklands veterans travelling to London for the 25th anniversary commemorations had been thus ripped-off, SWT was firmly on the spit of public opinion. “Greedy and unreasonable” said Denis Fryer of the South Hampshire Rail Users Group – and it’s hard to disagree. Passenger Focus Director Anthony Smith is making a formal complaint to SWT.”
ABUSING SENIOR CITIZENS BUT APPREHENSIVE OF THE POLICE
* On 27/06/07 passengers observed the shock of a grey-haired senior citizen being charged an extortionate fare on the 13.05 Waterloo-Poole. Shouldn’t SWT carriages have external warnings saying “You may find some of the scenes in this carriage disturbing”?
* On 2/07/07, a mother and her student son travelled from Walthamstow to Kingston. The son asked at the start of the journey whether he could top up his Oyster card to pay for the trip and was assured that he could. At Kingston SWT demanded a penalty fare on the basis that Oysters were not yet valid on SWT, even though he produced a receipt to show he had paid. After a very long argument, the passengers insisted that SWT call the police to hear what they had to say. SWT then gave in and sold them the proper ticket. No doubt they were frightened of being charged with wasting police time.
* [We heard of another case recently where a SWT station manager called the police after arriving at work and finding minor vandalism at his station. The police arrived, asked how long the station had been left unattended, and promptly lost interest.]
LEGAL ADVICE ON PENALTY FARES: STAND UP TO SWT EXTORTION
Saturday June 30, 2007
One train of thought about penalty fares ...
Travel: Be on your guard, warns Richard Colbey, about a policy that could penalise honest travellers.
South West Trains has, according to reports, told its guards to impose penalty fares on passengers who tried to buy a ticket at one of its stations, but couldn't because of long queues at windows or ticket machines. Are these penalty fares legally enforceable? Almost certainly not.
A confidential memo, seen last week by The Times newspaper, suggested that South West Trains is planning to introduce a system under which guards are judged according to the amount they collect in penalties. The memo, headed "commercially sensitive, please do not circulate", instructs guards to treat passengers as fare dodgers even if they ask to buy a ticket on the train.
As well as being bad for customers and guards alike, the policy is legally dubious. Rail companies have to rely on the penalty fare rules 2002, made by the then Department of Transport, to levy such charges.
These rules are explicit. A penalty fare may not be charged if there were "no facilities to issue the appropriate ticket". This, at least arguably, means there must have been a window at which there is no queue. In plain English, a person is not available if he is serving a queue. Nor is a machine available if it is in use. SWT says its policy is to sell a ticket within, at most, five minutes of waiting. Although that does not tie in exactly with the concept of "availability".
In an attempt to get around the problem, the train companies have come up with "conditions of carriage". These don't incorporate the rules' wording, but say a penalty fare is payable if there is no window open and no working machine. It is doubtful that a passenger who has bought no ticket, and hence made no contract with the rail company, could be subject to any conditions. The conditions are invalid if they do not follow the DoT's rules.
SWT's website says one of the reasons for imposing penalty fares is to deter those who do not buy a ticket until challenged. But proving the intention to evade, beyond reasonable doubt, would be virtually impossible. A penalty then seems fair, but that is very different from a ticketless passenger seeking out the guard.
Those who couldn't buy a ticket should politely refuse to pay the penalty. The guard is entitled to a name and address and to know where they got on, and will get off. Mentioning paragraph 7.4 of the penalty fare rules is likely to win the argument, at least on the train.
If the guard issues a penalty notice anyway, there is 21 days to appeal to the company. However even if there is no appeal, or the appeal is not allowed, the company is not automatically entitled to its money. It first has to sue in the county court. Judges hearing such claims would not give judgment for the penalty sum unless the company could justify it.
There has been no reported case of a train company suing in this way. The last thing the rail industry would want is a pronouncement by a judge on its levying of penalty fares.
· Richard Colbey is a barrister.
SATISFACTION STATISTICS – LIMITED RELEVANCE?
In the Department for Transport’s view, around 80% of rail passengers think services are good or satisfactory, based on Passenger Focus’ quarterly samples. Whilst passengers’ experiences vary tremendously across the individual franchises, the 80% mark is used as a defence mechanism against increasingly trenchant criticism of some operators. Whilst the figure sounds good, is having one in five passengers dissatisfied or unimpressed really much to celebrate?
And what should the rail companies be aiming for? In justifying privatisation in 1995, the Transport Secretary, Dr Brian Mawhinney, stated, “We want responsiveness to passengers’ wishes. We want, in the railways, all the characteristics of the best of British industry. The Sainsburys of this world respond rather well to their customers’ changing demands without any help from the state, thank you very much. We want some of that responsiveness for the railway too”.
John Prescott appeared similarly minded, and consistently referred to the interests of passengers being paramount. In 2000, the Government’s ambition was to promote “a bigger and better railway with reduced journey times, higher standards of safety, service and comfort”.
Unfortunately, under Richard Bowker’s leadership of the Strategic Rail Authority, public money was lavished on propping up failing companies like Stagecoach, which should have been removed from the railways, whilst passengers got little return. The pendulum now seems to have swung towards clawing back money thus wasted, whatever the consequences for passengers in terms of high fares and indifferent or even abusive service. [See footnote about Mr Bowker]
So what is the basis of the 80% satisfaction ratings? The operators get separate credit ratings for some quite extraordinary things like the cleanliness of stations, the interior cleanliness of trains, the exterior cleanliness of trains, the upkeep and repair of station buildings and platforms, the upkeep and repair of the train, the overall environment, the attitudes and helpfulness of station staff, the attitudes and helpfulness of train staff, the availability of staff, personal security on board the train, and the ease of being able to get on and off the train.
Just imagine marking the Sainsburys of this world on the interior cleanliness of the store, the exterior cleanliness of the store, the upkeep and repair of the store, the upkeep and repair of the shelving, the availability of staff, the attitudes and helpfulness of the staff, the ease of getting in and out of the store, and the overall environment. If you found a deficit in any of these, you would probably send a sharp letter to the store and / or to the local press, or the health inspectors would call. The train operators, conversely, are being awarded high overall satisfaction markings for essentials which almost anywhere else would be taken for granted.
This bizarre phenomenon presumably arose because of the low standards to which some operators sank following privatisation. But it does mean that the overall official satisfaction ratings are pretty spurious. More realistically, official figures based on sampling in February/March show that 42% of off-peak passengers in London and the South East think their fares are value for money, and 21% of peak passengers. If 21% of Sainsbury’s principal customers thought they got value for money, the company would collapse.
South West Trains’ ratings broadly reflect the general position. However, their ratings were already down 1% since the previous survey and this was before they increased the differential between standard and first class season tickets from 50% to 80%, and increased off-peak morning fares to London by 20%, not to mention the officious and abusive ratcheting up of their revenue protection policy.
There was a long-standing comfort blanket for the operators that, if they got trains running on time and replaced the old slam-door carriages, passengers would be happy. On SWT, passengers can see that their new Desiro trains are trashy compared with the longer-distance Electrostars on Southern and South Eastern; or even compared with SWT’s deep-cushioned ex-BR diesel trains. They are fed up with doors being slammed in their faces well before departure time, stops axed and turnarounds short of destination, and sitting in stations for 5 minutes at a time for operational convenience; they are fed up with officious on-board droning about having to have a ticket before boarding instead of guards telling them to leave their tickets on tables if they don’t want to be woken. God knows what point there is in having a quiet area!
The reality in London’s busy commuting belt, where the vast majority of rail journeys are made, is that only a small minority of passengers are satisfied, and the position is likely to have suffered significant recent deterioration on Stagecoach’s South West Trains, which is tarnishing the good name of rail travel, post-Hatfield etc, which most operators have been keen to re-establish.
The Department for Transport has launched a consultation on the awarding of franchises. The Foreword starts, “The railway is a public service”. So the public’s views are essential? Unfortunately, they don’t come into the equation. The purpose of the consultation seems to be to ensure the train operators are satisfied that the process for awarding franchises is fair to them.
All this is extraordinary. In almost every other public service, whether health, social care or education, the government stresses that choice, opportunity and the views of users are paramount. Rail users seem to be mere commodities for the least ethical operators like Stagecoach to exploit and abuse.
Interestingly, National Express, which has been one of the better operators, and is now run by Mr. Bowker, has lost or failed to gain franchises in competition after competition. National Express’ Midland Mainline franchise is beaten in the latest satisfaction ratings only by Heathrow Express and Gatwick Express. Particularly interesting therefore that, on the day that the Times’ lead article exposed Stagecoach’s brutal operation of its fare enforcement policy on South West Trains to the whole world (our Group even got an outraged e’mail from the USA saying that Stagecoach need to be kicked and the operator sued), the DfT announced that Midland Mainline would be transferred from National Express to Stagecoach. In addition, Go-Ahead has won the new West Midlands franchise, which includes National Express’ Silverlink County franchise and much of their Central Trains franchise. Silverlink Metro will be transferred to the Mayor of London’s London Overground network, and run by Laing and Hong Kong Metro operator MTR. A Covent Garden resident praises the efficiency and cheapness of the Hong Kong Metro in the London Lite of 20/06/07.
The Evening Standard of 26 June took up the story of National Express, pointing out that it had now lost Midland Mainline, Central Trains, Gatwick Express, Silverlink County, and Silverlink Metro, but might at least acquire GNER or Cross Country. However, the Guardian of 25 June reported that National Express was tipped to be out of the running for Cross Country.
IS STAGECOACH BECOMING A POLITICAL IRRITATION YET AGAIN?
Ten years is a long time in politics, but in Stagecoach terms it’s just another decade of ethically-limited greed (to use Brian’s Souter’s turn of phrase). Ten years ago services were collapsing on SWT because Stagecoach had disposed of too many drivers to boost its profits. Politicians of all parties were united in their condemnation of the company. None more so than Transport Minister Steven Norris who lamented:
“We in the Conservative party were very happy at the way rail privatisation was going – new investment, new ideas, new services. --- SWT instantly unwound all that. It was so obviously a grave error of judgement, so obviously to the disadvantage of passengers, and so clearly an act committed by a private company. It left a bad taste instantly in people’s mouths about SWT. Even now, the intelligent non-transport buff will remember SWT and it will take years to get SWT out of the political lexicon.”
Ten years on, are things really that much different? The decade has seen various examples of greedy companies failing passengers, but overall there is a sense of things getting better. SWT, meanwhile, earns negative criticism by the bucketful: its services generally the slowest since steam; its new trains cramped, not seen by users as fit for purpose, and rated poorly against the new trains of other operators; its suburban trains being made less safe by removal of seats; its stations left unstaffed when booking offices should be open – Totton is left unstaffed for days at a time and rats have been attracted by food discarded on the platforms; an increasingly vindictive revenue protection system which ignores passenger stress and punishes genuine error; 20% fare rises but only where there is no competition; plans to run services at average speeds of 19mph between substantial towns on the company’s premier line whilst trains are reaching 200mph in France; and PR which bears no reality to the truth, heaps up self-praise and attacks government and MPs.
Almost the first job of Tom Harris, on his appointment as Rail Minister, was to announce the award of the new SWT franchise to Stagecoach, and this opened a can of worms which seems self-perpetuating. The Guardian of 1 June 2007 quotes him as having said, in relation to SWT’s huge and discriminatory fare increases, “There is nothing that I can, or indeed want, to do on fares that are unregulated”. However, at a rail conference he Birmingham, he commented that, “The DfT is not in the business of trying our hardest to annoy as many passengers as possible”. Remarkable that he felt impelled to say it. Similar irritation, though expressed more circumspectly, is apparent in the former Secretary of State - Douglas Alexander - who said, in response to a Parliamentary Question about SWT’s fare rises, “I would urge all train companies to act responsibly when considering the setting of unregulated fares”.
On 11/06/07, BBC TV reported that the Association of Train Operating companies had complained to DfT about poor performance by Network Rail, for example because of the 9 month delay in completing the Portsmouth area re-signalling scheme [see item from BBC website in the footnote]. An e’mail from a DfT official was leaked which said they didn’t want publicity about poor performance in addition to the overcrowding issue [see separate article on the Portsmouth-Waterloo Rail Users Group meeting].
The Liberal Democrats have been putting searching Questions to Ministers about SWT-related issues, and the Conservatives appear to have got Stagecoach firmly in their sights. Note ‘Rail News’, June 2007:
“Conservative shadow rail minister Stephen Hammond took advantage of the Rail 2007 conference to advertise Tory plans for “evolutionary” change. The details are still shrouded in mystery, but it appears Chris Grayling’s team plan to give train operators more of a say in running the railway. Mr Hammond pursued that theme by insisting that once in power he would step back from running the railway and leave it to people who knew what they were doing. But it seems uncertain how that approach will last when a train operator does something that does not win his approval – such as South West Trains’ recent service changes. Mr Hammond is a fine speaker with a good line in self-deprecating asides to start off his speeches, and his thoughts on SWT raised a hearty laugh. “When SWT said it was increasing capacity by 20 per cent, it did not say it was taking out seats and toilets so you needed a 20 per cent increase in bladder capacity.”
By coincidence, one column away from the report of Mr Hammond’s speech was an item about a train failure on the Settle and Carlisle line: “As the sun beat through the carriage windows and water supplies ran dry, thoughts did turn darkly to stories of passengers smashing windows to escape after hours in similar circumstances”. Ah, yes: SWT passengers travelling from Southampton to Waterloo.
More generally, politicians of the three major parties and many Scots are unlikely to be thanking Mr Souter for his £500,000 donation to the SNP, which has led to minority government north of the border and the real possibility that some high-profile transport initiatives will now be scrapped.
Finally, the Transport Bill contains proposals giving transport authorities in the metropolitan areas powers to influence bus services, as already happens in London. It also provides for transport authorities to be established in other areas. This will be anathema to Mr Souter. He has already responded to such possibilities by saying he would pull out and sell off the bus stations to developers, just as he did for big profit when he deprived Southampton of its popular bus station and left passengers to stand around the streets waiting for buses.
Will Gordon Brown bring us hope? Perhaps. He has said that he wants not only policies but a government with ‘soul’. It’s hard to imagine anything more soulless and less caring than the South West Trains operation.
Footnote 1 (from BBC website)
“Rail passengers in Portsmouth face more disruption with lines being closed as a £100m signalling project is completed. The scheme, which has already overrun twice, involves an overhaul of tracks and signals in the Hampshire city. The track work was completed at the end of February but problems with the new equipment has stalled the installation and testing of the signalling system. The line closures will take place from 24 to 28 October. Network Rail admitted the situation was frustrating for all.
David Pape, Network Rail's route director, said: "We have now resolved the issues which delayed this important and complex project and we are sorry for the disruption passengers have experienced over recent months. We are now looking forward to carrying out the final testing to finish the job so that passengers can receive the full benefits of this scheme."
Alternative travel arrangements are now being planned by train operators and will be released soon, a Network Rail spokesman added. Trains have been disrupted for most of the year as hand-pulled lever signals were brought back into service. Passengers had more than a month without trains at the start of this year before a limited service was introduced at the beginning of February.”
Footnote 2 (Portsmouth News 06/06/07)
The Office of Rail Regulation launched an investigation into how Network Rail handled the project, and found weaknesses in its planning. It failed to take adequate account of the risks involved and the potential effects on train operators and passengers. The firm was found to be in breach of its licence and could now face a hefty fine. Portsmouth City Council welcomed the development.
Rail users across Hampshire will be grateful to Mike Hancock MP for raising a number of Parliamentary Questions for ministerial answer. Extracts from the Official Record [Hansard] are below.
South Hampshire Rail Group
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to reply to the submission made by the South Hampshire Rail Group on the franchise operated by South West Trains; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The group sent a submission to the Department which was received on the 22 May 2007. It is now being considered and I expect a reply to be sent shortly.
South West Trains: Surveys
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will commission a study of the views of passengers carried by South West Trains which seeks their views on (a) comfort, (b) punctuality, (c) ease of purchasing tickets and (d) value for money; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The National Passenger Survey reported by Passenger Focus provides a network-wide picture of customers' satisfaction with rail travel. Passengers’ opinions are collected twice a year from a representative sample of passenger journeys. It is for train operators rather than Government to decide whether there is a need for more detailed surveys of their own passengers.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will hold discussions on expanding the train network in (a) Portsmouth and
(b) the rest of Hampshire; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: I would be pleased to meet relevant MPs to discuss the Department's approach to development of the railway in Portsmouth and the rest of Hampshire.
No funding is specifically allocated to new railways or re-openings. We are, nevertheless, always prepared to look at proposals of this sort put forward as priorities by regions and local authorities, provided that they are supported by a proper business case.
The Southern Regional Planning Assessment for the railway was published in January this year and sets out the Department's thinking on this issue. The Secretary of State has made a commitment that 1,000 additional train carriages, to lengthen trains and alleviate crowding on the most congested routes across England and Wales, will result from Department for Transport's High Level Output Specification to Network Rail for 2009-14. This will be published in July.”
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ensure that passengers receive compensation following the conclusions of the Office of Rail Regulation Report on the Portsmouth re-signalling project by Network Rail; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: Stagecoach South Western Trains are obligated to compensate passengers where disruption to services meets their compensation obligations under the National Rail Conditions of Carriage and in particular under their Passengers Charter.
The Department has ensured that where necessary that Stagecoach South Western Trains have plans to meet its obligations to passengers.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research has been carried out by his Department on (a) the health and safety of passengers and (b) the medical effects of using the class 450 carriages for journeys on the Portsmouth line; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department has not undertaken any such research.
Train Operating Companies: Fees and Charges
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent meetings her Department has had with train operating companies to discuss pricing structures for the railways; who attended; what the outcomes were; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The Department for Transport has been discussing with the Association of Train Operating Companies about how a simple national fares structure could be introduced, with standardised ticket names, terms and conditions. Discussions are ongoing.
Mr. Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average travel time was by rail between (a) Portsmouth and Waterloo via Eastleigh and (b) Southampton and Waterloo in each year since 1997. 
Mr. Tom Harris: The average journey time comparison for 1997 to 2007 are listed as follows.
Portsmouth-London Waterloo via Eastleigh
Time: 1997 2h 17; 1998 2h 17; 1999 2h 23; 2000 2h 23; 2001 2h23; 2002 2h 23; 2003 2h 23; 2004 2h 01; 2005 2h 12; 2006 2h 12; 2007 2h 12.
Time: 1997 1h 13; 1998 1h 13; 1999 1h 16; 2000 1h16; 2001 1h18; 2002 1h 16; 2003 1h 16; 2004 1h 18; 2005 1h 19; 2006 1h 19; 2007 1h 19.
The Portsmouth to Waterloo via Eastleigh service has been subject to various stopping patterns. Prior to 2004 it was literally all stations, then became fast from Basingstoke, and now is a semi fast. The Southampton to Waterloo journey time is based on the fast service and has marginally increased through extended dwell times with the modern stock.
The Answers to the final [as listed above] Question contains an error: it states that when the Waterloo-Eastleigh- Portsmouth service was at its slowest, it called at “literally all stations” which was true only west of Woking. The facts behind the timings in the Answer are as follows:
SWT’s December 2004 timetable brought the increase in the already inflated Southampton-Waterloo time to 19.7% (from 66 minutes ‘best time’ in 1990 to 79 minutes). On Portsmouth Harbour-Waterloo via Eastleigh, the times were 1hr 54 in 1990, and are 2hr 17 currently (so increase now 20.2% compared with 1990).
