HOGRIDER NO 122 : FEBRUARY–APRIL 2009
SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS' GROUP NEWSLETTER
SPECTACULAR NON-COMPLIANCE BY STAGECOACH
2,200 MILES ON 40 TRAINS, AND LORD ADONIS’ ‘LOW POINT’ IS AT STAGECOACH-MANAGED SOUTHAMPTON CENTRAL
THEN AND NOW: PASSENGERS TO SUFFER AGAIN AS STAGECOACH BECOMES A FULLY PAID UP MEMBER OF THE HINDSIGHT CLUB?
LETTER TO ‘RAIL’ : WHAT WE WROTE AND WHAT THEY PUBLISHED
PASSENGER DISSERVICE, STAGECOACH FASHION
TIRED OF STAGECOACH – SWT WEBCHAT SHOWS HUGE PASSENGER DISCONTENT
CRISIS OF PASSENGER CONFIDENCE IN SWT DESPITE HEADLINE ‘SATISFACTION’ FIGURES
MORE PROBLEMS WITH VIRGIN-STAGECOACH WEST COAST SERVICE
RITUAL ABUSE AND HUMILIATION – 5
NEW TIMETABLE FROM 17 MAY 2009
BIAS BEYOND BELIEF
FIRST GREAT WESTERN STAKEHOLDER CONFERENCE @ BRISTOL 4/3/2009
PASSENGERFOCUS ANNUAL CONFERENCE - BRITISH LIBRARY 22/4/2009
BEATING SWT’S EXTORTION: BARGAINS FROM OTHER OPERATORS
TOTTON-HYTHE-FAWLEY RAILWAY LINE
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
SPECTACULAR NON-COMPLIANCE BY STAGECOACH
Company failing to comply with ticket office hours on South West Trains, yet is bidding for the Southern franchise where extended opening hours are required. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the position at Totton, as below, is typical across SWT.
REQUIRED OPENING HOURS AT TOTTON
(4th LARGEST TOWN BETWEEN SOUTHAMPTON AND WEYMOUTH)
05.50-12.45 Mondays-Fridays until 31 March 2009 / 05.40-10.00 Mondays-Fridays from 1 April 2009, after hours reduced through purported low sales, which are also the excuse for the atrocious off-peak timetable. Sales do tend to fall when outlets are shut!
|MONDAYS TO FRIDAYS||TIME CHECKED||OPEN/CLOSED|
Earlier this year, the Department for Transport rejected 80% of SWT’s proposals for shorter ticket office opening hours, and called on the company to review its penalty fares scheme where opening hours are reduced [Railnews 02/09]. In addition, Lord Adonis expected Stagecoach “fully and consistently” to staff stations according to his ruling [Evening Standard 13/01/09]. The position at Totton shows Stagecoach treating the Minister with the same contempt which its passengers have borne for years. SWT was not operating anything like the new, shorter, opening hours even before they were introduced, and is still not operating them. So Ministers can say what they like, but greed-driven Stagecoach will take no notice. Since SWT is to dispose of hundreds of its staff, it is clear the position can only get worse.
Totton is everything that a station shouldn’t be. Shards of wood drop from the rotten station boarding and settle next to the rat-trap. On Wednesday, 29 April, a poster at the station still referred to the previous weekend’s engineering works. And with such rare staffing, the cycle racks are prominently signposted as a cycle crime hotspot.
Across the system, SWT is notionally cutting opening times by 219 hours a week, thought its odd to talk of cutting services which aren’t provided in the first place. Among the affected stations are Chessington South, Wandsworth Town, Barnes, Hampton and St Margaret’s, prompting fresh fears over safety. Shadow Minister for London, Justine Greening, says the plans will inconvenience thousands of Londoners who use these stations every day [Evening Standard 20/2/09].
Even the Southampton station manager doesn’t agree with the lousy treatment of Totton, and recently told one commuter that St Denys and Swaythling had longer opening hours but Totton produced more revenue than both of them put together.
Following the destruction of Southampton Central’s Travel Centre (in succession to the city’s bus station) through Stagecoach greed, a comic poster has appeared on the station stating that not all queues are as much fun as the one depicted, and passengers should get their tickets from the machines or on-line. This means, of course, that they cannot ask about the cheapest fares and may well go for the dearest in view of the omnipresent threats of penalty fares. We have even heard of a station booking clerk refusing to sell a Southern ticket to Victoria, presumably because such tickets are much cheaper after the morning peak than SWT’s tickets to Waterloo, which were increased by the 20% Stagecoach greed tax last year.
Passenger Focus wants sample popular fares displayed at stations. Where applicable, the fares of competing companies should be shown – after all, privatisation was supposed to bring all the advantages of competition.
Relevant comments from Private Eye, issue 1234
Encouraging passengers to overcharge themselves could help train firms beat the recession. Companies that are keen to cut ticket-office staff to save money say passengers can use ticket vending machines instead. But machines don’t provide the full range of fares or tell passengers how to cut costs with a railcard. They also don’t allow passengers to book from A to B and from B to C where this is cheaper than buying one ticket from A to C. Last year a passenger asked South West Trains to publish a tutorial leaflet to help people use its vending machines. SWT said it was testing such a leaflet but “The difficulty is deciding how much information to give, as we could end up with a book rather than a leaflet”. If it would take a book to explain how to use a machine, mistakes are inevitable. Yet a SWT leaflet warns passengers, “Some people make costly mistakes about ticket types when they travel on our trains. Having an invalid ticket counts as having no ticket at all.” British Rail used to levy an ‘excess’ for underpayment, but today the correct fare may be demanded in full with train firms pocketing the amount already paid, effectively as a fine. Train firms also squeeze more cash from passengers by misleading them about the time of day at which tickets are valid. Many journeys can be made at peak times using price-regulated tickets, formerly known as “Saver” and “Cheap Day”, which were cunningly renamed “Off-peak” in last year’s fares simplification. Many people will be fooled by the “off-peak” name and needlessly buy dearer unregulated “anytime” tickets. If the ticket office is shut, or the lone clerk is a long queue away, buying “anytime” tickets at the vending machine is the safest (but more expensive) way to avoid the risk of being treated as a petty fraudster.
2,200 MILES ON 40 TRAINS, AND LORD ADONIS’ ‘LOW POINT’ IS AT STAGECOACH-MANAGED SOUTHAMPTON CENTRAL
Following his week-long, standard class, 2,200 mile around Britain on 40 trains, Lord Adonis singled out Southampton Central for criticism. He arrived at 8pm to find no refreshment outlet open on a station used by 5.5 million passengers a year. Writing in Parliament’s in-house journal, he described the experience as the “low point of the week”. He also used the passenger helpline with another complaint, and got no answer despite hanging on for several minutes. SWT responded that the catering outlets were not their responsibility (showing, of course, how little they care about the overall transport package that their passengers experience). [Southern Daily Echo 28/4/09]
THEN AND NOW: PASSENGERS TO SUFFER AGAIN AS STAGECOACH BECOMES A FULLY PAID-UP MEMBER OF THE HINDSIGHT CLUB?
Remember how passengers suffered in 1997, after Stagecoach won the first SWT franchise and almost 200 staff were cut to maximize revenue? Director Brian Cox sneered at those who complained as “fully paid-up members of the Hindsight Club”, and Chairman Brian Souter whinged about people having nothing better to do than write letters of complaint. However, those cuts were insignificant compared with the 820 posts which Stagecoach now proposes to axe on a railway where it is stripping assets to the bone. It seems inevitable that, as director Sir Alan Greengross hinted in the final edition of SWT’s e-motion magazine, SWT no longer intends to provide a public service.
