HOGRIDER 120 : SEPTEMBER-OCTOBER 2008
RANSACKING OF SOUTHAMPTON RESUMES: MISERY FOR THOUSANDS AS STAGECOACH GREED AND TOM HARRIS DESTROY STATION TRAVEL CENTRE
LEADER OF SOUTHAMPTON COUNCIL WARNS RESIDENTS OF LONGER SWT JOURNEY TIMES
PUBLIC FRUSTRATION WITH THE RAVAGES OF STAGECOACH GREED
INCREDIBLE SWT FARCES - GREED IN REDUCING MANAGEMENT CREATING AD HOC DELIVERY?
NEW MINISTERIAL TEAM
SWT’S ‘PASSENGERS’ PANEL’ OR SIR ALAN GREENGROSS’ BRAINWASH?
FIRST GREAT WESTERN OVERCROWDING: HOW TOM HARRIS’ FRANCHISES HELPED CREATE IT
RITUAL ABUSE AND HUMILIATION - 3
OVERCROWDING AROUND LONDON – TELL THE LONDON ASSEMBLY
DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION BY SWT’S AUTOMATED VERBAL DIARRHOEA – 5
INCREASING POLICE INTERFERENCE WITH INNOCENT SWT PASSENGERS
CAN’T SWT BE HONEST ABOUT ANYTHING? - 2
DISCONTENT WITH STAGECOACH EAST MIDLANDS FRANCHISE -2
DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER –18
IDEAS FOR IMPROVING PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICES IN HAMPSHIRE
SWT’S ‘RIGHT TIME’ RAILWAY: DUFF STOCK / CREW SHORTAGES / CANCELLATIONS / TRAINS TERMINATING SHORT OF DESTINATION / STOPS AXED FOR OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE
PRIVATE EYE RESEARCH AND COMMENT
ABOUT THE SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS’ GROUP
RANSACKING OF SOUTHAMPTON RESUMES: MISERY FOR THOUSANDS AS STAGECOACH GREED AND TOM HARRIS DESTROY STATION TRAVEL CENTRE
* “I have long understood that markets rely on values that they cannot generate themselves. Values as important as treating people fairly, acting responsibly, co-operating for the benefit of all.” - The Prime Minister.
* “Ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed” - Stagecoach Chairman Brian Souter.
At 06.00 on 23 September, the desk computers were still switched on at Southampton Central station’s Travel Centre. A notice on the door simply said “CLOSED” as if just overnight. At 18.00, the by-then former Travel Centre was veiled with polythene sheeting. A member of SWT has confirmed that the underhandedness and haste in closing the facility were because of big public pressure to keep it open.
Remember what Stagecoach’s prospectus ‘Building on Success’ said when the company was bidding for the new SWT franchise? - “Stagecoach’s success has been built on listening to customers and using their special insight to improve services even further. Local managers are empowered and encouraged to build relationships with the communities they serve – consultation lies at the heart of the Stagecoach approach. We believe that together we can deliver the safety standards, operating performance, customer service, innovation and ongoing improvements that our customers deserve.”
Will Stagecoach now perpetrate similar deception in bidding for the Southern franchise?
By Sunday 28 September, the effects of Stagecoach’s destructive greed at Southampton Central were clear for all to see. There was no ticket office open on the downside, and only two windows open on the upside. One elderly couple took 20 minutes to serve, by which time passengers were queuing across the pavement outside the station. Someone was provided to encourage use of the ticket machine, but few did so. (This is not surprising, given that SWT recently admitted in the course of its recent Webchat event that it would need a book to give full details of how the machines operate – to see just what a hopeless mess these machines are, see the 10/10/08 entry in our ‘Diary of a Totton-Waterloo Commuter’ item.) Such scenes are now normal. The autumn half term week saw the misery of long queues inflicted on large numbers of leisure travellers, including young children.
Did Stagecoach need to create such mayhem? Hardly - press reports on 29/10/08 indicated that the company was actually benefiting from the recession as more people turned to public transport. Perhaps the £250 million in bonuses which Stagecoach founders Gloag and Souter have shared over the past two years were not enough to sate their ‘greed’.
Southampton has the fastest growing population in the South, international visitors, 40,000 university students and many Eastern European immigrants - some of them with limited English. Souter has himself admitted that Eastern European immigration is further fuelling Stagecoach profits. So what does he do? Rip out the Travel Centre, and all the others on South West Trains except Waterloo. And who agreed it? Official sources have confirmed that recently sacked Rail Minister Tom Harris personally gave his authorisation. Why not sack Stagecoach as well?
There are some interesting background political issues. In recent times, the Department for Transport has seen a succession of Scottish MPs in ministerial roles – Alistair Darling; Douglas Alexander; Tom Harris. They have allowed our train services to be ravaged by the destructive greed of a Scottish transport company. Meanwhile, Scotrail has seen reopening of lines and stations and decent quality new rolling stock. Scotrail operates excellent travel centres and has become train operator of the year. Even before Stagecoach’s latest round of hugely contentious destruction started, SWT’s own on-line poll found that only one third (confirmed by Passenger Focus) of respondents thought Stagecoach should have kept the franchise, but SWT published a figure of 61% which was lifted soon after the poll opened (and presumably after they had voted for themselves). We are fortunate in southern Hampshire to have some excellent local MPs. John Denham, Alan Whitehead, Sandra Gidley and Chris Huhne have all participated in recent protests against the reduction of booking office opening hours. We also have a county council which has sought to promote public transport. So what a shame that our rail service ever fell under the control of greed-driven Souter and greed cheerleader “Why is everyone so bloody miserable?” Harris.
Stagecoach surely epitomizes the greed and asset stripping which has brought the country to financial crisis. Yet its shares recently soared into the top one hundred index and have stayed there. So why has Stagecoach been relatively successful in pursuing this agenda whilst the banks have been brought to their knees? Perhaps because the banks haven’t received huge subsidies from public funds year on year?
Andrew Gilligan (Evening Standard 20/10/08) argues that now is the time to re-nationalise the railways, a move which he considers likely to be more popular than the nationalisation of the banks – it has never been cheaper or more possible. Like the banks, many train operators have overstretched themselves. They have contracted to pay massive sums to government, on the assumptions of continued rising growth and spiralling fares, but both these assumptions could quickly become questionable in a recession. The National Audit Office and former government minister Peter Hain have issued similar warnings about undeliverability (Guardian 15/10/08). [Comment: Mr Gilligan has a good point. The SRA established the current definition of the railways as a public service, publicly specified and privately operated. It is difficult to see how SWT, as operated by Stagecoach, could be described as a public service rather than a cash cow.]
Our Group has long sought to highlight the destructive force of Stagecoach greed but our warnings (see for example the ‘Megaplaint’ document on our website) have seemingly fallen on deaf government ears, although a number of MPs from all the major parties have acknowledged our concerns. Now almost everyone, from the Prime Minister down, is expressing robust condemnation of greed and asset stripping. About time, too. A decade ago, the High Court realized what type of organization Stagecoach was when it refused to block the World in Action’s programme, ‘Cowboy Country’.
Stagecoach’s relationship with Southampton may be seen as the microcosm of such greed. First the company got out of the red by stripping the city of its busy bus station and selling the site for commercial development. They didn’t bother staying to run the area’s bus services, but left passengers to queue in the street for other operators’ buses. Congestion meant that departure points had to be scattered round the city centre. Unsurprisingly, bus travel in the area has been in serious decline as people take to their cars. The result has been a destructive cycle of fare increases, further-reduced demand and service cuts, with Hampshire bucking the national trend of falling road deaths.
Then Stagecoach took over South West Trains. Staffing was slashed; services fell apart and were permanently cut and Stagecoach Director Brian Cox arrogantly sneered at protestors as “Fully paid-up members of the Hindsight Club”. Journey times soared to counteract appalling punctuality. Station staffing hours were reduced yet are not honoured. The popular Wessex Electric trains received minimum repair and travelled for years with hazard warning tape at the coach ends. SWT spread the message that it had become difficult to get spare parts, and the units were then disposed of in a rolling stock reorganization designed to swell profits even more. Southern is bringing the units back into service this December.
Waterloo-Southampton-Bournemouth-Weymouth, a journey of almost 3 hours overall, was once the South East’s premier line, with Inter City status. Some trains are now regularly worked by suburban stock, with hard, cramped seating. These include the 12.35 from Waterloo, the lineal descendant of the 12.30 ‘Bournemouth Belle’ luxury Pullman dining car service. Britain is set to become the laughing stock of the world when overseas visitors to the Olympic Games are whisked from St Pancras to Stratford in high-speed, state-of-the art trains, whilst those going to the sailing events in Weymouth are condemned to an appalling journey in totally unsuitable rolling stock.
Soon after the new SWT franchise was awarded, managing director Stewart Palmer featured in a substantial article in ‘Rail News’ in which he spoke of filling empty seats with cheap off-peak fares. Off-peak morning fares to London then soared by 20% above the normal inflation-linked increases through a Stagecoach greed tax. Revenue protection became vicious and SWT arrogantly declared that genuine error would be punished despite a hugely complex fare system.
The SWT timetable booklet was downgraded and appears to be all but extinct. Yet Stagecoach does provide its glossy ‘e’motion’ PR magazine in copious quantities. Does anyone imagine that they would spend money on this sophisticated, brain-washing vehicle if they did not think they needed to fool the public?
WOKING MP IN CRISIS TALKS WITH SWT
[From the autumn 2008 newsletter of Woking MP, Humphrey Malins]
“Crisis talks with South West Trains concerning ticket office closures I held crisis talks with Stewart Palmer, Managing Director of South West Trains and his number two Andrew Fairbank, Head of Stations, based at Waterloo, about the possible ticket office opening hours reductions in local stations.
The proposal is that Woking station itself will be hit, with reduced hours of opening on every day of the week. Worse than Woking, West Byfleet station which currently operates from 06.30am until 8pm Monday to Saturday will see the ticket office closing every day at 1pm. This is a disgrace.
Many passengers need to ask advice from a ticket office and from a person and these are passengers often enough who travel after lunch and it will be quite awful if they find West Byfleet station closed to that kind of inquiry.
Travellers from the Woking area are already hard pressed, hard hit by ever increasing costs, difficulties in parking, and overcrowded trains. This is one more potential blow to the travelling public and I will fight hard to see that the position of all stations in my constituency, including Woking, Brookwood, Wanborough and West Byfleet, are protected. The proposals are in my view very damaging to an already very hard hit travelling public and they must be resisted.”
LEADER OF SOUTHAMPTON COUNCIL WARNS RESIDENTS OF LONGER SWT JOURNEY TIMES
[From the Southern Daily Echo; 23/10/08] “LONG QUEUES WHEN BUYING TICKET. There used to be a very useful travel information office for potential travellers at Southampton Central Railway Station. This has unfortunately now closed. The result is that people seeking information go to the ticket office, and inevitably often take up quite a bit of time, and people waiting to buy a ticket in order to catch their train in a few minutes are held up in a long queue, and at real risk of missing their train. So be advised to go a lot earlier than you used to if you want to be sure of catching your train. When you cannot get a ticket in time the train will be on time! COUNCILLOR ALEC SAMUELS, leader, Southampton City Council”
PUBLIC FRUSTRATION WITH THE RAVAGES OF STAGECOACH GREED
“UNSTAFFED STATIONS WILL BE NIGHTMARES
First it was the banks, and then the post offices, the buses and now the railway companies are withdrawing services from the rural communities. The staffing of stations, including major ones, is to be drastically cut if South West Trains’ plans go ahead. Most of the smaller stations are to be closed at weekends. At best, they will have one staff member on reduced hours. The major stations are to have their staffing levels cut too.
SWT says that the increasing use of the Internet, the mobile phone, and telesales has reduced the need for stations to be staffed at the quietest times. The installation of ticket machines at all stations will more than make up for the loss of staffed stations they say.
Unstaffed stations will quickly become hotspots for bored youngsters who have nothing better to do. Vandalism and violence will follow. Drug addicts and their suppliers will see these unsecured and often darkened areas as havens for their trade.
The travelling public will feel at risk when buying their tickets from machines when there are loiterers around. When the customer does not feel confident enough to buy their ticket, they run the risk of a penalty fare, a fine, when they board the train without.
The travelling public have already said that it will be counter productive. But are SWT and the Department for Transport listening? Only time will tell! ROBERT FORD, Southampton” [Southern Daily Echo 26/08/08]
I agree with the recent letter about unstaffed railway stations. I live in Chandlers Ford and use the station quite a lot, mostly on Saturdays and Mondays, and there are always 30 or more people waiting. As the ticket office is always closed, a lot of these people pay when they get on. But the poor ticket inspector hasn’t the time to collect fares. Surely the money South West Trains is losing in fares would pay for a ticket office to be open, as it would cover the wages.
Already we have had a threat to close our station. Could this be another way to try to shut it? I am 80 and have a bus pass but the train takes less than 10 minutes from Chandlers Ford to Eastleigh. I find people are very kind and help me on and off the train with my trolley and it is much more comfortable than going by bus [note: ex-BR rolling stock]. Now we have a ticket machine I’m sure it will be vandalized, as our waiting room has already had a lot of glass broken. I hope SWT will think about manning our station. MRS K THOMAS, Chandlers Ford.” [Southern Daily Echo, 05/09/08]
“SAVE RAIL TRAVEL CENTRE
I must add my voice to those who are urging South West Trains not to close the travel information centre at Southampton Central. I regard it as one of the best facilities Southampton has to offer residents, students and tourists alike. With the amount of train travel I do I would be lost without it. I do not own a computer and do not have the confidence or knowledge to book some of the journeys I make on line.
For example, last year I travelled from Southampton to Thurso – the northernmost town in Scotland. This was a complicated journey and required several visits to the information centre. Next year I may go to the Isle of Mull and again I would need a lot of help to plan my journey. The staff were wonderful – patient, knowledgeable, cheerful and seeking out the best options for me. I could or would not have made this journey without their support.
I understand that the plan is to encourage (or force?) more people to use the ticket machines, freeing the kiosk staff (who have already been reduced) to help with more complex bookings and inquiries. There is always a queue when I visit the travel information centre and it is needed by the public. It must be allowed to remain in its present form. ANNE CHAMBERLAIN, Southampton [Southern Daily Echo 02/09/08]
“FINING PASSENGERS IS SO UNFAIR
Councillor Alec Samuels (Letters, October 23) gave good advice about arriving at Southampton railway station much earlier than previously because of the long queues at the ticket kiosks, caused by the closure of the travel information centre. However, there are at least two ticket machines and they work quite well.