The especially-slow stopping service temporarily introduced from 1999 (2hr 27) on the Portsmouth route, and related diversion of the Waterloo-Portsmouth semi-fast service to Poole with a long layover at Southampton Central, was simply a mechanism to block Anglia’s proposed Norwich-Southampton service.
In 1990, Fareham-Waterloo took 90 minutes (average speed 56mph). It now takes 18 minutes longer (average speed 47mph) and trains are usually formed of the outer-suburban Desiro units. Southampton Airport Parkway-Waterloo takes 71minutes (63mph); there is double the frequency compared with Fareham, and the trains are formed of the longer-distance Desiros. This anomaly is likely to be a major cause of the apparently insatiable demand for parking spaces at the Parkway station, not to mention congestion on the M27 between the Fareham area and Southampton Airport.
The implication in the Answer that the blame for the latest increase in journey times is attributable to new trains is risible. Although very uncomfortable, the Desiro trains have rapid acceleration. For example, the 5-past from Waterloo to Poole is generally in Basingstoke at 45-past for a 50-past departure. When the Wessex Electric trains were introduced in 1988, we were told that performance would be much better, because platform staff would no longer have to run along platforms slamming half-open doors immediately before departure.
The increases in journey time in Hampshire are pretty consistent. In 1990 Alton-Waterloo took 61 minutes (about 46mph). Now it takes 70-73 minutes (38-40mph). That’s not much better than the 90-minute timings on the 50-mile, non-electrified and mainly single track, rural railway from Exmouth to Barnstaple (33mph). Yet these rural lines are sometimes dismissed as being too slow to be competitive.
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE IMPLIES SWT IRRESPONSIBLE ON FARES
(From Hansard 15/05/07)
Mr. Alistair Carmichael (Orkney and Shetland) (LD): If it is Government policy to encourage greater public transport use, why has South West Trains been allowed to increase its fares at off-peak times by 20 per cent. without any consultation? Does the Secretary of State think that that decision will help the Government meet their policy aims?
Mr. Alexander: The fares at off-peak times, to which the hon. Gentleman refers, are not regulated fares. Although I understand that there was real concern and public interest in the fares that were announced, it is important to emphasise that that those are not fares set by Government. The regulated fares, which are set by Government, in addition to the advance purchase discount fares, account for about 70 per cent. of the journeys made on Britain’s railways. Beyond those regulated fares and advance purchase fares, there must be a degree of flexibility for train companies to set prices against other modes of available transport, but I would urge all train companies to act responsibly when considering the setting of unregulated fares. [Mr Alexander has since been replaced as Secretary of State by Ruth Kelly. Tom Harris stays as Rail Minister.]
PARLIAMENTARY SEMINAR, 20 JUNE 2007
The seminar on ‘The Future for Rail, was convened by John McDonnell MP in the context of the government’s forthcoming announcements on its shorter and longer-term strategies for the railways. It was great to have the opportunity to attend such a comprehensive and well-informed discussion. There seemed to be a mood of cautious optimism; much was still wrong but, to a limited extent, arguments for growth in rail were being won. Some unofficial notes are below. We hope that, although the notes are not comprehensive, they accurately reflect the scope of the discussion.
All Unions want better long term planning. Rail contributes to high and sustained economic growth, and to climate change objectives. 25% of all UK carbon emissions come from transport, and Rail is much cleaner than road or air. One freight train can take 15 lorries off the road. A proper strategy for taking freight off the roads is needed. Most people want affordable and sustainable transport, but the balance is wrong. Motoring costs have reduced whilst rail fares have soared. The proposed high speed line from London to Scotland is needed, along with local light rail schemes. Growth is not cheap, but short term cuts are outweighed by long term benefits. Costs of rail three times higher under privatisation, so return to public ownership is the best route to advancing objectives.
‘More Trains Less Strain’
Passengers want punctual and reliable services, a much simplified fares structure and adequate capacity. Overcrowding humiliates people. There should be no milking by rapacious train operators, and no penalty fares for genuine mistakes. Passengers feel held to ransom. They are not ‘customers’ because they cannot take their custom elsewhere. Government must take the responsibility for DfT bureaucrats being out of touch. Passengers in Argentina set fire to a train in protest at overcrowding; conditions on First Great Western can be as bad, and 2,000 ordinary people joined in a fares strike. The company has attracted amazement in the Mumbai Times and New York Times, and on French TV. A national day of action is needed later in the year. ‘More Trains Less Strain’ will support groups. First Great Western and the Department for Transport did not respond to the proposal, and the Association of Train Operating Companies simply threatened huge fines if the law was broken. It was a pity that Tom Harris, the Railways Minister, had cancelled his attendance at today’s seminar for family reasons. Passengers don’t want insidious fare rises as on First Great Western and South West Trains. They want affordable walk-on fares. You cannot predict the weather three months ahead. If you decide on the day to go for a drive, you don’t pay more for the petrol because you didn’t book three months ahead. Overcrowding is not allowed on planes or buses. First Great Western could have retained more carriages instead of boosting profits. A collapsing rail system could be the next political Achilles Heel after the Poll Tax. There is considerable anger, and only so much that the British commuter can take.
Department for Transport
The Secretary of State tells the Office of Rail Regulation what railway the government wants to buy. The high level output statement will set out safety, reliability and capacity to 2013-14. If ORR considers the proposals are not affordable, it will ask the government for more funds or reduced requirements. Forecasts of growth in demand are substantial. Growth is running at 5% a year in Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. The 1,000 extra carriages which have been announced will require infrastructure work. Long term rail strategy needs to address the climate change agenda and coping with further growth.
Q and A
* Q: First Capital Connect will take all dual voltage stock from Southern. Nothing for cross-London services via Olympia.
A: No case for delaying the transfer.
* Q: First Capital Connect peak fares and South West Trains off-peak fares increased. Operators want to remove the Saver, the most popular ticket. DfT and operators in collusion?
A: Operators decide non-regulated fares and savings in their bids. To regulate all fares would move from franchise to Transport for London system.
* Q: Big reduction in stops at places like Watford Junction in new West Coast timetable. Rail has advantage over air in being able to serve intermediate destinations.
A: Trade off between reliability, frequency and journey times.
* Q: Extra coaches promised but job losses at UK construction industry.
A: Feast and famine since privatisation. Japan has flat line. Could integrate new procurement with Network Rail’s infrastructure improvements.
* Q: DfT thinking on rural lines?
A: Accept that big cuts on rural lines wouldn’t help capacity on main lines. Community Rail projects are achieving real transformation.
Mop-up of Q and A
* Q: Bristol is one of the most congested towns. Council consulted on how people would like money spent, and five times more respondents wanted a half hourly service on the Avonmouth line than any other improvement.
* Q: Scotland is much better at re-openings than England. Bletchley-Bedford and March-Wisbech need imagination and steer on funding.
* Q: Network Rail want to replace Crewe station with a new station, further from the centre, to facilitate re-signalling.
* Q: Services in Europe much better. Service from Wolverhampton to the Welsh coast particularly bad.
* Q: The Midland Main Line is not electrified and Network Rail is removing tracks north of Loughborough. Wessex Trains desperately tried to get extra stock to relieve overcrowding between Southampton and Bristol.
* Q: Singling on the Salisbury-Exeter line simply increased wear on one track.
* Q: People are being treated like cattle and exploited by guards under pressure. First Great Western and Government admit they got things wrong. System designed to fail. Private companies always reluctant to pay for more coaches.
A: Passenger Transport Executives and local authorities can request options. High level output statement period prioritises capacity demand, not reopening. Reopening lines depends on contributing to that agenda. France has problems too. Increased cost in early years when services are expanded and government must pick it up. Operators are expected to run commercially with government buying extra services. Some franchises need subsidy; others can pay premium. Northern Trains was worth subsidy. Minimum standards are expected. People should complain to operators and then to government.
Use of the car has contributed massively to global warming since 1945. This should be a golden opportunity for the railways. The railways could be built up but where is the will to do it? The train operators are getting 6 times more in real terms than the British Railways Board. If only BR could have reinvested profits… The operating companies should have been taken back into public ownership by now. The government dictates policies but lets the operators take risks and receive large profits. Yesterday’s announcements about TfL’s new orbital services mean private trains running on London Underground lines. The Mayor should have insisted on public ownership. Comprehensive regulation is needed, but it can’t happen because all parties support privatisation. Efficiency should mean no stress, a decent service and smart staff. Need to clarify whether rail is a public or private service. Peak profits should support off-peak services. A publicly owned and publicly accountable railway is the only one which delivers to people.
Linda Riordan MP
Exciting prospects if rail policies are right, but nightmare if they are wrong. Best interests of passengers and staff to renationalise. Operators prepared to price off passengers and put people into aircraft-style seats. More electrification needed, and new routes. The M62 could lose hundreds of cars if there were a service between Halifax and London. People should be put before profits.
The complexity of operating today’s railway is a complete dog’s dinner. MPs don’t understand the finances. Richard Branson hasn’t put a penny into the Pendolino trains, but gets £337 for a first class return from Euston to Manchester. The Conservatives promised that entrepreneurs would give a better service but they didn’t. Passengers don’t have the old standards of service. There are 250 companies with an interest in the railways. Railtrack was a huge failure. Network Rail directors get huge bonuses but no public accountability despite their reliance on the public purse. Return of railways to the public sector is affordable; simply don’t renew franchises. The railways could eventually become one organisation run by Network Rail. Stagecoach’s opportunistic bid for SWT was scandalous. Fares soared and revenue protection officers told to treat people harshly.
Planning for growth and sustainability. There is partnership across industry. Investment is moving forward. Five years ago people were talking of cutting costs rather than about capacity. Our railways are no longer an international joke. There is a change of attitude and more long-term planning. Route Utilisation Strategies bring everyone together, deliver growth and identify gaps. Working with other players for investment. Speeding up processes. Rolling stock specifications critical – too many mistakes in the past.
Campaigned to get capacity on to the agenda and capacity expansion is now in government thinking. Government didn’t like the ‘Sardine Man’ campaign. Rail organisations come up with projects and we need to see them implemented. Infrastructure needs to deliver a 7-day railway; things like more crossovers needed to implement it. The railways should be integral to planning as in Europe; the development of Milton Keynes was announced as the Oxford-Cambridge line closed. London-Paris trains have one tenth the emissions of aircraft. More electrification needed. Railways should be built if they take traffic off the road, not have loss of road tax revenue from lorries counted against them. We have the most expensive fares in Europe. Passengers suffering the cost of the new First Capital Connect and SWT franchises.
Mop-up of Q and A
* Q: In the real world privatisation is a disaster. Public borrowing requirement rules ridiculous. Increased funding and reduced outputs.
* Q: The French have quoted Britain as an example not to follow.
* Q: BALPA saying aircraft have lower carbon imprint on long journeys.
* Q: Who would own rolling stock if railways re-nationalised?
* Q: Could Network Rail start talking to passengers, particularly about a 7-day week operation?
* Q: Danger that the Conservatives would break up Network Rail?
* Q: No incentives for electrification; need for diversionary routes to be electrified.
A. (Network Rail): Strongly believe a single network is fundamental to driving improvements. Integrated control centres have been a success. 7-day railway is high in Network Rail thinking; need to determine where the demand for it is high.
A (TSSA): The Conservatives should have learned a lesson from fragmenting the railways. They ignored pleas against it and would just listen to the Bransons and Souters who want to get their hands on bits of the Network. If the operators want to start manufacturing trains there is plenty of scope to negotiate with the rolling stock companies.
A (Transport 2000): The BALPA report is rubbish. Government says there are only taxpayers and passengers, but money needs to be levered in from developers and others to grow the network. Worth looking at electrification. The downside of biofuels is that agriculture could be fuelling the railways instead of feeding the people. With a 7-day railway, more people would be inclined to try the railways and find out what is good.
Information will be used to inform debate. Issue of public ownership will not go away. Unions ready to help local campaigns. Day of action sounds a good idea.
PORTSMOUTH-WATERLOO RAIL USERS GROUP MEETING 5 JUNE 2007
Meeting was held at Rowlands Castle parish hall and was well attended, including by members of the No450 campaign, East Hampshire District Council, and a SWT representative.
Participant reported that Angel Trains would be willing to lease back the class 442 Wessex Electric trains to SWT, but the SWT representative claimed to have no information on this.
SWT said that the Health and Safety report on use of suburban trains on the Portsmouth-Waterloo line had been completed by Interfleet Technologies. SWT were prepared only to release the headlines.
General concern that user groups had not been consulted before the rolling stock downgrade. SWT had not changed their position on the peak time downgrade, except that the 18.15 from Waterloo would revert to class 444 operation in July. They consider the class 450s are mainline units (contrary to the website of Siemens who built them). Scheduling of stock in the current timetable reflects operational convenience at Waterloo; from December, looking to juggle trains so that the class 444s could be kept on longer-distance services off-peak.
SWT and DfT seemed to be blaming each other for the downgrade. MPs continuing to take an interest. Michael Mates has item on his website. Participants minded to contact the Office of Rail Regulation.
Concerns about the ergonomics of class 450 seating outlined. SWT was claiming it was akin to that on the budget airlines, but this was spurious because people don’t travel with budget airlines for 15 hours every week. An average male’s shoulder width is 18.5 inches, so there is a significant space deficit. One participant is prepared to launch a legal challenge if SWT’s report says that the seating is fit for purpose.
SWT still claiming that huge 20% fare hike on morning trains to London is to spread loadings – this is spurious because (i) empty seats available, (ii) passengers allowed to return in the height of the evening peak and (iii) increases not implemented from stations where other operators offer competition. Families priced out of day trips to London. Why not try other initiatives, like cheaper fares on very early services?
Research by commuters found that, on average 176 seats were empty on the 17.30 and 18.00 from Waterloo because the middle seat of the blocks of three was too cramped for use. Some 50 passengers stand in preference to using these seats. SWT is like a third world railway, and any other business would have collapsed if it offered such poor service. It effectively has three classes with 3-across, 4-across and 5-across seating.
SWT’s mechanisms for counting passengers as they board trains are suspect. SWT admits they are only installed in 30% to 35% of trains and are only 90% accurate.
Timetable does not reflect need. Service better in the 1980s. Why not run trains from Portsmouth which pick up as far as Haslemere and then run fast to London, with connecting slower services from Haslemere? Guildford and Woking currently have an excessive 13 trains an hour to London.
Ticket office at Petersfield is frequently closed during opening hours, and car parking charges have risen from £42 to £68 a month in three years.
Concerns that Passenger Focus are commentators rather than lobbyists. To use Passenger Focus terms, SWT had broken its contract of trust.
Next meeting will be in September.
HERDED LIKE CATTLE BY SWT
Thanks to Portsmouth’s ‘450 Group’ for this text of a letter sent by a Portsmouth main line commuter to South West Trains.
“I am in the sorry position of finding myself on one of your hated 450 services despite my best efforts to avoid it. I went for the 18.15 service to Havant as this has previously been a first world service on a 444 train with an 82cm seat pitch and a width of 58.5cm in the first class compartment. I am now sitting in a decidedly third class cabin which still is called "First Class" and which is therefore still liable for the First Class fare. The measurements of the seat are 53.5cm wide with 71cm of seat pitch. This gives me 20.8% less area that I would have had previously and yet your fares have gone up not down. More shockingly even than that, it gives me 8.5% less room than I would have had in Standard Class on a 444 which means that despite paying 66% more than a standard class on a 444, I am actually receiving 8.5% less space.
This means that the cost per cm2 of area has risen by a staggering 78% due to this change in service - that's nearly double the price. This is outrageous and unacceptable.
1. Has SWT done calculations as to the cost per passenger per cm2 of space?
2. What reduction in fares is going to come as a result in the reduction in space?
3. Has the DfT been informed that "increase in capacity" is being artificially created by reducing passenger space?
4. What conclusion was drawn from the fact that the customer forum in February could not go ahead because the system crashed as a result of the huge number of complaints about 450 trains?
In a normal business, you try to give customers what they want. Why are you so intent on giving the customers exactly what they are saying to you in their masses that they hate?
To confirm the madness of your decision, I walked through the train tonight to witness the carnage in standard class but one amazing thing struck me: not one of the middle seats of the rows of three was being used (so little space, how could you?). This means that the whole premise of providing extra seating is not working because the seating itself is not fit for purpose and the carriages are still effectively four across.
Please rectify this ludicrous decision with immediate effect.”
[It’s not only inhumanly cramped seating which is giving rise to safety concerns. The Evening Standard of 24/05/07 reported the finding of a study by the Rail Safety and Standards Board, to be published this summer, that there appears to be a “significant risk from overcrowding on trains”. This would be particularly relevant to SWT’s allied activity of ripping out seats from suburban trains. MPs reportedly seized on the study which confirms the nightmare conditions highlighted by the Standard’s ‘A Seat for Every Commuter’ campaign. Shadow Transport Secretary Chris Grayling said, “It’s been quite extraordinary that the authorities have tried to deny that there safety implications to overcrowded trains”.]
SIR ALAN GREENGROSS AND HIS PANEL: TO THEIR CREDIT, SWT’S PASSENGER CHAMPIONS?
When passengers face difficult times on the railways they need a champion. The Summer 2001 edition of SWT’s former Gold Magazine told us that passengers were to receive board level representation. A Passengers Panel was to be formed. It would be chaired by Sir Alan Greengross, appointed as a non-executive Stagecoach board member, with representation from passengers themselves and passenger bodies. Sir Alan stated, “In any railway operation, passengers should, and must, come first. This further recognition by South West Trains of this essential point is enormously encouraging”. From the outset, the independence of the Passengers Panel was stressed, and also that it would give straightforward answers. From November 2003, the Passengers Panel was to occupy a major slot in SWT’s replacement ‘e-motion magazine’ so we can track how it is doing in practice. So does the Passengers Panel reflect the trenchant criticism of SWT which is common in the media?
Issue 1: Looks at complaints against staff, saying, “Few things are as frustrating as complaining about a member of staff and then wondering what, if anything, has happened”. Article concludes, “The right thing must not merely be done, but should also be seen to be done. It does seem, however, that South West Trains is indeed taking these complaints seriously.” [A quite generous comment because, in 21% of cases, the subject of the complaint could not be identified.]
Issue 2: In reply to a letter, Operations Director Stewart Palmer tells us, “The present timetable has evolved over many years and is designed to optimize the available capacity into Waterloo during peak periods”. [Yet a new timetable, with longer journey times and worse connections, was introduced in December 2004 with Mr Palmer, now Managing Director, justifying it on the grounds that the former timetable was basically unchanged since 1967 and did not meet current needs.]
Issue 3: In this issue, an anonymous writer declares, “As members of the Passengers’ Panel, we will go on criticizing those things that we feel are wrong or unsuccessful. But we will also say “thank you” to those many who really try and, more often than not, succeed”. [Stagecoach unhappy with the Panel’s quite restrained criticisms?]
Issue 4: The main anonymous article starts, “The politician faced with a rail problem and little idea of how to deal with it cries, “We have to put our passengers first”. If they have no idea at all, “have” becomes “determined” and they shout even more. Isn’t there a saying “the louder they shout their innocence, the faster we count the spoons?”” It also notes, “To make sure we remain representative of passengers and are not, in some way, brainwashed by [by South West Trains] members have agreed to serve a relatively short term and regularly bring in new ones”. [Hang on, it was Sir Alan who said passengers must come first, so shouldn’t he be glad when MPs support this view? And would he be concerned, without good reason, about the possibility of Panel members being brainwashed?]