* “Awarding the franchise to Stagecoach was really taking the fight to the enemy --- It was the most aggressive decision we could take, and if we had tried to dress privatisation in its most acceptable form, it would have been better to award it to almost anyone else.” [Steve Norris, quoted in “Stagecoach” by Christian Woolmar]
* “Stagecoach got the best deal for a franchise. In league tables of the profitability of the franchises, compiled by industry insiders, SWT is always at or near the top.” [“Stagecoach” by Christian Woolmar]
* “It is particularly ironic that privatisation, which began with rhetoric on competition, has ended up with the first franchise going to a ruthlessly anticompetitive company.” [Brian Wilson MP, quoted in “Stagecoach” by Christian Woolmar]
* “When we buy a business, we look at management structure, then administration, then engineering staff, and the last one we look at is the traffic. --- Once we have rationalised the network, we know exactly whether we are making money or losing it.” [Barry Hinkley, former Stagecoach Director, quoted in “Stagecoach” by Christian Woolmar]
* “SWT, now run by the Stagecoach bus company, has begun its search for economies by cutting 125 middle management staff.” [Modern Railways, April 1996]
* “Thousands of commuters today faced delays and train cancellations as the decision to axe 71 drivers by one of the first rail companies to be privatised turned into a fiasco." [Evening Standard 17/2/1997]
* “We are going to be an hour, perhaps an hour and a half, late for work but there is not much I can do about it.” [Commuter Brian Church, quoted in the Evening Standard 17/2/1997]
* “People have been ringing us feeling very confused and insecure. They still don’t know what’s going on.” [Mike Hewitson, Secretary of the RUCC for Southern England, quoted in the Southern Daily Echo of 18/2/1997]
* “After a few days of cutting services in a random way, which meant some much-used Portsmouth-Salisbury trains had been cancelled, prompting a host of complaints, Cox went to the franchising director, John O’Brien, to get his blessing for a programme of planned cancellations. They agreed a plan by which SWT cut 39 trains per day, 2.6% of its 1,500 daily total, in addition to the 1% or so unplanned cancellations that result from route mishaps such as sick drivers or breakdowns. John Watts, the Transport Minister, could hardly contain his anger, calling Stagecoach’s management ‘inept’.” [“Stagecoach” by Christian Woolmar]
* “It has not taken long for rail privatisation to come off the track. Barely a year after being handed a £54 million subsidy to run South West Trains, Stagecoach is cancelling 39 trains per day and receiving no more than a light tap on the wrist from the regulator’.” [Daily Telegraph, quoted in “Stagecoach” by Christian Woolmar]
* “South West Trains have broken their privatisation pledges, leaving passengers cheated of the travel information and rail services they were promised a year ago.” [Andrew Smith, Labour Party’s transport chief, quoted in the Evening Standard 17/2/1997]
* “We cannot be held to ransom over the needs of the present and the future by any company that fails to perform along the franchise grounds to which it signed up. The growing disenchantment of the operation of the franchise has only been added to by poor management and other decisions.” [Councillor Mike Roberts, quoted in the Hampshire Chronicle of 21/2/97]
* “We have the misfortune to live in the part of the country served by the worst single example of rail privatisation – South West Trains. Anybody who has travelled on the service recently will know that the whole system is in chaos, added to by South West Trains’ recent decision to scrap more than 190 of its services in a week. The problem arises through treating a public service as if it were just another marketing exercise.” [Alan Whitehead, then prospective Labour Parliamentary candidate for Southampton Test, quoted in the Southern Daily Echo, 8/3/97]
* “SWT have until the end of April to convince me they are operating a proper service and will continue to do so. Otherwise they face a fine of a million pounds with the possibility of further sanctions, including franchise termination.” [Franchising Director, John O’Brien, quoted in “Stagecoach” by Christian Woolmar]
* “A total of 28,000 complaints were lodged by passengers last year against the privatised South West Trains. That is more than 500 complaints a week and does not include the massive travel chaos in February and March this year after the company got rid of too many drivers to save cash and did not have enough left to run all the trains.” [Evening Standard, 24/4/1997]
* “We in the Conservative party were very happy at the way rail privatisation was going – new investment, new ideas, new services. --- SWT instantly unwound all that. It was so obviously a grave error of judgement, so obviously to the disadvantage of passengers, and so clearly an act committed by a private company. It left a bad taste instantly in people’s mouths about SWT. Even now, the intelligent non-transport buff will remember SWT and it will take years to get SWT out of the political lexicon.” [Steve Norris, quoted in “Stagecoach” by Christian Woolmar]
* “Souter poured petrol on the fire by suggesting that some of his customers had nothing better to do than to write letters of complaint in office time and wondered whether their bosses knew they were doing this. --- Cox did not help by saying that ‘critics were fully paid-up members of the hindsight club.” [“Stagecoach” by Christian Woolmar]
* Stagecoach grossly overbid to retain the SWT franchise, and was reportedly way ahead of the next nearest bidder. SWT had long been the company’s cash cow and the bid was clearly predicated on sharply rising revenue, for example through massive fare increases and a savage penalty fares regime. However, Stagecoach itself may now become a fully-paid up member of the Hindsight Club. We understand that hundreds of SWT commuters are surrendering their season tickets and hundreds more are downgrading from first to standard class. Stagecoach may have cause to regret increasing season ticket prices by the maximum amount allowed, raising the surcharge on first class seasons from 50% to 80%, and introducing a 20% greed tax on off-peak returns to London, not to mention its staggering increases in car parking charges.
* SWT is now arguing with DfT over the date that revenue cushioning will start under the terms of the franchise agreement, and is taking legal advice (The Government funds up to 80% of losses on a franchise if an operator misses its revenue targets). Cushioning starts in February 2011, but Stagecoach considers that it should start from April 2010, and that its rail division will otherwise suffer a significant operating loss in 2010-11. [Observer 19/4/09; Guardian 29/4/09]. SWT even wants its extortionate car parking charges to be excluded in calculating its revenue [Southern Daily Echo 29/4/09]. So much for the argument that the private train operators deserve big rewards because of the financial risks they take!
* In addition, Transport Minister Lord Adonis, has confirmed that train operators will be forced to apply the normal formula [July RPI + 1%] to next January’s regulated fare increases, including on season tickets. The RPI is forecast to be minus 2.1%, so fares would FALL by 1.1%. In addition both Geoff Hoon and Lord Adonis are adamant that there will be no bail-out of failing train operators. [Evening Standard 25/2/09; City AM 21/4/09; Passenger Focus Conference]
Stagecoach will no doubt follow its usual policy of massive price hikes on unregulated fares - it is already doing so on East Midlands - but, in a recession, may price itself out of the market. Meanwhile, rail chiefs were called before the Transport Select Committee as they faced a barrage of criticism for introducing inflation-busting fare increases from January this year. Gerry Docherty, leader of the TSSA union, called on the Committee to scrap the annual fare rises formula. He said, “These fare rises were unjustified during the boom. They are a blatant insult to passengers during the bust”. [Guardian 2/2/09 and 5/2/09; Evening Standard 5/2/09]
* Revenue is in sharp decline too on Virgin Trains, in which Stagecoach has a 49% interest. Virgin blames this on a year of serious disruption during route upgrade [Evening Standard 16/3/09], yet it has given passengers only 15% of its £358m compensation. [Guardian 9/4/09]
* Already Stagecoach has disposed of Ian Dobbs, head of its rail business. Brian Souter will take personal control of SWT, and Stagecoach finance director Mark Griffiths will take control of the East Midlands franchise, where Stagecoach was supposed to provide an hourly service at the new £17 million Corby station from December. At the end of February, it finally managed to introduce one train a day to and from the station. [Guardian 20/2; Metro 24/2/09]
* Revenue trends on the East Midlands franchise are healthier, but that should be little surprise as East Midlands people start to suffer Stagecoach treatment: “A fire at Luton delayed my 9.25pm from St Pancras to Nottingham on Monday until 3am – though there was no announcement of what the problem was until after midnight. Then this supposedly fast service stopped at every station until at Trent Bridge it was announced it would go directly to Derby. East Midlands offered travel vouchers as compensation after the event but no coaches or hotel accommodation to beleaguered passengers on the night. Dominic” [Evening Standard 29/4/09]
* It’s not long ago that Stagecoach was happy to dispose of its London bus operations and concentrate on milking its rail franchises. Now it seems desperate to diversify, with Eastbourne Buses, Preston Buses, and 50% control of CitySightsNY added to its portfolio.
* Joe Thomas, transport analyst at Investec Securities, considers that the rail industry faces a “potentially protracted period of large-scale losses”, and that rail passenger volumes are unlikely to regain their previous strength even after the recession ends. Under the DfT’s terms, if a franchisee defaults on one franchise, it must default on them all – which means junking profitable and unprofitable lines alike, and effectively forfeiting the right to participate in future franchise rounds. A bailout of train operators is likely to be politically unacceptable.
In addition, when a train operator wins a franchise, it lodges cash with the Government: a performance bond to cover the risk of withdrawal, and a season-ticket bond to safeguard the prepaid cash of its passengers. These can be substantial: about £158 million in the case of National Express, which is already struggling with borrowings of over £1 billion and has to re-finance £540 million of that total next year. On the basis of the sector’s existing indebtedness, Mr Thomas calculates that only Stagecoach and Go-Ahead could afford to quit. The other three would breach, or come close to breaching, their banking covenants [The Times Online 14/02/09; Evening Standard 24/2/09]. (Unlike Stagecoach’s Brian Souter, Go Ahead’s Keith Ludeman is fairly relaxed about the recession [Evening Standard 19/9/09] and Stagecoach seems the more likely to go.)
* A decade has passed since the then Monopolies and Mergers Commission condemned Stagecoach’s actions against other bus operators as “deplorable, predatory and against the public interest”. The evidence from Preston seems to confirm that little has changed. The Preston Bus Company was effectively undermined by Stagecoach’s tactics against it. Once Stagecoach took over, services were cut, staff whose jobs had been protected have reportedly been given no work in order to force them into voluntary redundancy, and Preston rues the day. For all the evidence, go to the Lancashire Evening Post website (www.lep.co.uk) and enter “Stagecoach” in the search box. There’s even a video of apparent cowboy tactics.
* The Eastbourne Herald reports that, in its area, Stagecoach has taken over both Eastbourne Buses and Cavendish Buses (in line with its anti-competitive ethos). Stagecoach then announced that all 65 jobs would go at Cavendish and there would be just 23 driver posts available at Eastbourne Buses. One driver told the Herald, "All the rumours were denied and then Stagecoach took over. There was no consultation with us, nothing at all. We have been treated appallingly. No-one wants to speak out and put their neck on the block because then we won't be looked on favourably by Stagecoach when it comes to getting another job. Everyone here is worried. There are people with mortgages and families and the future is so uncertain.”
* Eastbourne MP Nigel Waterson said he was appalled and Tory leader on Eastbourne Borough Council David Elkin added, "My concern now is the impact that a monopoly bus operator may have in the town.”
* Richard Madge from Bexhill Rail Action group said, "The winner of the Southern Rail franchise will be announced this summer and take over operations in September. Were Stagecoach to win, it would have an absolute monopoly over all public transport in the area. Surely this cannot be in the interests of passengers."
LETTER TO ‘RAIL’ : WHAT WE WROTE AND WHAT THEY PUBLISHED
What we wrote
“It’s hardly surprising that the DfT is reluctant to renegotiate franchises.
Take SWT. Financial analysts have consistently considered this to be Stagecoach’s big earner, and the company’s two founders have received hundreds of millions in bonuses.
It was no surprise, therefore, that Stagecoach’s bid to retain the franchise was reportedly far in excess of its rivals’ bids. These other companies were presumably more realistic, yet expended huge amounts of effort, and no doubt money, on fruitless exercises. If Stagecoach were now to win concessions, that would make a mockery of franchise competitions.
And what of public opinion? The excessive Stagecoach bid was clearly predicated on poorer value for passengers. The comfortable Wessex Electrics have been replaced by hard-seated Desiros; Portsmouth commuters are now crammed into suburban stock; first class season tickets, off-peak fares to London and car parking charges have soared; and travel centres have been destroyed. SWT’s ‘webchat’ transcripts confirm that passengers who lose their seasons are interviewed under caution, and those whose valid seasons won’t operate ticket gates are threatened with penalty fares.
Substantial centres such as Eastleigh and Totton have worse London services than the service level commitment specified. At Totton, SWT has been given leave to reduce the ticket office hours from April, but that’s meaningless. Checks confirm that, if the shorter hours had been in effect during February, the company would still have been non-compliant on at least 16 days out of 20.
If franchising stays, failures by operators such as SWT should mean re-franchising.”