My station is Totton and it is unmanned. Passengers have no option but to use the one ticket machine. I arrived there recently ten minutes before my train was due to depart. Four people in front of me were buying tickets and two of them had obviously never used the machine before and it took them quite a while to discover how it worked. As I was about to pay my fare, the train came in and I had to rush over to the other platform to get on it.
I immediately approached the guard and asked to buy a ticket but he was unable to sell me one because he did not have a machine. He then gave me a long lecture about the need to buy a ticket before getting on a train and added that I may be liable for a £20 penalty if an inspector came along.
I agree with the need to stop fare evasion but surely South West Trains could do more to help passengers buy tickets. Firstly, there should be more than one ticket machine on each station. A disabled person would find it impossible to cross to the other platform at Totton via the footbridge – the only other means of getting across is by taking a long detour by road.
Secondly, all trains should have ticket machines on them. This would mean that anyone unable to buy a ticket on the station could do so on the train as soon as they got on.
SWT only provides one ticket machine at Totton, probably for reasons of cost. Therefore it is restricting the ability to buy a ticket, then fining passengers who have no intent to evade the fare. It’s very unfair. MIKE COOPER, Totton.” [Southern Daily Echo 25/10/08]
“RAIL TICKET PROBLEM
I was interested to read the letter from M Cooper (October 25) regarding buying a ticket before boarding a train. I think it is disgusting that there is no longer a travel information centre in a big city like Southampton.
I was travelling to Bradford-on-Avon and as the ticket kiosk had a long queue I went to platform 4 which is much quieter, but the kiosks were not open on a Friday at 10.30am. As I am elderly I did not attempt the ticket machine or go back to Platform 1.
I asked a railway employee to get me a ticket. He said someone at the gate would, but I said there was no one there, so he said he would tell the guard as the train was due. Then someone did appear at the gate and sold me a ticket.
Is this supposed to be progress? PAULINE MACKENZIE, Weston, Southampton.” [Southern Daily Echo 01/11/08]
[This letter shows how First Great Western’s (and of course, Arriva’s and Southern’s) passengers can suffer through Stagecoach greed.]
Of course, you cannot ask a ticket machine about the cheapest fares. Interestingly, the Three Rivers Community Partnership (involved with the Salisbury-Southampton-Eastleigh-Romsey service) were quoted in the Southern Daily Echo of 20/09/08 as saying travel by train is not as expensive as people think. They mentioned a number of ways of getting reduced fares, but even they appeared unaware of the obvious one, for people in the Southampton area, of booking separate tickets from Southampton to Basingstoke and from Basingstoke to Waterloo. This avoids the 20% greed tax introduced by Stagecoach on morning tickets to London from stations which, unlike Basingstoke, do not have the advantage of fairer operators’ competing services. A couple of weeks before Christmas last year, a Southampton hitchhiker was crushed to death by a lorry after walking across a busy roundabout near Winchester. The inquest heard that the 77 year old man was “hitching to London because the trains were too expensive”. (Southern Daily Echo 25/09/08)
INCREDIBLE SWT FARCES - GREED IN REDUCING MANAGEMENT CREATING AD HOC DELIVERY?
* At 06.10 on 12/09/08, the information screen at Totton showed that the 05.49 to Waterloo would depart at 06.14. This train is the 05.00 from Poole. The expected departure time was gradually updated until about 06.30, by which time the booking office was opening (should have been open at 05.40) and the stopping service to Weymouth was being announced on the opposite platform. Instead of the Weymouth train, one of SWT’s ancient slam door units arrived empty from the Poole direction, and went back almost at once.
By now the screen was showing that the London train would omit all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport. It arrived about 45 minutes late, with the on-board announcements still referring to all the usual stops. At Southampton Airport station, the guard announced apologetically that she had just that minute been told that the train would now run fast to Waterloo due to its 14-minute turnaround there. Presumably she hadn’t been told earlier because people for intermediate stations, already very late and about to be thrown off their train, would be furious. Another 5-minute delay for passengers to alight with their coats, laptops and drinks.
The train then proceeded apace, with automatic announcements welcoming people aboard as it raced past Eastleigh, Winchester, Basingstoke, Woking and Clapham Junction, ensuring that there was no chance of a sleep. At least the “at seat service of drinks and light refreshments throughout the journey” was provided, the trolley arriving in the front coach as the train approached Clapham Junction. The train eventually reached Waterloo at 07.50, 170 minutes after leaving Poole, but was in no hurry to make its return trip as the 07.38 to Southampton. No explanation of the delay whatever, and normal ticket checks not made, again presumably because of predictable passenger anger. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo delayed by about 20 minutes.
Some passengers had heard excuses for the fiasco: “signalling fault”; “freight train breakdown”; “incident in the Brockenhurst area”. Remember the days of “As soon as we know, you’ll know”. But that was when Stagecoach was still bidding for the franchise of course.
[On 14/10/08, the late running 05.00 from Poole, now slowed by a seasonal 04.57 start, was again advertised at Southampton Central as omitting all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport, with the onboard screens still showing all the normal stops. Presumably just another case of “when Stagecoach operates the service, passengers are the last to know anything.”]
* “On Saturday, October 4, my daughter and I set off to travel to London by train, aiming to catch the 10.28am to Waterloo. On arriving at Totton station, the information board stated “no trains from this station this weekend” and that courtesy [???] buses would continue the journey to Parkway where the service to London would resume.
After finding no information about a bus pickup point, we pressed the help button on the station and were told the pick up point was in Totton High Street, but where? Nobody knew and there were no signs or stops in the High Street. After walking backwards and forwards from the High Street to the railway station, we phoned a friend who kindly drove us to Parkway.
I wonder how many people were late for appointments or abandoned their journeys due to lack of information by SWT. – JANE LAGDON, Totton”. (Southern Daily Echo 10/10/08)
* “There were no trains from Putney this weekend. Instead, a very occasional ancient bus would attempt to cram up to 100 people, mostly standing upstairs and down, on the world’s slowest journey to Clapham Junction. Engineering works are inconvenient enough without being transported back to Fifties levels of discomfort. Haven’t train companies ever heard of coaches? Chris Locke, SW15” (Evening Standard 07/10/08)
* SWT always likes to claim that their extortionate station car parking reflect the level of security provided. On 09/10/08 some 20 cars had already arrived in the downside park at Southampton Central, before the company realized (because a commuter told them) that alcoholics were taking up a good deal of the space there with a tent.
* On 20/10/08, the front unit of the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth developed a fault at Woking but the train struggled on to Southampton, arriving about 6 minutes late. Passengers were THROWN OFF and transferred to the train which apparently should have formed the 17.55 to London. Passengers THROWN OFF the 17.55 were transferred to the evacuated 16.35 which was driven back to London, 6 minutes late from its “serviceable end”.
* On 21/10/08 a London commuter got to Totton station 15 minutes early for the 06.12 to Southampton, as he needed to buy a single ticket from Basingstoke to Salisbury for his return journey. The station was unstaffed because, once again, the booking office opening hours were not being honoured. Plan B: buy the ticket while changing trains at Southampton. The 06.12 did not appear, so Help Point used at 06.15. Delay while the person at the other end got his system up. The system showed, incorrectly, that the 06.12 had departed on time. At 06.17 the passenger was told the 06.12 was now outside Totton station and he should be able to see the lights. Difficult, because of a sharp bend. The customer information system then showed the train as delayed and eventually that the London train would call there (though passengers to – and presumably from - Redbridge and Millbrook to be left stranded). The London train eventually left 6 minutes late but, because of the huge time-wasting slack in Stagecoach schedules, got to London on time. The duff 06.12 had by now been cancelled. Plan C: get the required ticket at the Waterloo booking office. Many of the windows at Waterloo were unstaffed and long queue (what else would you expect Stagecoach greed to provide in the London rush hour?). 12 minutes wasted waiting to get served, whilst other passengers moaned bitterly about losing their trains. Another 2 minutes wasted because the clerk’s PC screen was duff.
* On 24/10/08 the same commuter checked SWT’s website before leaving home. This showed that the 06.12 from Totton was axed due to Stagecoach’s infamous crew shortage. A taxi was to be provided for Redbridge and Millbrook passengers. On arrival at Totton, the customer information screen confirmed the cancellation but showed no departure before the 06.45. So he used the Help Point again. The station was once more unstaffed during booking office opening hours, which have become meaningless under Stagecoach. The person at the other end said SWT’s control had refused point blank to stop the London train at Totton. So he was asked to contact the control again and remind them that SWT had undertaken to stop the train when the 06.12 was cancelled. He simply refused, saying that the control had the final say and never took any notice. Furious passengers then noticed a single unlit taxi in the station car park. The driver said he had been told to go to Redbridge and Millbrook stations but, on request, took four of the stranded Totton commuters to Southampton Central instead, leaving others behind. So Redbridge and Millbrook passengers lost their replacement taxi service. At Southampton, the deputy manager claimed she didn’t know of any cancellations, despite the 06.33 to Romsey (the 06.12 from Totton) being highlighted on all the departure screens as cancelled. She did at least have the decency to say “I know” when it was suggested that staff and passengers should be campaigning together for a professional operator to take over from Stagecoach. The London train then arrived, and passengers already on board reported that it had in fact stopped at Totton and picked up further passengers. Once more it arrived in London on time, despite making the Totton stop which many commuters have asked to be provided on Mondays to Fridays in addition to the current less-needed Saturdays-only stop.
>From conversations between Totton passengers when these difficulties occur, it is obvious that the huge downgrade of services at Totton (the fourth largest intermediate town between Southampton and Weymouth – only Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch are bigger) is causing huge inconvenience and frustration. When the 05-past from Waterloo arrives at Southampton Central a few minutes late, the “connecting” service departs on time, standing at the Millbrook signals for the 05-past to overtake. So passengers from London are left stranded and those already on the “connection” are delayed at Millbrook instead of at Southampton. Staff have on various occasions confirmed that this is to massage the performance figures.
NEW MINISTERIAL TEAM
Department for Transport Ministers have changed again. Ruth Kelly’s short tenure was notable for a positive shift of policy on rail electrification. Government declares that global warming and carbon emissions rank among the most serious threats we face. If ‘clean’ electric energy can be produced, then the case for rail electrification must be overwhelming.
On more immediate and local issues, Tom Harris’ replacement as rail minister by Lord Adonis is a very welcome development. If our grapevine is correct, the latter played a major role in getting train services doubled on the Cotswold Line between Paddington and Worcester, and can be relied on to focus on passengers.
But we shall only get better service if operators are prepared to work constructively with government, MPs and stakeholders. Such co-operation has achieved a much better timetable on First Great Western, and note this article on the website of newly appointed Work and Pensions Minister Jonathan Shaw:
In a statement Charles Horton, Southeastern Managing Director said: “We have worked with Jonathan Shaw MP and listened to local rail users’ concerns to maintain current capacity on mainline routes into London terminals. We want to offer passengers a choice between high speed and mainline service - the timetable will meet those aspirations. Southeastern appreciate Jonathan wants a better and fairer deal for Chatham commuters and we will continue to deliver a quality of service that people of Chatham deserve. After two years of discussions and meetings with the train company, Jonathan Shaw has received confirmation from Southeastern that the peak Cannon Street service from Chatham will be retained when the Channel Tunnel Rail Link is introduced in Dec 2009." SouthEastern and Southern are operated by GoAhead. Had Stagecoach been running the service, Mr Shaw would likely have been fobbed off, as was New Forest East MP, Dr Julian Lewis, who asked for SWT services at Totton to be maintained at their former level. SWT and Tom Harris seemed to think it a good idea to axe stops at Totton, the fourth largest intermediate town between Southampton and Weymouth, from trains which then stopped instead at stations like the remote industrial halt at Holton Heath, on the Dorset heathlands.
It’s particularly extraordinary that the standard journey time from Totton to Christchurch, the fourth and third largest towns between Southampton and Weymouth, crept up from 28 minutes to 59. SWT blamed DfT, yet DfT’s release of the Service Level Commitment shows it was nothing like the service Stagecoach is operating. Officials blamed this on adjustments agreed between SWT and Network Rail. Clearly the interests of passengers aren’t an issue.
Now Stagecoach wants to take over Southern. That would clearly be an unmitigated disaster for the South’s rail users.
SWT’S ‘PASSENGERS’ PANEL’ OR SIR ALAN GREENGROSS’ BRAINWASH?
The Passengers’ Panel pages of the September/October issue of SWT’s e-motion magazine are again dedicated to a rambling, anodyne monologue by totally independent Stagecoach director Sir Alan Greengross.
In the previous issue, Sir Alan had asked for comments on how services could be improved, but had got only a few dozen replies. He muses that perhaps most people who feel things are wrong and want changes simply do not know what these should be. He then opines that perhaps the lack of replies is because performance on SWT has been good. He finally hits on the more likely truth that passengers may not respond because they think nothing will be done. In Stagecoach eyes, this has to be the fault of government rather than Stagecoach putting ‘greed’ before ‘ethics’. So we read:
“It may be that they [passengers] feel that South West Trains does not care. If that’s the case, is the company to blame or is it all to do with the way the government grants franchises to rail operators in the first place? At the moment, with the sort of financial pressures being imposed on rail operators [South West Trains is paying the government £1.2 billion over the 10 years of the franchise], there seem to be only two main drivers of change – making a profit and the chance of getting a new or better franchise when it comes up for renewal [When was Stagecoach ever interested in anything else on the rail front?]. It is manifestly ridiculous, so far as passengers are concerned, that under the present system it seems that a train company’s record on satisfying their passengers (or otherwise) is not one of the prime considerations when granting a franchise. [Agreed; franchising East Midlands to Stagecoach is beginning to generate big discontent, reflecting the position on SWT.]”
In reality, people with serious concerns about goods or services always want to speak to management. So the twice yearly ‘webchats’ with SWT managers are always over-subscribed. One actually collapsed under the weight of complaints. And do managers listen? No, they just fob people off with rambling answers that conceal the truth, and contend incorrectly that nothing can be done.
Did SWT take any notice of over 1,350 passengers who went on-line to complain about suburban trains on Waterloo-Portsmouth services? No. They said the extra seats were needed for Woking passengers, who could have enjoyed much more comfort in lengthened Salisbury line trains, using coaches currently poaching traffic deep inside First Great Western territory.
Did SWT take any notice of the huge outcry about their excessively aggressive new penalty fares scheme, and ripping out permit to travel machines? No.
Did they take any notice of complaints about the severe downgrading of services between Southampton and Weymouth? No. They blamed the government despite the fact that the service they now operate is nothing like the Department for Transport’s Service Level Commitment.