Issue 5: The Panel identifies the frustration people feel at hearing the same announcements day after day, and wonder why guards thank people for travelling by South West Trains. [Obviously no notice was taken of that; worse, announcements about having to buy a ticket before boarding and threat of penalty fares are now repeated ad nauseam throughout journeys.]
Issue 6: Article notes that, “The Panel, from its first meeting, picked up on the problem of lack of information and South West Trains, to its credit, has done much to address it”. It continues, “But what about the Government’s ability to share information? What does it intend? What can we reasonably expect over the coming years?” [Compare with the attack on politicians in issue 4.]
Issue 7: Sir Alan speaks to Allison Ingram, Stagecoach Rail’s Major Projects Director, about the new Desiro trains. Sir Alan seems overwhelmed: “One billion pounds of new trains just for the South West Trains network is a huge sum of money”. [Nice bit of brainwashing; over one third of that amount relates to the long-term maintenance contract.]
Issue 8: Panel member Jim Reside says, “Hats off to South West Trains for providing a vehicle to hear our views first-hand instead of simply relying on “customer services” feedback as other companies apparently do…. Senior South West Trains managers I’ve met through the Passengers Panel , starting at the top with the charismatic Managing Director Andrew Haines, really do care about us”. Main article laments that SWT’s idea of extending platforms over the concourse at Waterloo, like so many good ideas, was shelved when funding for a 20-year franchise failed to merge. [Why does Mr Reside say, “apparently do”? Has he been brainwashed? And wasn’t the 20-year franchise withdrawn at a time when Stephen Byers was threatening Stagecoach with loss of SWT for appalling performance and Stagecoach shares had dropped to 10p?]
Issue 9: Panel member Marion Smith visits the new integrated control centre at Waterloo, and concludes, “Someone was caring – and it showed”. Member Brenda Dillon refers to passengers’ concerns with the new timetable and states, “Nevertheless, to its credit, South West Trains has been quick to address some of the teething problems that have arisen”. [Ah yes, that good old credit from issue 6, and good old care from issue 8.]
Issue 10: Sir Alan speaks to Rufus Boyd, SWT’s Commercial Director who has been seconded to Stagecoach to assist with bidding for a new franchise. Mr Boyd laments, “The frustration for South West Trains has been that we spent three years negotiating the present franchise. It turned out to be only a four-year deal so, very quickly, we found ourselves back in the bidding process and having to spend a vast amount of energy having to renegotiate. What my colleagues and I want is to use that energy in trying to run the best possible railway service”. [Compare with issue 8. Implicit criticism of government, and failure to recognise that Stagecoach lost the 20-year franchise when they were running about the worst imaginable railway service.]
Issue 11: Members of the Panel visits a staff training session. Employees were learning about customer care. Someone concludes on behalf of the Panel, “Was the training good? No. It was great. Panel members, not the easiest of critics – were fulsome in their praise.” [The Panel have certainly shown what difficult critics they are, as they heap credits on SWT, whilst we can see customer care in practice with the new penalty fares policy.]
Issue 12: The Panel speaks to Andrew Fairbairn, Head of Customer Service. The article starts, “Everyone knows that things go wrong on the railway. We also acknowledge that much of it – for instance, points or signal failure – is not the fault of South West Trains. It ends, sycophantically, “You make a convincing case. If you can turn your plans into reality, you will be receiving, and deserving of thanks from your passengers”. There’s a wonderful moment of truth later on, when Sir Alan answers anonymous questions about the role of the Panel. One question is, “If you’re having all these talks with South West Trains, surely it can’t be long before you begin to “understand” the company’s problems, and then start to plead their case and make excuses for them?” [How could one suspect such a thing?]
Issue 13: This looks at overcrowding: “The Panel also accepts, reluctantly, that however much South West Trains is a responsible company that cares for its customers and the area it serves, its role under the current franchise system is to deliver the rail service that has been set out in its contract with the government.” Sir Alan meets Group Station Manager Dawn Loynes and concludes, “If Dawn Loynes is typical of its managers, at long last South West Trains is beginning to get it right”. [Government bad, SWT good, AGAIN!]
Issue 14: Panel member Val Robertson sits in at a webchat event and concludes, “I left at the end of the afternoon with a very positive view of South West Trains. If you have any doubts about the commitment of the company’s employees, involvement in this sort of afternoon would quickly dispel them. I’d like to think I’ll be invited back – and next time I’ll certainly take my camera!”. [With views like that, she probably would be invited back!]
Issue 15: An anonymous questioner asks, “The queues at ticket offices seem to be getting longer. If I can’t buy a ticket, will you issue me with a penalty fare?” Andy Crawford, Revenue Protection Manager, replies: “If you do not purchase a ticket and the ticket office is open or self-service machines are available, then you should seek the guard on the train buy a ticket as soon as possible, so you are not issued with a penalty fare”. A full page advises, “The person next to you doesn’t need to hear what you think about South West Trains, South West Trains does”. [So it IS a lie that SWT’s current revenue protection procedures are not a change of policy and, if SWT is so good, why the apparent paranoia?]
Issue 16: The Panel rejoices that the way Quiet Carriage standards are maintained will now be a specific part of a guard’s training. [What’s the use of Quiet Carriages which are bombarded with penalty fares announcements? Clear deterioration since issue 5.]
Issue 17: Article notes that “South West Trains’ employees have a rule book to follow but, as your [passengers’] comments to the Panel highlight, on occasions it needs to be put on one side and common sense applied”. It continues, “The Panel has, on many occasions, congratulated South West Trains on the huge improvements it has made in the past few years in the way its employees are trained. The results can be seen in the service they offer. But the final breakthrough will come when those same employees really do see things through the eyes of passengers. It’s one more of those essential steps that will turn South West Trains from a good railway into a great one”. Panel Member Helen Guggiari commendably bucks a trend. When asks what she likes least about South West Trains, she replies: “As far as my work on the Panel goes, having to persevere at times to get a straight answer from the company. As day-to-day travel goes, my current gripe is trains leaving before their advertised departure time – especially inconvenient if it’s late at night. I am also concerned about my safety when travelling my train alone late at night, particularly because of the lack of staff at stations. Finally, I think that information on bus replacement services could be better communicated”. [SWT’s new penalty fares policy effectively wipes out any chance of guards seeing things through passengers’ eyes, and SWT clearly has a hell of a long way to go to become a great railway because only one third of its passengers (21% in the peak) think it gives value for money. If it’s that bad a railway, why does the Panel keep praising it? And wasn’t the Panel supposed to give straightforward answers to passengers’ questions? How does this work if SWT does not give straightforward answers to the Panel?]
Issue 18: Jim Reside, who seems to be becoming a longer-term member of the Panel, goes for a ride and praises the wisdom of South West Trains’ revamped timetable. [Amazing what you can do when you lower standards by lengthening journey times!]
Issue 19: The Panel notes: “The new franchise is a watershed. It must also be a launch pad for an ever-improving, passenger friendly, passenger-orientated railway. The huge progress over the past few years shows it can be done”. [Quite a watershed: 20% fare increases where there’s no competition; suburban trains between Waterloo and Portsmouth; huge increase in first class season ticket prices; the long-distance Wessex Electric trains disposed of to Southern’s short-distance London-Brighton route; 19mph schedules in prospect between Totton and New Milton/Christchurch (Stephenson’s Rocket science?); a savage revenue protection policy whilst permit to travel machines are ripped out to wrong-foot passengers; and station staffing inadequate and erratic? Clearly SWT takes little notice of the Panel.]
Issue 20: The Panel comments: “There is no doubt that the vast majority of passengers wanted South West Trains to win the new franchise. Overall opinion – and that includes passengers’ opinions – was that after all the company’s efforts over the past few years, they deserved to be entrusted with a further 10 years”. Among specific issues, the Panel comments, “To the enormous credit, South West Trains resisted the temptation to abolish guards on its trains, although it is very clear that other contenders out there would have axed them without so much as a blush”. [A vast majority indeed: just one third according to SWT’s own on-line poll, which is similar to the overall (peak/off-peak) percentage of SWT passengers who think they get value for money. Welcome back the standard ‘credit’ phrase that first appeared in issue 6. And didn’t SWT want guards simply so that they can levy huge amounts from honest people who don’t want to miss their train while queuing for a ticket, scorning the discretion which the Panel was asking for in issue 17?]
Issue 21: The Panel refers to SWT being “locked into” an expensive “franchise deal” and looks back to issue 6 again, saying that passengers need, and are entitled to know, what is going on. It condescendingly accepts that “it’s not all the fault of the government”. It praises SWT’s major crackdown on fare evaders, “so that those who do pay do not have pick up the bill for those who try not to”. [Hang on. SWT didn’t have to overbid. It no doubt did so because it thought retention of the franchise was in its own interests. And why should it be assumed that everyone without a ticket is trying to avoid payment and that guards should have no discretion: compare articles in issues 15 and 17.]
Issue 22: On capacity, the Panel notes: “Of course, there is one thing that could be done, and which to its credit, South West Trains seems to be addressing seriously, and that is the problem of short formations – overcrowded trains with fewer than the maximum number of cars that should, or could, be run”. [Very creditable as always but, as our performance reports show, reduced-length trains are endemic on SWT.]
Issue 23: With public opinion raging against SWT, Sir Alan finds time to look at increasing longevity and mobility, noting that “Stagecoach, to its credit, has made a tentative and albeit limited start with the introduction of a single ticket to cover trains and buses”. [That good old credit is now awarded for doing very little!]
RAT-INFESTED TOTTON STATION
Totton is a medium-sized urban station serving 30,000 people locally, plus 25,000 in nearby Hythe.
So what’s good?
* The friendly facilities manager.
* The new waiting room on the down platform.
* The wheelchair loading ramps.
And what’s bad?
* The rotting woodwork on the up platform.
* The station officially being staffed only between 05.40 and 12.30 and on Mondays to Fridays only.
* The waiting room on the up platform being open only when the station is staffed.
* The station rarely being staffed throughout the advertised period and sometimes left for half a week or longer with no staff.
* The build-up of rubbish and food on the platforms when the station is unstaffed and consequent need for a rat trap on the up platform.
* The wheelchair loading ramps never being used, possibly because the down platform is inaccessible to wheelchair users.
* The ripping out of the permit to travel machine so that passengers who don’t get a ticket from the fares machine (don’t understand the complex fare system, machine won’t accept their coins, machine can’t give change, or – especially in the case of children - don’t have a bank card) can be charged a penalty fare.
* The cardboard notices threatening clamping and long times for release if motorists don’t get a parking permit from the (non-existent) pay and display machine or (mostly closed) booking office. (A third notice has now appeared which says that parking permits can be obtained from the ticket machine, but not that drivers must use the ‘more popular destinations’ pad on the machine, which seems to be reserved exclusively for parking permits.)
* The ongoing downgrade of services. Totton is the only urban station between Southampton and Weymouth which is having its service gradually run down. Its basic service of departures was 5 trains an hour in 2003. In 2004 this was cut to 3 with the two eastbound trains in each hour running 10 minutes apart, and in December this year it will be further cut to 2 stopping services instead of 2 semi-fast services and the local shuttle to Romsey. No other station will suffer any cuts. The level of service will then be the same as at small villages and the industrial halt at Holton Heath.
Perhaps Stagecoach wants to run down the station and close it, to effect cost savings on rat bait?
SWT CUSTOMER CARE THAT RARELY CARES
At the First Great Western Stakeholders Conference, Editor of ‘Rail’, Nigel Harris, criticised operators who bid too much in order to hold on to franchises, and then treat their passengers as ‘commodities’. He specifically included SWT. And that’s about right, though a small number of SWT staff at local level do struggle to help passengers treated with this inhuman contempt.
When you get up at 05.00 to get to work at a reasonable time, and delays on the railways are known to cost the London economy huge sums, you might think train operators would make a modicum of effort to keep their commuters moving. Some do, but not the Stagecoach pigs (to use Brian Souter’s image of franchise bidders as pigs at the trough). More sick examples:
24/05/07 At 06.00 the 06.06 from Totton is advertised as cancelled. Commuters rely on this train to connect into the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo at Southampton Central. When this happens the facilities manager traditionally arranges a stop at Totton by the London train. This is no problem because the train’s schedule is awash with slack to cheat on performance. On this occasion, as on so many others, the station is left unstaffed, although the booking office is scheduled to open at 05.40.
Passenger makes call from the Help Point. Long delay, and then a woman says she will request a special stop, but the decision is not hers. No return call, and the train passes the station non-stop. About 10 passengers stranded. Next departure is the 06.46 to Waterloo, which sits at Southampton for 10 minutes. Complaint made to SWT member at that evening’s ‘Meet the Managers’ session. He just says, “Sorry” but looks disinterested and doesn’t make any written note.
25/05/07 06.06 from Totton advertised as expected on time and formed of 3 coaches; at 06.08 it is suddenly shown as cancelled due to yet another duff Stagecoach train. Facilities manager asks for London train to stop. Request refused. Some furious passengers race for cars or give up. The facilities manager calls a taxi for the remaining four and advises staff at Southampton Central that they are on their way. Taxi driver makes a valiant effort, and passengers are pressing the door buttons on their train 20 seconds before departure time, but the train doors have been locked very early to help cheat on performance. The dispatch officer has retreated to the end of the platform and watches them. Train leaves them behind.
Complaint made to the duty station manager, noting that it wasn’t surprising that, in SWT’s own poll (the published results of which were falsified - confirmed by PassengerFocus), two thirds of respondents hadn’t wanted Stagecoach to win the franchise. This elicited the response “Sorry you feel like that”, as if it were passengers rather than Stagecoach’s obscene indifference at fault. Compare a SWT advert for station managers (published in several papers around 31/5/07) saying, “The best journeys happen when you take people with you … For a start, your customer service background will show you can solve problems and delight customers”.
The 06.06 then ran on three consecutive commuting days, before being axed again on 1/6/07. No compensatory stop by the London train was advertised. On this occasion the facilities manager again arrived in time to request the additional stop but was told a stop would cost £400! In the mix-up which ensued, he arranged two taxis into Southampton, the management at Southampton sent another two, and the London train stopped at Totton anyway.
The lesson is that, on SWT, you pay some of the highest fares in Europe for your service and then have to fight for it. And you have to keep on fighting. Three days later, more usual customer service standards were in force. Many passengers use the 05.00 from Poole (05.48 from Totton) because it is the only commuter service from south west Hampshire which serves Clapham Junction (for services on to Victoria, Croydon, Sutton, Richmond etc). The train was delayed just 8 minutes at Micheldever through signalling problems. At Basingstoke there was a long delay while passengers for Woking and Clapham Junction were thrown off so that those stops could be omitted for operational convenience. Some had been drinking coffee; others had been using their laptops. No doubt the operator’s customer service background ensured that they were delighted as they watched their train disappear up the track! Presumably it doesn’t cost £400 to omit a stop. If so, why not?
On 13 June, the 05.00 was just 7 minutes late, when passengers trying to get to work in Eastleigh and Winchester were thrown off so that those stops could be omitted. More delighted early morning passengers!
All too often, SWT behaves like one of the small cowboy companies (remember the World in Action programme, ‘Cowboy Country’ about Stagecoach, and how the High Court refused to issue an injunction against its being broadcast?) which TV consumer programmes such as ‘Watchdog’ investigate. At Southampton Central, during the last week of May, it earned some very bad publicity on a BBC3 programme when it refused to comment about overcrowding. The SWT representative put his hand over the camera and told the BBC team to go away. At the meeting of the Portsmouth-Waterloo Rail Users Group on 5 June, one participant reported that he had been trying to board a train at Waterloo, shortly before its departure, when he was assaulted by a member of staff who swore at him and threatened to hit him. The incident was caught on camera, he knew the member of staff had been disciplined, but SWT had failed to send him an apology. Unusual ways to ‘delight’ customers?
What if we had human beings providing a service for human beings, rather than Stagecoach “pigs” controlling passenger “commodities”?
PROBLEMS WITH SWT – SUMMARY
[The media often approach people about current problems with SWT - this fact sheet may help]
* Stagecoach has run SWT for over 11 years. No other rail franchise has been held by one operator for so long. Despite this enormous advantage, and having been awash with subsidy from taxpayers, Stagecoach has an appalling reputation for poor service, contempt for passengers and politicians, and profiteering. This reflects the company’s ethos as reflected in Chairman Brian Souter’s words that “ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed”.
* SWT now runs the slowest services since steam (except in a few instances where it has temporarily run services even slower in the past). Average speeds have in some cases reduced almost to those on non-electrified rural byways. Nevertheless, doors are locked early in the faces of passengers running to join trains (often from other, late-running, services), departures are removed from information screens long before trains depart, and vital ‘connections’ are not held even for a few seconds. When trains are just a few minutes late, stops are omitted and passengers thrown off with their children, luggage, laptops and drinks. This means of course that SWT is unfit for use by disabled people.
* Having overbid to hold SWT for another term, Stagecoach:
(i) manipulated the results of a poll in order to show that about two thirds of their passengers thought they should have won the new franchise, when about two thirds actually voted against them;
(ii) introduced a rolling stock reshuffle which has severely reduced quality of travel and is causing concerns about safety (more passengers have to stand on suburban trains and are more vulnerable to injury in even minor accidents; long-distance passengers are crammed into seats with hard backs that are narrower than their shoulder blades, and have so little room for their feet that there is obvious risk of deep vein thrombosis; and rough riding is in places causing trauma and fear of derailment);
(iii) severely reduced the number of first class seats (so that commuters with first class tickets often stand or sit in standard class) and increased the additional cost of travelling first class from 50% to 80%.
(iv) is ripping out permit-to-travel machines to increase revenue from penalty fares, whilst proclaiming that genuine passenger error will be punished. Passengers aboard trains can no longer relax (even in the risibly named ‘quiet areas’) because of the irritating drone about having to have a ticket before boarding;
(v) has raised off-peak fares on morning services to London by 20% on the spurious basis that this is to spread loadings (off-peak trains generally have plenty of empty seats and the problem of overloading mysteriously ‘disappears’ at stations where more ethical operators provide alternative services; nor is there any perceived problem with letting affected passengers travel in the height of the evening peak); and
(vi) plans to introduce some big service cuts and 19mph schedules from the December 2007 timetable and blames the Department for Transport.
SWT’S WRONG ON-TRAIN INFORMATION ANNOUNCEMENTS
Announcements on board SWT’s new Desiro trains are known by regular users to be risible, but to less- confident occasional travellers they often cause panic. You sit at Waterloo on the train advertised for Weymouth, and the intercom and display screen suddenly tell you the train has reached its final destination, London Waterloo, or even that the ‘tarin’ has reached its final destination Petersfield. On 05/06/07, passengers on the 16.45 were repeatedly told before departure that the train had reached Petersfield. Then, all the way to Havant, it was announced as going to Goring-by-Sea which, fortunately for Goring’s residents, doesn’t have any SWT services. On 20/06/07, an automated announcement on the 09.00 Weymouth-Waterloo welcomed passengers aboard the train as it passed Basingstoke non-stop, and advised them that the next stop would be Brockenhurst.
Heavens knows what visitors with limited English make of SWT illiteracy. On 29/05/07, the display on the 15.05 from Waterloo was telling people to keep the ‘isles and gang ways’ clear and co-operation would be much ‘appreciatied’.