Version published in Issue 615
“Farcical franchising – Stagecoach’s bid to retain the SWT franchise was clearly predicted [sic] on poorer value for passengers. It’s not right that other companies were more realistic, yet had to expend huge amounts of money on a fruitless exercise.”
Railway journalist Alan Williams’ similar views
“The rules for franchise holders are simple enough. As we are constantly warned with all investments, the value can go down as well as up. In the good times you and your shareholders benefit. When things turn down you don’t. And if things really turn bad, don’t expect anyone to bail you out. I believe it is called risk. Any sensible and responsible franchise bidder should have factored this possibility into its calculations. Not to have done so is surely as incompetent and culpable as the now disgraced banks ... SWT has cut 630 jobs, well over 10% of its total workforce … so either SWT was grossly overstaffed before, which seems unlikely, or Stagecoach boss and major shareholder Brian Souter, who has already made Chairman Ian Dobbs redundant, is running it all himself on a shoestring … If so, how long before the gaps begin to show?” – Modern Railways, April 2009]
PASSENGER DISSERVICE, STAGECOACH FASHION
Difficulty obtaining tickets
* Brockenhurst is almost certainly the only small village in England with about 10 train departures an hour. However, during booking office refurbishment from 9/2/09 to 15/2/09 inclusive, a notice was posted saying passengers should get their tickets from the machines, and no advance tickets could be purchased. Extra revenue protection staff would be in attendance!
* One passenger wanted to renew a monthly season at Brockenhurst and rang SWT beforehand to make sure that a company cheque would be OK. He was assured it would be fine. He then found the booking office closed and the guard on his train could neither accept the cheque nor issue a monthly. He was then made to buy an ordinary ticket on the train and had to get his monthly at Waterloo. However, Waterloo refused to refund the amount of the ticket which he had bought on the train, and SWT kept him waiting a month for the refund.
(Interestingly, Hampshire County Council’s ‘Community Transport’ magazine shows almost 1.2 million passengers a year at Brockenhurst, compared with almost 1.4 million at Southampton Airport Parkway. This seems unlikely and may simply reflect the increasing number of people who are forced to change trains at Brockenhurst because of poor scheduling.)
Difficulty accessing trains
* A passenger who complained at Southampton Central that the connection to Totton out of the 16.05 from Waterloo had not been held was told there were never any complaints about this (LIE OF THE YEAR?). A few days later he complained to the duty manager when the connection was again not held, and was told they don’t take complaints. The next time he complained about the doors of the connection being slammed shut just as he raced to catch it, the member of platform staff responsible said he was just following instructions. The station manager then said platform staff had been told to hold the connection when the train from London arrived before its departure time. However, the member of platform staff then gave the same response to the duty manager as he had to the passenger. Is Southampton Central being run by a bunch of clowns? And what will Stagecoach management be like after hundreds more jobs are shed!
* When the same passenger used the Help Point at Totton to ask for the 05.45 from Poole to stop at Totton, because the 06.12 was cancelled, he was told this would be done (in accordance with the standing arrangements which SWT had put in writing and confirmed to DfT). The train then ran through the station non-stop, so waiting passengers wasted 30 minutes. When he complained in writing to SWT, he was told there was no record of his call, and the writer hoped he had more luck when he travelled again!
Difficulty accessing stations
* The footbridge just to the east of Southampton Central station is a busy thoroughfare but Network Rail has closed it for five months for repairs. This means a huge detour unless people can use the station footbridge, but Stagecoach is robustly refusing to do anything to help Southampton people, despite having deprived them of their bus station and travel centre through sheer greed.
* Note these letters:
1. “The footbridge close to Southampton rail station has been closed for nearly a week, presumably for repairs. So far scaffolding has been erected, and I’m wondering how long this closure will last. I use this footbridge frequently, but was not unduly concerned at the temporary closure as I know it’s possible to be given a platform ticket to use the station footbridge. On Saturday afternoon we returned home from Town Quay via the free bus to the south side of the station. I asked if we could use the station footbridge and was told we could not. Four pensioners were then faced with either walking nearly an extra mile to cross via one of the road bridges, or taking a taxi. I don’t consider either of these to be reasonable alternatives. – VAL PLATTEN, Southampton.” [Southern Daily Echo of 23/02/09]
2. “I was at Southampton Central the other day to meet a senior citizen off a Cross-Country service but found notice boards outside the barriers, endorsed by the station manager, to the effect that only ticket holders can access platforms, and that all platform tickets have been withdrawn. Therefore, the only way is to buy a return ticket to the nearest station, Millbrook, which is absurd. DAVID MEAD, Southern Counties Railway Society”. [Railway Magazine 04/09]
[Letter in the London Paper of 21/4/09] “There are always armies of ticket collectors and inspectors (often backed up by police) ganging up at commuter time. Why are they never there when the fare-dodgers, the barrier jumpers and the objectionable go through the gates? Sometimes the gates are even left open to help them. VANESSA, Twickenham”
Stagecoach’s East Midlands franchise is run on similarly inhuman lines:
3. “I recently had to meet my partner at Leicester station. I had not been there for some time so I arrived early to spend a little time on the platform watching train movements. I noticed that automatic barriers had been fitted but there was an open section covered by a ticket collector. As I approached him, I was greeted by “Where do you think you’re going?” I explained that I was meeting my partner off the Cambridge train, to which he replied, “Is she a cripple?” I was taken aback by this and asked what he meant by such a comment. His reply was, “Unless she is crippled and incapable of carrying her own bags, you cannot go on.” I was totally gobsmacked, but, keeping my cool, I asked what would happen if I wanted to photograph the trains. Where would I get permission? His harsh reply was: “The company does not want those sort of people on its stations.” I can understand security measures but this is getting to the point of madness. Whatever happened to good customer service? J E Hill email” [Railway Magazine 04/09]
4. “Barriers and ‘platform passes’ have been the norm for some time at Lincoln and have often been the cause of bad feeling. However, members of Lincoln Railway Society are admitted through a special arrangement with the station manager on production of their membership card – but even then it depends who’s on the gate. When A4s 60007 and 60019 visited the city a few months ago, I was allowed in with my LRS membership card, but my partner behind me was firmly denied access! The resulting impasse was only resolved with the intervention of the station manager himself. The Lincoln Christmas Market railtours regularly attract large numbers of enthusiasts and, to get around the ban, several opted to pay £1.80 on a day return to Hykeham. This shows that most of us would be prepared to pay 50p or £1 for a platform ticket, which would increase revenue tor the TOC [Train Operating Company]. JIM SPARKS, Market Rasen, Lincs” [Railway Magazine 04/09]
5. “I was at Sheffield, invited by East Midlands Trains, to cover the ‘twinning’ of a class 222 ‘Meridian’ DMU with the new Tornado steam locomotive. We had been told by EMT host Debbie Mather to move to Platform 6 to take photographs – but a very unpleasant EMT ‘jobsworth’ had other ideas. I was with regular RAIL photo-contributor Ron Cover – and he was prevented from doing his job as well. Two photographers were already on the platform doing what we had been told to do. “You still need a pass,” our ‘jobsworth’ grunted. “But I was told to come here by your company’s press officer,” I pointed out. “Don’t care – you still need a pass.” You couldn’t make it up!”
(This is largely a Stagecoach-specific problem)
6. “… The notion that ‘meeters and greeters’ will not be allowed onto the platforms is not unusual when automatic ticket gates are proposed at a station. But in my experience, operators allow gateline staff discretion in this area: it is all too easy for a company to get a bad press if they do otherwise. Keith Parsons – by e-mail.” [Modern Railways, April 2009]
7. “National Express has denied the TSSA trade union’s claim that rail enthusiasts will not be allowed on the platforms of the stations it manages along the East Coast Main Line. A spokesman told RAIL: “Platform passes will be issued to people wishing to go onto the platforms but who aren’t travelling. We welcome enthusiasts to all of our stations and they will receive a platform pass free of charge from station staff.” [RAIL 614]
(Poor provision for disabled people on SWT)
* An item on BBC TV South news on 9/3/09 revealed that only one station in five on SWT is fully accessible to wheelchair users. A Liphook resident had to travel to Portsmouth via Guildford - a 40 minute detour in the wrong direction, whilst at Brockenhurst he had to use the level crossing alongside heavy road traffic. All of which makes one wonder exactly what purpose, apart from providing a cheap PR stunt, was served by the recent event at Woking purportedly aimed at giving disabled people confidence to travel by rail.]
* “Well, we certainly didn’t need a report, from the Government’s watchdog Passenger Focus, to tell us how much we are being ripped off by the train companies, though at last here’s official confirmation that we have the highest fares and the worst overcrowding in Europe. I have to use South West Trains on a daily basis for work and I cannot think of any company I would like to give my money to less. Tania, London” [London Lite 20/2/09]
* “We are told to use public transport to relieve road congestion and, to this effect, I often take the train from Southampton Airport Parkway, being a mainline station. Despite the fact that there is a huge, often empty car park at weekends, South West Trains are now charging £5 per day to park. My complaint was responded to today saying that rail customers were unable to take advantage of station parking because people working locally were using them and that, as was being found at Southampton Airport Parkway, sports fans using the playing fields nearby were using the facilities, as well as weekend travelers using the airport. Absolute rubbish. On my return journey recently, having been away for the weekend and forking out £10 in parking charges, there were 11 cars in the car park. I have never seen this car park more than one third full on a weekend at the very most. Surely rail users should be given priority parking and actively encouraged to use our train services. PAT NASH, Eastleigh.” [Southern Daily Echo, 19/2/09]
* “South West Trains are using Parkway as a cash-cow: high parking charges and high train fares. I would suggest people in Eastleigh switch to Eastleigh station – an annual car park ticket is nearly half that of Parkway, a saving of nearly £600 – the train fare to London is also cheaper. The train from Eastleigh takes a bit longer but if more people used Eastleigh the service would improve. Name and address supplied.” [Southern Daily Echo 20/2/09]
(The service to Eastleigh is only slower because Tom Harris allowed Stagecoach to ignore the franchise’s Service Level Commitment, which clearly specified that one Waterloo-Weymouth train per hour should serve Eastleigh.)