Did they take any notice of complaints about the Wessex Electric trains being replaced by hard-seated Desiros on the Waterloo-Weymouth line? No. They claimed that it was to do with increasing capacity and, only after huge pressure from passengers, did they admit that it was to reduce their leasing charges by bringing back the discredited Juniper units.
Did they take notice of complaints about reducing seats on suburban trains? No.
Did they take any notice of complaints about 20% fare increases on off-peak trains to London where there is no competition? No.
Did they take any notice of complaints about closing busy travel centres? No.
Will they take any notice of complaints about reducing opening hours at many of their booking offices? Unlikely that they will do more than make token gestures, which will then be hyped beyond all credibility.
Did they take any notice of complaints about the stressful excess of threatening or superfluous announcements? Just a little.
Does Sir Alan live in the real world? More likely he lives in some Stagecoach Parallel Interactive Niche.
Would it be good if he shut up? Depends on whether it is right for people to be brainwashed by an ethically-limited, ‘greed’-based, ‘cowboy’ company in a democratic society!
FIRST GREAT WESTERN OVERCROWDING: HOW TOM HARRIS’ FRANCHISES HELPED CREATE IT
At this year’s RMT Parliamentary Rail Seminar, Tom Harris spurned passenger protest action, and claimed the measures being taken to address overcrowding on First Great Western services showed the strengths of the franchise system.
One area of overcrowding on these services was (and often still is, despite the return to mostly 3-coach trains) between Portsmouth and Southampton. This is the largest urban area, and has the fastest-growing population, south of greater London.
Pity therefore that Mr Harris ever allowed FGW to cut their hourly Portsmouth-Southampton-Salisbury-Bath-Bristol-Newport-Cardiff trains from three coaches to two. But Portsmouth-Southampton is SWT territory, you may say. Leave FGW trains for people going to FGW territory in Avon and South Wales… Alas, the cumulative effects of franchise changes sometimes go unnoticed. The hourly FGW service leaves Portsmouth Harbour at 22 minutes past and Portsmouth & Southsea at 27 minutes past the hour, then takes 41 minutes to get to Southampton. The hourly SWT hard-seated suburban electric train follows from Portsmouth & Southsea 9 minutes later, taking a whole hour to get to Southampton. This is slightly longer than BR diesel trains needed, so that SWT can indulge in punctuality hype. That’s the whole service until the next hour. Guess which train Portsmouth passengers prefer?
Now suppose a Portsmouth passenger wants to go to the West of England? Alas, Mr Harris decided that SWT and FGW should discontinue their occasional, well-loaded direct trains from the South Coast to the West. So the passenger needs to take the FGW Cardiff train and change at Salisbury.
Traffic is booming on Cross Country. SWT’s Portsmouth-Winchester-Waterloo service traditionally provided convenient ‘same platform’ interchange at Winchester for Portsmouth passengers wanting to access Cross Country services. Plans for direct Cross Country trains from Portsmouth were dropped and DfT allowed SWT and Cross Country (then under Virgin-Stagecoach control) to make timetable changes. The outcome is that a Portsmouth passenger needs to use the hourly FGW Cardiff service and change at Southampton for a Cross Country connection.
At least the SWT stopping service from Portsmouth has long connected at Southampton with the fast service to Bournemouth, Poole, and Weymouth, you say. Unfortunately, Portsmouth passengers probably realize that, since SWT extended the old semi-fast Waterloo-Poole service to Weymouth and slashed stops at places like Totton, the fourth largest town between Southampton and Weymouth, they might as well travel to Southampton on the more comfortable FGW Cardiff service for a fast Weymouth connection.
The same issues arise in the opposite direction. Remedies? See “Ideas for improving passenger train services in Hampshire”, further on in this issue.
RITUAL ABUSE AND HUMILIATION – 3
* [Note: Virgin Trains (49% Stagecoach owned) subsequently apologised for this incident, but it seems par for the course – see “Virgin Trains running to Stagecoach standards?” in Issue 118, and Andrew Gilligan’s experience in “Ritual Abuse and Humiliation-2” in Issue 119. It’s all perfectly in line with Stagecoach Chairman Brian Souter’s comment that “ETHICS ARE NOT IRRELEVANT BUT SOME ARE INCOMPATIBLE WITH WHAT WE HAVE TO DO BECAUSE CAPITALISM IS BASED ON GREED”. Presumably “WE” is intended to include his Stagecoach co-founder and sister Ann Gloag, the owner of two castles from the grounds of which she has excluded ramblers in the first successful defence against a challenge under Scotland’s right to roam legislation, leaving the challengers with a huge legal bill. Thank God Arriva took over our Cross Country services!]
“A train manager threatened to have a commuter arrested after he came to the rescue of a vulnerable fellow passenger. Stand-up comedian Tom Wrigglesworth intervened when the Virgin Trains manager demanded an elderly passenger buy a new ticket because she had got on the wrong train.
Lena Ainscow, 75, sobbed as she was forced to hand over £115 for a new ticket, despite having been told to board that service by Virgin staff. Wrigglesworth, 32, stepped in and organised a whip-round among passengers for her. But the train manager saw him, said the collection was akin to begging and called police before warning him to hand back the cash or face being arrested.
Mrs Ainscow was travelling to see daughter Carol Battersby, her two sons, and husband Ian, a Regimental Sergeant Major with the Royal Artillery who has recently returned from Iraq. Her £11.50 pre-booked ticket for the trip to see the family in Bromley was for yesterday’s 10.45 Manchester to Euston service but her Virgin travel itinerary said she had been booked on the 10.15am service and she was advised to board the train by Virgin staff in Manchester.
Her explanation and pleas for discretionary sympathy failed to sway the manager who forced her to pay for a new ticket. Wrigglesworth, from Shadwell, East London, who is a regular at the Comedy Store in Piccadilly Circus, pleaded with him but was told not to interfere. He said, “I couldn’t sit there and let this helpless woman deal with it on her own. I had to do something so I got a paper bag from the buffet car. I told the other passengers that if we all gave 50p or £1 we would get the money in no time. Everyone was happy to help and someone even put in £30. When I gave her the money she got upset again”.
Mrs Ainscow, a grandmother of 11 from Bolton in Greater Manchester, said she was “overwhelmed” by the generosity of her fellow passengers/ She Said: “When the guard said I had to buy a new ticket I was devastated. The only money I had was the savings I’d scraped together to get my grandchildren a present. “Tom really spoke up for me, he was marvelous. The train was only half-full, I don’t know why the manager had to make me buy another ticket. It was a simple mistake – and not mine either. My itinerary was wrong.”
Mr Wrigglesworth was met at Euston by transport police. He said: “The manager accused me of begging and asked me to give everyone’s money back. I told him I wouldn’t and that people didn’t want it back. When I got off at Euston there were a few police officers waiting. Thankfully a couple of the other passengers waited and helped to explain. Once the police had been put in the picture they walked away”.
----Mrs Ainscow’s daughter Carol said: “Tom has restored my faith in mankind. He was an angel. I dread to think what would have happened to my mother if he hadn’t been there”.” (Evening Standard 10/10/08)
* An Arriva Cross Country train left a woman in a wheelchair at Melton Mowbray station, which is managed by Stagecoach East Midland, on the grounds that it was two minutes late and there was no time for station staff to fetch the wheelchair ramp. Yet this was one of the Birmingham trains which have 18 minutes for their last leg from Coleshill to Birmingham to protect punctuality statistics, compared with 13 minutes in the opposite direction. East Midlands later apologised. Compare this with Rail Minister, Tom Harris’, comment that 90% of passengers arriving on time was a “landmark achievement certainly worth celebrating”. (Private Eye)
* “Last Tuesday I was somewhat rudely bellowed at in front of members of the public at Ryde Esplanade station by a Stagecoach employee (booking clerk?), when I went behind the unstaffed tourist information office, where there were some leaflets stacked in racks. There was a notice pointing to the office on the window of the ex-Southern Vectis office and there is a desk and a half open door indicating that the public are able to browse among the leaflets on display. The lady I was with was disgusted at the Stagecoach attitude. I said that there was a notice pointing to this location and I thought that it being a section for public information that it was ok to browse the displays.” (E’mail received by South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group from a New Forest senior citizen)
* Note the difference in approach in RAIL, Issue 603, between Editor Nigel Harris and Stagecoach lobbyist Barry Doe:
“I’ve commented before here about how outrageous it is that the railway insists that passengers whose train and ticket don’t match are compelled to buy another full rate open ticket, regardless of how much they have already paid. I still believe that off-peak fares should be available on trains but if that really is impossible (and I still don’t see why it is) then it’s little short of theft to refuse to even discount what has already been spent, from the price of the new on-board ticket subsequently demanded. The railway damages its reputation massively through this rip-off and it’s a practice which makes me squirm when national TV and radio ask me about it”.
“I am receiving a lot of emails from people who are expecting me to side with them when guards don’t allow them flexibility with their advance fares. I have no sympathy with them whatsoever and it’s worth my saying so here in an attempt to explain. The situations vary and occasionally it’s a case of a missed train because the bus or tube broke down. In that case I have sympathy. In other cases it’s where people either turn up early and expect to be allowed on the next train home or sit where they like on the correct train then take exception when a guard does his job correctly and insists the person goes back to his or her booked seat. I have no sympathy with the latter cases – and even though I have with the first, the rule must be the same. In short, when you book an advance fare, you enter into a contract understanding that there is a considerable degree of risk. You might be ill on the day, or the weather awful and you don’t want to travel, or indeed the bus breaks down, or you don’t hear the alarm. If any of these things happens and you miss your train, you lose your money. End of story. No excuses. That’s the risk.”
[Incredible that Mr Doe used to write a customer-focused column in Modern Railways, called ‘Service please’ before he became a Stagecoach lobbyist. So he now has no sympathy with people unfortunate enough to fall sick but allows ‘no excuses’, echoing Stagecoach’s penalty fares posters. Never mind that many people buy book-ahead tickets because that’s all they can afford; he’s content for operators to kick the poorest people when they are ill.
A conductor on FGW’s 17.00 from Plymouth was recently overheard talking to a passenger whose ticket was valid only on a later service. The passenger thought his service into Plymouth might miss the 17.00 so had booked on a later train. The conductor explained the rules and simply ended “That’s OK, Sir. You’ll know next time”. Plymouth and Torbay residents are very lucky that Stagecoach will soon cease to operate in their area.]
OVERCROWDING AROUND LONDON – TELL THE LONDON ASSEMBLY
The London Assembly’s transport committee wants to draw up an accurate picture of the overcrowding pinchpoints on London’s 50 overground routes, for example where several trains go past full before commuters can board. Passengers can e’mail their experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org. Labour’s Val Shawcross, the committee’s chairwoman says: “Many people who commute into and around London know only too well that overcrowding causes daily misery on many routes. It’s time to look for real solutions, and to do that we need to know exactly where problems peak – not just which route, but which station”. (Evening Standard 16/09/08)
SWT’s 08.02 Woking-Waterloo and First Capital Connect’s 07.15 Cambridge-Kings Cross are Britain’s most overcrowded trains, with passengers 76% in excess of capacity. On Monday (usually the busiest morning peak of the week) 6 October, the 08.02 was reduced from 12 coaches to 8 due to duff stock. A last minute hitch? No: the problem was reported to SWT’s website at 02.50, but it was obviously too much trouble to take any action to ameliorate the situation.
DRIVEN TO DISTRACTION BY SWT’S AUTOMATED VERBAL DIARRHOEA – 5
Passengers on the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth had a dreadful half-hour on 26/09/08. The intercom informed them that the train was approaching its final destination, London Waterloo; then announced about once every minute that passengers for certain Dorset stations should move to the front part of the train (which would have ensured standing to Winchester); and then, about a mile before the Woking stop, welcomed passengers aboard.
INCREASING POLICE INTERFERENCE WITH INNOCENT SWT PASSENGERS
* Following the incident in which an innocent passenger was set upon by armed police at Bournemouth station (presumably because he was black), when shaking hands with a friend, 20 officers randomly stopped passengers at New Milton station on the pretext of looking for drugs. None were found and no arrests made. One person was found to be in possession of ‘drugs paraphernalia’. (Southern Daily Echo 18/09/08)
* Clapham Junction is a gated station but SWT, with police in attendance, imposed a rope barrier across the footbridge on 27/10/08 to check the tickets of people transferring between Southern and SWT services.
* “OUR POLICE STATE … It has been brought to my attention that British Transport Police officers are actually conducting random stop and search acts at Waterloo station! Now I could imagine officers stopping and searching people who they suspected of being possible terrorists, but what possible purpose can be served by random stopping and searching? The annoying thing is that the BTP in general are clearly short-staffed. I tried to ring the Sheffield office on two occasions recently but got no reply. It is ridiculous using them for the activities detailed above whilst at the same time thieves are busy stealing signalling cables.” (Today’s Railways, UK edition, November 2008)
[It seems that people who use SWT are increasingly being treated as criminals. It perfectly matches SWT’s policy of imposing penalty fares even on passengers who have mistakenly bought the wrong ticket because the company’s greed has resulted in failure to provide booking office staff. With the horrific recent attacks on SWT travellers (see previous editions), and increasingly unstaffed stations, one might have thought police time could be better used.]
CAN’T SWT BE HONEST ABOUT ANYTHING? - 2
‘DISRUPTIVE PASSENGERS’ AGAIN
On 07/09/08 the 08.48 Weymouth-Waterloo was initially advertised as running 10 minutes late due to a car on the track at Wool. This was later updated to say the train had left Southampton Central 6 minutes late ‘due to disruptive passengers’! On 13/08/08, the 22.05 Waterloo-Poole had been advertised as axed between Waterloo and Southampton ‘due to disruptive passengers’. The 22.35 Waterloo-Poole then made extra stops, which were advertised as ‘due to no crew being available earlier’. Presumably ‘disruptive passengers’ are a myth to excuse poor performance!
DISCONTENT WITH STAGECOACH EAST MIDLANDS FRANCHISE-2
“STAGECOACH IS SHORT OF JOINED-UP THINKING WHEN IT COMES TO SHEFFIELD
Christian Wolmar highlights the campaign against East Midlands Trains’ commitment to install barriers at Sheffield station (RAIL 599).
There is another stakeholder whom this would affect which is not mentioned, and that is the operator of the Supertram.
The Supertram stop, named ‘Sheffield Station/Sheffield Hallam University’, is located on the east side, across the station from the main entrance, and access to the university is across the station.
The Supertram stop was relocated by a few yards as part of the recent station refurbishment and extension of the footbridge, away from a location that would have been next to a once-mooted proposal for a new footbridge across both the station and the road to the bus station (which is adjacent to part of the university) which was abandoned in favour of the road improvements past the station.