But the worst panic occurs on board evening trains which split at Southampton Central. Passengers in the rear portions, which are ‘next stop Totton’, are regularly told the next stop is Bournemouth, and that they are on a Weymouth rather than Poole service. You can tell the non-commuters as they grab their luggage, round up their children and rush for the door, unless kind commuters tell them it’s just the usual wrong information.
So trash information doesn’t matter? Sometimes! On 21/05/07, the 05.54 Weymouth-Waterloo was 35 minutes late after being held at Winchester due to non-operational intercom, which would be a huge joke but for the hundreds of passenger hours wasted. However, on 19/06/07 the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth reached Woking before the guard apologised for the previous lack of announcements and said the defect had now been fixed.
SWT’S MINUSCULE INVESTMENT IN CYCLE FACILITIES
SWT’s website boasts of a £250,000 investment, in partnership with Transport for London, in improved facilities for cyclists at 13 stations in Greater London. The Evening Standard of 16/05/07 reports that TfL will provide £200,000, so SWT’s contribution is less than £4,000 per station or, in total, much less than 0.03% of Brian Souter’s and Ann Gloag’s latest £175,000,000 bonus.
CLASS 444 NAMING BANNED BY OLYMPICS COMMITTEE
The London Olympics Organising Committee has banned SWT from naming one of its hard-seated, quasi-suburban trains “Destination Weymouth 2012” for commercial reasons. Visitors to Weymouth for the Olympics sailing event will find they are in for a rough ride, not to mention a bad back, if they go by train. Why not run dedicated trains from Paddington via Castle Cary?
DISSATISFACTION WITH LYMINGTON LINE
In the previous issue, we reported on concerns expressed in the Lymington Times that the substandard ‘heritage’ stock on the Brockenhurst-Lymington line had been neglected to the extent that the floor coverings had become dangerous. A couple from Boldre have now been campaigning for closure of the line and removal of the bridge over the A337 near to the new Lymington Hospital. Surprisingly, they purport that Ken Thornber, Leader of pro-rail Hampshire County Council, had received their views favourably. To add to the line’s problems, it will be shut from 30/09/07 to 18/11/07 for flood defence works. The line could be given a huge lift if its normal service were replaced by a class 450 unit during normal operation, with its ‘heritage’ stock reserved for spares and enthusiast weekends. Where to get a class 450? Save a couple on the Waterloo-Poole services, due to operate from December, by removing their 30 minute layover times at Brockenhurst.
A WET DAY ON SWT AND THE LYING IS SOPHISTICATED
Wet conditions returned to the South on 10/05/07, after a long absence. Even slight rainfall tends to impede operations on SWT.
Morning peak signalling problems in the Vauxhall area, with only trains on the Reading lines able to stop at Vauxhall station. Services between Waterloo and Dorking AXED. Services between Waterloo and Shepperton AXED entirely or between Waterloo and Kingston. Services between Waterloo and Salisbury/Exeter AXED east of Basingstoke. Services between Waterloo and Hampton Court AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton. 07.38 Waterloo-Southampton started 12 minutes late.
REDUCED TO 4 COACHES: 16.01 and 17.01 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo; 16.42 Waterloo-Shepperton; 17.30 Waterloo-Epsom.
Track circuitry failed in the Millbrook area between the passing of the Weymouth and Poole portions of the 17.05 from Waterloo. The guard of the Poole portion announced that there would be a delay of at least 30 minutes, for Network Rail engineers to drive from Eastleigh. The train stood just west of Millbrook station for 45 minutes. It was then overtaken by a Virgin Trains service to Bournemouth which had shed all its passengers at Southampton but was still displaying ‘Welcome aboard’ and ‘Next stop Brockenhurst’. Presumably SWT’s Control didn’t want passengers on the Poole train to realise that OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE was being given priority over getting them home. The guard announced that the Virgin train was going to cross to the up tracks and return to Southampton. This was a preposterous lie, because all tracks through Southampton station are signalled to allow reversal, so why would the train be sent to reverse in an area where the signals had failed? A couple of minutes later, an identical Virgin train shot past on the up tracks – a northbound service from Bournemouth running on time! The Poole service was then held for the Weymouth portion of the 17.35 from Waterloo to overtake, and its passengers eventually reached Totton, and stations beyond, 55 minutes late. Passengers for Branksome, Parkstone and Poole were to be THROWN OFF at Bournemouth for OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 35 minutes late. 18.00 Romsey-Totton AXED between Southampton and Totton. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 18.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. Passengers on the 18.42 Waterloo-Shepperton THROWN OFF at Vauxhall. 18.50 Waterloo-Woking 15 minutes late. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.01 Totton-Romsey AXED between Totton and Southampton. 19.42 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED. 20.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 10 minutes late; stops between Teddington and New Malden AXED FOR OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. Passengers on the 20.42 Waterloo-Shepperton THROWN OFF at Vauxhall. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. Passengers on the 21.20 Waterloo-Yeovil THROWN OFF at Gillingham. 21.41 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED.
DANGEROUS BUS AND TRAIN DRIVING AT BASINGSTOKE
(Source: Basingstoke Observer 24/05/07)
“A Stagecoach bus driver has been found guilty of failing to report an accident in which an elderly Basingstoke resident, Mrs Gorrod, suffered head injuries. He appeared in Andover magistrates court on May 17 after passengers on the no. 5 bus service had complained to police about his driving on 8 September last year. He was speeding and suddenly jumped on the brakes, causing the pensioner to lose her footing and be thrown head first against a metal hand support. One of the other passengers had to help the victim to her feet. The driver was fined £75, had to pay £125 in court costs, and was given 6 penalty points.
The accident, which the court heard had left Mrs Gorrod with permanent problems with her vision and a fear of travelling on public transport, was just one of the high profile incidents involving Stagecoach in Basingstoke last year. Basingstoke mum Jane Dixon’s daughter was thrown out of her seat into a metal bar, hurting her jaw, shoulder, arm, back and neck in a strikingly similar incident just 3 days later.
And on August 17, 8-months pregnant Amy Sinfield and her mother were hospitalized after a collision between a no. 3 bus she was travelling on and another Stagecoach bus. No ambulance was called, and the injured mum-to-be had to endure a half hour journey back to the bus depot.”
(In a special report 2 weeks later, the Observer reported that Mrs Gorrod has been left with permanent facial injuries and is still afraid of buses. She considered that the driver shouldn’t have been kept on by Stagecoach, but he attributed the accident to faulty brakes on the bus.)
There are increasing concerns that the class 444 Desiro trains are not fit for high speed operation on the Southampton main line. In our last edition, we reported how a buffet trolley toppled and was saved from crashing on its side only because there were standing passengers to grab it.
Passengers now dread the points at Worting Junction, west of Basingstoke, especially on eastbound trains. The trains travel at full speed, things on tables topple and passengers are thrown against the coach sides or towards the aisles. Those standing lose their balance.
On Friday 22 June, two cups, fortunately plastic and empty, were thrown from a table into the central aisle in the second coach of the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo. On Wednesday 4 July a lemonade bottle was hurled from the middle of a table in the standard saloon of the rear coach of the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth and hit the knee of a passenger three rows further forward. Had it been glass rather than plastic it would have caused bruising if not injury.
This wild driving is quite remarkable given that the trains involved are operating the slowest schedules since the steam era, and use the time saved for 5-minute waits at stations or long crawls into Waterloo. For example, on 3 July, the 17.05 from Waterloo was 11 minutes late from Winchester but only 6 minutes late from Totton. Many regular commuters are now wondering how long it will be before there is a disaster. It is also doubtful whether such frenzied driving, punctuated by long stops, demonstrates green credentials. A small boost for climate change and human misery, including famine in Africa?
ONE OF STAGECOACH’S WINNERS
(Source: BBC website)
“One of Scotland's richest women has won a landmark legal ruling to ban ramblers from entering the grounds of her Perthshire estate.
Stagecoach tycoon, Ann Gloag, had already angered walkers by erecting a fence around Kinfauns Castle estate. The ruling at Perth Sheriff Court means she is the first private individual in Scotland to exempt her land from right-to-roam legislation. The Ramblers Association and Perth and Kinross Council fought the action.
The Land Reform Act, which enshrines right-to-roam laws, was one of first flagship policies of the first term of the newly created Scottish Parliament. Ramblers Association Scotland director Dave Morris was clear that the ruling undermined the intentions of the legislation. He said: "We think the sheriff has not really understood the land reform legislation and we are particularly unhappy that he's apparently not taken much account of the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. This gives a green light to landowners to go around the countryside erecting fences without planning permission. This is a very serious adverse judgement and may in fact undermine all of the intentions of the land reform legislation."
Mr Morris said that Mrs Gloag was granted retrospective planning permission after erecting a fence around part of her estate. However, Perth and Kinross Council had said that access rights applied within the fence. Mrs Gloag then brought the case, at Perth Sheriff Court, amid concerns over security at her estate. In his judgment, Sheriff Fletcher said that the "nature of the building and its prominence" meant a larger section of surrounding land was required by Mrs Gloag to ensure her family's privacy and enjoyment of the house.
Mr Morris added: "We are going to start talking to the Scottish Executive and see either if there should be modification to the law or whether there should be some new guidance issued to sheriffs throughout Scotland to make sure they more closely follow the intentions of parliament.
In response to the ruling, a spokesman for First Minister Alex Salmond said the executive would be considering it carefully before giving their response. Those opposed to the judges’ decision now have 28 days to decide whether to appeal it.”
The Guardian of 14 June highlighted the story in an article headed “Multimillionaire uses financial muscle to bar ramblers from woods”. It stated, “In the Kinfaun’s case, Mrs Gloag’s lawyers successfully claimed she was entitled to a higher degree of protection because of her wealth, estimated at £385 million, her jewellery and furniture collections, her high public profile and the prominence of her guests”…“Roseanna Cunningham, a nationalist and the local MSP, put down emergency questions in the case at Holyrood yesterday. “If the Queen doesn’t require fences at Balmoral, I’m not entirely clear why they’re needed at Kinfauns,” she said.”
Purely by coincidence, Will Self’s article in the Evening Standard of 19/06/07 referred to “obscene bonuses for City fat cats” and asked, “Why let the super-rich ruin life for the rest of us?”
FIRST GREAT WESTERN STAKEHOLDER CONFERENCE @BRISTOL, 16 MAY 2007
The First Great Western Stakeholder Conference in Bristol’s Harbourside development was a model of its kind, well-organised, friendly and with really engaging speakers.
As with Passenger Focus’ Southern franchise event at Gatwick Airport on 28 March, there was a palpable sense of optimism. Here was another franchise which seems to be turning the corner. FGW hasn’t always covered itself with glory in recent times, but it has at least maintained communications with its stakeholders, including its critics; it is implementing a significant programme of improvements; and it is ready to challenge government when it can improve on DfT specifications.
Alison Forster, Managing Director FGW, presented an overview from the start of the franchise on 1 April 2006. Admitted FGW got things wrong in integrating the three previous franchises. Lots done and lots to do. Mass of refurbishment in hand. All High Speed Trains will be re-engined by August – new engines greener and much more reliable. Seats are designed for safety and ergonomics. Better ride quality and very comfortable seating recognised by ‘Rail’ magazine.
More improvements in timetable, and effort being put into summer services. Everyone wants fast trains and sometimes stopping patterns wrong. 4.6% growth in customers. Significant growth in average length of journeys made. New leisure fares an enormous success – they incentivised one person to move from London to Bath. Reviewing joined-up management structure. More training needed. Wrong that ticket staff at Paignton were being paid much less than at Newton Abbot under previous franchises.
£13m being spent on diesel multiple units. Will be refurbished to give similar internal environment to the High Speed Trains, starting with class 158 [Normal stock on Portsmouth-Cardiff route]. Should be completed by September 2008; slow start because of rolling stock demands of summer service.
Chris Aldridge, Network Rail Principal Route Planner (Western), spoke of the huge demand on Great Western, with 85% passenger growth into Paddington expected by 2016. Consultation on Route Utilisation Strategy September-November 2007, with strategy for acceptance by Secretary of State by May 2008. Challenges are population, housing, employment, ports and airports. Eddington Report and environmental issues to consider. Industry and passengers driving change.
Paddington-Bristol-Cardiff triangle is designated part of European TENS network. Studies are in hand. South West Regional Planning Assessment just published by DfT. 67m people use Heathrow each year; could increase to 87m by 2016. Severe road congestion in Bristol. Continued port growth at Southampton. 2014 should see start of High Speed Train replacement on Great Western, using trains which can work on diesel or electric power.
Crossrail estimated to be in service by 2017 – to either Maidenhead or Reading. It would have a considerable effect on operations at Paddington, which might become Inter City-only. Choice of western terminus for Crossrail services would influence travel patterns – for example because of interchange with Inter City trains at Reading. East-West Rail could be realised by 2019. Aspiration for this to be more than an Oxford-Milton Keynes service; could potentially provide a high-speed route from Reading to Manchester. Possible long-term electrification to Oxford, Bristol and Cardiff. Improvements needed to infrastructure between Reading and Paddington – put back what has been removed and perhaps join up freight loops to provide a fifth track. Aspirations for a 4-track railway through to Swindon, a 110mph railway throughout from Reading to Taunton, and 125mph from Birmingham to Taunton, to increase capacity. Other track users need to be brought on board. Swindon-Kemble might be re-doubled by 2009.
Keith Walton spoke about Bristol area services. Current pattern emanated from DfT but gave bunched departures, poor connectivity and gaps in service. FGW has worked with stakeholders to produce a better timetable, and a robust submission is being made to DfT. New pattern of hourly services would be Cardiff-Portsmouth Harbour; Cardiff-Taunton; Bristol Parkway-Weston-super-Mare; Gloucester-Westbury (extensions in certain hours: northwards to/from Cheltenham/Great Malvern; southwards to/from Weymouth/Brighton). This would much improve the range of through journeys available.
Improvements for inner-Bristol stations included. Approximately 40-minute interval on Avonmouth line (with local funding until April 2010) and 2-3 trains an hour at Lawrence Hill (good bus interchange) and Stapleton Road.
Nigel Harris, Editor of ‘Rail’, quoted John Humphries who once said the role of the journalist was to simplify and then exaggerate. He saw ‘Rail’ as the industry’s best friend, but best friends must be prepared to criticise. Industry faces its biggest opportunity for a century because the environment has shot up the political agenda as no other issue. But the industry will screw up if it isn’t careful. It is a big success story but damaged by its own failings. DfT are exercising control freakery because things have gone wrong. The industry is just about keeping up with the problems of success. Operators have ideas, but have played fast and loose. Swashbuckling approach. Abuse of void days. Filled up slots to keep out other operators. Pendulum has therefore swung too far towards greater political control.
All three premium franchises now have big problems. Companies overbid to keep franchises. Passengers regarded as a commodity. Focus on cynical financial gain. Interests of passengers and taxpayers ignored. Problems with Great Western went beyond the teething problems of merging three franchises into one. South West Trains is manipulating the morning peak. Channel Tunnel is in huge debt because of lack of freight.
One per cent transfer from air to rail would swamp the railways. But fundamental change is underway and even the airlines know it. Easyjet bookings are down 3%. Traffic is down 1.6% at Stansted, Heathrow and Gatwick. Eurostar is extracting traffic. The Pendolino trains have increased rail’s share of London-Manchester traffic from 40% to 60%. Rail industry very mature, but the companies are very immature. Rail bosses need to work together and put rail’s case to DfT, but they are reluctant to get together. No one voice is speaking for the railways so, as opportunities arise, companies will sail into trouble. When role of rail is presented as minor, someone needs to point out that Liverpool Street has higher passenger figures than Heathrow.
Standards must be the same, with high quality consultation. Industry and Government would do well to listen to user groups. Hopes industry will mature to seize opportunities.
FGW accepted that we are more powerful if we can work together. They are majoring on consultation.
There were concerns from participants about whether rolling stock was adequate to keep up with the demand for cheap fares. Congratulations were expressed for not having followed SWT’s massive fare increases, but disappointment that some fares on the Reading-Gatwick line had increased to avoid anomalies with SWT’s exploitive prices.
FIRST GREAT WESTERN HELPS HUNDREDS OF STRANDED SCHOOLCHILDREN
(Source: Oxford and Oxfordshire News 11/06/07)
“Rail staff have been praised for helping more than 400 children left stranded in Oxford for almost nine hours.
The children, including some with special needs, were on their way home to Birmingham after a trip to Bath when their train's brakes failed near Oxford Station on its return journey on Saturday evening. The youngsters were left on board for three-and-a-half hours without any water while engineers tried to repair the fault. advertisement They were eventually let off after teachers protested at the delay, but had to be helped down from the train on to the tracks in the dark and led through the streets from near the Royal Mail depot, off Oxpens, to Oxford Station at 11pm.
Pc Bob Burrowes, of British Transport Police, said First Great Western offered to organise buses back to Birmingham but Riviera Trains, a private company carrying out the charter with train company EWS, said it would sort out transport home. However, the promised number of buses did not arrive and those that did were late.
The children had to bed down on the floor at the now closed Oxford Station, overseen by station staff who had finished their shifts but remained to look after them along with officers from British Transport and Thames Valley forces. Pc Burrowes said because not enough buses came, 40 of the 11 and 12-year-olds, along with some adults, were still at Oxford at about 3.30am. First Great Western staff then called taxis for the remaining stranded children, who left at about 4am.
Pc Burrowes said: "These children were on the train for three-and-a-half hours without water and hot air pumping in to the carriage. Getting children off a train in the dark and not at a station is no easy business. They were led Pied Piper style, a stream of 400 to 500 children, through the streets of Oxford late at night through the revellers. At the station FGW staff got them water but there was no food because the station had closed. There were 11 schools in total and some had pupils with ADHD (attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder) with no medication. It was an utter nightmare. Some of these children had a night on the floor at Oxford station, which they coped with remarkably well. Staff at Oxford Rail Station and First Great Western sorted out water for the children and offered to assist in organising a way home. Those working at Oxford worked incredibly professionally, many without pay. In relation to the management and organisation from the private operator we do not have a comment to make at this stage but we will be taking it further with the company concerned."
A First Great Western spokesman said four staff at Oxford Station stayed on after their shift while two others were called out to look after the children. He said: "They did not want to see the kids stranded."
FIRST GREAT WESTERN’S GREAT NEW MAGAZINE
First Great Western’s new ‘Go to’ magazine is commendably compact yet comprehensive. It is attractively laid out and colourful, and contains interesting historical features, a wealth of entertainment and tourist material, and a considerable amount of relevant information about travel on First Great Western, right down to a priced train buffet menu.
What a welcome difference from SWT’s e’motion’ magazine [see separate item on Sir Alan Greengross and his Passengers Panel.]
APPENDIX 1- DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER –12
23/04/07 Arrived at Totton before the scheduled departure time of the 06.46 to Waterloo to find the train already leaving the station. The 07.07 to Weymouth left before its scheduled departure time, as did the 07.07 to Romsey, making the published timetable a work of fiction. The stock for the Romsey train was in TransPennine livery. The 07.30 from Southampton Central was 10 minutes late at Waterloo described as a "slight delay apparently due to congestion". The screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line at Waterloo still display "no signal". The 18.35 from Waterloo had no buffet in the rear 5 coaches due to "unforeseen circumstances". The guard recommended that my season ticket should be replaced due to it being very faded, not yet 4 months into its 12 month validity. 6 minutes late at Totton.