* “I received a £20 fine one evening last week for forgetting to buy the requisite ticket extension on my zone 1 and 2 travelcard from an extremely rude rail company employee who accused me of having criminal intent. In a week when buses were suspended, Tube services collapsed and it took me six hours to do a commute that should have taken me a third of that time, can I fine TfL and the rail operators £20 for their mistakes and treat them like criminals? Oliver, Putney”. [Evening Standard 10/2/09]
* “Having not realized my Oyster card would be invalid for the final part of my journey from Camden Road, I bought a “cheap” day return for the five-minute train ride from Richmond to Twickenham for £3.10. For journeys to stations such as Twickenham, a top destination for sports fans, the travel experience from other parts of London should be made as straightforward as possible. Lester May, NW1” [Evening Standard 28/4/09]
TIRED OF STAGECOACH – SWT WEBCHAT SHOWS HUGE PASSENGER DISCONTENT
Following the recent upgrade of the barriers at Portsmouth & Southsea station, my annual Gold Card failed to operate the gates. Naturally I approached one of your barrier staff asking I be allowed through as my ticket had failed only to be informed that I had "three days to replace it otherwise you will be charged for a replacement and a penalty fares for every day you don't". When I mentioned this to one of your employees at Swanwick, they confirmed that barrier staff at Southampton Central had been saying the same thing to passengers so this cannot be an isolated "idiot" at Portsmouth & Southsea but clearly a directive from management somewhere. Perhaps you can explain to me how a VALID ticket, issued by YOUR company that fails to work YOUR barriers can be my fault? It would be interesting to see how that would stand up in court should you attempt to prosecute me for "fare dodging" as your ticket barrier staff clearly think this is. Name withheld, 16 February 2009 10:44
Answer [Let’s try and blame the passenger instead of answering the question]
The recent upgrade of the barriers at Portsmouth & Southsea and Southampton Central has seen the introduction of automated wide aisle gates, which require a valid ticket to open them. Whilst we will be retaining staff on the barriers we are encouraging them to position themselves away from the side gate to reduce 'bottlenecks', reduce the risk of assault, and be more available to help with customer enquiries. As a result we require all customers to have a valid ticket which operates the barriers. We have asked our revenue staff to advise passengers with problem tickets to go to the ticket office as soon possible and get a free replacement. It is in everyone's interest that the flow of passengers through the gates is as smooth as possible. I am sorry if you felt you were dealt with inappropriately. The tickets can sometimes fail if they are stored close to mobile telephones, MP3 players and other such items, so we advise customers to keep them away from these items (they interfere with the magnetic strip on the rear of the ticket). By having a valid operational ticket we are confident you will find using the barriers more hassle-free and it will also enable our barrier staff to deliver better customer service.
Re: Question 5. You did not answer the question. The comment was about how your company can possibly claim the customer is at fault for a ticket issued by you that will not operate one of your barriers. The Gold Card in question was stored in its protective wallet, well away from any electrical or magnetic devices (as you suggest). The problem here is clearly a management directive to gate staff to bully customers who have faulty cards. I did replace my card - it took 45 minutes and caused a major queue at the ticket office at Portsmouth & Southsea (which incidentally only had one window open at the time). You have my email address - by all means contact me directly and we'll discuss your company’s attitude further. Name withheld, 17 February 2009 15:10
Answer [You spotted our cunning ruse]
Thank you for your comments, I will arrange for a member of my customer relations team to contact you to discuss resolution of this issue.
I contacted your customer service team (via the website Contact Form) about an issue but got no response to it or two subsequent reminders (although they were all acknowledged). I then wrote on 01/12/08 and eventually got a reply but it was badly written in bad English and did not properly address the issue. Why was all this allowed to happen – are customer complaints and responses (or lack of them) not monitored? Name withheld, 16 February 2009 12:43
Answer [Infuriating standard line will do for this one]
It is disappointing to hear of the level of service you have received from our Customer Service team. I will pass on your contact details to the Customer Services manager, who will look into this on your behalf.
During the recent cold weather the waiting room on platforms 7/8 at Wimbledon were closed 'Because of Vandalism. By order of the station manager'. Passengers had to wait outside in the cold. And it was very cold all week. The waiting room has now reopened in exactly the same state as before its closure, and indeed the same state as it was when the closure was in operation (it has windows so the freezing fare-payers could see into their banned place of shelter). No vandalism was apparent to this observer - nor to many others who vented their spleen in messages to the Station Manager. Was the closure purely an act of spite, a joke at our expense, or a retreat into BR days of customer care - 'treat the b....s like s..t because they are a captive audience'? Steve Jones, 16 February 2009 16:59
Answer [Let’s ignore the dishonest notice]
I believe you have spoken to the Station Manager about this who advises me the fault was with the waiting room door handle. This has now been rectified and I apologise that the facility was not available for you during this time.
Can I thank SWT for providing Eastleigh with a heated ticket hall during the recent very cold weather. And again thank you for running the electric fan heaters 24hrs a day to keep us warm. However all is in vain as the doors to the street for the second year running are permanently open letting the warmth out and the arctic blast in. Eastleigh booking hall is freezing - how much money has SWT wasted running these fan heaters for the past 2 years with the doors either locked or stuck open? More to the point how much CO2 has SWT created trying to heat the town of Eastleigh for the past 2 years? Name withheld, 16 February 2009 17:36
Answer [Too long-term a failure to argue, so anodyne confession]
I understand that this intermittent fault on the doors has been an issue for some time and the doors have been locked open. I have an engineer investigating this issue on Thursday.
Is there a chance you could check your rail replacement bus drivers know where they are supposed to go? The Sunday afternoon mystery tour began at about 4.10 pm (15/2/09) at Epsom. The bus was already late when it turned right instead of left out of the station and a scenic tour of Epsom followed which included sight of the out of town shopping centre. The result of this was the bus arrived at Ewell West a few minutes after the "connecting" train to Waterloo had departed. Spending twenty five minutes on the platform at Ewell West waiting for the next train is not my idea of fun. All previous mystery tours I have been on have featured a stop at a country pub which was sadly lacking on your tour. Perhaps this could be added to future tours as having a quick drink and a packet of crisps in the warm would be preferable to spending twenty five minutes on a cold platform! Name withheld, 16 February 2009 18:09
Answer [We’ll imply we care about connections and use vague words like: often..usually..likely]
I am sorry to hear your journey on Sunday 15 February was delayed due to the replacement bus taking a route which may not have been the most direct and as a result you missed your connecting train. When we provide replacement buses for train services which are disrupted due to engineering works, the bus companies often do test runs and provide their drivers with a detailed routemap. This usually includes details of routes that are most suitable for the type of vehicle and the conditions they are likely to encounter ie to avoid low bridges and known road works etc. We are currently investigating this incident with the bus company to ascertain how this occurred.
Southern offer a Daysave which offers unlimited off-preak travel across its network for £10. Have South West Trains considered doing anything similar? I am aware you offer advance fares and megatrain already. Dan Smith, 16 February 2009 19:57
Answer [Not compatible with our higher fares and 20 per cent greed tax on off-peak day returns]
Our network is significantly larger than Southern's and we could not offer such a product at a competitive price without undermining the revenue that we secure at off-peak times. Some Rover products are available covering limited areas of our network.
Good afternoon. As a regular traveller in the Poole and Bournemouth area, I have to say that I find the service intervals and stopping patterns somewhat erratic. For instance, we have two trains that leave Branksome for Bournemouth in 9 minutes, followed by a 51 minute gap. This is ridiculous. Also if I wish to travel from Christchurch to Branksome on the 52 minutes past the hour service, I have a 25 minute wait at Bournemouth to get to Branksome as this train does not stop there or Parkstone, but then stops all the way to Weymouth. Surely a regular 20 minute service across the Poole/Bournemouth/ Christchurch stopping at all stations would be achievable and would be well patronised. Stephanie Bowers, 17 February 2009 00:20
Answer [We know this could easily be resolved by swapping the paths of the faster and slower Weymouth trains at Waterloo, and making a few changes to stopping patterns, but as we got away with ignoring the DfT’s Service Level Commitment, why should we bother about what mere passengers want?]
Stations in this area are served by longer distance services which operate between Waterloo and Poole or Weymouth, which have to fit within the greater parts of the network such as between Southampton and Waterloo, and also over the single track section between Moreton and Dorchester. The result is unfortunately that the balance of services is not always ideal on some parts of the route.
I commute first-class from Guildford to Waterloo. The 12-coach 450 trains have exactly the same number (72) of first class seats as the 10-coach 444 trains (which provide very comfortable first class accommodation in a 2+1 format as opposed to the 2+2 format of the 450s) and hence do nothing to address the overcrowding we experience everyday in the first-class carriages at peak times in both directions. The 450 trains offer seating quality in first class that is below that offered in standard class in the 444 trains. Comfort and the ability to get some work done are no longer a reason for spending the extra on a first-class season ticket - the only remaining reason is that there may just be a remote possibility of getting a seat in peak hour from Guildford because so many others refuse to pay the extra! The decision to replace the 444s with 450s has been made simply to protect the SWT franchise and takes no account of commuters' interests. What action are you taking? Name withheld, 17 February 2009 08:35
Answer [We’ll ignore the fact that this is basically about our additional 30% surcharge on first class tickets and giving less in return]
A 12 car 450 can accommodate 738 seated passengers in standard class, along with an additional 72 seated passengers in First class. Compared to a 10 car 444 which can accommodate 598 seated in standard class and 70 seated passengers in First class, this clearly demonstrates that an additional 142 passengers that are able to obtain a seat. This is something that many of our passengers prefer. The use of 450 trains has been debated on many occasions. The decision to use these trains will not be reversed as it is clear that we need to maximise capacity to match demand. I understand some people prefer the 444s, but this has to be balanced against the need to maximise the number of seats to meet the aspirations of many other passengers. I will not make any more comments in respect of this matter.