The introduction of barriers preventing use of the footbridge as a through route would prevent access from the Supertram stop to the university, bus station (actually ‘Sheffield Interchange’, although there is a road and short walk separating it from the rail station) and offices/businesses in the area that are largely, if not entirely, on the west side of the station.
The proposals would therefore have a significant impact on Supertram customers and therefore one would expect its operator would have an interest in the retention of open access at Sheffield.
The twist is of course that Supertram, like EMT, is operated by Stagecoach, but there is evidently a lack of joined-up thinking within the group.
Although this is a franchise commitment, franchises can be changed. EMT must negotiate a variation of the franchise to remove the obligation to install the barriers – it could agree to spend the money on something else that is of value to its customers, like refurbishing the toilets on platforms 2-5 (from where the majority of EMT trains depart) which is long overdue.
Their condition detracts from the otherwise clean, modern appearance of the refurbished station. Brian Gooch, Sheffield” (RAIL Issue 600)
STAGECOACH “TAKES ADVANTAGE” OF FARES SIMPLIFICATION
“--- let’s not forget that the Association of Train Operating Companies did assure us that, “fares will not increase as a result of the new fares structure” … East Midlands Trains has used simplification to introduce a second off-peak fare on its London route, with the price of a Super Off-Peak set at the level previously held by the Saver fare. The new Off-Peak fare range is more expensive. For example, a Sheffield-London Saver used to be £58.80 and was valid outward on trains arriving London on or after 10.39. Return travel was available on trains departing between 09.01 and 15.59 or after 19.01. The same price Super Off-Peak is only valid on outward trains arriving on or after 11.51, and returning between 10.26 and 15.00 or after 19.01. In practice this means an hour later arrival in London and hour earlier departure if you wish to travel before the evening peak. To travel on the earlier train outward and later afternoon return for which the Saver used to be valid, the Off-Peak fare is now £69.00, a 17.5% increase… In some respects EMT has only followed the lead of its sister Stagecoach franchise, South West Trains, by introducing a more expensive second Off-Peak fare, but it has effectively concealed the rise under the cloak of simplification and has thus avoided much of the bad publicity incurred by South West Trains when it introduced a similar raft of fares in 2007. However, introducing what is a blatant fares increase at a time when ATOC is going out of its way to assure passengers that fares will not increase is poor form from EMT. And introducing an additional tier of fares at a time when most passengers are still struggling to grasp the complexity of the new structure, only serves to make things more confusing. Not exactly what one might describe as simplification.” (Today’s Railways, UK edition, November 2008) [Yet it’s totally in line with Stagecoach’s “greed before ethics” policy.
DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER –18
04/08/08 - 08/08/08 Did not travel
11/08/08 - 15/08/08 Did not travel
18/08/08 Did not travel
19/08/08 Two of the four wooden boxes on Totton station have been replaced by pillars, apparently awaiting scanners to be fitted for Oyster-like ticketless travel. The walls of the ramp down to the Waterloo & City line at Waterloo have been stripped bare, with even most tiles removed leaving a chalky surface that will mark many a commuter's suit - the screens fitted when the line was closed for refurbishment and which have hardly worked since are still there though. As the 1835 from Waterloo reached Totton, passengers heard a SWT announcement tactlessly requesting nominations for customer service awards on a station where they are proposing to reduce the amount of customer service available.
20/08/08 In the subway under the platforms at Waterloo, displays for platforms 1 to 10 have been replaced with new clearer screens - is this a sign that the subway will still be available for use when they introduce ticket barriers at Waterloo in several months' time? The 1835 from Waterloo was 5 minutes early at Winchester. The in-carriage displays in the rear half of the train showed the stopping pattern with Wareham appearing twice. The tactless customer service award announcement was heard at Totton.
21/08/08 In the subway under the platforms at Waterloo displays for platforms 11 and 12 have been replaced with new clearer screens. Passengers endured a foul smell in the 6th carriage of the 1835 from Waterloo. The tactless customer service award announcement was heard again at Totton.
22/08/08 Noticed that signs have appeared on one side of Station Road North at Totton allowing only a 20 minute wait if a resident’s parking permit is not displayed, although until matching road markings are painted this will apparently not be able to be enforced. At Ashurst (New Forest) station this evening, the ticket machine alarm was flashing. Although Ashurst station car park is apparently to become fee-paying, a sign in the adjacent pub car park directed patrons to park at the station to ensure access for a Sunday bus service to the station.
25/08/08 - 27/08/08 Did not travel
28/08/08 The remaining two wooden boxes on Totton stations have been replaced by pillars - how long before the scanning units are fitted, I wonder? On the 0645 from Totton, the in-carriage display was blank. In the subway under the platforms at Waterloo, the rest of the screens have been replaced.
29/08/08 Apparently Totton ticket office was closed on Wednesday and the ticket machine was faulty from 8:30am until the afternoon, when SWT finally got round to attending to it. As a £20 note was found stuck in the coin slot, someone certainly wasn't finding it "easy-to-use". The same machine was faulty on Thursday morning as well and needed a "software download". As the 0715 from Totton was approaching Waterloo, the automated announcements advised passengers that they were on the "South West Trains service to Weymouth", greeted by some mocking laughter in the carriage. Weak air conditioning on the 1805 from Waterloo which was almost 5 minutes early reaching Winchester.
01/09/08 At Southampton Central, one of the ticket machines in the platform 4 entrance hall has been upgraded but you still have to stoop to see the small credit card entry screen. The very silly car park markings outside the platform 4 entrance, where there are several very narrow bays and one very large one, appear to be here to stay.
02/09/08 Totton ticket office closed - apparently the permanent staff member is on annual leave until Friday, but SWT have not provided any cover for his absence. The queue for the ticket machine was 3 deep even as the arrival of the 0645 was announced. There is still no passenger information screen at Millbrook station, having first been noticed as having been removed in July.
03/09/08 Totton ticket office closed. The ticket machine was flashing an alarm, and the queue was 5 deep this morning. The 1805 from Waterloo stopped outside Eastleigh with the guard variously announcing that a "freight train ahead of us has problems", that is was "across our path" and "blocking our line". After 20 minutes wait, we were informed that someone was "sending a further loco". After a further 10 minutes, we continued - arriving 31 minutes late at Totton.
04/09/08 Totton ticket office closed. The ticket machine was still flashing an alarm, and the queue was 4 deep this morning. The 0645 from Totton departed even as a man was trying to use the ticket machine in full view of the guard, who said to a passenger who queried this that "he's got a Solo card, the machine doesn't take Solo" (which can only mean that the man had asked the guard for assistance when the train arrived!).
05/09/08 Totton ticket office closed and the ticket machine still flashing an alarm, The 0645 from Totton was 12 minutes late due to a "temporary fault with the signalling equipment at Brockenhurst", but the announcement on the train reported the problem to be at New Milton. Left Southampton Central 8 minutes late but arrived at Waterloo on time due to the large amount of slack in the timetable. No clocks were working in the subway under the platforms at Waterloo. Joining the 1805 from Waterloo, passengers were greeted with the announcement that "this train is approaching its final stop, London Waterloo". Seat reservation tickets from the inward journey had not been removed and were causing some confusion to passengers.
08/09/08 Totton ticket office open but the ticket machine was still flashing an alarm. On the 1805 from Waterloo, seat reservation tickets from the inward journey had not been removed.
09/09/08 The display screen in the Totton ticket office was blank this morning.
10/09/08 Apparently the ticket machine at Totton had multiple faults last week that were not attended to while the ticket office was left without staff cover. On the 1805 from Waterloo, seat reservation tickets from the inward journey had not been removed.
11/09/08 At Southampton Central this morning, some of the display screens were showing messages generated by the Windows operating system instead of passenger information.
12/09/08 At Southampton Central this morning, display screens on platforms 1 and 4 were showing Windows operating system messages as yesterday - "Windows has detected new hardware" and "Please insert CD labelled Windows NT". One of the three ticket gates at the platform 4 entrance was out of use. The 0630 from Southampton Central to Waterloo left 25 minutes late. The 0700 from Southampton Central left 14 minutes late due to "an incident at Brockenhurst" or "a signalling fault at Brockenhurst" depending on which of the working passenger information indicators you looked at. The guard on the 0700 reported the cause as "a problem with a freight train in the Brockenhurst area". 22 minutes late at Waterloo.
15/09/08 Heard that, most likely as a reaction to South West Trains' proposals to reduce station ticket office opening times, no staff at smaller stations have been nominated for SWT's customer service awards.
16/09/08 On the 1805 from Waterloo, seat reservation tickets from the inward journey had not been removed.
17/09/08 On the 0645 from Totton, just as we were moving off from Southampton Parkway the train stopped again. The guard reported that the emergency cord had been pulled and it would have to be located and reset. Shortly afterwards the guard reported that the cord had been pulled in coach 9, but that the cord had been broken and the door panel would not reset - he was "getting advice from the fitters at London Waterloo". We knew things were bad when we heard "if there are any managers on board who would like to give the guard a hand". Finally we were told that the driver and guard had managed to reset the panel and that the problem was due to "two girls who were late getting off at Parkway and pulled the cord in preference to a return trip to Winchester" but that they "broke the spring". 22 minutes late leaving Southampton Parkway. Just missed the 1835 from Waterloo, so joined the 1839 slow service and boy was it slow. With a 15 minutes dwell time at Southampton Central (and a 30 minutes dwell time at Brockenhurst to follow) it can hardly even be called a service. The 15 minute dwell at Southampton Central is particularly galling as SWT is always claiming they can't do anything about the mess they created west of Southampton with last year's timetable changes due to the risk of congestion at Southampton.
18/09/08 The 0707 departure from Totton has been retimed to 0712 due to engineering works but this was not mentioned on the current engineering works poster. 0715 from Totton was 4 minutes late at Waterloo. The platform indicators for the 1935 from Waterloo incorrectly advertised both halves of the train as being for Totton. The destination indicator on the side of the train said "Not in service". Delayed by "signalling problems in the Farnborough area", 6 minutes late at Winchester.
19/09/08 Totton ticket office was closed at 0600 and the notice giving the current ticket office opening hours appears to have been removed. On the 0630 from Southampton Central the guard announced that "the automated announcement system does not appear to be working". 1805 from Waterloo was slow running approaching Eastleigh - 5 minutes late at Totton, but no reason given by the guard.
22/09/08 The Totton ticket machine alarm was flashing. The 0645 left Totton 7 minutes late, but only 4 minutes late from Southampton Central and arrived at Waterloo on time due to slack in the timetable. Was stuck in the Waterloo & City tunnel for about 20 minutes as the tube driver had to walk through the train to check the doors as they were not showing as closed on his controls. The 1835 from Waterloo ran slowly for part of its journey due to "emergency speed restrictions". At Southampton Central as the doors had just closed for the train to divide, the incorrect announcement "passengers leaving the train here, move forward due to short platforms at this station".
23/09/08 The Southampton Central travel centre closes today, with staff apparently not looking forward to serving urgent ("my train is here in a few minutes") and important ("I'm planning to travel to Glasgow and need some help") customers in the same queue. After Winchester on the 0715 from Totton the guard announced "for the passengers in the rear half of the train, I am pleased to announce that there are toilet facilities in the front half of the train". Approaching Waterloo the guard apologised to those who had had to stand due to "heavy loading" and "just to add to your misery" advised of severe delays on the District line. This evening many trains were delayed at Waterloo but the 1835 departure was shown as being on time. The guard repeatedly announced that the first stop was Winchester commenting that many people had moved across from the delayed 1815 service to Portsmouth. The "this part of the train is for ..." announcement in the rear half of the train omitted any mention of Totton and Ashurst. 8 minutes late at Winchester. At Totton, the ticket machine alarm was flashing.
24/09/08 The Totton ticket machine alarm is still flashing. The 0645 from Totton was 4 minutes late at Totton, but left Southampton Central on time. The buffet stewardess announced in broken English that "there is a troll on board". On the 1835 from Waterloo the guard apologised for the delay in departure due to a "failed train outside Waterloo" which was causing "congestion". Stopped at Queenstown Road for a while and some slow running further on was followed by an announcement that we were running 20 minutes late through Basingstoke. Due to the slack in the timetable, however, we were only 8 minutes late at Totton.
25/09/08 In the rear half of the 1835 from Waterloo the incorrect announcement that "this train is for Weymouth, the next station is Bournemouth" was made at Southampton Central.
26/09/08 The 0549 from Totton left Totton, Southampton Central and Winchester before its scheduled departure times. Radio Solent today reported SWT had just reported its best punctuality figures ever - I wonder if leaving stations before the time printed in the timetable has possibly made a contribution to this!
29/09/08 Apparently the queue at Southampton Central yesterday was out of the door following the closure of the travel centre last week and also SWT's refusal to open any more ticket windows to compensate. The 1805 from Waterloo stopped just before Northam, the guard reported that due to problems ahead of us only one track into Southampton Central was being used. 7 minutes late at Totton.
30/09/08 The 0645 from Totton left before its scheduled departure time. The station lights went out at Winchester while we were stood at the platform, leaving the station platform dangerously dark. On the 1805 from Waterloo a German lady had to ask a fellow passenger if she was in the right half of the train for her stop.
01/10/08 Did not travel
02/10/08 On the 0645 from Totton the guard announced that the CrossCountry service from Southampton Central had been cancelled at Bournemouth and advised Basingstoke and Reading passengers to change at Winchester instead. At Southampton Central, the 0715 to Manchester Picadilly shown as cancelled due to "shortage of train crew". However in a demonstration of poor communication, a new guard on the 0645 at Southampton Central advised passengers for Basingstoke that they "must change here". At Waterloo, the platform screens say both halves of the 1805 from Waterloo are for Totton, even though only the doors on the front half of the train are opened at the station.
03/10/08 No train services will be running from Totton on Saturday and Sunday - and replacement buses are running (if indeed they actually do, as there have apparently missed out Totton before) from Commercial Road in the Bournemouth direction and Totton High Street in the Southampton direction. This is not obvious to anyone wandering onto the station at the weekend, but will there be a staff member to direct passengers to the buses instead of leaving them stuck on the station - you guessed it, not a chance! No doubt the ticket machine will be happily collecting their money in any case. The 0645 from Totton was 2 minutes late at Totton but this was easily caught up with at Southampton Central where the timetable allows 4 minutes longer to join the two halves of the train there than it takes to actually join them. Slow running up to Wimbledon and we were 5 minutes late at Waterloo due to "speed restrictions between Woking and Wimbledon". When the 1705 from Waterloo reached Southampton Central, passengers in the rear half heard the incorrect announcement "this train is for Weymouth, the next stop is Bournemouth".
06/10/08 Did not travel.