24/04/07 On the 06.46 from Totton, the guard made an announcement to “apologise for the overcrowding on our service - please accept my apologies". On the 18.35 from Waterloo there was no air conditioning in the carriage (the 5th carriage of unit 444 010) - quiet but stifling. 10 minutes late at Totton with no reason given.
25/04/07 The 08.30 from Southampton Central was very full but only had one steward who apologised to passengers in the front half of the train as he was providing refreshments from the buffet carriage in the rear half. The guard then reported that buffet services were being provided from “the rear of this five carriage train". The 21.35 from Waterloo arrived at Southampton Central at 22.50 to find the barriers at this supposedly "secure station" left open for anyone to wander onto the station.
26/04/07 The 06.46 from Totton left just before the scheduled departure time. The annoying "you must buy a ticket" announcements were not played automatically today, but were still scripted for the guards to say in their announcements - for some reason they then don't seem as annoying, so perhaps it is the tone of voice of the automated announcements that grates.
27/04/07 The 18.35 from Waterloo was a late departure due to "delays in the Clapham Junction area". On a crammed-full long-distance train, the steward announced “unfortunately no sandwiches are available this evening". Approaching Southampton Central there was an announcement that the buffet in the front half of the train (travelling on to Weymouth) had little to buy and would close at Southampton Central. A misleading announcement at Southampton Central that "the next station is Bournemouth" confused a couple travelling in the rear half who had to ask a fellow passenger if they were in the right part of the train for stations before Bournemouth. 4 minutes late at Totton.
30/04/07 At Totton station, the ticket machine was flashing a red light to indicate a fault. At 07.04 a class 444 unit passed through the station at speed and was later thought to be the late-running 06.46 departure from Totton omitting the stop for operational convenience. The 07.07 from Totton to Romsey was TransPennine stock and the single departure information screen at Millbrook is back-lit by the morning sun and almost impossible to read. At Southampton Central the 07.30 to Waterloo was shown as running 2 minutes late, then announced as "delayed due to temporary signalling problems at Bournemouth", then announced by station staff to be due in 5 minutes and finally announced as being formed of 5 coaches only. The 06.55 arrival (presumably the rear half of the 07.00 from Southampton Central) was shown on platform indicators as due at 07.54 and terminating here. An automated announcement that the 07.30 was running 38 minutes late was immediately followed by station staff making an announcement to "ignore the last announcement" which was due to “the software" and related to the rear half of the train. The 07.30 then left 4 minutes late with passengers standing in the doorways. The guard apologised for the train being "crowded this morning" and reported that the other portion of the train hadn't left Bournemouth nor had the same portion of the previous service. At Southampton Airport Parkway passengers were now standing down the aisles and we left some passengers on the platform. At Winchester, we left a large number of passengers on the platform who decided to wait for the following service rather than face an hour's standing. The guard repeatedly claimed we would lose no further time on the journey, but having missed our slot we were 10 minutes late at Waterloo.
01/05/07 Broken glass in the gutter of Station Road North adds to the grubby, run-down feeling of the approach to Totton station. On the 18.05 from Waterloo, as on all the new trains, there were "How to Complain" notices that are 2 years out of date in referring to the regional Rail Passenger Committees.
02/05/07 07.16 from Totton stopped before Winchester due to "a train ahead of us at Shawford that is having electrical difficulties". After an extended period we heard "can the guard please contact the driver" and the guard then reported that "the train that has passed you on your left has gone up to assist, to push the failed train out of the way". The guard estimated it would be 30 minutes before we were able to move. At 08.33 "expect to start moving in next 5 minutes or so". At 08.44 "train has been attached and started to be moved" and "expect us to be moving in 5 minutes". Started moving at 08.54 after over an hour's wait which has been very hard luck on some of the passengers who have been standing since Southampton Airport Parkway. Left Winchester at 09.05, 1 hour and 17 minutes late and arrived at Waterloo at 10.03. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line.
03/05/07 At Southampton Central on the 19.05 from Waterloo, two elderly passengers made their way through the carriage towards the front half of the train saying "they're not very well marked are they?"
04/05/07 On the 20.05 from Waterloo, there was a laconic announcement "sorry, no buffet", reported to be due to "staff shortages at Bournemouth". A family found out that someone had told them incorrectly that this train stops at Woking.
08/05/07 Nothing to report
09/05/07 20 minutes delays on trains from Portsmouth this morning due to signalling faults.
10/05/07 After just 4 months of use, I had to obtain a replacement season ticket as the original had faded so badly that it was unreadable. The 06.46 from Totton was delayed shortly after departure due to "apparently awaiting a platform at Southampton Central". A fellow passenger reported that "disruption between Vauxhall and London Waterloo" was appearing on the scrolling news across the bottom of his TV before he left home. At Southampton Central we heard the announcement that the guard had "just been advised that this train is calling additionally at Basingstoke" - another passenger commented "I wonder what's up?". After leaving Southampton Airport Parkway, the guard then reported that the additional stop was to "pick up additional passengers due to power supply problems in the Vauxhall area" and that "he has no information on any delays, if any, at Vauxhall". Passengers were standing from Winchester, so when we were greeted by a platform-full of passengers at Basingstoke, they had to cram in and stand in the aisles. After Basingstoke, the guard had to "apologise for the overcrowding due to power supply problems at Vauxhall as most of you know" and that there was "No information on any delays at Vauxhall", commenting that the "aim was to reduce the number of trains running to London Waterloo". 10 minutes late at Waterloo. On the 18.35 from Waterloo, we heard the surreal announcement "thanks for the calculator".
11/05/07 On the 18.35 from Waterloo we heard the incorrect announcement "when the train reaches Bournemouth the train will divide" being repeated twice - but the correct stopping patterns for the two halves of the train after division at Southampton were given.
14/05/07 On the 06.46 from Totton, there was a very gruff "I've not started yet" when a passenger asked the passing buffet steward for a coffee! On the 19.05 from Waterloo, the announcement "This train is at its final stop, Petersfield" was started about 5 times before the guard cut the sound off - and each time the in-carriage indicator displayed "OThis (sic) tarin (sic) is at it's (sic) final stop, Petersfield". Then we heard "This train is now approaching its final stop, London Waterloo" before the correct announcement giving the stopping pattern from London Waterloo was made, albeit with very large gap in the announcement between New Milton and Hinton Admiral stations. According to the guard, the announcements cannot be controlled by the guard until the driver inserts his key - all they can do is hit the intercom button to suppress the announcement. 6 minutes late at Totton, no reason given.
15/05/07 Totton ticket office closed this morning. On the 06.46 from Totton, the guard apologised for the overcrowding due to "a train cancellation this morning". 6 minutes late at Waterloo - no reason given. On arrival at Waterloo there was the automated announcement "OThis tarin is at it's final stop, Petersfield". No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line.
16/05/07 Noticed that the "permit to travel" machine has been removed from Totton station, apparently several weeks ago, as part of a policy to remove them from stations with a ticket machine. This makes it impossible to buy a ticket if the ticket machine is faulty and the ticket office is closed, such as from Friday midday until Monday morning - yet they still keep nagging "you must have a ticket to travel on one of our trains" at the same time as making it harder to do so. As another example, Redbridge has no ticket office, ticket machine or permit to travel machine (or any passenger information screens, for that matter). Totton ticket office is reported to be closed on Thursday and Friday and it will be very unlikely for cover to be provided for staff absence, so the station will be unattended from Wednesday lunchtime to Monday morning - and expected to be in a very untidy state by then. On the 07.46 from Totton, we heard 3 announcements "can the guard please contact the driver". Left Southampton Central 3 minutes late due to "a pigeon being stuck between the couplings of the trains".
17/05/07 Totton ticket office was closed and McDonald's rubbish and beer cans on the platform. After the 06.46 from Totton arrived at Waterloo, "OThis tarin is at it's final destination, Petersfield" announcement.
18/05/07 Totton ticket office was closed with passengers being greeted by the sight of crushed cans, fast food wrappers and peanuts! Passengers on the 06.46 from Totton were advised at Southampton Central that the train would be stopping additionally at Basingstoke, with no reason given. Repeated announcements by the guard of the additional stop were followed by the automated announcement after leaving Winchester that the next station is London Waterloo. The guard almost fell over as the train lurched sideways before Basingstoke as the line went from 2 to 4 tracks wide. Passengers joining at the additional stop of Basingstoke found themselves standing in the aisles as the train was already full before it reached them. Approaching Waterloo the guard apologised for the overcrowding due to the additional stop at Basingstoke which was in turn due to "the Salisbury up train being terminated". The Guard also apologised for the late arrival into Waterloo, again due to the additional stop at Basingstoke - being 8 minutes late at Waterloo. The 18.35 from Waterloo was made up of a front 444 to Weymouth attached to a rear 450 to Poole - far, far too long a distance for this suburban stock, with the front half being very crowded as a result. Arriving at Totton a few minutes late, the second arrival was shown as the 19.43 arrival from Romsey, which had in fact already left Totton as the 20.01 departure in the other direction. After the Poole train left the platform, the passenger indicators updated to show the 19.43 as the next arrival.
21/05/07 Apparently SWT owns all the fare flows for London-bound services, so it can impose its 20% off-peak fare increase even if passengers travel on other companies' trains (via Reading, for example). The 07.07 from Totton to Romsey left before its scheduled departure time and the passenger information screen at Millbrook was blank. There was an extended wait at Millbrook due to "waiting for a freight train to leave the goods yard ahead of us". The front half of the 07.30 departure from Southampton Central pulled up alongside us. The guard then advised that there seemed to be a problem with the freight train but that the signalman needed to speak with the driver of that train before he could reset the points and allow us to proceed. Arrived at Southampton Central 15 minutes late, where the 07.35 service to Totton was cancelled due to "a temporary shortage of staff at Salisbury". At Southampton Central, the 07.30 to Waterloo service was announced as running 11 minutes late due to "congestion at Southampton Central". The 07.30 to Weymouth service was also shown as delayed. 07.30 to Waterloo left Southampton Central 11 minutes late due to "awaiting a goods train to make a movement at Southampton Central which caused congestion in the Millbrook and Redbridge area". The guard said they hoped to make up time on the journey - as if they could after losing their slot! After leaving Southampton Airport Parkway we heard "can the guard please contact the driver". We had another extended wait at Winchester. Eventually the guard reported that we had "had a technical fault with the intercom and passenger announcement system which for safety reasons had to be rectified before we could move". 22 minutes late from Winchester due to an "onboard fault which has now been rectified" and "congestion at Southampton Central", once again suggesting that the time could be made up on the journey. Arrived at Waterloo 32 minutes late with the Petersfield announcement played after arrival. When 18.35 from Totton reached Totton, the next service was shown as the 19.43 arrival from Romsey - unlikely as it was departing just before its scheduled departure time back to Romsey from the other platform.
22/05/07 After the 06.46 from Totton reached Waterloo, we had the Petersfield announcement again.
23/05/07 Rats have been reported as nesting under the ticket machine at Totton so an attempt has been made to seal the bottom of the machine - although their presence is not surprising given the frequency at which the ticket office is closed and the rubbish which is seen on the platform as a result of no staff being present. Travelling on the 06.06 from Totton, noted that Millbrook station is starting to look more like the uncared for Redbridge station. As the 06.30 from Southampton Central was leaving Winchester, the guard announced an additional stop at Basingstoke immediately followed by the automated announcement that the "next station is London Waterloo". Guard reported that the "West of England" services were being terminated at Basingstoke due to problems at Esher "to avoid congestion at London Waterloo". Apologised for overcrowding and lack of seating for passengers joining the "normally very busy anyway" train. 5 minutes late at Waterloo (or as the announcement had it, Petersfield). On the 17.05 from Waterloo the air conditioning was struggling to work effectively.
24/05/07 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.00. The 06.06 from Totton to Romsey was cancelled with no reason given and no additional stop being arranged on the 06.30 from Southampton Central, even after passengers used the No-Help-At-All line on the platform, so passengers were abandoned to wait from before 06.00 until the following service at 06.46 (for London-bound passengers) or 07.07 (for Romsey-bound passengers). When the 06.46 arrived at Waterloo, there was no announcement about Petersfield (hooray!). The 18.05 from Waterloo had noisy but ineffective air conditioning.
25/05/07 The 06.06 from Totton to Romsey was cancelled for the second day running, but at least the ticket office was staffed today so passengers would be sure to be able to make the connection to the 06.30 from Southampton Central - alas not! The ticket office staff tried to get the 06.30 to stop additionally (like it does on a scheduled basis every Saturday!) but as the cancellation had not been displayed on the platform indicator until 06.08 there was apparently not time for this to be arranged. Trying his best, the ticket office staff then arranged for taxi transport for the passengers to Southampton Central and phoned Southampton to advise them to hold the 06.30 for the incoming passengers. Despite the customer service provided by Totton staff, it was all undone by staff at Southampton Central who, as Totton passengers arrived with 20 seconds to spare before the scheduled departure time, had already closed the doors and sent the train off without allowing the Totton passengers to board. The 06.46 from Totton left before its scheduled departure time, hurrying to stand for 9 minutes at Southampton Central. The 18.35 from Waterloo reached Winchester with the guard apologising for the "slight delay to your journey" which he said was due to "following a late-running Virgin service", 4 minutes late at Totton.
29/05/07 Did not travel.
30/05/07 Hot news about the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line that have been showing "no satellite signal" for almost all the time since they were installed when the line was upgraded last year - 2 of the 3 screens are now switched off! On the 19.05 from Waterloo there were 7 announcements that we were in Petersfield and 1 that we were approaching London Waterloo before the correct announcement was made (albeit with a very long pause between the announcement of New Milton and Hinton Admiral). Delayed at Winchester due to "awaiting technical assistance" - 5 minutes late at Totton.
31/05/07 The 06.46 from Totton left before its scheduled departure time. Fellow passengers complained of hot drinks from the trolley being quite cold. The 18.35 from Waterloo was 15 minutes late at Winchester due to "signal problems in this area".
01/06/07 The 06.46 from Totton again left before its scheduled departure time and left Southampton Central just before its scheduled departure time. A fellow passenger mentioned that yesterday's 19.05 from Waterloo ran 30 minutes late due to a fatality at Berrylands - and that Waterloo station staff were giving very poor advice to Southampton-bound passengers to travel to Woking as they "might" start trains there, but if they didn't you could be left there watching Southampton trains speed through the station without stopping. At Waterloo at 18.30 the subway displays were showing departures from 15.30! The 18.35 from Waterloo was announced as dividing at Bournemouth and omitting stops between Southampton Central and Bournemouth, passengers having to change at Southampton Central "where a prearranged train will be waiting for you". The guard reported that we "have a problem with the front five carriages" which were being taken to Bournemouth to be taken out of service and "you will be directed to the correct platform for your stopping service". At Southampton Central we were told to stay on platform 4 and await further announcements, but it was not hopeful that Brockenhurst passengers were directed to platform 3 to join the delayed 19.42 Virgin service that was due in 9 minutes time. We were subsequently told that the 4 carriage 450 set on platform 5 (described as a "bay siding") would be providing the stopping service but it would have to be shunted from the siding first and the Virgin service would be sent up the line before it. We also had to wait for a Freightliner train to slowly trundle past platform 4, so it was 10 minutes before we could get on the "prearranged train waiting for you". I asked a manager why we couldn't have joined the train on platform 5 but he said it had been "risk assessed" to be a bay siding that couldn't be used as a platform. He also said that the "siding" couldn't join the main line directly and would have to reverse back to join it - but this appeared to be a fib just to stop a passenger asking questions. A family joined the class 450 train and remarked "there's no tables".
04/06/07 A fellow passenger advised that the 06.06 was cancelled again on Friday - apparently it started at Southampton Central due to overrunning engineering works. After Winchester on the 06.46 from Totton we stopped with the announcement "can the guard please contact the driver". The guard then reported "not good news at all", that were in a queue of 5 trains due to "signal problems at Micheldever". We had a further 4 "can the guard please contact the driver" before we arrived 25 minutes late at Waterloo.
05/06/07 The 06.46 from Totton was 5 minutes late into Waterloo. On the 19.05 from Waterloo, there were 4 announcements about being at Petersfield followed by one reporting that the train was for Portsmouth Harbour via Guildford before the guard announced it as the 19.05 to Poole.
06/06/07 On the 18.35 from Waterloo a busker started singing (badly) in the carriage as we left the station for his "hostel fee" immediately followed by the "you must buy a ticket to get on one of our trains" announcement. One of the internal carriage doors would not open approaching Totton and I had to scamper down to the other end of the carriage to get off.
07/06/07 The 06.46 from Totton was 6 minutes late at Waterloo due to "congestion".
08/06/07 The platform indicator was blank on the up platform at Totton this morning. The 06.46 from Totton left Southampton Airport Parkway before its scheduled departure time. On the 19.05 from Waterloo we were told the train was "approaching its final destination, London Waterloo" before the correct announcement was made with the traditional long pause part way through it.
11/06/07 The platform indicator is still blank on the up platform at Totton and the ticket machine is flashing a red light. When the 06.46 from Totton reached Southampton Central the platform indicators on all platforms displayed "We regret that owing to a fault no information can be displayed at present". The 20.05 from Waterloo was to be delayed "for a few minutes" at Southampton Central awaiting the arrival of a Virgin service whose passengers were apparently going to transfer to our train.
12/06/07 Totton ticket office was closed at 05.45 and as the platform indicator is still blank, there was no departure information available at all for passengers. Also the ticket machine was flashing a red light, much to the frustration of a passenger who was trying to buy a ticket when it wouldn't accept his cash. As the 05.48 from Totton reached Southampton Central it was greeted by the platform indicators saying "PLEASE STAND CLEAR THIS TRAIN IS READY TO LEAVE". The "you must buy a ticket before you get on one of our trains" announcement on the train must have been the icing on the cake for the passenger trying and failing to buy a ticket at Totton - where SWT has even taken away the permit to travel machine. On reaching Waterloo we were repeatedly advised we had reached Petersfield. Inadequate air conditioning on the 16.05 from Waterloo.
13/06/07 On the approach to Totton station, Station Road North, there is still broken glass in the gutter. A sign on Totton ticket office window reported that it would be closed until Monday (18/06/07)and there was a considerable amount of litter on the platform. The platform indicator on the up platform was working at last, having been blank since last Friday. The 07.07 from Totton to Romsey closed its doors a minute before its scheduled departure time and left the platform more than 30 seconds before its scheduled departure time, leaving a passenger who had just arrived bemusedly checking his watch. I commented "you're leaving early" to the driver as he passed, but he just looked up and grinned. Just before the arrival of the 07.16 from Totton a fellow passenger asked me where he could ask about getting to Portsmouth as "it's my first time" - he seemed confused by the absence of any station staff but fortunately the guard on the 07.16 stepped out of a nearby train door and I was able to draw his attention to this passenger whom he then helped. The guard apologised for being "a few minutes late" at Waterloo due to "being delayed by a preceding service". The 21.05 from Waterloo was "approaching its final destination London Waterloo" before making the correct announcement with a large pause part way through. The train left Totton before its scheduled departure time.
14/06/07 The sign on the inside of the Totton ticket office window reporting closure until Monday is starting to peel off the window. Litter on the platform.