I appreciate that a lot of work went into producing the timetable that has been in use for the last couple of years. While there are a lot of plus points (a higher number of regular/uniform services and a generally robust service), there are also some bad points. For example, the off-peak journey from London to Aldershot used to take 40 minutes. It now takes 57 minutes - an increase in journey time of nearly 50%. I have also noticed slower journey times on other outer-suburban journeys. Is anything being done to improve this? Name withheld, 17 February 2009 14:40
Answer [We’ll make light of this huge downgrade]
The December 2004 timetable recast involved a complete reshaping of our train services to take into account the new rolling stock being delivered at the time, revised planning rules and updated business requirements which involved changes to stopping patterns. Journey times were extended on most if not all routes as a result of these, but experience since then has enabled us to tighten up some of these schedules and we continue to revise them where they are clearly incorrect. For the Alton line specifically, any journey time improvement depends on improving the infrastructure between Farnham and Alton, which is being investigated by Network Rail.
I have submitted a lost property enquiry form relating to my lost mobile phone, but have also subsequently spoken to the lost property office. They said that my phone has not been located, but my phone company has now told me that to claim on insurance I need a lost property reference number. I was not given any such reference over the phone by the lost property office - will I get such a reference if/ when I get a response to my online form enquiry? Name withheld, 17 February 2009 14:45
Answer [Sir Alan Greengross has already made clear in the last e-motion magazine that we no longer operate a public service]
We only provide a reference number for items returned to us. Sorry we cannot be of any further assistance.
I travelled on the 18.50 Waterloo - Reading train on 16 Feb. I was seated in car 67712, the lead coach of the 458 class service. The engine or pneumatics made a horrific whining noise that was not only alarming but extremely loud. Some passengers were clearly disturbed by it. Also, in the same carriage the emergency hammer for breaking the glass was missing, the litter bin cover was not secured and fell off cutting a ladies leg, the toilet was 'locked out' in the following carriage and when I got off at Staines and informed the station staff they said 'Well, normally those trains break down before they get here' and laughed it off. Do you think these trains are acceptable? Please do not refer me to other answers about these awful trains, I'd like to know what is going to be done about the toilets and the overall standards of these lamentable trains. EDWARD ENGLISH, 17 February 2009 14:50
Answer [We’ll make light of this one too]
The class 458s are currently going through a mechanical overhaul that will help alleviate the noise you have described. I am sorry for the impact it had on your recent journey. With regard to emergency hammers the railway industry has carried some research into the safety of passengers involved in train accidents. The research has shown that it is far safer for passengers to remain on the train than to evacuate onto the lineside, especially when trying to escape by breaking windows. One of the recommendations from the research was the removal of all emergency hammers from trains. Before removing emergency hammers from our trains we carried out a risk assessment using an independent organisation and so we are confident that this measure is a sensible course of action. The cover on the litter bin should have been secured before it left its origin station and I am sorry this was not the case on this occasion. The reliability of these trains is improving all the time and we hope the work we are currently carrying out will alleviate some of the problems you identified.
Given that every question that relates to increases in any capacity whether it be platforms at Waterloo, the number of services or rolling stock is met with 'we are in discussion with the DfT' or 'still negotiating with the DfT' .....do you pray every night to the DfT for being able to hide behind a 'discussion' that'll never end. Its very, very frustrating. Do you REALLY understand what it is like being a commuter on SWT? No seats, standing all the time, no toilets, ticket barriers that are not manned properly and a train company that trots out the one size fits all ....'in discussion with the DfT? PAUL MORGAN, 17 February 2009 15:18
Answer [With bonuses limited to a few hundred million, how could Stagecoach make any real investment?]
I commute over 100 miles each day to London Waterloo and totally understand the problems faced by commuters arriving and departing Waterloo during the peak periods. I have personally used this experience to highlight to the DfT on why overcrowding issues coming in and out of Waterloo, should be given priority as part of the additional carriages proposal announced by the DfT. We are awaiting a response from the DfT It is an unfortunate fact that in order for South West Trains to provide the investment needed to make a real difference, approval has to be given by the DfT as the business case exceeds the current length of franchise. In the meantime, we are addressing the issues on toilets and barrier gates as part of our investment on rolling stock and station improvements.
CRISIS OF PASSENGER CONFIDENCE IN SWT DESPITE HEADLINE ‘SATISFACTION’ FIGURES
* “Record passenger numbers happy with train journey” says the headline of issue 7 of Passenger Focus’ ‘Passenger Voice’ magazine. “Best ever customer satisfaction results” says the headline of SWT’s ‘Customer update’ leaflet.
* Doesn’t quite match what people say on SWT’s webchat, does it? The apparent discrepancy probably arises from the well-known tendency for headline figures to provide a smokescreen for the facts behind them. The figures are no doubt the best produced in the short lifetime of Passenger Focus (PF) but the corresponding figures produced by the former Rail Passengers Council (RPC) were based on a different methodology.
* The RPC’s overall satisfaction figure (as explained at public meetings of the former Southern Rail Passengers Committee) took account of all the areas of service which were tested, with those known to be of greatest concern to passengers weighted. PF’s overall satisfaction figure is based on a self-standing question: “Taking into account just
* Note the weasel word “just” which clarifies that the overall satisfaction figure is no longer based on the full range of issues which concern passengers. Interestingly, the PF speaker at First Great Western’s Stakeholder Conference stated that passengers rate punctuality above all else and are more concerned with trains than stations. SWT’s overall satisfaction rating is 87% and its best score under individual headings is 87% (for punctuality).
* The high score for punctuality is unsurprising. With the timetables slowed to the extent that some trains have huge layovers at intermediate stations, and guards often feel obliged to explain that long delays at intermediate stations, how could punctuality not improve?
* Whereas the ‘overall satisfaction’ question steers passengers towards the highest marking, it effectively stops them from taking value for money into account. Yet value for money is a core aspect of satisfaction with any service for which people have to pay. Where a service doesn’t represent value for money, people won’t use it if they don’t have to. It would be interesting to have a survey of people who don’t use trains to find out why they don’t.
* Note also that the ‘overall satisfaction’ question refers only to the journey just made, thus blocking commuters from commenting on the ongoing service which they receive. Yet SWT is a major commuter railway, and commuters are likely to be far more concerned with the ongoing service, which is what they pay for, than with events on a single day.
* One might think that a score of 87% is not in itself anything to rejoice about. On SWT, that equates to 20 million unsatisfactory passenger journeys a year, or well over 55,000 a day. But just look at the satisfaction ratings of those who commented on particular aspects of the service:
Punctuality 87%; journey time / upkeep of train 84%; how request to station staff handled 83%; external cleanliness of train / station information about times and platforms 81%; ease of boarding and alighting 80%; frequency of trains 79%; internal cleanliness of trains / comfort of train seating 78%; personal security on train / provision of information during journey 77%; connections with other services 76%; connections with other forms of public transport 75%; space to sit or stand 71%; ticket buying facilities at stations / attitudes and helpfulness of station staff 68%; cleanliness of station 65%; overall station environment / security at station / attitude and helpfulness of train staff 62%; upkeep and repair of station and platforms 59%; availability of station staff / space for luggage on train 57%; facilities and services at stations 48%; availability of staff on trains 45%; station car parking facilities 43%; value for money / how well delays dealt with 42%; train toilet facilities 41%.
* But even these figures tend to represent SWT much too favourably. Station sampling is heavily weighted towards Waterloo, which is managed by Network Rail, where car parking is not an issue, and where connections with other forms of transport are indeed good because the Tubes and buses (which have nothing to do with SWT) are still there.
* Turn to the discrete figures for peak travel and the picture is dreadful. Overall satisfaction (just for one individual journey) is 77% compared with 79% a year before. Of 31 scores for individual aspects of service, 3 ARE UNCHANGED; 8 ARE BETTER; and 20 ARE WORSE. Ratings which have sunk by 5% or more are below.
* OVERALL STATION ENVIRONMENT IS DOWN FROM 69% TO 57%
AVAILABILITY OF TRAIN STAFF IS DOWN FROM 42% TO 32%
VALUE FOR MONEY IS DOWN FROM 31% TO 22%
TOILET FACILITIES ARE DOWN FROM 38% TO 29%
STATION FACILITIES AND SERVICES ARE DOWN FROM 53% TO 45%
STATION FACILITIES AND SERVICES DOWN FROM 53% TO 45%
CLEANLINESS OF THE TRAIN IS DOWN FROM 80% TO 71%
EASE OF ALIGHTING AND BOARDING IS DOWN FROM 75% TO 67%
PERSONAL SECURITY AT STATION IS DOWN FROM 68% TO 61%
AVAILABILITY OF STAFF AT STATION IS DOWN FROM 60% TO 53%
STATION CLEANLINESS IS DOWN FROM 67% TO 60%
CAR PARKING FACILITIES ARE DOWN FROM 50% TO 45%
UPKEEP OF STATION IS DOWN FROM 59% TO 54%
* Many off-peak ratings have also fallen, though usually by smaller percentages. However, ratings for station facilities and services are down by 6% and for car parking facilities down by 5%.
HARDLY A GREAT TRIUMPH FOR A FRANCHISE WHICH HAS BEEN IN THE CONTROL OF ONE OPERATOR FOR LONGER THAN ANY OTHER?
MORE PROBLEMS WITH VIRGIN-STAGECOACH WEST COAST SERVICE
* Conwy MP Betty Williams considers that the delivery of the new, supposedly improved, timetable between North Wales and Euston is unacceptable. A Virgin-Stagecoach train left Chester two minutes before the delayed service from North Wales arrived, and another train was seriously understaffed. Information can be poor when things go wrong. For the full story, see:
* The Evening Standard of 27/2/09 highlights Virgin Trains’ extortionate fares and advises passengers to use other operators. For example, Chiltern takes only around 40 minutes longer from London to Birmingham. The cheapest walk-on return fare from London to Birmingham is £40.40 off-peak / £132 peak on Virgin, and £19.50 off-peak / £82 peak on Chiltern. The cheapest advance-purchase return is £12 on Virgin and £10 on Chiltern. Virgin’s punctuality record is 81.6% and Chiltern’s 95.9%. Complaints per 100,000 passengers are Virgin 581, and Chiltern 65.