07/10/08 Apparently yesterday's 0853 from Totton, the first service for Saver tickets, was cancelled. Given the appallingly poor off-peak service at Totton station, many passengers made their own way to Southampton rather than waiting for the following 0945 service. At Waterloo the three screens on the ramp down to the Waterloo & City line have finally been removed - whether they will return is a moot point, as is whether they will work if they do. On the 1805 from Waterloo seat reservations for the incoming service had not been removed and were causing confusion to passengers.
08/10/08 Reached the 0715 from Totton just as the guard's door was closing, but tapped on the door which was re-opened to let me in. The guard, possibly overcome with the emotion of actually providing some customer service, unfortunately couldn't help himself from commenting "it's a good job I'm in a good mood" and "it's against my nature" as we headed into Southampton Central to dwell for 10 minutes waiting for the rear half of the train to be joined. On the 1835 from Waterloo the guard announced she wouldn't be coming through the train as "I have done myself a bit of a mischief". A very confused young lady joined the rear half of the train at Southampton Central, obviously having just been directed there by a staff member, just in time to hear the entirely incorrect automatic announcement "this train is for Weymouth, the next station is Bournemouth".
09/10/08 Did not travel
10/10/08 Totton ticket office was closed at 0700. As I was early for the next train, I investigated exactly how "easy to use" the ticket machine is and found the following: the Any Destination option doesn't include Huddersfield, a fairly major station and one for which tickets can be purchased from the ticket office (if open); when selecting tickets to Leeds, you get London and Not London options, neither of which has a useful description just displaying "User Description for [London/Not London] Route"; One of the ticket choices is "The Weekender" which is not one of Anytime, Off-Peak or Advance, so was all the ballyhoo about renaming the ticket types just cover for SWT to increase peak fares to Waterloo by 6% in May?; many off-peak options say "Not valid on some trains Mon-Fri. Please check" - but check where as the ticket office is closed?, "Peak restrictions Mon-Fri. Please enquire" - but enquire where as the ticket office is closed?, and the outstandingly useless "Valid as advertised", so they manage to give options to see screens in French or German, but can't actually tell you which trains the tickets the machine will sell you are valid on; for Bath Spa, you get two confusing route options, Salisbury and Not London; when selecting London Travelcard Zones 12345 you get a red message saying there aren't any fares from this station, but they provided you with the option in the first place. In summary, the ticket machines provide an appallingly bad user experience. The 1835 from Waterloo was slow running into Woking and was 5 minutes late at Totton. An article in tonight's Daily Echo slammed SWT for the lack of information at Totton during weekend engineering work.
13/10/0 8 As the 0645 from Totton was pulling into Waterloo, the train was announced as a service to Weymouth. The 1805 from Waterloo had a noticeable dwell time at Southampton Central.
14/10/08 The 0645 from Totton ran 6 minutes late from Totton due to an "earlier failure in the Poole area". The 1805 from Waterloo had a noticeably long dwell time at Southampton Central.
15/10/08 The 0715 from Totton was 5 minutes late at Waterloo which the guard meaninglessly explained was due to a "delay on the rear 5 coaches".
16/10/08 Totton ticket office was closed at 0610.
17/10/08 This evening there was another critical letter in the Daily Echo regarding inadequate information at SWT stations during weekend engineering work - except at Woolston where ironically the Totton ticket office staff member had apparently been posted instead of being used at Totton.
20/10/08 The stock for the 1905 from Waterloo did not arrive until 1858 and the front half of the train, travelling all the way to Weymouth, was made up of suburban Class 450 stock. Leaving Waterloo, the automated announcement "this train is approaching its final stop" was cut off by the guard.
21/10/08 The station car park bay on the mini-roundabout at Totton has markings so faint they would not be detectable unless you already knew they are there. On the 0715 from Totton, the guard confusingly announced "If you need any questions, don't hesitate to ask". Slow running approaching Waterloo and arrived 5 minutes late. Heard that yesterday's 1802 to Woking was cancelled after 15 minutes of announcements by the guard that they were awaiting a driver - passengers then had to stand on alternative, slower services.
22/10/08 The Totton ticket machine alarm was flashing this morning. At Southampton Central the 0809 arrival was shown as cancelled. Scaffolding on the ramp to Waterloo & City line at Waterloo is now needing a sign to confirm to passengers that they do actually need to walk through a building site.
23/10/08 The Totton ticket machine alarm was flashing this morning. The Totton ticket office is apparently expected to be closed tomorrow due to staff being off and no replacement being provided. The 1805 from Waterloo was "held at a signal" before Totton and arrived there 11 minutes late. While painting yellow lines for the new residents' parking zone on Station Road North at Totton, the local council have repainted the white lines around the station car park bay on the mini-roundabout, presumably missing that this was on station land and not on the public highway.
24/10/08 A car displaying a resident's parking permit is parked in the station car park bay on the mini-roundabout at Totton. Totton ticket office was closed. On the 0645 from Totton, fellow passengers were contemplating the delays that will be caused by the ticket barriers being installed at London Waterloo. They also mentioned that passengers awaiting the 1835 from Waterloo last night were told that it would not be arriving on platform 11 and they should return to the concourse where, 5 minutes later, they were told that the 1835 would indeed depart from platform 11! And they also discussed the "blue train" (ie the Class 450 suburban units disgracefully being used on long-distance routes) saying "oh yes, the three seats that only two people can sit on" and "I don't see how 3 normally sized people can sit there". The guard apologised for the "slight delay" reporting us as running 5 minutes late due to "congestion and poor railhead conditions", but advising that we should make up the time - all the same we were 5 minutes late at Waterloo. On the 1835 from Waterloo the guard apologised for the 7 minute delay in arriving at Winchester due to being "subject to a number of delays on our journey to Winchester".
27/10/08 – 29/10/08 Did not travel
30/10/08 The very narrow mis-painted car park spaces outside the platform 4 entrance of Southampton Central are still there, most likely leading to damaged car doors as there is very little space available between the cars. There were no ticket office windows open at the platform 4 entrance at 1100. The ticket machine hides station car park tickets under "More Popular Destinations" - hardly "easy-to-use". The 1111 to Horsham was shown as cancelled. At 1120 the platform indicators were showing no departures, just "Welcome to Southampton Central". The remaining display screens that were still working were showing the 1115 departure that had already left. A station announcement was then made that the 1136 Brighton service would depart from a different platform to that shown on those passenger information screens that were working "due to problems we are having with the computer system". The 1130 from Southampton Central stopped outside Waterloo "waiting for our platform to become vacant before we can enter the station" - 6 minutes late at Waterloo. Ticket barriers at Bank station left open and unmanned - obviously staff are too fed up with having to let through the very large number of passengers with paper tickets that do not work the barriers. The 2035 from Waterloo had many reservation tickets that had not been removed after the incoming journey. 10 minutes late at Southampton Central due to rail problems at Wimbledon. Arrived at Southampton Central to find that, given it was now a few seconds after 2200, all the ticket barriers had been thrown open to allow anyone access to and from the station.
31/10/08 A resident's car is again parked in the station car park bay on the mini-roundabout. The problem has apparently been recorded in the station's weekly log and is now in the hands of SWT headquarters. This evening passengers arising from the Waterloo & City line were treated to a smell of the sewers. On the 1835 from Waterloo, passengers in the rear 5 carriages at Southampton Central heard the incorrect announcement that "this train is for Weymouth, the next station is Bournemouth" - confusing several passengers for no good reason.
IDEAS FOR IMPROVING PASSENGER TRAIN SERVICES IN HAMPSHIRE
The Southampton area has the fastest growing population south of a line from London to Bristol, and some 40,000 students at two universities. Southampton-Portsmouth is the largest conurbation anywhere south of the same line. Southern, First Great Western and Cross Country train services through the area have generally improved over the years, whilst SWT services have in many cases got slower, become worse-spaced, and lost connections. An illustrative alternative standard hourly SWT service pattern, in minutes past the hour, is set out in tables below.
So what’s wrong?
Today’s SWT services are generally the slowest since the steam era. This is illustrated by the fact that the delayed 05.45 Poole-Waterloo recently ran non-stop from Southampton to Waterloo in 63 minutes. The fastest scheduled hourly journeys take 79 minutes with just 3 stops. That means trains are being allowed as much as 5-6 minutes for a station stop. It’s not uncommon for fast services from Waterloo to arrive at Basingstoke or Winchester up to 6 minutes ahead of their departure time, with guards announcing that nothing is wrong.
The needs of wheelchair users are sometimes linked with slower schedules, but most SWT stations are not sufficiently staffed to serve them. Where there is accessibility, loading/unloading is often slow. There should be telephone contacts between conductors and station staff, and permanent platform markings to show where loading/unloading takes place.
The timetable has been incrementally transformed from customer-focused to operationally-convenient. In a number of respects it is nothing like the Service Level Commitment released by DfT. In particular, Eastleigh was to benefit from a faster London service, and the Waterloo-Poole train was not specified to be slowed by Farnborough and Fleet stops. So the franchise agreement is clearly no impediment to change.
A few things are good, for example the same platform interchange at Winchester between slow and fast London trains. This works because many alight from the faster services and are replaced by others who have transferred from the slower services.
Unlike Southern and South Eastern, SWT seems to concentrate its efforts on a handful of major stations like Winchester and Southampton Airport, leaving vast numbers of more widely spread users with second-rate services, distorting demand for car parking space,
Top of the list of cases for improvement is the Southampton-Portsmouth service, which is inadequate by any standard. Every hour the FGW fast service and SWT slow service arrive and depart at Portsmouth about 10 minutes apart. The SWT electric service is marginally slower than BR diesel trains 50 years ago. The FGW service is usually crammed with passengers connecting with Cross Country services at Southampton. In BR days, the Waterloo-Winchester-Portsmouth trains gave Portsmouth passengers convenient “same platform” interchange with Cross Country services at Winchester. A further problem is that SWT has discontinued direct South Coast-West of England weekend services. Portsmouth passengers, be they travelling to/from Cardiff, Bournemouth, Weymouth, Exeter, the Midlands or North, now start/end their journeys on the same 3-coach FGW train. And FGW gets the blame for overcrowding.
Services at Totton (fourth largest intermediate town between Southampton and Weymouth), Ashurst (New Forest National Park Gateway station), Wool (army camp, tank museum and Dorset Heritage Coast) and Upwey (big residential area to the north of Weymouth) have all been substantially downgraded. Travel time from Totton to New Milton and Christchurch (third largest town between Southampton and Weymouth) has doubled.
The two hourly services from New Milton and Christchurch to Southampton arrive about 5 minutes apart. In the opposite direction they leave about 5 minutes apart, but there is the added disadvantage of a 25-minute station stop at Brockenhurst by the slower service.
Fareham and Eastleigh are comparable in size with Havant and Winchester but have much worse London services. So people drive to Southampton Airport Parkway or Winchester stations for faster trains, clogging local roads and the M27. There are serious environmental concerns about SWT’s plan to build a huge new car park at Winchester station.
There are hourly service gaps of about 40 minutes each way between Southampton and Eastleigh. This was always reckoned to be near the top of BR Southern Region’s local provincial passenger flows.
Connections at Eastleigh between Southampton and Hedge End line trains have been lost. This makes travel between Portsmouth/West Sussex and Southampton Airport unattractive. A substantial proportion of passengers flying from Southampton Airport are from this corridor, so there is even more short-distance traffic on the M27.
There is no longer any credible direct service from Eastleigh to Bournemouth/Poole (the service has a 25-minute stop at Brockenhurst as well as a 15-minute stop at Southampton Central.
The two services an hour between St Denys (eastern Southampton) and Southampton Central run a few minutes apart in each direction.
The two eastbound services each hour from Parkstone and Branksome run 10 minutes apart.
The attached schedules, in minutes past the “standard hour”, attempts to illustrate how services might be restored to, or even improved on, their former status. Connections are mentioned only where they apply in both directions. Broadly, the proposals are:
* Faster and slower hourly trains between London and Weymouth swap paths in and out of Waterloo. This swap is necessary because of the need to fit round Cross Country services between Basingstoke and Bournemouth. This allows restoration of faster services to Totton, Ashurst, Wool and Upwey, and much better spacing of services west of Southampton.
* Waterloo-Eastleigh-Poole stopping trains and Waterloo-Eastleigh-Fareham-Portsmouth trains would swap paths between Eastleigh and Waterloo; as a self-standing change, it is proposed that the latter should be accelerated by 8/9 minutes through omission of stops in the well-served area east of Basingstoke. (stops could continue to be made between Waterloo and Basingstoke if desired, with a 39-past departure from Waterloo, and a later arrival at Waterloo on the return journey). The path swap means that same-platform connections between Cross Country and Portsmouth trains at Winchester are restored.
* The Waterloo-Poole train, which spends a total of 40 minutes making station stops at Southampton Central and Brockenhurst, is replaced by a Waterloo-Eastleigh service, with “same-platform” connection at Winchester for Southampton, Bournemouth and Weymouth; it leaves Basingstoke late enough to provide a connection for passengers from Hook and Winchfield, with a similar connection in the opposite direction. Passengers from Farnborough, Fleet, Hook and Winchfield stations travelling beyond Eastleigh already use the connecting Cross Country services in both directions. West of Eastleigh the Waterloo-Poole service is replaced by an Eastleigh-Poole service with no layover time at Southampton Central or Brockenhurst.
* These changes would allow Southern’s Victoria-Southampton service to be re-routed via Eastleigh and Southampton Airport, giving direct access to the airport from the Portsmouth area, Fareham, Havant, Chichester and Horsham. They would also give Eastleigh a direct service to Gatwick Airport. In addition, after arrival at Southampton Central, the train might take over SWT’s stopping service to Portsmouth via Netley, which is a more-or-less self-contained operation. Southern is already the principal train operator on this route on Mondays to Saturdays. This further change would mean that virtually all stations in southern Hampshire would have direct services to Southampton Airport as well as Southampton Central.
* The Southampton-Portsmouth stopping service could then be rescheduled to give better spacing and connections. It is marginally accelerated (in line with Southern’s running times for their current occasional stopping trains over the route), and connects at Southampton Central for Bristol and Cardiff. Connection between the stopping service and Waterloo trains at Fareham, to give Netley/Hamble/Bursledon/Swanwick passengers a reasonable London service is maintained but rescheduled.
* With Southern taking over the Southampton-Portsmouth stopping service, on Sundays it could reverse at Portsmouth Harbour and continue as the Victoria train, providing a Southampton-Gatwick Sunday service. This happened for a few years until Victoria-Portsmouth and Portsmouth-Southampton services were allocated to separate operators.