15/06/07 Totton ticket office unexpectedly open, but only until 9am when the staff member is going to work at Southampton Central. Asked the ticket office staff to make sure they watched the video on the Daily Echo website of the witness/suspect caught on CCTV on the rail replacement bus service between Southampton and Totton in the case of the poor Calmore girl who was attacked on her way home and subsequently killed herself. Overheard fellow passengers talking about a service yesterday that was only 5 carriages and was "packed". On the 06.46 from Totton, the guard apologised for the "few minutes" delay into Waterloo due to "slow running from Clapham Junction".
18/06/07 Travelled on the 05.11 from Southampton Central to Manchester Picadilly - no buffet until after Reading. The service was full and standing from from Leamington Spa to Birmingham New Street. Arrived at Manchester 5 minutes late (out of 4 hours). The 19.03 from Birmingham New Street was 5 minutes late at Leamington Spa due to "following a slow-moving freight train from Coventry to Leamington Spa" but was 2 minutes early at Southampton Central.
19/06/07 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.45 with fast food remains and broken glass on the platform. No platform number was displayed at Waterloo for the 18.05, but it was in fact at the usual platform being attended by Siemens engineers. When we could get on the train it was apparently "approaching its final destination, London Waterloo". The guard reported that the front unit (which was number 444 011) had no toilets in use and that the carriage doors in the first class carriage were locked out of use. The delay to the departure was because the train "had problems" on the inward journey. 10 minutes after our scheduled departure time, the guard announced that they had still got a problem with this unit and needed to get the fitters back to the train as they were unable to "get interlock". Eventually the problem was reported as fixed and we left Waterloo 25 minutes late. Immediately afterwards the guard told us that there were "delays" due to a lightning strike at Weybridge! During the journey 3 "can the guard please contact the driver" announcements had the guard scurrying forward as he could not get to speak to the driver over the intercom. 31 minutes late at Totton.
20/06/07 Totton ticket office open, but apparently closing at 9am due to staff shortages at Southampton Central and the Totton staff being dragged in to assist. The 06.46 from Totton left just before its scheduled departure time to stand 10 minutes at Southampton awaiting the rear 5 carriages. Stopped near New Covent Garden "at a caution signal awaiting platform allocation". At Vauxhall, the guard reported that we had "run into considerable congestion coming in and out of London Waterloo". 8 minutes late at Waterloo. The 18.05 from Waterloo had ineffective air conditioning in the 5th carriage of unit 444 011 (again!).
21/06/07 Totton ticket office was closed at 05.48.
22/06/07 Totton ticket office was open, but only until 08.30. Apparently no staff came to the station yesterday and it was very dirty first thing this morning. SWT areas at the bottom of the footbridge and behind the bike racks have been cleared of bushes - but several dead rats were found and there is now a rodent trap on the station platform. The overgrown and heavily littered area behind the fence alongside the up platform is apparently the responsibility of Network Rail, but access is only possible through the property of AS Fire & Rescue Equipment. The ticket machine was taken out of use due to a problem found when the staff were reloading it with tickets and may not be working again before the ticket office closes at 08.30. After joining the 19.05 from Waterloo we were told the train was "approaching its final destination, London Waterloo". Nearing Clapham Junction we were told that "passengers leaving the train here, move forward to the front 5 coaches", but the timetable says this stop is for picking up passengers only.
APPENDIX 2 - REPORTS OF POOR PERFORMANCE, A MAJOR CAUSE OF OVERCROWDING ON SWT
Note: These details are snapshots, based on passengers' own experiences and website information. Delays should be seen in the context that Stagecoach is generally operating the slowest services since steam. Our 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. On many days the loss of peak seats will significantly outweigh the additional seats which Stagecoach boasts of having introduced, complementing the ripping out of seats from suburban trains.
Tuesday 01/05/07 04.58 Guildford-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. Passengers on the 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford THROWN OFF at Effingham Junction. 07.58 Guildford-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 16.09 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 21.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 21 minutes late.
Wednesday 02/05/07 06.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES - INCLUDING A CRAMPED SUBURBAN UNIT; 77 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.38 Portsmouth-Waterloo 53 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 07.00 Woking-Alton 6 minutes late. Passengers on the 07.12 Waterloo-Brighton THROWN OFF at Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.15 Southampton-Waterloo 57 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo via Eastleigh 38 minutes late and diverted via Guildford DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 07.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late. 07.36 Southampton-Waterloo 56 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.52 Portsmouth-Waterloo via Eastleigh 13 minutes late and diverted via Guildford DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo via Eastleigh diverted via Guildford DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 26 minutes late. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole AXED. 09.32 Portsmouth-Southampton 17 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 09.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.53 Waterloo-Alton 18 minutes late. 10.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 minutes late. 10.05 Waterloo-Poole 36 minutes late. 10.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 minutes late. Passengers on the 10.12 Waterloo-Shepperton THROWN OFF at Fulwell. Passengers on the 10.15 Waterloo-Haslemere THROWN OFF at Guildford. Passengers on the 10.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Surbiton. 10.24 Waterloo-Dorking AXED. 10.45 Salisbury-Waterloo AXED between Salisbury and Basingstoke. 10.57 Brighton-Basingstoke AXED between Brighton and Barnham. 11.11 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Fulwell. 11.44 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham. 12.35 Waterloo-Weymouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 42 minutes late. 19.40 Havant-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 20.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 42 minutes late. 20.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 21.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 18 minutes late.
Thursday 03/05/07 05.05 Reading-Waterloo delayed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 05.15 Yeovil-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 07.02 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 coaches. 07.15 Southampton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 16 minutes late. Passengers on the 08.22 Epsom-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Wimbledon. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole delayed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Guard of the 17.05 Waterloo-Poole apologised for the wrong information on the screen at Southampton; train failed to pull into Totton station at the first attempt, wasting two minutes.
Friday 04/05/07 05.52 Twickenham-Wimbledon REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK; AXED between Hilsea and Havant. 06.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 06.53 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.42 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED. 07.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 15 minutes late.
Saturday 05/05/07 05.11 Southampton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.40 Salisbury-Bristol AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 07.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 08.03 Waterloo-Guildford THROWN OFF at Salisbury. 08.39 Haslemere-Waterloo AXED between Haslemere and Guildford. 08.53 Bristol-Salisbury AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Bracknell. 21.46 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Sunday 06/05/07 06.55 Southampton-Winchester 14 minutes late. 07.00 Weybridge-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.01 Windsor-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 10.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 15.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late. 15.07 Waterloo-Basingstoke 15 minutes late.
Monday 07/05/07 06.58 Waterloo-Windsor 15 minutes late. 07.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo AXED between Windsor and Staines. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Staines. Passengers on the 09.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Havant DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.40 Chessington-Waterloo delayed. 11.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 12.50 Waterloo-Salisbury delayed. 13.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 10 minutes late. 13.28 Guildford-Waterloo AXED. Passengers on the 19.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Guildford.
Tuesday 08/05/07 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 06.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo AXED. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. Four police officers on the 11.01 Poole-Waterloo had first class tickets but had to travel standard because they needed a free table for their paperwork. 13.39 Waterloo-Southampton 31 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.57 Brighton-Basingstoke AXED between Brighton and Hove DUE TO NO CREW. 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.10 Chessington-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 18 minutes late. 15.44 Alton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.58 Guildford-Waterloo 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; stops at London Road, Clandon and Horsley AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.00 Romsey-Totton AXED between Romsey and Southampton DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK IN PLACE.
Wednesday 09/05/07 04.30 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Haslemere DUE TO NO CREW. 05.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 06.17 Staines-Waterloo 25 minutes late DUE TO LATE START FROM DEPOT. 06.23 Portsmouth-Southampton 28 minutes late. 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 06.40 Havant-Brighton 17 minutes late. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 06.56 Reading-Brighton 15 minutes late. 07.10 Havant-Waterloo AXED. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 07.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 33 minutes late. 07.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 33 minutes late. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 07.50 Brighton-Basingstoke 17 minutes late and AXED between Brighton and Hove. 07.52 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 20 minutes late. 08.05 Portsmouth-Reading 11 minutes late. 08.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 08.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 08.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 25 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Fareham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED. 09.15 Waterloo-Haslemere 22 minutes late. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth started 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK AND MECHANICS NOT DETACHING THE ‘DO NOT MOVE’ SIGN. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth AXED between Waterloo and Southampton DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.50 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. Passengers on the 21.20 Waterloo-Yeovil THROWN OFF at Gillingham.
Thursday 10/05/07 [see separate item, ‘A wet day on SWT and the lying is sophisticated’.
Friday 11/05/07 05.15 Yeovil-Waterloo 10 minutes late; the faster 05.45 Poole-Waterloo was held at Basingstoke to let it run in front and was also 10 minutes late. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo AXED between Exeter Central and Exeter St David’s. 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth 20 minutes late. 15.24 Basingstoke-Brighton AXED between Basingstoke and Havant. 15.28 Waterloo-Windsor 12 minutes late. 18.46 Waterloo-Chessington REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.55 Southampton-Waterloo AXED.
Saturday 12/05/07 Passengers on the 06.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Kingston. 06.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 06.53 Windsor-Waterloo AXED between Windsor and Staines. 06.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo omitted stops at St Margaret’s, North Sheen, Mortlake, Barnes, Putney, Wandsworth Town and Queenstown Road DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 07.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo omitted stops at Mortlake, North Sheen, Richmond, St Margaret’s Twickenham and Whitton DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo omitted stops at Richmond and Putney DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.28 Waterloo-Windsor AXED. 07.58 Twickenham-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops, except Richmond and Clapham Junction, DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.53 Windsor-Waterloo AXED. 08.58 Waterloo-Windsor AXED between Waterloo and Twickenham. Passengers on the 14.20 Waterloo-Penzance THROWN OFF at Plymouth.
Sunday 13/05/07 13.50 Penzance-Waterloo AXED between Penzance and Plymouth. 14.42 Chessington-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 15.12 Chessington-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 16.44 Bracknell-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 16.46 Barnham-Reading AXED from Barnham and started from Southampton. 19.44 Waterloo-Windsor 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 22.24 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 14/05/07 08.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo 56 minutes late. 18.35 Alton-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 19.07 Alton-Waterloo 24 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 19.35 Alton-Waterloo AXED. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 19.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke; all intermediate stops before Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke ‘delayed’; all intermediate stops before Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.03 Waterloo-Guildford ‘delayed’.
Tuesday 15/05/07 Passengers on the 00.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth THROWN OFF at Eastleigh. Passengers on the 01.05 Waterloo-Southampton THROWN OFF at Eastleigh. 04.40 Southampton-Eastleigh AXED. 04.55 Southampton-Waterloo AXED between Southampton and Eastleigh. Passengers on the 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. Passengers on the 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. Passengers on the 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Eastleigh DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.30 Shepperton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 08.11 Shepperton-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Kingston. Passengers on the 08.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Surbiton. 09.20 Waterloo-Plymouth AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 09.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 14.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 14 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 10 minutes late. 19.20 Waterloo-Honiton 12 minutes late. 20.28 Waterloo-Windsor 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 23 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 22.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth THROWN OFF at Fratton DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 16/05/07 Passengers on the 00.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth THROWN OFF at Southampton. 05.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late and REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 07.20 Waterloo-Reading 20 minutes late. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole 32 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Southampton and Bournemouth AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.48 Plymouth-Waterloo AXED between Plymouth and Newton Abbot.
Thursday 17/05/07 05.58 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. Passengers on the 08.00 Shepperton-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Strawberry Hill DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED to 4 COACHES. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 15.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 7 minutes late; stops at Norbiton, New Malden and Raynes Park AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth demonstrated the slackness of its schedule by having to sit 6 minutes at Winchester.
Friday 18/05/07 Signalling problems put some platforms out of use in the morning peak: complete collapse of service. Salisbury lines trains ALL AXED between Basingstoke and Waterloo, and most stopping services between Woking and Waterloo AXED. Many other trains made additional stops; so slack is the schedule of the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo that it completed its journey on time despite a long additional stop at Basingstoke. 07.02 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth delayed; Woking and Farnborough stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 17.32 Waterloo-Guildford AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton. 18.02 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO COACHES. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 30 minutes late and AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES (4 COACHES WERE CRAMPED SUBURBAN STOCK). 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 19.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED. 19.42 Shepperton-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Kingston, except Clapham Junction, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.23 Waterloo-Alton 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 20.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late.
Saturday 19/05/07 05.30 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 07.20 Waterloo-Woking 13 minutes late. 07.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late. 07.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late. 07.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 12 minutes late. 07.45 Waterloo-Haslemere 12 minutes late. 07.50 Waterloo-Woking 10 minutes late. 07.53 Waterloo-Alton 9 minutes late. 11.01 Poole-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.50 Waterloo-Reading 7 minutes late. 21.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 23 minutes late. 21.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late.
Sunday 20/05/07 Passengers on the 01.05 Waterloo-Southampton THROWN OFF at Eastleigh. 07.24 Tisbury-Exeter 43 minutes late. 07.52 Woking-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 27 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Woking. 16.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Woking. 18.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 20.54 Waterloo-Bournemouth 33 minutes late.
Monday 21/05/07 05.54 Weymouth-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 07.07 Totton-Romsey 17 minutes late DUE TO TRAIN LATE FROM DEPOT. 07.30 Southampton-Poole 15 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 07.36 Southampton-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO TRAIN LATE FROM DEPOT; stops at Brookwood, Woking and Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.01 Totton-Romsey AXED. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 22 minutes late. 14.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 17 minutes late. 15.01 Totton-Romsey 11 minutes late. 18.07 Weybridge-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Woking 17 minutes late. 18.35 Southampton-Portsmouth diverted via Eastleigh due to fatality at Bitterne. 18.36 Portsmouth-Southampton diverted via Eastleigh. 18.37 Weybridge-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 20 minutes late. 19.42 Southampton-Portsmouth diverted via Eastleigh. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. Passengers on the 23.00 Guildford-Ascot THROWN OFF at Aldershot. Passengers on the 23.15 Alton-Woking THROWN OFF at Aldershot.
Tuesday 22/05/07 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot AXED. 00.40 Woking-Alton AXED. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham. 07.53 Ascot-Guildford 11 minutes late. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 16 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 13.57 Brighton-Basingstoke 12 minutes late. 14.50 Waterloo-Reading 19 minutes late. 15.12 Reading-Waterloo 38 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Ascot AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.42 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.13 Waterloo-Teddington AXED. 17.43 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED between Waterloo and Twickenham. 18.02 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.09 Waterloo-Effingham Junction AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.22 Waterloo-Weybridge delayed DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops before Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.20 Waterloo-Reading AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 22.12 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 23.00 Guildford-Ascot THROWN OFF at Aldershot. Passengers on the 23.15 Alton-Woking THROWN OFF at Aldershot.
Wednesday 23/05/07 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot AXED. 00.40 Woking-Alton AXED. Signalling problems in the London area. Many trains had their Vauxhall stops AXED, and some had their Clapham Junction, Earlsfield and even Wimbledon stops AXED as well. Some trains simply advertised as “REVISED” with no explanation. All morning trains from Waterloo to Basingstoke had their Walton-on-Thames and Weybridge stops AXED. Passengers on the 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 06.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo and 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 17 minutes late DUE TO ALLEGEDLY DISRUPTIVE PASSENGERS; ALL PASSENGERS LOCKED ABOARD THE TRAIN FOR 10 MINUTES AT WINCHESTER. 06.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth diverted, with its Woking and Worplesdon stops AXED. Passengers on the 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late DUE TO ALLEGEDLY DISRUPTIVE PASSENGERS. 07.00 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Fulwell. 07.20 Teddington-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.37 Twickenham-Waterloo AXED between Twickenham and New Malden. 07.38 Waterloo-Southampton stopped at Woking instead of Farnborough and Fleet. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 07.53 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.00 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED. 08.03 Waterloo-Guildford 24 minutes late. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 27 minutes late. 08.20 Waterloo-Exeter AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 08.23 Ascot-Guildford AXED between Ascot and Aldershot. 08.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 08.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 08.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo had all intermediate stops after Woking AXED. 09.39 Waterloo-Southampton stopped at Woking instead of Farnborough and Fleet and ran 52 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Eastleigh. Passengers on the 09.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 10.05 Waterloo-Poole 28 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 10.20 Yeovil-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 10.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 15 minutes late; stops at Weybridge, Walton-on-Thames and Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 10.45 Salisbury-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 10.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 28 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.55 Southampton-Waterloo AXED. 11.39 Waterloo-Southampton AXED. 11.55 Southampton-Waterloo AXED. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 15 minutes late and AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 12.39 Waterloo-Southampton AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 12.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 13.05 Waterloo-Poole 34 minutes late. 13.20 Waterloo-Yeovil AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late. 13.55 Southampton-Waterloo AXED. 14.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Eastleigh. 13.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 21 minutes late and AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 14.24 Basingstoke-Fareham 20 minutes late. 14.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 42 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.52 Waterloo-Weybridge delayed at Brentford DUE TO A PASSENGER BEING TAKEN ILL – THERE’S A SURPRISE! 14.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 15.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.16 Brockenhurst-Wareham 13 minutes late. 15.24 Basingstoke-Brighton 20 minutes late. 15.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 15.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 16.04 Reading-Brighton 11 minutes late. 16.09 Waterloo-Guildford 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.12 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 6 minutes late. 16.33 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.57 Southampton-Weymouth 13 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 10 minutes late. 17.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED. 17.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 7 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.34 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 7 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.58 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 10 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 10 minutes late. Passengers on the 18.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Clapham Junction on the outward leg. Passengers on the 19.08 Guildford-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Wimbledon. 19.20 Waterloo-Honiton 15 minutes late. 19.23 Waterloo-Surbiton 31 minutes late. 19.24 Waterloo-Dorking 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham, except Richmond and Clapham Junction, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo FAILED at Worcester Park. 19.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED. 19.50 Waterloo-Woking 18 minutes late. 19.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 16 minutes late. 19.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham, except Richmond and Clapham Junction, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED except from Clapham Junction to Waterloo. 20.03 Waterloo-Guildford 18 minutes late. 20.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court 20 minutes late. 20.09 Waterloo-Dorking 19 minutes late. 20.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 19 minutes late. 20.15 Waterloo-Haslemere AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 20.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 20.15 Waterloo-Haslemere AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 20.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 20.16 Waterloo-Chessington AXED between Waterloo and Wimbledon. Passengers on the 23.00 Guildford-Ascot THROWN OFF at Aldershot. Passengers on the 23.15 Alton-Woking THROWN OFF at Aldershot.
Thursday 24/05/07 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot AXED. 00.40 Woking-Alton AXED. 06.06 Totton-Yeovil AXED. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.25 Weymouth-Brockenhurst AXED. 07.58 Weymouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Poole. 08.25 Weymouth-Brockenhurst 10 minutes late. 14.05 Waterloo-Poole 8 minutes late. 15.05 Waterloo-Poole 11 minutes late. 15.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 23.05 Waterloo-Poole AXED between Southampton and Poole.
Friday 25/05/07 00.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth AXED between Southampton and Bournemouth. 06.06 Totton-Yeovil AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.43 Southampton-Waterloo AXED. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 18.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.43 Waterloo-Shepperton 14 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 19.25 Waterloo-Alton 20 minutes late. 22.25 Bristol-Salisbury AXED.
Saturday 26/05/07 00.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth AXED between Southampton and Bournemouth. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late. 20.08 Weymouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 21.30 Southampton-Waterloo 27 minutes late.