* “You report Graham Leach of Virgin’s claims that many passengers are paying less for their tickets than a year ago. As a former Virgin passenger, I’d like him to know that the cost of travelling between London and Manchester is now so expensive that it is cheaper for my company to use a taxi. All Virgin Trains seems concerned about is promoting a slick image, while service standards are poor and ticket prices ridiculous. Simon Ellis” (Evening Standard 19/2/09)
* Christian Wolmar, in RAIL Issue 611, pinpoints the “narrow-mindedness of Virgin Trains in seeking to protect its interests. Southern has a franchise commitment to run a limited service between Milton Keynes (on the West Coast Main Line), Kensington Olympia, and Clapham Junction. Network Rail refused to allow this because its contract with Virgin Trains does not allow competition on the West Coast Main Line.
Virgin greatly reduced its services to Milton Keynes, but didn’t want competition from Southern, and Network Rail gave in. Under its agreement with Network Rail, Virgin has a monopoly on services between Milton Keynes and Kensington Olympia, except services ‘which call at or pass through Clapham Junction and do not terminate at a major station in central London. Virgin argued that this did not include trains which terminate at Clapham Junction. The Office of Rail Regulation overturned Network Rail’s ruling, and rejected Virgin’s arguments in the following terms:
“[Virgin] West Coast Trains has emphasised the distinct use of ‘calls at or passes through’ in one sub-clause, and ‘starts or terminates’ in the other as evidence that they are to be attributed distinct meanings. We do not suggest that the verbs are interchangeable, but simply that ‘calls at’ has a broader meaning than ‘starts or terminates’ as it can occur at any stage on the journey. The context does not suggest that the two sets of verbs are intended to be mutually exclusive, merely that the narrower reference to the start or termination point was deployed in the second clause specifically to encompass those routes with start/end points beyond the named stations.”
Mr Wolmar comments: “The behaviour of Virgin in pressing this case, which would have meant Southern not being able to fulfil its franchise commitments through no fault of its own, was inexcusable. Clearly, the possible loss of revenue for Virgin will be absolutely minimal. Moreover, with the West London line having been improved with a new station to serve the enormous Westfield shopping mall, there is bound to be a demand for the services proposed by Southern. Some of those passengers may, indeed, travel on Virgin trains as part of the journey there. Yet Virgin was prepared to block this potentially useful service out of sheer self-interest.”
* In the Guardian of 20/2/09, Mr Wolmar makes another telling point. Passenger Focus’ report on fares shows that people in Britain are probably paying about 50% more to travel by train, compared with their counterparts on the Continent. But the minority who can plan their journey precisely and book in advance can travel very cheaply. The position is “particularly daft” on Virgin where trains between London and both Birmingham and Manchester now run every 20 minutes [to the severe detriment of the residents of other big towns, whose services have been slashed], providing a turn up and go service which many people can only afford to use if they book a seat on a particular service in advance.
[One of our members who visited Belgium found that a journey of 25-30 miles from Brugge to Gent cost 6.5 Euros return, or 5 Euros for people over 65 (with no railcard or proof of age needed!)]
* The problems with Virgin-Stagecoach may not have gone unnoticed by the Transport Minister. Lord Adonis is backing National Express to keep its East Coast franchise despite the company’s apparently serious financial difficulties, and Sir Richard Branson’s interest in taking over East Coast (which would give Virgin and Stagecoach a virtual monopoly on services from London to the North and Scotland). National Express has commendably cut its dividend for 2008 by more than 60 per cent. (Guardian 23/2/09 and 27/2/09)
* It seems that Virgin is now looking further afield, as the only British train company bidding for a share of President Obama’s multi-billion upgrade of the US rail system. [The Times 26/2/09]
RITUAL ABUSE AND HUMILIATION – 5
* 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth on Friday 20 March 2009. Two young Spanish couples travelling in the rear portion with two toddlers, a folded pushchair and light luggage. Guard checks tickets and tries to explain that they will get to Bournemouth much faster on the front half, after the train splits at Southampton Central. They seem to understand but, on the approach to Southampton, they are confused by the customary wrong announcement saying the train will stop only at Brockenhurst before Bournemouth.
A regular commuter manages to explain that Stagecoach announcements are rubbish, and the Spanish family move forward, but don’t go quite far enough and are sitting in the front coach of the rear unit. After further assistance from passengers, one man, with toddler in arms, gets out of the front of the first coach. The fast service is now standing a few feet in front, and the train dispatch officer is standing beside the gap between the units. There are still 90 seconds before the front unit is due to depart. The Spanish man speaks to the dispatch officer and steps back into the rear unit to beckon the others. It’s blatantly clear what is happening.
They all alight on the platform. It’s now the exact departure time for the first unit, so the doors are slammed shut in their faces and they have to re-board the slow portion with their toddlers and luggage. It would have taken all of 10 seconds to hold the fast service for them, and it’s no good Stagecoach whining about the single track section at Dorchester. No other train enters the section for 8 minutes after the fast portion has left it. In any case the slack schedules make it unlikely that the train would have run a few seconds late for very long.
We must hope Lord Coe manages to supply wardens for Waterloo-Weymouth trains during the Olympic sailing events, to protect overseas visitors from Stagecoach abuses. Or better still, try and get a special First Great Western Olympics train of quality rolling stock to operate from Paddington to Weymouth.
It’s not just in banking where the culture of exploitive greed is bringing shame on to Britain. Before greed overturned Britain as we knew it, and he had less pressing concerns, the Prime Minister was keen on ‘Britishness’ and patriotism. Who could feel proud of being British when you see decent families being abused by ‘Cowboy Country’ operatives?
* “Ken Livingstone is right to attack train operators for making it so difficult for passengers to buy tickets. A few weeks ago I was upbraided by a guard for not having a ticket on his train. I would have bought one before boarding if the ticket office hadn’t been closed at 5.15pm and the ticket machines out of service. I had every intention of buying a ticket on the train but apparently my offence was sitting down waiting for the guard to come round instead of finding him first. A message to the train operators: how can we have tickets if you don’t sell tem to us? Julian Johnson, Bracknell.” [Evening Standard 24/3/09]
* “I bought a First Class Advance ticket from Harrogate to King’s Cross on the web. But the ticket office wouldn’t issue it to me as National Express hadn’t sent a fax. I risked a penalty fare on the train to Leeds then ran out to get a ticket from the machine – by the time I had done this, the train was leaving and the supervisor closed the doors in my face. When I finally got the train, the guards threatened me with the police when I complained about poor service. Mike Grant.” [Evening Standard 17/2/09]
NEW TIMETABLE FROM 17 MAY 2009
* The new UK Rail Timetable Excluding Northern Ireland (it really is called that!) was not available at the time of writing, but it seems clear there will be few changes in Southern Hampshire.
* SWT axes the Liphook station-Bordon rail-link bus service, in succession to the Winchester station-Romsey bus link, raising the question of the temporary nature of such bus links in the hands of a greed-focused operator like Stagecoach. The 08.39 and 18.39 (Mondays-Fridays) and 17.39 (Saturdays) from Waterloo to Poole stop additionally at Beaulieu Road.
* On Mondays-Fridays, FGW’s 06.00 Portsmouth Harbour-Cardiff Central stops additionally at Dilton Marsh; and the 06.51 Portsmouth Harbour-Cardiff Central ceases to call at Portchester, Swanwick, Netley, Woolston, St Denys and Dilton Marsh, but without changes to departure times at other stops.
* No significant changes to Cross Country or Southern services noted.
BIAS BEYOND BELIEF
* To be fair, it may have been intended as an April Fools Day joke, but note this amusing comment by Stagecoach lobbyist Barry Doe in RAIL No 614: “How sad that the final National Express East Anglia restaurants have run. National Express is no doubt proud it has killed off something of such excellence which was so well used. I have little doubt that by this time next year the same will have happened on East Coast, with the current at-seat service merely a move to gradually diminish service until it can get away with total abolition. National Express has no concept that decent on-board service is a must if it is to compete with airlines on London-Edinburgh. The best thing that could happen would be for National Express to pull out of rail franchises altogether and go back to running just coaches. Virgin, First or Stagecoach would do far better.”
Hang on! These East Anglia restaurant cars ran from Liverpool Street to Ipswich (69 miles) and Norwich (115 miles). Stagecoach provides a snack bar or trolley service, often for only part of the journey, from Waterloo to Southampton (79 miles), Bournemouth (108 miles) and Weymouth (143 miles). Mr Doe is likely to be aware of this as he lives at Bournemouth. Perhaps he would like to have travelled on the 21.05 Waterloo-Weymouth on 19 April 2009. Although this train was to take 3 hours and 31 minutes, owing to engineering works, the advertised buffet service was not provided. He would perhaps have applauded the automated announcement at Basingstoke that people should change for the Midlands and North (over 7 hours to wait for a connection) and the security barriers at Southampton Central (open and unattended at 23.00, the time of day when passenger safety is most at risk but there is less revenue to protect).
In RAIL No 613, he implies that SWT’s commuters are ungrateful because only 28% consider their ticket value for money, whereas 47% of Northern’s passengers are content, despite having shorter and slower trains. He then pinpoints Winchester as a case of good service. Really? Mr Doe may have forgotten that Winchester passengers have seen Stagecoach greed deprive them of good-riding Inter City rolling stock (with its popular “snug” buffet areas), in return for being shaken up in rough-riding suburban or quasi-suburban Desiros. First class fares are now 80% dearer than standard, instead of the normal 50%, and first-class seating has been reduced so that paying 80% more is no guarantee of a seat. Commuters have suffered endless abuse such as having to endure tiresome barrages of announcements threatening penalty fares, having doors slammed shut in their faces, and interviews under caution for losing their tickets.
And staying with Winchester, in RAIL 616 he writes: “I recently did Waterloo to Winchester in 48 minutes in the evening peak: an 83mph average. The nominal line speed 50 years ago when I did my 58mph average run was 90mph – now it’s just 100mph. We mainly have the excellent Desiro trains to thank for these amazing results.” What he fails to say is that Stagecoach runs such a slow timetable that he would then have had to sit at Winchester for at least 8 minutes, so the sprint from Waterloo was a waste of power which benefited only Winchester passengers. And in 1990 he could have travelled from Waterloo to Bournemouth in 96 minutes every hour; with Stagecoach, it now it takes 9 minutes longer.
FIRST GREAT WESTERN STAKEHOLDER CONFERENCE, @ BRISTOL 4/3/2009
[Every effort has been made to provide a brief and accurate summary of the proceedings; apologies in advance for any discrepancies.]