Monday-Friday Peak Services
To accommodate existing commuter services, the Waterloo-Eastleigh train would extend to/from Portsmouth during the Monday-Friday peak periods. The Southampton-Victoria trains would need to run via Netley at these times, perhaps calling at Bursledon, Netley and Woolston (it is proposed that FGW services should serve Swanwick all day to maintain spread of departures). This means that the train from Southampton to Victoria would depart slightly later, running behind the Cardiff-Portsmouth Harbour service.
Train miles Re-routeing Victoria-Southampton trains via Eastleigh increases train mileage by about 4-5 miles every hour. No extra stock needed for the above proposals, but one SWT unit would be saved by the replacements for the Waterloo-Poole stopping service.
Connections with FGW Reading services at Basingstoke are poor and could perhaps be reviewed. FGW has a good record of working with stakeholders to achieve timetable improvements.
|Southampton C a||40||48||10||18||24||34|
|Southampton C d||42||50||18||20||25||38|
A: Dunbridge and Dean stops omitted in alternate off-peak hours, and arrive Salisbury 5 minutes earlier.
BR: Occasional stops at Beaulieu Road.
PH: To Portsmouth Harbour; “same platform” connection from Cross Country service at Winchester.
V: From London Victoria; continues to Portsmouth via Netley.
XC: Cross Country service; arrives Bournemouth at main up platform for operational reasons.
|Southampton C a||25||28||<||52||58||54||12|
|Southampton C d||>||30||33||54||00||03||15|
A: Dean and Dunbridge stops omitted in alternate off-peak hours, and depart Salisbury 5 minutes later.
BR: Occasional stops at Beaulieu Road.
PH: From Portsmouth Harbour; “same platform” connection to Cross Country service at Winchester.
V: To London Victoria; formed of train from Portsmouth via Netley.
XC: Cross Country service; departs Bournemouth from main down platform for operational reasons.
B: Southern service to Brighton.
C: FGW service from Bristol and Cardiff, stopping additionally at Swanwick.
FW: Southern service. Connection to Waterloo at Fareham.
V: Southern service to London Victoria; also calls at Southampton Airport Parkway.
W: From London Waterloo; connection to Netley line stations at Fareham.
B: Southern service from Brighton.
C: FGW service to Bristol and Cardiff, stopping additionally at Swanwick.
FW: Southern service. Connection from Waterloo at Fareham.
V: Southern service from London Victoria; also calls at Southampton Airport Parkway.
W: To London Waterloo; connection from Netley line stations at Fareham.
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. In the 2007 National Rail Awards, SWT won only the award for train maintenance. So the number of train failures recorded below speaks volumes. In 2008, SWT failed to win any major awards.
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, adding to the stress and discomfort caused by the ripping out of seats from suburban trains.
Monday 01/09/08 Doors of 06.12 Totton-Romsey locked 40 seconds before departure time. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers THROWN OFF at Salisbury. 06.42 Exeter-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 07.22 Basingstoke-Yeovil 10 minutes late. Queenstown Road station CLOSED to Waterloo-bound trains during the morning peak. Bristol portion of 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth AXED. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Eastleigh and 39 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth suffered such a long crawl into Winchester that it arrived only 6 minutes before its departure time. 18.11 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED. Mid-evening arrivals into Waterloo generally 5-10 minutes late. 21.54 Portsmouth-Eastleigh 11 minutes late.
Tuesday 02/09/08 07.02 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.05 Waterloo-Weymouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES INCLUDING A 4-COACH SUBURBAN UNIT; passengers standing to Basingstoke. 20.10 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 21.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo ‘delayed’. 21.50 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 22.21 Basingstoke-Portsmouth ‘delayed’ DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 03/09/08 05.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 7 minutes late; Earlsfield stop AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.07 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.03 Waterloo-Guildford REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.16 Waterloo-Chessington REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.10 Chessington-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.20 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 11.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 16 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 18.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 32 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.54 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 19.05 Romsey-Salisbury 42 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 19.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late and REDUCED TO 9 COACHES INCLUDING A 4-COACH SUBURBAN UNIT; passengers standing to Basingstoke. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Wokingham DUE TO NO CREW. 19.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 12 minutes late. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late. 20.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court 8 minutes late. Chandlers ford stop of the 22.07 Romsey-Romsey AXED.
Thursday 04/09/08 04.58 Staines-Waterloo 6 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Doors of 06.12 Totton-Romsey closed 40 seconds early and train departed 10 seconds early; DUFF announcements and visual display – train thought it had started from Salisbury! 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.52 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED. 08.02 Dorking-Waterloo AXED between Dorking and Earlsfield DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Guildford. 16.03 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 16.50 Poole-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW; stops at Ashurst, Totton, Fleet, Farnborough and Clapham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.53 Waterloo-Alton 9 minutes late.
Friday 05/09/08 05.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late; Earlsfield stop AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 18 minutes late; Southampton Airport and Winchester stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.52 Twickenham-Windsor AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 06.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.53 Windsor-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK AGAIN. 07.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Ascot DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo 19 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 20 minutes late.
Saturday 06/09/08 07.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 11 minutes late. 10.54 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late.
Sunday 07/09/08 ENGINEERS’ TRAIN DERAILED AT WOKINGHAM; SWT’S READING SERVICES AXED UNTIL AROUND 16.00. Passengers on trains leaving Waterloo at 09-past THROWN OFF at Ascot. Those on trains leaving at 39-past (which were diverted to Windsor) THROWN OFF at Staines. These arrangements were changed by the afternoon, with passengers on the 09-past THROWN OFF at Bracknell and those on the 39-past THROWN OFF at Ascot. Trains at 24-past from Reading initially AXED between Reading and Staines and started from Windsor; by afternoon they were AXED between Reading and Bracknell. Trains at 54-past from Reading AXED between Reading and Ascot. 07.20 Basingstoke-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 07.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 55 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Bournemouth. 08.15 Staines-Reading AXED. 08.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 11.35 Waterloo-Weymouth REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 16.24 Reading-Waterloo 20 minutes late; stops at Feltham, Twickenham, Richmond, Putney and Vauxhall AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.52 Woking-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 19.10 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 20.27 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Monday 08/09/08 05.52 Twickenham-Windsor 28 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW; all intermediate stops between Staines and Windsor AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONCENIENCE. 07.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Hounslow and Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO CREW SHORTAGE. 08.46 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO CREW SHORTAGE. 11.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 10 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Waterloo and Norbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 10 minutes late; intermediate stops between Woking and Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late.
Tuesday 09/09/08 04.00 Guildford-Waterloo diverted; Woking stop AXED. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 10/09/08 12.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 16 minutes late; Clapham Junction stop AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. ALTON-FARNHAM LINE CLOSED FOR PART OF THE AFTERNOON DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. Passengers on the 13.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke THROWN OFF at Woking DUE TO NO CREW. 15.52 Bristol-Salisbury AXED. 17.52 Waterloo-Weybridge REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.02 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late and AXED between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea DUE TO NO CREW. 20.57 Salisbury-Bristol AXED. 22.25 Bristol-Salisbury AXED.
Thursday 11/09/08 04.00 Guildford-Waterloo diverted; Woking stop AXED. 06.40 Salisbury-Bristol AXED. 08.50 Bristol-Salisbury AXED. 10.52 Salisbury-Bristol AXED. 13.10 Bristol-Salisbury AXED. MASSIVE AFTERNOON DELAYS DUE TO DOWN SLOW LINE BETWEEN WATERLOO AND WIMBLEDON BEING CLOSED, WITH TRAINS RUNNING UP TO 40 MINUTES LATE AND DOWN SERVICES UNABLE TO CALL AT EARLSFIELD. 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton 26 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late; Clapham Junction stop AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Ascot DUE TO NO CREW. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late.
Friday 12/09/08 04.00 Guildford-Waterloo diverted; Woking stop AXED. 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 50 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Southampton Airport and Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.43 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 06.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 16.05 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.22 Reading-Waterloo 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Saturday 13/09/08 07.12 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED between Waterloo and Kingston DUE TO NO CREW. 10.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after New Malden AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Monday 15/09/08 BROKEN CONDUCTOR RAIL ON THE PORTSMOUTH MAIN LINE. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo ‘delayed’. 07.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Haslemere. 07.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Haslemere. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo DIVERTED via Eastleigh. 07.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Haslemere. 07.53 Waterloo-Alton AXED. Passengers on the 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth THROWN OFF at Guildford. 08.07 Guildford-Waterloo DIVERTED via Woking. Passengers on the 08.15 Waterloo-Haslemere THROWN OFF at Guildford. 09.44 Alton-Waterloo AXED. Passengers on the 15.03 Waterloo-Guildford THROWN OFF at Surbiton DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.50 Waterloo-Reading 23 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.23 Windsor-Waterloo 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Twickenham and Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.41 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.50 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK and 16 minutes late.
Tuesday 16/09/08 07.24 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.55 Poole-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.50 Poole-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Winchester AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.05 Romsey-Salisbury 23 minutes late. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 17/09/08 06.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 06.42 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.50 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford 10 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.22 Epsom-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 32 minutes late. 15.07 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops before Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK, including duff air conditioning; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Thursday 18/09/08 04.40 Havant-Portsmouth AXED. 05.35 Salisbury-Salisbury 5 minutes late. Front unit of the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo running the wrong way round; passengers told at Southampton Central but not at Southampton Airport, so big scramble by first class ticket holders. 07.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 18.55 Waterloo-Alton THROWN OFF at Farnham. 19.35 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham. 19.53 Waterloo-Alton ‘delayed’. 20.15 Alton-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.28 Waterloo-Windsor DELAYED DUE TO NO CREW. 21.30 Southampton-Waterloo DELAYED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.44 Alton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 22.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 22.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED between Waterloo and Woking.
Friday 19/09/08 ALL SERVICES BETWEEN ALTON AND FARNHAM SUSPENDED DURING THE MORNING PEAK – ‘very limited’ substitute bus service advertised on SWT’s website. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.57 Waterloo-Kingston 36 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Kingston and after Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 15.12 Reading-Waterloo AXED. 15.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Norbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED. 15.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED. 17.25 Waterloo-Alton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. Passengers on the 17.58 Guildford-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Effingham Junction DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Saturday 20/09/08 06.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 07.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 24 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW; all intermediate stops before Southampton Airport AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.58 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 11.39 Waterloo-Poole AXED between Waterloo and Southampton DUE TO NO CREW. 20.42 Southampton-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 22.20 Waterloo-Reading 19 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 23.23 Ascot-Aldershot 10 minutes late.
Sunday 21/09/08 07.49 Woking-Alton AXED between Woking and Farnham DUE TO NO CREW. 07.52 Woking-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 08.21 Waterloo-Chessington 8 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.50 Guildford-Wimbledon AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 08.50 Bournemouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late.
Monday 22/09/08 04.55 Southampton-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 05.05 Eastleigh-Southampton AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 08.23 Ascot-Guildford AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 10.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Poole DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.23 Waterloo-Alton ‘delayed’ at Surbiton. 15.45 Salisbury-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 12 minutes late. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED between Waterloo and Twickenham and REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.39 Waterloo-Southampton 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court 36 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.39 Waterloo-Guildford delayed; all intermediate stops before Epsom AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.42 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED. 21.46 Waterloo-Chessington 36 minutes late. 22.41 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED.
Tuesday 23/09/08 NO RECOGNISABLE SERVICE ON SWT ALL DAY. The day that Stagecoach destroyed Southampton Central travel centre started innocuously enough with Waterloo-Hampton Court services AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton, and Waterloo-Dorking services AXED in their entirety. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Virginia Water. By lunchtime, main line services were being seriously delayed. For example, the 4-coach suburban unit forming the 12.35 to Weymouth still hadn’t left at 12.50. By the evening peak, there was totally chaos after a fatality at Earlsfield had added to the misery. Huge crowd on the Waterloo concourse. Many trains cancelled or up to 60 minutes late. At 16.20 the only service going towards Southampton was the 15.39 to Brockenhurst, with its suburban coaches packed tight. At 16.30 everyone was THROWN OFF DUE TO NO CREW. The misery continued for the rest of the day, with passengers being advised to try buses, Southern or First Great Western. By way of examples, 17.49 Plymouth-Waterloo AXED between Plymouth and Exeter; 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth started 45 minutes late; 21.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW; 21.42 Southampton-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW; 21.46 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW; 23.03 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DU TO NO CREW. The 19.05 Waterloo-Weymouth was just a few minutes late at Southampton; SWT sent the ‘connection’ for Totton and Ashurst passengers to stand at signals at Millbrook to ensure that their delay was much greater.
Wednesday 24/09/08 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 08.44 Alton-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.15 Alton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late. Overcrowding on the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth due to two coaches full of schoolchildren returning to Totton, the fourth largest town between Southampton and Weymouth; perhaps if scores of passengers had not been displaced when the 16.05 had its Totton stop axed, things would have been better. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 30 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Thursday 25/09/08 08.07 Guildford-Waterloo AXED. 21.42 Southampton-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Friday 26/09/08 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 14.12 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late; Egham, Feltham, Richmond and Twickenham stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 14.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth THROWN OFF at Woking. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo had all stops after Guildford AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth Harbour and Fratton. 20.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Staines DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 23.52 Waterloo-Staines DIVERTED via Richmond.
Saturday 27/09/08 09.09 Waterloo-Guilford 13 minutes late. 11.20 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late. 13.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 19 minutes late. 13.54 Waterloo-Dorking 14 minutes late. 13.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 12 minutes late; stops at North Sheen, Mortlake, Barnes, Putney, Wandsworth Town, and Queenstown Road AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.39 Waterloo-Poole 43 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 33 minutes late; stops at New Milton, Christchurch, Pokesdown, Holton Heath, Moreton and Upwey AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 20 minutes late. 18.39 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late. 18.54 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 22 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Sunday 28/09/08 07.54 Waterloo-Weymouth 8 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 10.48 Guildford-Wimbledon THROWN OFF at London Road Guildford DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.16 Wimbledon-Guildford AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 14.39 Waterloo-Reading 29 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines, except Ascot and Bracknell, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.45 Alton-Waterloo AXED.
Monday 29/09/08 07.21 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking.
Tuesday 30/09/08 08.40 Chessington-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 09.05 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.35 Waterloo-Weymouth FORMED OF SUBURBAN STOCK. 14.54 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES.
Wednesday 01/10/08 11.05 Dorking-Waterloo 25 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Epsom AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.35 Dorking-Waterloo AXED between Dorking and Leatherhead. 17.03 Woking-Waterloo 10 minutes late; stops at Walton-on-Thames, Hersham and Esher AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Thursday 02/10/08 16.54 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.32 Waterloo-Guildford REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.37 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Virginia Water DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 23.24 Portsmouth-Winchester THROWN OFF at Eastleigh.