Sunday 27/05/07 13.15 Alton / 13.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 13.50 Penzance-Waterloo AXED between Penzance and Exeter DUE TO NO CREW.
Monday 28/05/07 Signalling problems on the Weymouth line and obstruction on the Portsmouth line. Passengers on the 05.30 and 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth THROWN OFF at Branksome. 06.27 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Branksome. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo delayed and omitted all intermediate stops after Havant, except Guildford, DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Woking. 07.14 Poole-Southampton AXED between Poole and Branksome. 07.25 Weymouth-Brockenhurst AXED between Weymouth and Branksome. 07.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 07.54 Poole-Waterloo AXED between Poole and Branksome. 07.58 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Branksome. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 19 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.20 Waterloo-Exeter 14 minutes late. 08.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 08.25 Weymouth-Brockenhurst AXED between Weymouth and Branksome. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Poole. 09.15 Waterloo-Haslemere AXED between Waterloo and Woking, and delayed at Guildford DUE TO NO CREW. 09.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late and AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 09.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 09.50 Salisbury-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 10.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late. Passengers on the 10.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth THROWN OFF at Haslemere. Passengers on the 11.33 Woking-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Wimbledon DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.10 Chessington-Waterloo AXED between Chessington and Motspur Park. 13.32 Waterloo-Guildford AXED between Waterloo and Raynes Park. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediates stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.58 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.58 Waterloo-Windsor 28 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops before Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Tuesday 29/05/07 Return to work after bank holiday. Overrunning engineering works, vandalism, broken down train and crew shortage. 05.20 Waterloo-Portsmouth delayed. 06.12 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Wokingham. 06.15 Yeovil-Exeter 11 minutes late. 06.23 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 06.23 Ascot-Guildford AXED between Ascot and Aldershot. 06.33 Staines-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. Passengers on the 07.02 Eastleigh-Portsmouth THROWN OFF at Fareham. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 33 minutes late; AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton and all intermediate stops after Haslemere AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.22 Epsom-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late and AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 08.05 Portsmouth-Reading AXED between Portsmouth and Fareham. 08.07 Twickenham-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke delayed at Woking DUE TO NO CREW. 08.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Haslemere and 10 minutes late. 08.53 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 09.15 Waterloo-Haslemere REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 09.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 09.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 14.54 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.30 Honiton-Exeter AXED. 17.48 Plymouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. Passengers on the 23.05 Waterloo-Poole THROWN OFF at Southampton.
Wednesday 30/05/07 Passengers on the 00.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth THROWN OFF at Southampton. Early morning signalling problems. 06.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. Passengers on the 06.41 Shepperton-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Kingston. 06.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 07.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton. 07.11 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Surbiton. Passengers on the 07.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Surbiton. 07.41 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED. 10.53 Ascot-Guildford AXED between Ascot and Aldershot. 12.39 Waterloo-Southampton 7 minutes late.
Thursday 31/05/07 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late; intermediate stops between Haslemere and Guildford AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo delayed at Woking. 07.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth delayed at Farnborough. 07.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 22 minutes late. 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 07.46 Waterloo-Chessington 11 minutes late. 08.30 Guildford-Ascot delayed DUE TO NO CREW. Fatality at Earlsfield. 14.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth omitted al intermediate stops before Haslemere DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 30 minutes late; omitted all stops before Woking DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 41 minutes late. 15.05 Waterloo-Poole 34 minutes late. 15.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 45 minutes late; stops at Walton-on-Thames and Weybridge AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.20 Waterloo-Yeovil AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 15.33 Waterloo-Guildford AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton. 15.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 21 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Twickenham and Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED. 15.50 Waterloo-Gillingham AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 15.50 Waterloo-Reading AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.58 Guildford-Waterloo AXED. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 16.15 Gillingham-Waterloo AXED between Gillingham and Salisbury. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 17.22 Reading-Ascot AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo AXED between Poole and Bournemouth. 17.58 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late; intermediate stops before Effingham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 18.11 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton 31 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 19.01 Reading-Brighton 35 minutes late and AXED between Hove and Brighton DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 24 minutes late and REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 19.12 Waterloo-Eastleigh 23 minutes late. 19.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 20.14 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 20.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Friday 01/06/07 06.06 Totton-Yeovil AXED YET AGAIN!!! 06.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 06.38 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.42 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.20 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.23 Waterloo-Alton AXED between Waterloo and Woking DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo DIVERTED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 14.52 Waterloo-Weybridge DIVERTED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 15.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo DIVERTED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 15.22 Waterloo-Weybridge DIVERTED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 27 minutes late. 17.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 34 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton 13 minutes late. 17.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Kingston and Clapham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.54 Waterloo-Dorking AXED between Waterloo and Raynes Park DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 17.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 minutes late. Passengers on the Poole portion of the 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth had to change at Southampton DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.39 Waterloo-Guildford 11 minutes late. 21.42 Fratton-Southampton AXED between Fratton and Fareham. Passengers on the 21.42 Southampton-Fratton THROWN OFF at Fareham. 21.51 Portsmouth-Eastleigh 34 minutes late. 22.47 Fratton-Southampton AXED between Fratton and Fareham.
Saturday 02/06/07 06.15 Salisbury-Paignton 16 minutes late. 06.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late; intermediate stops between Haslemere and Guildford AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo 12 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Andover. 09.33 Waterloo-Guildford delayed at Hinchley Wood DUE TO PASSENGER BEING TAKEN ILL. 10.50 Waterloo-Reading 26 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops before Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 16 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.50 Plymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 16.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 9 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth REDUCED TO 5 COACHES; passengers THROWN OFF at Southampton DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 03/06/07 08.02 Waterloo-Epsom 9 minutes late. 08.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Teddington AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.10 Brighton-Salisbury 14 minutes late. Passengers on the 21.54 Waterloo-Poole THROWN OFF at Bournemouth DUE TO NO CREW.
Monday 04/06/07 05.00 Poole-Waterloo about 8 minutes late due to signalling problems at Micheldever; delay increased to 10 minutes at Basingstoke whilst Woking and Clapham Junction passengers were being THROWN OFF so that the train could run fast to Waterloo DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, INCLUDING A SUBURBAN UNIT. 06.56 Reading-Brighton 18 minutes late. 07.09 Haslemere-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 07.46 West Byfleet-Waterloo AXED between West Byfleet and Surbiton. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 07.54 Poole-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 14.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late DUETO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 14.05 Waterloo-Poole THROWN OFF at Bournemouth DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 14.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo AXED between Poole and Bournemouth DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Tuesday 05/06/07 06.19 Woking-Portsmouth 8 minutes late. 06.23 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, INCLUDING A SUBURBAN UNIT. 07.28 Waterloo-Windsor REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.53 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 14.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 52 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Fareham. 15.56 Havant-Waterloo AXED. 21.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 49 minutes late. 22.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 20 minutes late.
Wednesday 06/06/07 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo 8 minutes late; Liss and Liphook stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 8 minutes late. 19.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 20.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 21.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Petersfield DUE TO NO CREW. 21.23 Windsor-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Thursday 07/06/07 04.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo AXED between Basingstoke and Woking DUE TO NO CREW. 06.23 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, INCLUDING A SUBURBAN UNIT. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 08.53 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. A passenger on the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo was thrown off his feet on the approach to Waterloo DUE TO THE ROUGH RIDING. 15.35 Dorking-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.28 Waterloo-Windsor REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. Signalling problems; Fleet stop AXED from the 19.55 Southampton-Waterloo and 20.24/20.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo.
Friday 08/06/07 04.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo AGAIN AXED between Basingstoke and Woking. 05.05 Eastleigh-Southampton AXED. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 06.12 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Ascot DUE TO NO CREW. 06.20 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Eastleigh DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.30 Southampton-Poole REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES AND AXED between Portsmouth and Havant. 08.54 Poole-Waterloo REDUCED TO A 4-CAR SUBURBAN UNIT. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 30 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Salisbury. 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton 27 minutes late. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Salisbury and Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court 12 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 19.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Saturday 09/06/07 05.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. Passengers on the 07.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Strawberry Hill. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 07.55 Southampton-Waterloo REDUCED TO A 4-COACH SUBURBAN TRAIN. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Kingston DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 10.20 Yeovil-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.20 Waterloo-Yeovil AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 14.33 Weybridge-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Staines. 17.23 Ascot-Guildford AXED between Ascot and Aldershot. 22.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; all intermediate stops before Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Sunday 10/06/07 12.56 Reading-Brighton 40 minutes late; ran from Basingstoke fast to Eastleigh, Fareham and Havant, where passengers were THROWN OFF. 13.54 Reading-Waterloo AXED. 20.54 Reading-Waterloo 7 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 11/06/07 08.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES and 5 minutes late. 19.42 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 16 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Ascot AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 23.05 Waterloo-Poole THROWN OFF at Southampton.
Tuesday 12/06/07 06.19 Woking-Portsmouth 6 minutes late. 07.17 Southampton-Portsmouth 7 minutes late. 16.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 18.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 19.20 Waterloo-Honiton REDUCED TO 3 COACHES!!!
Wednesday 13/06/07 06.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 9 minutes late. 07.07 Guildford-Waterloo 7 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 07.36 Southampton-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 8 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.32 Portsmouth-Southampton 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF DTOCK. 10.05 Dorking-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke delayed at Surbiton. 16.30 Guildford-Ascot AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 27 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.50 Waterloo-Reading 25 minutes late. 16.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 17 minutes late. 16.58 Waterloo-Windsor 16 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Aldershot 15 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Guildford AXED. 18.24 Waterloo-Guildford REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 19.38 Guildford-Waterloo AXED. 22.08 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Thursday 14/06/07 13.50 Waterloo-Gillingham 10 minutes late. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.00 Romsey-Totton AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.01 Totton-Romsey AXED between Totton and Redbridge DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 22.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 12 minutes late.
Friday 15/06/07 Passengers on the 00.15 Waterloo-Epsom THROWN OFF at Wimbledon. 14.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 9 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; passengers THROWN OFF at Fratton. 14.57 Brighton-Basingstoke AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 16.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 17.16 Waterloo-Chessington REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.24 Basingstoke-Southampton AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.30 Waterloo-Epsom REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.32 Portsmouth-Southampton 12 minutes late. 17.46 Waterloo-Chessington REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.55 Waterloo-Alton 9 minutes late. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late.
Saturday 16/06/07 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 21.44 Alton-Waterloo 11 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Sunday 17/06/07 06.55 Southampton-Waterloo AXED between Southampton and Eastleigh. Passengers on the 12.15 Waterloo-Yeovil THROWN OFF at Clapham Junction DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 17.40 Romsey-Totton 10 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 17.55 Totton-Romsey AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.56 Reading-Brighton 11 minutes late. 20.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 18/06/07 06.44 Alton-Waterloo AXED. 06.53 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham. 07.58 Waterloo-Windsor REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 15.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Barnes on the outward lap. 15.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 24 minutes late. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 7 minutes late. 16.39 Waterloo-Guildford REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 20.23 Windsor-Waterloo AXED. 20.50 Waterloo-Reading 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 6 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Tuesday 19/06/07 06.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo diverted via Guildford. 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton 14 minutes late. 15.00 Romsey-Totton AXED. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 25 minutes late. 15.57 Brighton-Reading 14 minutes late. 16.01 Totton-Romsey AXED. 16.04 Reading-Brighton 24 minutes late. 16.15 Gillingham-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.56 Havant-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Aldershot 12 minutes late. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 24 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth 14 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 12 minutes late. 17.53 Waterloo-Basingstoke 11 minutes late. 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 17.57 Brighton-Basingstoke AXED between Brighton and Worthing. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 24 minutes late. 18.16 Waterloo-Chessington 15 minutes late. 19.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 22 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Putney and Hounslow AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.25 Waterloo-Alton delayed; all intermediate stops between Woking and Alton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 19.35 Alton-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 17 minutes late. 20.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 33 minutes late. 21.12 Reading-Waterloo 32 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 13 minutes late. 21.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 31 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.42 Reading-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 22.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 24 minutes late.
Wednesday 20/06/07 05.01 Portsmouth-Reading 6 minutes late. 05.15 Yeovil-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 06.23 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth 36 minutes late. 06.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 08.53 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 18 minutes late. Passengers on the 22.23 Ascot-Guildford THROWN OFF at Aldershot. 22.23 Waterloo-Alton 52 minutes late. 23.30 Guildford-Aldershot AXED. 23.48 Waterloo-Basingstoke 6 minutes late.
Thursday 21/06/07 06.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.10 Havant-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.46 Effingham Junction-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.52 Waterloo-Weybridge ‘delayed’. 15.00 Romsey-Totton 29 minutes late and ‘revised’. 17.28 Windsor-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.48 Plymouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.58 Waterloo-Windsor AXED. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading 17 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Reading 19 minutes late. 18.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 18.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Reading 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Ascot AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.23 Windsor-Waterloo AXED. 20.50 Waterloo-Reading 9 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Friday 22/06/07 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.53 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.58 Waterloo-Windsor REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.01 Reading-Brighton 12 minutes late. 20.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 minutes late ; all intermediate stops between Teddington and Wimbledon AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 20.56 Salisbury-Bristol THROWN OFF at Bath DUE TO NO CREW. 21.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 10 minutes late. 22.25 Bristol-Salisbury AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Saturday 23/06/07 06.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 31 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Fulwell. 06.16 Waterloo-Chessington 31 minutes late. 06.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 06.20 Waterloo-Woking 32 minutes late. 06.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all stops after Twickenham, except Richmond and Clapham Junction, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.33 Waterloo-Guildford 23 minutes late. 06.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court 18 minutes late. 06.39 Waterloo-Guildford 18 minutes late. 07.11 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Teddington. 08.42 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED between Waterloo and Kingston. 11.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 29 minutes late. 11.50 Waterloo-Reading 23 minutes late. 11.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 20 minutes late. 12.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 12.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 12.12 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Ascot DUE TO NO CREW. 12.15 Waterloo-Haslemere REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 12.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED. 12.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 12.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 13 minutes late. 12.53 Windsor-Waterloo AXED. 13.12 Reading-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 13.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 14.37 Brighton-Basingstoke 70 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Winchester. 15.15 Alton-Waterloo 12 minutes late; stops at West Byfleet and Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 16.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.10 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 17.24 Basingstoke-Southampton AXED between Basingstoke and Winchester. 17.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late. 19.15 Waterloo-Haslemere AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 20.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 20.53 Windsor-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 21.50 Waterloo-Reading 13 minutes late. 21.58 Waterloo-Windsor 11 minutes late.
Sunday 24/06/07 Signalling problems led to Botley and Hedge End being left without trains for hours. 06.55 Southampton-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 07.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 07.54 Epsom-Waterloo AXED. 08.13 Ascot-=Guildford AXED between Ascot and Aldershot DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.26 Eastleigh-Portsmouth 25 minutes late. 08.51 Waterloo-Chessington AXED between Waterloo and Wimbledon. 09.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 10.10 Brighton-Reading 27 minutes late. 10.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 13.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late; stops at Hilsea, Cosham and Portchester AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Afternoon and evening trains AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester due to signalling problems; in addition, 16.48 Weymouth-Waterloo started 27 minutes late from Dorchester DUE TO NO CREW; 17.48 Weymouth-Waterloo started 7 minutes late from Dorchester DUE TO NO CREW; 18.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. Passengers on the 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth THROWN OFF at Bournemouth. Passengers on the 21.35 Waterloo-Weymouth THROWN OFF at Bournemouth.
Monday 25/06/07 Signalling problems at Barnes. 05.05 Waterloo-Reading 20 minutes late; 06.20 diverted; 08.07 AXED; 08.20 40 minutes late and all intermediate stations after Staines, except Ascot, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE; 08.37 AXED. 05.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 42 minutes late; 06.03 29 minutes late. 05.42 Reading-Waterloo 12 minutes late and diverted; 06.12 23 minutes late and diverted; 06.42 10 minutes late and diverted; 09.42 AXED; 10.12 AXED. 05.53/06.23/06.53/ 07.23/07.53/08.23/08.53/11.23 Windsor-Waterloo AXED. 05.58/06.28/06.58/07.28/07.58/ 08.28 Waterloo-Windsor AXED. 05.59 Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 06.30/07.00/07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo AXED. 06.40 Havant-Brighton AXED. 06.47 Staines-Weybridge AXED. 07.00/07.30/08.00 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED; 11.41 AXED between Shepperton and Teddington. 07.50 Brighton-Basingstoke AXED. 07.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 08.23 Ascot-Guildford AXED between Ascot and Aldershot. 10.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 10 minutes late and passengers THROWN OFF at Fulwell.11.01 Poole-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 11.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Virginia Water. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Salisbury. 14.57 Brighton-Basingstoke 15 minutes late. 15.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 15.57 Brighton-Reading 17 minutes late. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 10 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 45 minutes late; Poole portion 39 minutes late and AXED between Bournemouth and Poole. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 42 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 25 minutes late. 18.28 Waterloo-Windsor REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 18.54 Poole-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo AXED between Poole and Bournemouth. 19.55 Southampton-Waterloo 7 minutes late.
Tuesday 26/06/07 10.05 Fareham-Basingstoke AXED between Fareham and Eastleigh DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 11.00Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.32 Portsmouth-Southampton 21 minutes late. 17.54 Waterloo-Dorking AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.12 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 18.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 10 minutes late. 18.43 Southampton-Winchester 13 minutes late. 19.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 18.50 Dorking-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Richmond stop of 19.50 Waterloo-Reading AXED. 20.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 14 minutes late; stops at St Margarets, North Sheen and Mortlake AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.55 Southampton-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 21.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 21.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED.
Wednesday 27/06/07 06.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Twickenham. 13.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 14.33 Woking-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 14.35 Dorking-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 14.38 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 14.41 Shepperton-Waterloo diverted; Earlsfield stop AXED. 14.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 15.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 15.20 Waterloo-Woking AXED. 15.24 Waterloo-Dorking 31 minutes late. 15.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court 24 minutes late. 15.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 13 minutes late. 15.53 Waterloo-Alton 13 minutes late. 15.57 Brighton-Reading 16 minutes late. 15.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Richmond, except Clapham Junction, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.05 Waterloo-Reading 16 minutes late. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 16.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo had all intermediate stops after Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.41 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Teddington. 16.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo had all intermediate stops after Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.08 Guildford-Waterloo 11 minutes late; intermediate stops before Effingham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.11 Shepperton-Waterloo had all intermediate stops after Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE; passengers THROWN OFF at Fulwell. 17.20 Waterloo-Reading 17 minutes late. 17.44 Alton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 18.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 19 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 10 minutes late.
Thursday 28/06/07 08.01 Totton-Romsey AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.50 Waterloo-Woking 25 minutes late. 22.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 25 minutes late.