The Group was grateful for the opportunity to be represented at this conference, which maintained the high standards of previous years. Consistent with First Group’s message that they value stakeholder engagement, 41 organisations were represented. It was clear that there had been huge progress over the past year, and that there is now a much higher level of customer satisfaction. Few serious concerns were expressed, except about capacity problems in the Bristol area and further west, and the possible effects of recession. Great Western is to share 200 new carriages with Northern from late 2011, and there are high hopes of a new build of 4-coach trains for the Cardiff-Portsmouth route.
PRESENTATION BY MARK HOPWOOD, MANAGING DIRECTOR FIRST GREAT WESTERN
FGW is working closely with stakeholders to improve service. Following last year’s promises, there has been a big improvement in punctuality (now only 0.6% below national average), with best performance since privatisation; real engagement, including with Network Rail and Department for Transport. Comprehensive customer service strategy: £4m on staff development; £30m on station information and security; new information systems at Oxford and Slough; fleet refurbished; 18 key stations refurbished; on-train catering changes with new menus. Passenger satisfaction up 6% to 80%, and praise from Bristol Evening Post.
Better relationship with Network Rail. Improved line speed Reading-Paddington, and Paddington-Bristol generally free of speed restrictions. Fourth platform at Bristol Parkway from 2010. Turnback at Clifton Down to aid recovery / increase service from 2009. North Cotswold line to be re-doubled. Upgrading of track layout at Oxford. Reading station and Crossrail work. New Intercity trains in prospect. Improved signalling. Regional priorities: new stock for Cardiff-Portsmouth route; Metro style service on lines around Bristol; Paddington-Reading improvements. New trains for regional services by late 2011.
PRESENTATION BY MIKE GALLOP, ROUTE ENHANCEMENT MANAGER (WESTERN), NETWORK RAIL
Network Rail has taken half a million minutes of delay out of the system. £4 billion route enhancements committed for the next 5 years: these are across the system but focused particularly on London, the Thames Valley and Wales. 24 Crossrail trains per hour across Central London; 4 per hour west of Westbourne Park. Over £500m to be spent on works at Reading, including new platform layouts, and grade separation west of station [since confirmed by DfT that re-design of Reading will allow for possible extension of Crossrail west of Maidenhead]. £400m for Severn Tunnel Junction-Swansea line, with Christmas/New Year shutdown at end of 2009. Cardiff area re-signalling by 2014.
Incremental improvements: re-doubling of 20 miles of track on North Cotswold line from just east of Charlbury to just west of Evesham; line enhancement for 30-minute frequency on the Falmouth branch; span 4 of the Paddington train-shed to be made light and airy; track changes at Oxford to simplify turnaround, and ease operations northwards to junction of the North Cotswold line; Taunton relief lines now in use for passenger trains with better Taunton-Exeter performance; Exeter and Old Oak Common carriage washers; Bristol-Bath line to be improved for 5-minute headway from 7-minute; helps Bristol Metro aspirations; Clifton Down turnback.
Block improvements: Southampton-West Coast line upgrade to be complete by March 2011. Six weeks to do work – major problem is Southampton Tunnel. Bristol-Birmingham to be speeded by 5 minutes; full-length south-facing bay platform at Oxford; smoother speed profiles on the Reading-Westbury-Taunton line; Bristol station enhancement; mile of double track from Worle towards Weston-super Mare; improved line speeds on South Wales and North-South Wales lines; disability access enhancements, with Westbury, Taunton and Exeter completed.
PRESENTATION BY MATTHEW GOLTON, PROJECTS DIRECTOR, FIRST GREAT WESTERN
Next 10 years will see rolling programme on station information and security scheme. Pilot installation of new web-based system at Hanborough, Radley and Ivybridge which lets you see where your train is. Oxford re-modelling with goods loop available to passenger trains. East-West route (Oxford-Milton Keynes). North Cotswold re-doubling by February 2011. Would like to get go-ahead for Kemble line re-doubling; would be very helpful when London-South Wales services diverted. Working on business case for deployment of new trains. New layout at Reading will double passenger capacity; work will make itself felt in 2010, with completion by 2015. Huge amount of work on tracks and stations for Crossrail, including electrification. At Paddington, Crossrail station will be under Eastbourne Terrace and close to current ticket office. Taxi rank to be moved to site of Red Star parcels office. Enhancements to Hammersmith and City platform. New Inter City Express trains on Great Western by April/June 2016. Major timetable change December 2017. Electrification might initially be to Oxford and Newbury, followed by Bristol and South Wales. Possibly to South West too. Probably announcement on electrification this year. Continued support of stakeholders vital; people can help FGW shape agenda [That, in 11 words, is the difference between a First Group and a Stagecoach franchise.]
PRESENTATION BY MIKE GREEDY, PASSENGER LINK MANAGER, PASSENGER FOCUS
National Passenger Survey shows FGW as London and South East operator, because of heavy traffic in the Thames Valley. But figures can be broken down by the old Thames Trains, FGW and Wessex Trains, and this information will be made accessible in future. Women give better ratings than men, and older people better than younger. Slight increase in national satisfaction since 2004. First Group tried initially to present FGW as one business, but now recognises the different needs and expectations of passengers across the business. Passengers in the South West place much more importance on connections, whilst security is hardly an issue for them. FGW is exceeding expectations on security, staff helpfulness, access and information. Passenger Focus’ review of fares was very influential.
Passenger Focus has always supported FGW. Franchise was flawed by specifying less rolling stock than before. Company needs time but there are signs of revival. Hadn’t believed FGW could have done so much in so little time. Improvements deserve applause. Thames Valley services good. High-speed services could be better. Needs to be fewer short-formed trains on Portsmouth-Cardiff. Greater Bristol services are the Achilles heel. Recession could be a problem. Other companies making cuts. If FGW revenue reduces, hope they will look at impact on passengers.
Passenger Focus starts to take on bus and tram services from April 2009, and be fully operational on buses by April 2010. Will integrate agenda fully beyond 2010.
POINTS MADE DURING QUESTION SESSION
* Case for Kemble-Swindon redoubling will be reconsidered in next control period – preparations start in 2010-11.
* Disability access at Chippenham probably in 2010; reapplication for funding at Keynsham.
* Hope to get trains from London Overground and London Midland prior to new rolling stock build, so that those borrowed from Arriva Wales can be returned. Arriva can recall their units with 3 months’ notice, but aren’t seeking their return for the May timetable. People in Wales also benefit from the loan, as the 3-car trains on Cardiff-Portsmouth depend on it.
* Buses are on the wrong side of a busy main road for easy interchange with rail at Ealing Broadway. Kind of thing Passenger Focus can look at as it puts its bus remit into effect.
* Network Rail wants to get on with the specified Crossrail route to Maidenhead before looking at extension to Reading.
* Reinstatement of 4-track railway from Bristol to Filton an aspiration. Would help Bristol Metro scheme. Track has coal traffic from port of Bristol as well as frequent FGW and Cross Country trains.
* Not clear whether turnback facility at Yate needed. Metro trains could continue to Gloucester.
* New Inter City Express trains will be electric or bi-modal. DfT decisions on numbers of each type will depend on electrification plans.
* Passenger Focus is studying how to survey bus passengers given things like more localised operations compared with rail.
* Working group on Portsmouth-Cardiff line development can be reconvened – was initially to make the case for 3-car trains.
* Bus-rail interchange at Bridgend is a County Council scheme.
* Longer (26 metre) coaches on new Inter City Express train can be accommodated. The Severn Tunnel is not a problem and is in its best condition for many years following re-railing.
* DfT has final say on deployment of new trains, but FGW intends priority for Cardiff-Portsmouth, and strategy for whole Bristol area.
PASSENGERFOCUS ANNUAL CONFERENCE, BRITISH LIBRARY 22/4/2009
[Every effort has been made to provide a brief and accurate summary of the proceedings; apologies in advance for any discrepancies.]
INTRODUCTION BY CHAIRMAN COLIN FOXALL CBE
Passengerfocus is extending its responsibilities from rail to bus and coach passengers, working in a shadow form during 2009-10. It may be taking on air passengers too. Spoke to over 90,000 people last year; will speak to 110,000 this year. Is pressing train operators on fares and Network Rail on disruptions – people want to complete their journeys on trains. Concessionary fares scheme on buses may have affected quality. Some evidence of increased bus use and reduced car use. Voting established that the majority of conference participants thought rail and bus travel had improved over the past 5 years and that rail was more passenger-focused than bus. However, this may have reflected industry representation.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY SIR MOIR LOCKHEAD, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF FIRST GROUP
Roads Authority is like National Rail – relationships between local authorities and bus operators are important. People often travel just to get out of the house. Creates community spirit. Being part of social fabric is key to what we do. Serve the most deprived areas of cities. Public transport is right for the environment. Focusing on delivery. Only 125 bus drivers short across the country – an all time low. Real lessons from First Great Western. All franchises now exceeding 90% performance. Scotrail is best ever. But can’t relax efforts. Must continue to make progress. Must never, ever, run early. Four times as many use buses as rail. Three million per day on First buses; 750,000 on trains – about 25% of each sector. Infrastructure investment provides fantastic opportunities on rail. Buses need to be more CO2 efficient – electrification will take care of rail. Bus timings must be constant from end to end. Dwell times must be right, and traffic times managed. Mustn’t cancel journeys for recovery. Roads authority is never jostled for claims.
KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY RT. HON. GEOFF HOON, SECRETARY OF STATE FOR TRANSPORT
Insatiable demand for travel creates practical problems. Rail didn’t put customers first in the past. Real renaissance now: Crossrail, Thameslink; Intercity Express Project; High Speed 1 line from Channel Tunnel to St Pancras; Campaign for High Speed 2 line. Building bigger and better railway. Rail users increasingly involved in planning. Working with industry on simplified fares structure. Annual increase formula of RPI + 1% will stay. Never room for complacency. Buses backbone of local travel. Should be simple to plan journey by rail and bus. Outcome of work should be around in June. Want more passengers on buses, and clean green vehicles. 6p incentive for each kilometre on low carbon buses. Joined up passenger journeys need joined up representation. Passenger Focus’ capacity to increase. Transport lifeblood of economy. Need to involve passengers and learn from them. Travel should not be rationed. Can be both pro-environment and pro-transport growth. Social inclusion - £376m programme for things like ramps and lifts.