Friday 03/10/08 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 16.50 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.07 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 18.28 Waterloo-Windsor REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late. 19.09 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 21.09 Waterloo-Dorking AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 22.35 Dorking-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Saturday 04/10/08 06.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 12 minutes late DUE TO NO STOCK IN PLACE. 07.23 Waterloo-Alton AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.25 Waterloo-Reading 12 minutes late DUE TO NO STOCK IN PLACE. 07.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 09.14 Alton-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 16.58 Guildford-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 17.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 8 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; all intermediate stops after Farnborough AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.35 Dorking-Waterloo 14 minutes late.
Sunday 05/10/08 Passengers on the 01.05 Waterloo-Winchester THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 07.23 Winchester-Waterloo AXED between Winchester and Basingstoke. 08.23 Winchester-Waterloo AXED between Winchester and Basingstoke. 09.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo 10 minutes late; Hook stop AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.57 Waterloo-Hampton Court 10 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 18.23 Paignton-Waterloo AXED between Paignton and Exeter.
Monday 06/10/08 All but one motor on the 06.12 Totton-Romsey DUFF; train struggled to Southampton Central, losing 3 minutes. 06.14 Alton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Guildford DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.02 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.55 Poole-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.05 Waterloo-Weymouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES INCLUDING A 4-COACH SUBURBAN UNIT. 19.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo AXED.
Tuesday 07/10/08 07.50 Waterloo-Reading 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.34 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 12.39 Waterloo-Poole THROWN OFF at Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 23 minutes late. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 8 minutes late. 16.50 Poole-Waterloo AXED between Poole and Southampton DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW.
Wednesday 08/10/08 04.57 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late; Eastleigh and Winchester stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.50 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUETO DUFF STOCK. 05.58 Waterloo-Windsor REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.21 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.21 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 10.44 Alton-Waterloo 14 minutes late; West Byfleet and Clapham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.23 Ascot-Guildford AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo DIVERTED to Hounslow via Richmond. 19.07 Weybridge-Waterloo DIVERTED via Richmond. 19.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo DIVERTED to Hounslow via Richmond. 19.37 Weybridge-Waterloo DIVERTED via Richmond. 19.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo DIVERTED to Hounslow via Richmond. 20.03 Weybridge-Waterloo DIVERTED via Richmond.
Thursday 09/10/08 04.57 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 05.05 Waterloo-Reading 10 minutes late. 05.35 Salisbury-Southampton-Salisbury 5 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late, arriving at Waterloo at the time it should have been leaving there for Portsmouth. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 15.20 Waterloo-Reading AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading REDUCEDTO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Friday 10/10/08 01.05 Waterloo-Eastleigh AXED between Basingstoke and Eastleigh. No heating on the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo – cold air blast caused extreme discomfort. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 13 minutes late. Passengers on the 20.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Havant DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Saturday 11/10/08 01.05 Waterloo-Eastleigh AXED between Basingstoke and Eastleigh. 10.10 Exeter-Waterloo 52 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers THROWN OFF at Salisbury. 10.20 Waterloo-Exeter 35 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 17.35 Guildford-Waterloo 21 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW; all intermediate stops except Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Sunday 12/10/08 08.27 Salisbury-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 10.59 Windsor-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Clapham Junction. 11.44 Waterloo-Windsor 21 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.25 Waterloo-Windsor AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 16.27 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 16.30 Waterloo-Haslemere 15 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 17.18 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo DELAYED at Kingston DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.48 Waterloo-Shepperton 26 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.11 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.11 Kingston-Clapham Junction 23 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 13/10/08 07.21 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.04 Guildford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 08.09 Waterloo-Guildford REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 10 minutes late; Vauxhall and Earlsfield stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.48 Effingham Junction-Waterloo REDUCEDTO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 18 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW; all intermediate stops between Barnes and Hounslow AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 8 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.30 Waterloo-Epsom REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 18.37 Weybridge-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Brentford due to signalling problems. All intermediate stops of the 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo between Hounslow and Barnes AXED. 19.07 Weybridge-Waterloo DIVERTED via Richmond. 20.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Tuesday 14/10/08 04.57 Poole-Waterloo 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE BUT PASSENGERS ON BOARD NOT TOLD IN ADVANCE. 05.42 Poole-Waterloo 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 07.38 Waterloo-Poole 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.50 Bristol-Salisbury AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 14.44 Alton-Waterloo 21 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 5 minutes late. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.10 Paignton-Basingstoke AXED between Paignton and Exeter DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 15/10/08 05.42 Poole-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 06.50 Weymouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.21 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.39 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.39 Waterloo-Poole AXED between Waterloo and Southampton DUE TO NO CREW. 15.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester. 15.42 Southampton-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 16.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.03 Portsmouth-Fareham AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 24 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 31 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 21 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 7 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late. 18.58 Waterloo-Windsor 14 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late.19.21 Windsor-Waterloo 13 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Richmond AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Thursday 16/10/08 07.21 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Friday 17/10/08 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 24 minutes late. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton 21 minutes late. 21.46 Guildford-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 22.23 Ascot-Guildford 19 minutes late. 23.03 Waterloo-Guildford 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Saturday 18/10/08 07.10 Chessington-Waterloo AXED DUETO DUFF STOCK. 10.10 Chessington-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 20/10/08 05.23 Staines-Reading AXED between Staines and Ascot. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 12.39 Waterloo-Poole 48 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Poole, except Dorchester, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.48 Salisbury-Romsey AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.50 Poole-Waterloo 28 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.53 Waterloo-Alton 10 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.03 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late. 16.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Wareham. Passengers on the 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth THROWN OFF at Southampton DUE TO DUFF STOCK; train 6 minutes late. 16.50 Poole-Waterloo AXED between Poole and Bournemouth DUE TO NO CREW, and passengers THROWN OFF at Southampton. 17.05 Romsey-Salisbury AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.19 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 17.37 Weybridge-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.54 Portsmouth-Waterloo 34 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops between Basingstoke and Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.02 Waterloo-Woking AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 19.03 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 21.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late.
Tuesday 21/10/08 05.42 Poole-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 06.12 Totton-Romsey AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.48 Salisbury-Romsey AXED between Salisbury and Redbridge DUE RTO DUFF STOCK. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil ‘DELAYED’.
Wednesday 22/10/08 04.57 Poole-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 05.39 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 11.03 Woking-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. LYMINGTON SERVICE SUSPENDED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; no departures from 17.14 to 18.44 Lymington-Brockenhurst inclusive. 17.49 Plymouth-Waterloo AXED between Plymouth and Exeter. 18.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers THROWN OFF at Haslemere. 21.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 22 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 22.15 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham.
Thursday 23/10/08 04.57 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke due to a fatality. 12.39 Waterloo-Poole AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo AXED between Yeovil and Sherborne. 14.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 15.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Poole and Bournemouth. 15.36 Portsmouth-Southampton AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.39 Waterloo-Brockenhurst AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 15.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 15.50 Poole-Waterloo AXED between Poole and Bournemouth. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Havant and Guildford, except Haslemere, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil 30 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Salisbury. Passengers on the 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton THROWN OFF at Haslemere DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Twickenham and Clapham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, INCLUDING A 4-COACH SUBURBAN UNIT. 17.49 Plymouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late.
Friday 24/10/08 06.12 Totton-Romsey AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 13 minutes late and AXED between Southampton Airport and Winchester DUE TO NO CREW. 07.07 Romsey-Salisbury AXED between Romsey and Southampton DUE TO NO CREW. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES. 07.29 Alton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.29 Aldershot-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.55 Weymouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 09.20 Weymouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO A 4-COACH SUBURBAN TRAIN. 14.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 28 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Richmond AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo DIVERTED. 15.28 Waterloo-Windsor ‘DELAYED’. 15.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo DIVERTED. 15.50 Waterloo-Reading DIVERTED. 15.51 Windsor-Waterloo DIVERTED. 16.25 Waterloo-Alton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 13 minutes late DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK IN PLACE. 17.49 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Ascot. 21.36 Portsmouth-Southampton AXED. 21.55 Southampton-Waterloo 35 minutes late; intermediate stops between Basingstoke and Clapham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 22.36 Portsmouth-Southampton 10 minutes late. 22.42 Southampton-Portsmouth (last train of the day at stations between Southampton and Fareham) AXED; First Great Western kindly stopped the 20.30 from Cardiff at Woolston, Netley and Swanwick.
Saturday 25/10/08 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 05.23 Staines-Waterloo AXED. 05.38 Staines-Waterloo AXED. Passengers on the 06.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Earlsfield DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.30 Woking-Alton ‘DELAYED’ DUE TO NO CREW. 06.33 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 06.39 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Wokingham. 07.10 Paignton-Waterloo 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Strawberry Hill DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.10 Exeter-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 12.42 Waterloo-Shepperton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 48 mi9nutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers THROWN OFF at Salisbury. 16.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Kingston and Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Hounslow and Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED. 17.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 21.50 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 22.55 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 26/10/08 07.32 Yeovil-Waterloo AXED between Yeovil and Salisbury DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.35 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED. 08.27 Waterloo-Hampton Court AXED.
Monday 27/10/08 04.57 Poole-Waterloo 31 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Winchester AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.42 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.18 Winchester-Portsmouth AXED. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Fareham. 07.38 Waterloo-Poole 12 minutes late. Passengers on the 17.49 Plymouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 19.50 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.54 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 22.03 Woking-Waterloo AXED. 22.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke DIVERTED via Staines.
Tuesday 28/10/08 05.43 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 06.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 07.06 Basingstoke-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 coaches. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth still ‘DELAYED’ at Southampton 25 minutes after its departure time. 13.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 13.50 Poole-Waterloo 28 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 15.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 5 minutes late. 16.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 9 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.51 Windsor-Waterloo 12 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Richmond AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 32 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.05 Waterloo 18 minutes late. 19.21 Windsor-Waterloo AXED. 20.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Norbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.39 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 22.05 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Wednesday 29/10/08 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 20 minutes late. 05.40 Basingstoke-Weymouth AXED. 06.18 Winchester-Portsmouth AXED. Passengers on the 06.20 Waterloo-Reading THROWN OFF at Ascot DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. Passengers on the 06.29 Aldershot-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Ascot DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. Passengers 07.06 Basingstoke-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 07.21 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.23 Ascot-Guildford AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.07 Waterloo-Reading AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.09 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. Passengers on the 08.15 Waterloo-Haslemere THROWN OFF at Guildford DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.37 Waterloo-Reading AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED. 09.39 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 09.39 Haslemere-Waterloo AXED between Haslemere and Guildford DUETO DUFF TRAIN. 10.09 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN.
Thursday 30/10/08 05.43 Portsmouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late and REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. Passengers on the 09.54 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW. 10.10 Exeter-Waterloo 32 minutes late. Passengers on the 10.52 Salisbury-Bristol THROWN OFF at Westbury. Passengers on the 10.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Teddington. Passengers on the 11.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Twickenham. 11.22 Waterloo-Weybridge AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 11.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 12.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 12.39 Waterloo-Poole AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW. 12.53 Newton Abbot-Waterloo AXED between Newton Abbot and Exeter; passengers then THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 13.10 Bristol-Salisbury AXED. 15.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 15.42/16.12/16.42/17.12 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED. Passengers on the 15.45 Salisbury-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 15.50/16.20/16.50 Waterloo-Woking AXED. 15.54 Waterloo-Dorking AXED. 16.03/16.33/17.03 Woking-Waterloo AXED. 16.05/16.35/17.05 Dorking-Waterloo AXED. 16.06/16.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court AXED. Passengers on the 16.20 Yeovil-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 16.24/16.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading 70 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Staines. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 18.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 19.20 Waterloo-Honiton AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. Passengers on the 19.42 Waterloo-Shepperton THROWN OFF at Fulwell. 19.54 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 20.10 Chessington-Waterloo AXED. 20.15 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham. 20.15 Exeter-Basingstoke DIVERTED via Westbury. Passengers on the 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Fratton DUE TO NO CREW. 21.00 Exeter-Salisbury AXED between Exeter and Honiton. 21.22 Waterloo-Weybridge AXED. 22.05 Guildford-Waterloo AXED. 22.20 Waterloo-Woking AXED. 23.52 Waterloo-Staines AXED.
Friday 31/10/08 08.00 Shepperton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. Passengers on the 11.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Fleet DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.29 Brockenhurst-Lymington AXED. 21.35 Epsom-Waterloo AXED DUETO NO CREW. 22.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
* The Government’s plans for a third runway at Heathrow are highly contentious, especially as Ministers are planning to delay an EU directive on pollution by five years to enable it to happen. Some Cabinet Ministers are reportedly unhappy and Ed Miliband is pledging an 80% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. However, Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon is expected to mount a strong argument for expansion at Heathrow. The Conservatives say that, if they win power, they will scrap plans for the new runway and aim, by 2027, to introduce high speed trains from St Pancras to Birmingham (45 minutes), Manchester (80 minutes) and Leeds (97 minutes). There would be a spur line to Heathrow. This could remove the need for some 66,000 short-haul flights from the airport each year. The Conservatives also oppose more runways at Gatwick and Stansted. Environmentalists are delighted. BAA would like the new runway as well as the high speed rail link. (Evening Standard 29/09/08; 16/10/08; 23/10/08; and 29/10/08; Guardian 17/10/08)
* Stagecoach’s business practices, described by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission as “predatory, deplorable and contrary to the public interest”, seem to be spreading to other companies. Earlier in the year, a small operator, Velvet Buses, stepped in to take over routes in the Southampton area discarded by Go Ahead’s Bluestar Buses. Now Bluestar has reintroduced services, running them 3 minutes ahead of Velvet’s. This is exactly how Stagecoach destroyed the Darlington Bus Company. Public reaction is overwhelmingly hostile. (Southern Daily Echo 20/09/08)
* Research by the TUC suggests that the number of London commuters travelling for at least one hour to get to and from work has fallen by 100,000 over the past year. However, 20% still spend more than an hour a day commuting. This is on top of some of the longest working hours in Europe, adding up to a very stressful working week. (Evening Standard 25/10/08)
* There are concerns about key funding documents on Crossrail remaining unsigned, the implications of the economic downturn for the project, and the level of potential profits from the re-development of land in Tottenham Court Road belonging to Transport for London. With the Government also facing the costs of the Olympic Games, progress could well be slowed. However, the Chancellor appears prepared to spend his way out of a recession, and this could actually accelerate the project. (Evening Standard 07/10/08; Metro 20/10/08) [Subsequently confirmed that BAA will definitely make a £230m contribution, but city business contributions appear to be still in doubt.]