Friday 29/06/07 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 16 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED DUIE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Strawberry Hill DUE TO NO CREW. 19.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Saturday 30/06/07 08.01 Poole-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.24 Basingstoke-Brighton 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.57 Brighton-Basingstoke AXED between Brighton and Barnham. 11.05 Waterloo-Poole 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 11.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late. 11.37 Brighton-Basingstoke 36 minutes late. 14.20 Waterloo-Penzance 45 minutes late. 14.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 15.14 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 15.25 Windsor-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 15.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.54 Virginia Water-Waterloo 12 minutes late. Passengers on the 15.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Kingston DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 39 minutes late. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 13 minutes late. 20.42 Southampton-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 20.50 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late; stops at Clapham Junction, Richmond and Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 21.42 Southampton-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
APPENDIX 3 - TRANSPORT IN CLIMATE CHANGE
First Group has joined the ranks of transport operators eager to prove their green credentials, by announcing a plan to cut carbon dioxide emissions. The group, which accounts for two billion passenger journeys a year, announced a climate change strategy to generate 25% less CO2 on its British bus operations and 20% less on its British rail operations. The pledge means retraining thousands of First Group rail and bus drivers in fuel-efficient driving techniques, and running some of its bus fleet on bio fuel. The company will also explore regenerative braking for trains. If First Group hits its targets, it will have eliminated 250,000 tonnes of emissions by 2020. Environmental organisations welcomed the move, which follows similar announcements by National Express and Eurostar. Virgin Trains, meanwhile, have a Voyager train running on bio-diesel, which is partly derived from renewable sources. (Sources: Guardian 01/06/06; Metro 08/06/07)
Wednesday 09/05/07 – AIR TRAVEL BOOM Less than a week after the world’s scientists warned there may be just 8 years to avoid the worst effects of global warming, the aviation industry has announced record increases in the numbers of flights worldwide. Demand for domestic flights in China has helped nudge the number of global take-offs scheduled for this month to over 5 million for the first time. A surge in the popularity of low-cost airlines means more than 114,000 more flights are expected than during the same period last year, an increase of 5%. New official forecasts to be published at an aviation conference in Barcelona next month predict international carbon dioxide pollution from aircraft will reach 1.2 - 1.4 billion tonnes by 2025, up from 610 million tonnes now. Aircraft emissions have a greater warming effect because they are released at altitude. The UK Government says this means that 1 tonne of carbon dioxide released from an aircraft does the same damage as 2.5 tonnes emitted from cars or power stations. As most aviation is classed as an international activity, its emissions are rarely included in official figures and they are excluded from the Kyoto protocol. Overall figures are 12 million more low-cost seats since 2006; 16% of all flights worldwide and 20% of all airline seats are low-cost - a 22% increase year on year; and 8,000 extra flights to and from the UK, equivalent to 1.9 million seats. (Guardian)
Wednesday 09/05/07 – WINNERS AND LOSERS IN THE BIOFUEL INDUSTRY A UN report, compiled by all 30 of its agencies, finds that the global rush to switch from oil to energy derived from plants will drive deforestation, push small farmers off the land, and lead to serious food shortages and increased poverty unless carefully managed. Global production of energy crops is doubling every few years, and 17 countries are so far committed to growing on a large scale. Last year more than a third of the entire US maize crop went to ethanol for fuel, a 48% increase on 2005. Brazil and China grew the crops on nearly 50 million acres. The EU has said that 10% of all fuels must come from biofuels by 2020. On the positive side, the crops have the potential to reduce oil prices, to the advantage of poorer countries. But forests are already being felled to grow vast plantations of palm oil trees. Environmental groups argue that this is catastrophic for the climate and for some animal species. The findings are mixed on the overall impact on poor countries, where most of the crops are expected to be grown in future. This could benefit some farmers but disadvantage others. It could divert the best land from food production and increase the cost of emergency food aid. (Guardian)
Friday 11/05/07 – CHANNEL TUNNEL OPPORTUNITIES WASTED Responding to public concerns over aircraft emissions, Eurostar has launched an initiative to reduce its carbon footprint. Yet more passengers will be forced into their cars and possibly even planes by the slashing of services from Ashford. From November, Ashford International station, which cost £80 million plus the environmental costs of construction, will be left with just three trains a day to Paris and none to Brussels. Ebbsfleet International station, located close to junction 2 of the M25 and close to the Dartford Crossing, but not a convenient rail hub like Ashford, will have a 9,000 space car park. The Channel Tunnel was expected to cut lorry traffic through Kent by making trains more economic for many international deliveries; freight trains were forecast to shift from 6 millions to 8 million tonnes a year. In fact freight peaked at 3 million tonnes in 1998 and has declined ever since. In the first quarter of this year freight trains carried less than in the same quarter of 2006 whilst lorries on Eurotunnel’s Shuttle increased by 11%. Trucks emit up to 10 times more carbon than trains, yet council officers say lorry traffic through Kent has more than trebled since the tunnel opened. Their suggested solution is to enlarge the M20, A20, M2 and A2. One of the last companies to operate international freight trains is considering withdrawal because SNCF is upping its charges for use of infrastructure near Calais from €5,000 to €13,000 per round trip from July. Anyone using non-SNCF locomotives and drivers in France – on what the EU says is open-access railway with equal treatment for all companies – will be charged €22,000. (Private Eye)
Wednesday 16/05/07 – MAYOR OF LONDON’S ECO-CREDENTIALS The Mayor and his aides have attended 17 climate change summits since 2004. Mr Livingstone can count himself a genuine pioneer in the business of charging for road space, and his counterpart in New York is thinking about following suit. Earlier this year the Mayor announced that climate change is the number one priority for his administration, but his climate change plan ‘Action Today To Protect Tomorrow’ does not live up to its billing. One of the highest-profile of global warming is air travel. Aviation accounts for 34% of London’s carbon footprint, and the action plan is unequivocal that the Mayor will challenge the need for further expansion at UK airports. Yet in his draft London Plan, on which consultation ended just three months ago, he supports the hugely controversial expansion of Stansted and potential later expansion at Gatwick. He also supports a second London heliport in the East End, despite the London Assembly’s concerns about helicopter noise and pollution. The Mayor’s record is better on transport than planning, but he wants to spend £400 million on the Thames Gateway crossing between Thamesmead and Beckton. The multi-lane bridge would be an astonishing throwback to the days of urban motorway building. Meanwhile he is spending £200 million to widen the North Circular; houses will be demolished and local greens fear that more traffic will be sucked in. (Evening Standard)
Tuesday 29/05/07 – CLIMATE CHANGE POLICY AT ODDS WITH AVIATION POLICY Environmental campaigners yesterday revealed how they are preparing to lobby a public inquiry starting tomorrow into plans to extend Stansted Airport; its owner, BAA , is seeking to increase the number of passengers flying in and out from 25 million to 35 million a year. Both sides recognise that the public inquiry could have consequences throughout Britain. Air passenger numbers are predicted to more than double in the next 20 years to 465 million and at least 20 other British airports, including Gatwick, Heathrow, Bristol and Norwich, are planning to expand. Campaigners say the government’s target to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 20% is contradicted by its aviation policy, which is committed to new runways at Heathrow and Stansted if environmental standards are met. Tomorrow’s opening session will hear statements from BAA, Friends of the Earth and the local council which threw out the initial application on environmental grounds. Aqqaluk Lynge, president of the Inuit Circumpolar Council and a former minister in the Greenland government is expected to make an appearance during the inquiry to argue against expansion. The National Trust will argue that Hatfield Forest, one of England’s oldest forests, is at serious risk from the expansion of cheap air travel. The forest, on the edge of the airport, will be critically affected by noise and increased chemical pollution. Hatfield attracts 200,000 visitors a year and, uniquely in Europe, has more than 800 trees which are more than 500 years old. The airport expansion is expected to increase the number of daily flights to up to 720 in 2014, a 40% increase. (Guardian)
Thursday 21/06/07 – REPORT SEES ENERGY MIX TURNING GREENER SOONER A rush of new investment in renewable power over the past 18 months has led the United Nations to conclude that clean energy could provide almost a quarter of the world’s electricity by 2030. More than £35bn was injected into wind and solar power and biofuels in 2006, 43% more than the preceding year. This could be the tipping point where sustainable energy technology becomes the fundamental component of the global energy system. Sustainable energy accounts for only 2% of the world’s total, but 18% of all power plants under construction are in this sector. The International Energy Agency, which recently argued that renewables would account for only 9% of power production by 2030, said the figures needed further examination. Greenpeace was also sceptical, pointing out that Shell and BP spent 5% or less of their money on renewables and 95% on oil and gas schemes. (Guardian)
APPENDIX 4 -TRANSPORT MISCELLANY
Wednesday 16/05/07 – CBI CRITICISES LACK OF INVESTMENT IN CRUMBLING RAIL NETWORKS At the CBI’s annual dinner, President Martin Broughton said lack of funds and long planning delays meant the country’s infrastructure was being left behind European rivals and emerging giants China and India. Employers were becoming increasingly frustrated at failure to tackle “a generation of under-investment in roads and other infrastructure”. He told an audience, which included Gordon Brown, that China was building roads, airports and power plants to underpin its economic success while there were huge delays on Heathrow’s Terminal 5 and the Crossrail project. He said we seem prepared to spend £10bn on staging the Olympics but can’t spend money on a railway through London to get there. The DfT responded that expenditure on transport was more than 50% higher in real terms than in 1996/97 and the Chancellor majored with a promise to improve the country’s skills base. (Guardian)
Thursday 17/05/07 – REVENUE LOSS ON FIRST CAPITAL CONNECT First Group claims that it has been losing £60m a year from fare dodging on FCC, through people travelling much further than the station to which they have purchased a ticket. A clampdown has boosted turnover by 50% at City Thameslink station. The Group confirms that this is not damaging overall revenue. Full-year results for the year to 31/03/07 showed turnover up 22.4% to £3.7bn. Pre-tax profits fell 11% to £140.2m due to one-off costs related to renewal of train franchises. Operating profit at the British bus division rose from £98.4m to £103m. (Evening Standard)
Monday 21/05/07 – LONDON TRANSPORT PRIORITIES FOR NEW PRIME MINISTER (1) An urgent decision is needed on the construction of Crossrail. In the next 20 years, London’s population will increase by 900,000 and Crossrail would provide almost half the extra capacity needed to move the extra people around the capital. However, the construction costs of £8.7bn could risk opening a new North-South divide. (2) Concern is increasing about Metronet’s ability to maintain and improve two thirds of the London Underground. Government funding for the Tube of about £1bn a year must at least be increased in line with inflation. (3) Overcrowding is now the most serious problem facing the railways. Network Rail has £25bn to spend on maintenance and upgrades for the 5 years from 2004, but will need £29bn for the 5 years from 2009. (4) A decision needs to be made on whether the Mayor of London should have control of all services inside the M25. (Evening Standard) [Details of heavy pressure from many sources to proceed with Crossrail were reported by the Standard on 14 May.]
Monday 21/05/07 – DRAFT BILL STARTS PAY AS YOU DRIVE A draft version of the road transport bill will give local authorities the power to introduce road pricing in towns and cities. Ten areas in Britain are considering schemes. These are Manchester, Birmingham/Wolverhampton/Coventry, Leicester/Derby /Nottingham, Tyne and Wear, Durham, Bristol, Reading, Cambridgeshire, Shrewsbury and Norwich. Ministers say a national scheme is at least a decade away. (Guardian)
Friday 25/05/07 – NETWORK RAIL BOSSES HAVE BONUSES FROZEN Network Rail bosses have been forced to freeze their bonuses after an outcry over plans for them to keep their annual awards while withholding payouts for maintenance workers over the fatal Cumbria derailment. Four executives had been going to get a total of £286,000 while maintenance workers and managers were told to wait for the outcome of an investigation into the derailment. (Guardian)
Friday 25/05/07 – TONY BLAIR’S RAIL LEGACY Mr Blair’s biggest achievement is to have lowered still further the expectations of already disappointed passengers. Punctuality figures that were seen as unacceptable 10 years ago are now hailed as a success after the meltdown that followed the Hatfield disaster in 2000. South East commuters travelling 30 minutes can no longer expect a seat for their £5,000 season tickets. Those who do get a seat cannot stretch their legs. People meekly accept punishing full fares on Virgin trains from London in the evening peak, which now starts mid-afternoon. A cross-country ride on Sundays or bank holidays which doesn’t involve a bus ride is a miracle. Passengers are less important than performance statistics and trains must often terminate or start in the wrong place, skip stops or have their doors shut a minute or 30 seconds before departure to minimise fines for delays. A bailout of billions has accelerated Virgin West Coast services, but other journeys have got slower. Rising fares and train-company profits no longer excite anger because everyone knows protest is futile. Achieving this public stupor hasn’t come cheap. Privatised rail still needs around five times the subsidy BR got in the 1980s economic peak, despite the extra income it gets from fares and its failure to pay for extra capacity. His promise at the 1996 Labour Party conference that the railways would be ‘publicly owned, publicly accountable”, resulted in a rush to flog off assets to the private sector for much less than their real value. He didn’t even re-nationalise Railtrack as it lurched deeper into crisis. After Hatfield exposed Railtrack’s incompetence, Mr Blair still insisted on privatising Tube infrastructure maintenance. The private-public partnership deals, costing £455m to set up, were so complicated that he couldn’t get them through before Ken Livingstone, who was anti-privatisation, became Mayor of London, so he ensured Tube powers didn’t transfer to the Mayor. Phenomenal wads of cash have been spent to create the impression of forward planning. John Birt and Rod Eddington have been paid to waffle at length. Consultants got rich as £30m was spent on regional multi-modal studies which were never going to be implemented. The short-lived SRA paid consultants and advisers £112m in just two years. Railtrack’s huge and glossy 1999 ‘network management statement’ promised upgrades it couldn’t deliver. New Labour’s 2000 10-year transport plan was quickly obsolete. Its promise of up to 25 new light rail lines encouraged four English cities to spend £300m preparing schemes that were scuppered by the government. In 2005, Mr Blair personally promised that Manchester’s ‘big bang’ Metrolink package would go ahead. It didn’t. We no longer believe promises made about new franchise deals, and expect them to fall apart or contain nasty surprises like South West Trains’ latest price hike. Such cynicism will at least make Gordon Brown’s job easier. (Private Eye)
Monday 28/05/07 – COPPER THIEVES CAUSE HAVOC FOR COMMUTERS Rail customers are the victims of an economic crime that is being driven by the insatiable demand for industrial material in China and India. Soaring global demand for copper is a growing threat to the British railway network, leading to a surge in trackside metal theft. Copper theft caused more than 240,000 minutes of delay for train passengers last year after a near five-fold rise in robberies at tracks and depots. It is a major problem in the North East, where it is wreaking havoc with the Northern franchise. Northumbrian Water has suffered a spate of thefts from its sewage works, and an unoccupied bungalow in Bradford was demolished when copper gas pipes on the outer wall exploded, apparently having been fractured after someone tried to rip them out. (Guardian)
Tuesday 29/05/07 – STAGECOACH BECOMES BIGGEST TRAM OPERATOR Stagecoach is to run Manchester Metrolink for the next 10 years. With its existing operation in Sheffield, this makes it Britain’s biggest tram operator. (Evening Standard)
Tuesday 29/05/07 – METROLINK UNDER FIRE FOR BACKLOG OF REPAIR WORK AT STATIONS Vital work to improve 25 Tube stations is in total 10,000 days (27 years) behind schedule. The Mayor of London is demanding that Metronet hands back its contracts which at one time made the company £1 million a week profit. The worst delay is at Euston Square, where work which should have been finished in July 2006 will not now be finished until March 2009. Work at three other stations, Cannon Street, Bromley-by-Bow and Uxbridge, is more than two years behind schedule. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 31/05/07 – CHANNEL TUNNEL VOTED A WONDER OF THE WORLD A poll of 2,700 people has voted the Channel Tunnel one of the seven wonders of the world. (Metro) [About time – isn’t it an incredibly under-sung achievement?]
Thursday 31/05/07 – CYCLISTS FACE A BEWILDERING AND BIZARRE RANGE OF RULES An investigation by the Evening Standard has found that every train company operating in London has a different policy on the carriage of bikes. The majority forbid bicycles during peak hours, effectively banning commuters from cycling to work. The government has announced that cyclists’ needs will be included in its forthcoming blueprint for improving the railways. This could mean that rail operators will have to include plans for cyclists when bidding for franchises. (Evening Standard)
Friday 08/06/07 – PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANY Network Rail bosses attracted positive headlines by deferring their bonuses after the Cumbrian rail disaster, but did they deserve them in the first place? Train delays not caused by operators were the same in 2006-07 as the previous year. Network Rail claimed that delays caused by external factors increased by 700,000 minutes, citing January’s storms. But should a light snowfall in January be treated as an external factor? The infrastructure should be designed to cope with this. / Civil servants seem to think that less money should be spent on stations as passengers will spend less time on them, for example because of on-line booking and getting information from mobile phones. In reality people will spend more time on stations because of the withdrawal of direct services, operators failing to hold connections in order to avoid fines, terminating trains short of destination, deliberate omission of stops, and having to await another train because the first one is full. / Every day thousands of passengers use Crewe station, which is a convenient hub served by 6 lines. Network Rail suggests removing it further south, where it would be remote from the town’s bus and pedestrian routes, in order to speed non-stop services. Trains from Stoke and Derby couldn’t then reach it unless a new line were built. Cheshire Council has led the planning for a £38 million ‘gateway’ upgrade of the existing station. Conditional government funding has been awarded but now the project is on hold. Network Rail has been a principal partner in the gateway scheme!
Thursday 14/06/07 – TUBE DISASTERS NARROWLY AVERTED At 17.35 on Sunday 10 June there was an horrific incident at Camden Town. A driver who had been instructed to switch trains, after being signalled into the wrong platform, took his train into the tunnel in the wrong direction. He came face to face with the headlights of a train travelling in the opposite direction which, thankfully, was standing at a signal. He managed to stop his train just 20 yards short of the other train. It is believed that hundreds of passengers were on board both trains. (Evening Standard)
[This was followed on Thursday 5 July by the derailment of a Central Line Train, which hit heavy industrial sheeting, apparently left too close to the track by Metronet, between Mile End and Bethnal Green. Distraught passengers were led to safety through the tunnel.]
Monday 18/06/07 – CHEAPER LONDON BUS FARES The Mayor of London has announced that from 30 September single bus fares using an Oyster card will reduce from £1 to 90p. Weekly passes will be cut from £14 to £13. A bus ride paid for in cash will stay at £2. (The London Paper)
Thursday 21/06/07 – £250 MILLION FREIGHT SALE The German Company Deutsche Bahn looks set to seal a £250m deal to take over EWS which controls about 70% of the British freight rail market. [This would also involve providing locomotives for the Royal Train] (Metro)
Friday 22/06/07 – TRACKING DOWN CROSSRAIL FUNDS Gordon Brown has hinted that his government would approve Crossrail if the sums could be made to add up. If the go-ahead were given this autumn, the line could be running in ten years. It’s building is forecast to cost £15 billion. A third of this would come from central government, and the rest from a special business rate supplement and fares. The National Audit Office says the whole cost could be met in under six years from the money the government currently spends on consultants. (Evening Standard)
Friday 22/06/07 – PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANY First Group’s dismal showing in the latest formal rail passenger survey forced it “to apologise to our customers for failing to provide the level of satisfaction that they – and we –expect”. Just three weeks earlier the chief executive told investors, “Our UK rail division continues to go from strength to strength”. The two statements are not incompatible in modern Britain. A ‘significant’ decline in satisfaction coincided with a 37% rise in UK rail profits for First Group.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS AND CONTACT DETAILS
As always, thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to contact us, including Members of Parliament, national and local government officials, other user groups, journalists, train operators, and many fellow rail users. Without your support and input, this newsletter would not be possible.
Address for correspondence: Denis Fryer, 19 Fontwell Close, Calmore, Southampton, SO40 2TN.
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