* The Transport Salaried Staffs Association has accused London Midland of ripping off passengers on the Euston-Northampton-Birmingham line with a 5% increase in September meaning that some fares have increased by 15% over the past year. (Metro 16/09/09)
* Rail firms are blocking moves to give Metropolitan Police free travel. Metropolitan and City police already get a 50% discount. (Evening Standard 02/10/08)
* The RPI for July (5.3%) means that season ticket prices will soar by 6.3% (8.3% on South Eastern) from January under the Government’s formula. The chairman of the Commons Transport Committee said the Government’s stance is very disappointing. Unless changes are made, fares will continue to rise and price people off the railways. Big fare rises will make the financial difficulties of many commuters even worse. Meanwhile, the price of petrol is falling. (Evening Standard 20/10/08)
* Arriva has so far shown resilience in the economic downturn, with the outlook for the rest of the year in line with expectations.
* First Great Western wants to renegotiate its contract on the grounds that it is overspending to accommodate commuters, and also points to cuts in the Cross Country timetable in its area and to the gaps that will be left when SWT ceases to operate beyond Exeter. It would like to order new trains, including for the Portsmouth-Cardiff route.
* First Capital Connect’s branch line service between Farringdon and Moorgate will close permanently from March 2009 to make way for expanded services via Farringdon [the route runs alongside the Circle and Hammersmith & City lines]. Engineering work means that, from December, there will be no service between London Bridge and St Pancras International from 22.30 to 04.30 on Mondays to Fridays and over most weekends.
* Go-Ahead’s franchises were thought to be most vulnerable to any downturn in commuting. 84% of its rail revenues are dependent on the London commuter market, compared with 34% for Stagecoach, 32% for National Express and 10% for First Group. However, the growth in the company’s bus passengers has remained steady at 2.9% and its passenger train revenues are recording double digit increases. Only Gatwick Express is losing passengers and this is linked with the collapse of transatlantic airline, Zoom.
* Growth on National Express services from Liverpool Street has dropped to 6% for the first 9 months of the year, compared with 9% for the first 6 months. However, on GNER growth is running at 11%. Its coach revenues are up 5%.
* Stagecoach is recording fewer leisure passengers [because of the TWENTY PER CENT GREED TAX introduced on SWT last year?) and is looking at slashing administrative and marketing posts but, overall, profits are booming.
(Evening Standard 23/09/08; 09/10/08; 20/10/08; 23/10/08; 24/10/08 and 25/10/08; Guardian 13/10/08; London Paper 24/10/08; Metro 24/10/08; Modern Railways, November 2008)
Porterbrook, which leases rolling stock to companies including South West Trains and Southern, has been sold to a consortium of Deutsche Bank, Lloyds TSB and BNP Paribas. The Exchequer received £528 million for the company in 1996. Six months later it was sold to Stagecoach for £825 million. Abbey bought the firm in 2000 for £1.4 billion, and it has now reportedly been sold for £2 billion. A parliamentary watchdog considers the Treasury was short-changed by £900 million. (Guardian 28/10/08)
* Extended journey times have started on some London commuter trains and will be imposed until mid-December to allow for leaf-fall. Network Rail says it has cut delays due to autumnal conditions by over 60% during the past two years. (London Lite 10/10/08) [Presumably the extended journey times have played a role in cutting the recorded delays, which hardly seems a big success story!]
* Researchers posed as rail passengers who had found various pieces of lost property with the owners’ details inside. These included a coat with a wallet containing £22. Only stations run by Network Rail or First Great Western bothered to contact the owners. (Metro 23/10/08)
* C2C, which operates trains from Fenchurch Street to Basildon, Tilbury and Southend, is trialling a device to block phone signals in some carriages, to the delight of many passengers.
* Sir Ian McAllister, the Network Rail chief who was knighted for “services to transport” on the day Network Rail was fined a record £14 million for making passengers’ lives a misery over the New Year has announced his resignation. A report from the House of Commons Transport Committee placed much of the blame on him. (Evening Standard 29/09/08)
* The Conservatives would allow train operators to bid against Network Rail for maintenance and engineering work. (Guardian 13/10/08)
* The Government is to allow Network Rail to spend £26.7 billion up to 2014. Network Rail had wanted at least £29.1 billion, but the Office of Rail Regulation considered that £26.5 billion was enough. (Evening Standard 30/10/08) [Hopefully a reduction in bonuses rather than in infrastructure improvements!]
* The National Audit Office has said passengers will endure cattle-truck conditions until 2014 when 1,300 extra carriages and longer platforms are introduced. It argues that train companies could enjoy a “windfall of extra revenue”, highlighting how some fares have risen by 20% [for example, from the STAGECOACH GREED TAX ON SWT]. The NAO does however praise the Department for getting better value for money from franchises by scrapping the SRA [Our Group’s response to the Government’s ‘Big Conversation’ drew attention to how Richard Bowker, SRA Chairman and Chief Executive, was throwing millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money at stabilising Stagecoach]. Edward Leigh MP, Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, says “Travelling by rail is still too often an unpleasant experience. The news that fares are likely to rise above inflation in these difficult times will infuriate many passengers who have no alternative but to travel day after day on packed trains”. The Department for Transport has meanwhile re-defined overcrowding as more than 30 (instead of 10) people standing per every hundred seated. (Guardian 15/10/08; Evening Standard 15/10/08)
(STATION CAR PARKS)
* Despite efforts to reduce road traffic in Winchester, SWT wants to build a multi-million pound car park on land at the city’s rail station by 2010. It would have 3 storeys and provide 384 spaces. (Southern Daily Echo 02/10/08)
[Part of the problem is that people drive to a few stations like Southampton Airport Parkway and Winchester because SWT provides such a poor service at all the others, including places such as Eastleigh and Fareham.]
* Asked if she travelled on the London Underground, government minister Margaret Hodge said she avoided it in the rush hour. She used to use it but it was dreadful. (Metro 05/09/08)
* New rolling stock with air conditioning is to take over services on the Metropolitan, District, Circle, and Hammersmith and City lines between 2010 and 2015. The bulky, roof-mounted air conditioning units cannot be used on deep-level Tube trains. London Underground is scouring geological maps to find untapped water supplies that can be used to cool the hottest stations. (Guardian 26/09/08)
* Plans to change the Circle Line into a Hammersmith-Edgware Road-Aldgate-Edgware Road service are still under active consideration. The intention is to give more trains to Hammersmith (serving the new Westfield shopping complex) and help avoid congestion. (The London Paper 14/10/08).
PRIVATE EYE RESEARCH AND COMMENT
The Prime Minister wants cheaper motoring and threatened to call in the Office of Fair Trading if petrol prices didn’t fall. He apparently doesn’t know or care that many of the poorest people who rely on buses have been clobbered with fares rises this year by firms which mostly have local monopolies. They used this summer’s high oil prices as an excuse to raise fares, but weren’t so quick to cut them now oil has dropped to its lowest price in 14 months. [Issue 1222]
Cross Country has added to the complexity of fares by introducing ticket restrictions in the morning and evening peaks, in addition to a 7% fare increase from January and 3% increase from May. Cross Country day returns are no longer valid between 15.30 and 18.15. This has created a particular problem for passengers on routes served by several operators, because there is no way of telling which company sets the fares for particular journeys. Validity of tickets depends on who is responsible for setting the fare, not who operates the train. This gives the lie to the myth that fares have been simplified. No doubt if a passenger refused to buy a second ticket in these circumstances, the police would haul him off the train, as they did a Virgin Trains passenger who asked a steward to wipe his table. [Issue 1218]
Never mind that franchising inflicts short-term planning on an industry with long investment cycles; that contests for franchises cost taxpayers and passengers millions; or that franchises stifle innovation and produce fat profits in good times and bailouts in hard times. The Department for Transport is far too stubborn to change course.
The Competition Commission found that franchising policy puts up leasing costs for ex-BR trains, and proposed more leeway for franchise bidders to make rolling stock companies less sure that their trains would be leased and cut prices to compete. The Department considered that the companies could respond with an exaggerated risk premium; even the current monopoly arrangements mean that leasing ex-BR trains costs 38% (£100 million a year) more than in a competitive market.
The Commission thought that longer franchises could attract new entrants to the rolling stock leasing market, but the Department responded that long franchises would provide a windfall for train operators – presumably not to be confused with South West Trains’ windfall on their 3-year contract [Comment: which they won after losing a 20-year contract at a time of appalling performance and the collapse of Stagecoach shares].
The Department states that longer franchises do not deliver value for money and may need to be renegotiated, as with South Eastern, Virgin West Coast and Virgin Cross Country – interesting that, when renegotiating the Virgin West Coast franchise, the Department proclaimed that the enormous unplanned subsidy represented a “better value deal for the taxpayer”. In fact, short-term franchises are as shaky as long-term ones. GNER failed financially after 18 months; First Great Western needed remedial action after two years of misery for passengers. The Department says these franchises will deliver big savings. In reality, it’s the passengers who will pay through much higher fares.
The Competition Commission and the Department for Transport have demonstrated that franchises of any length are poor value. Now a complicated new Southern franchise is being prepared, which will last under 6 years. [Issue 1221]
Global capitalism may be teetering but it can still bite. The narrow gauge railway at Sittingbourne paper mill, built in the 1920s, has become the town’s main tourist attraction since volunteers took it over in 1970. It must stop running on Boxing Day because multinational M-real wants to sell the mill to developers. People wanting to save the railway include the local council and parliamentarians but all the buildings and trains must be moved by late January. M-real’s corporate responsibility policy states: “M-real’s units are active members of their local communities. Their local involvement is diverse and includes numerous activities, such as cooperation with schools and universities, decision-makers, politicians and authorities”. [Issue 1222]. [Sounds as sincere as Stagecoach’s ‘Building on Success’ booklet, when it was bidding for its latest franchise term on SWT!]
NATIONAL AUDIT OFFICE
Whilst the NAO recognises that franchises are better value for money since the SRA was abolished, it is surprisingly reluctant to challenge the Department for Transport’s assertions and assumptions. Its biggest failure is in accepting franchises as a fact of life and ignoring growing profit extraction (for example £24 million last year for Richard Branson] and the cost to taxpayers of franchising exercises -£3m to £5m per bidder, which is recouped through fares. [Issue 1222]
Air France has confirmed plans for French utility operator Veolia to run trains between London and Paris. It won’t be the first time that Veolia has run trains through Kent. It was formerly Connex, which even the present Government, so tolerant of poor performance, stripped of two franchises. [Issue 1219]
The most punctual railway is the Tyne and Wear Metro, with 96% of trains running within 3 minutes of advertised times in 2007-08. It even beat Chiltern with 95% of trains running within 5 minutes of time, and Chiltern allows its trains 4-7 minutes longer from Wembley Stadium to Marylebone than it allows in the opposite direction. The Metro is an embarrassment because it remains state-operated and unified. While Network Rail has received huge subsidies and run up a £20 billion debt to renew tracks used by franchisees, Metro infrastructure has been poor for years. The Government has now agreed a £300 million upgrade, but Metro operation must be split from infrastructure and franchised. [Issue 1218]
The Department for Transport has confirmed that “Different standards for train despatch are employed throughout the rail industry”, that there are no common standards for how early train doors are locked, and that “Train operators have shown due diligence in putting up appropriate station publicity”. So while trains are “on time” if they finish their journey 5 or 10 minutes late, passengers are late if they arrive 30 seconds or more early. Making connections can be even more fraught. Passengers can arrive on a train that’s several minutes late only to find that the doors of the connecting service have been locked early. Years ago, connecting trains would usually wait for delayed passengers, but nowadays statistics are much too important for that. [Issue 1219]
ABOUT THE SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS’ GROUP
The Group was founded over 15 years ago by a group of London commuters. It is open to everyone, without formal membership, and now operates principally as an e’mail network. Our vision is the ongoing improvement of rail services on the Hampshire network, within a context in which the interests of rail users are paramount and all passengers are treated with openness, courtesy and respect.
We have links to the Hampshire County Council and Campaign for Better Transport websites, are on the official list of rail user groups, and have enjoyed many positive exchanges of correspondence with MPs, local government officials, and others. During the competition for the latest SWT franchise, all the bidders except Stagecoach contacted us; we were represented at a number of stakeholder events, and National Express mounted an event specifically for our Group. A number of train operating companies continue to maintain friendly contacts with us.
We strongly supported a change of operator on SWT, but the Government decided otherwise, after Stagecoach had published a deceptive prospectus called ‘Building on Success’. An on-line poll conducted by SWT, following the re-franchising process, established that barely one third of respondents thought Stagecoach should have kept the franchise. This was before lower-quality rolling stock was imposed on Weymouth and Portsmouth line commuters, travel centres were destroyed, ticket office opening hours ceased to be honoured, permit to travel machines were ripped out, revenue protection was stepped up with the arrogant proclamation that genuine error would be punished, and SWT’s Passengers Panel was almost exclusively reduced to monologues by Stagecoach director Sir Alan Greengross in the operator’s e-motion magazine.
Memoranda by our Group were published in both the Transport Committee’s reports on passenger rail franchising. Our contribution to the Government’s Big Conversation pointed out that the SRA was handing huge sums of money to Stagecoach yet passengers were often treated abominably. The National Audit Office recently congratulated the Government on getting better value for money from franchises after abolishing the SRA.
We have had many letters and articles published in newspapers and magazines. Recently a letter published in RAIL described why the new SWT timetable between Southampton and Weymouth is a total mess and does not reflect the Service Level Commitment, and highlighted how the since-sacked rail minister Tom Harris was presenting chaos as order. This followed a meeting at which Department of Transport officials had stated that changes to the timetable would probably be up for discussion, but at which they simply tried to argue that the current service is compliant with the SLC, when it clearly isn’t.
One of the features of the new service is the removal of stops by semi-fast trains at Totton, the fourth largest intermediate town between Southampton and Weymouth, which we had successfully campaigned for in the latter days of BR. These trains do however manage to stop instead at places like the remote industrial halt of Holton Heath. Clearly some passengers continue to face an uphill struggle in a hostile and stressful environment and it scarcely seems surprising that such small percentages consider they get value for money from operators like SWT.
As always, thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to contact us. Without your support and input, this newsletter would not be possible.
Address for correspondence: Denis Fryer, 19 Fontwell Close, Calmore, Southampton, SO40 2TN. Hogrider is produced in good faith, based on reports and information from many individuals and sources including information identified from press and website research. Contributions are always welcome. We aim for accuracy at all times, because our good reputation depends on it. We do not use material which could be offensive or which appears unlikely to be correct.