[Participants were concerned about having to go through a lot of hoops to get extra environmental money. Some local authorities don’t believe in subsidies, so no evening or Sunday services. Need to move to more sustainable transport if there is no rationing. Peak service on the Brighton line doesn’t work because of Gatwick Express. There should be incentives for light rail schemes. Mr Hoon responded that subsidies needed to be developed in a targeted way; people already switching to more sustainable transport, and fuel-efficient cars cheaper to operate; Brighton line service being looked at; trams environmentally very beneficial but cost is a problem.]
KEYNOTE ADDRESS BY RICHARD BOWKER CBE, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF NATIONAL EXPRESS
Climate change challenges with legally binding targets. Decarbonised way of life will impact on all. Domestic transport accounts for 25% of carbon, mainly cars. Transport expected to carry share of change. Public transport must be at heart. Now focused on supply side pressures. East Coast 68% to 86% cleaner compared with flying. Need to change behaviour. Improvement to rail and bus most popular options. Industry must make public transport more attractive and government must provide incentives. Product must be right. All National Express’ power comes from green tariff electricity. Regenerative braking can give a 20% reduction in power. Need to look at ways of getting rid of diesel power. Need to work with businesses on green travel plans. This could count towards their emissions targets. Coach travel has been transformed in recent years and is both green and cheap. Government could promote it.
[The Chairman noted that Mr Bowker had not said a word about rail fares. Voting session revealed that a large majority of participants thought handling of rail disruption hadn’t improved; a majority thought the RPI + 1% formula for fare increases was unsustainable; very mixed views about changing concessionary bus travel, but strong support for free local travel; majority thought ticket barriers beneficial to passengers (industry-only view?); strong support for more car parking at stations; still problems with seat reservations. Questions raised: Rail and bus have different demography. Fare increases on National Express East Coast are turning passengers away. No joined-up timetabling in Alton area despite Stagecoach running trains and buses. How can buses keep to timetable in cities with no priority schemes? Wider acceptance of Oyster Cards – phenomenal growth in London. Mr Bowker saw cost of car parking is part of total journey cost. Rail-bus door to door journeys possible where demand sufficient. DfT good at asking local authorities to do things; not good at getting them to do things. We need to spend more time talking to people who don’t use public transport.]
WORKSHOPS – BUSES
Passenger Focus has picked six pilot areas for gauging passengers’ views: Southampton, Lincolnshire, Dorset, Bristol, Tyne and Wear and West Midlands. Jocelyn Pearson will lead in the South East.
South West exemplifies the background issues. Total deregulation, with 150 different bus operators. Devon alone has 28. Depots of a single company sometimes operate differently.
Identified issues for bus users are reliability and punctuality; routes and timetables; value for money; getting information; friendliness; cleanliness and low floor vehicles.
Issues for Passenger Focus: prioritising initiatives; finding simple way of carrying out and circulating work; making recommendations; gather information and understanding present position; effectively communicating with stakeholders; developing strategy; looking into commonality of timetable layout; raising standards; undertaking research; identifying problems; looking at minimum running speeds; improving image of buses; surveying; considering fares and interchangeability.
KEYNOTE SPEECH BY IAIN COUCHER, CHIEF EXECUTIVE OF NETWORK RAIL
People want punctual service, a seat and value for money. All parties agree on the need for new lines and electrification. Infrastructure being pushed to limit. Number of passengers expected to double. 8% more trains on Easter and May Day bank holidays, and 30% reduction in substitute buses. People should be priced on to rail – look at the cheap airlines. Replicate the impact of the railways in Victorian times. Wrexham and Shropshire railway has shown how service gaps can be plugged. A humbug to include cost of lost fuel revenue when pricing schemes. Vision does include new lines, new high speed services, better access to stations and faster journeys. Need turn up and go railway. Industry can build railway for this century. Exciting times.
[Question: Greater efficiency, yet fares going up. Who’s collecting the widening money gap? Answer: In like terms, cost of railway has reduced from £1.3bn in 2002 to £800m today. Question: Gospel Oak-Barking line needs electrification to increase efficiency. Answer: Not Network Rail’s decision. Question: Bus replacements will still be needed in the South West because of the single track routes. Answer: Procedures improving. Bridge replacement used to take 54 hours but can now be done during 8-hour possessions. Question: Manchester’s rejection of congestion charging? Answer: We must deliver better services. Question: Effects of severe weather? Answer: Events becoming more frequent. We must make railway more weatherproof. Question: Possibilities of tram-trains? Answer: Right thing for everyone. Should have been speeded up. Question from Colin Foxall: Why do decisions take so long? Answer: We sometimes lack ambition and boldness. Rail industry has more pilots than BA!
PANEL DISCUSSION AND DEBATE
Comments by members of Panel
Nicola Shaw of First Group noted growth in rail and bus but too many replacement buses. Don’t want passengers deflected in recession. Ironic that carbon footprint increased by the way green engines are manufactured.
BBC South’s Travel Correspondent Paul Clifton thought financial arrangements were strangling some train operating companies. You can’t shed staff without damaging services. Railways long-term prospects better than those of many other companies. How do you get through recession? Passenger Focus speaks up for passengers but Association of Train Operating Companies hardly ever speaks up the railways. Department for Transport divides and rules. Buses still have a poor image, but Brighton and Hove buses and Wilts and Dorset’s service between Bournemouth and Poole are very good.
Stagecoach representative Steven Stewart referred to challenging times. Depressing that people are still not honest enough about the challenges. Perception is that train operators are major profiteers [The Stagecoach founders’ two castles and £250m in bonuses in two years aren’t exactly peanuts!] and not interested in passengers [The destruction of Southampton’s bus station and Central rail station Travel Centre say it all!] Operators take only 5%-6% of revenue as profit. Delivering a very efficient business model. Will someone allocate more funding? Concessionary fares probably helped boost perception of bus travel. Wider demographic base. Every government policy has implications and concessionary fares not financially sustainable.
Liberal Democrat spokesman Norman Baker noted that fares are going up when the Budget is increasing fuel duty. Overcrowding is a problem. How many times have we heard about the 1,300 new carriages? Timetable is getting slower. Commuter journeys lengthening while high speed routes getting faster to compete with car. More long term investment needed. Climate change must reduce carbon footprint not freedom to travel. Road and air traffic should transfer to rail. Rail and bus are the way for those with no car. Deregulation has not helped buses. Increases prices and in some cases profits. Uncertainty puts people off. London has had large investment but satisfaction is lower than outside London. Rail has had more media attention and that has driven up standard.
Passenger Focus’ Chief Executive Anthony Smith noted that London bus drivers are behind screens so passengers lack the personal contact which exists elsewhere.
Comments by participants
Hope Passenger Focus’ wider role won’t diminish focus on rail. What about ferries - West Wight ferry schedule in chaos.
Having to book rail fares in advance is a disincentive. And why not stagger the peak with cheaper fares for early morning travel?
Three trains an hour between London and Manchester. Walk-on service but airline-type ticketing.
Bus routes too often cut without considering why patronage is dropping.
Responses from Panel
Paul Clifton: Railway pricing contradicts every other policy. Operators forced to put up fares because of their huge bids. Never contacted by bus companies about special offers etc.
Norman Baker: Liberal Democrats suggested fares freeze this year in return for not widening four miles of motorway. Increases should be less than RPI. People worried about fares. Greater clarity needed. For example, bands of time with particular fares. Staggered peak a good idea. Bus industry has failures as well as successes. Often good in town centres but it can be an ordeal waiting for buses in villages.
Colin Foxall thought Passenger Focus pushing well on rail. Want cheap fares for three typical journeys on posters at every station. Passenger Focus funding is adequate though not enough to cover bus complaints.
Anthony Smith wondered what should be done with empty trains between the peaks. People think trains are green but service has to do what they want it to do.
BEATING SWT’S EXTORTION: BARGAINS FROM OTHER OPERATORS
There are large numbers of bargain fares from non-Stagecoach franchises. A few are even available for peak travel. A sample for interest is below. [Source: Today’s Railways UK, May 2009 and FGW leaflet]; every effort has been made to give correct advice, but please check before travel as we cannot guarantee accuracy.
Freedom of Severn and Solent Rover (First Great Western product)
Valid Portsmouth Harbour-Southampton Central-Romsey-Salisbury-Westbury-Trowbridge-Bath-Bristol-Newport-Cardiff Central; Southampton Central-Eastleigh-Romsey; Southampton Central-Weymouth (including Lymington branch); Salisbury-Axminster; Westbury-Weymouth; Westbury-Tiverton Parkway; Bristol-Weston-super-Mare-Tiverton Parkway; Trowbridge/Bath-Swindon; Bristol-Gloucester-Great Malvern; Bristol-Severn Beach; Swindon-Cardiff; Swindon-Gloucester; Cardiff-Gloucester.
3 days in 7 day period: £40 adult / £20 child / with senior/disabled person/16-25 railcards: £26.50. 8 days in 15 day period: Adult £60; child £30; railcard holders as above £40.
Not valid before 9am on Monday-Friday.
Tickets can be purchased at most staffed stations anywhere in Britain, or on 08457 000 125 (daily 07.00-22.00 allowing 3 days for delivery).
Freedom of South West Rover (First Great Western product)
Same area as above, plus all lines westwards from Axminster and Tiverton Parkway to Penzance.
3 days in 7 day period: £70 adult / £35 child / with senior/disabled person/16-25 railcards: £46.50. 8 days in 15 day period: Adult £95; child £47.50; railcard holders as above £63. Not valid before 9am on Monday-Friday (except where off-peak return is valid, or where certain specified relaxations apply).
Tickets can be purchased at most staffed stations anywhere in Britain, or on 08457 000 125 (daily 07.00-22.00 allowing 3 days for delivery).
Southern Daysave (off-peak)
Available for one day’s travel on all Southern services (including Milton Keynes) but not valid on Monday-Friday (except Bank Holidays) before 10.00, or for departure from London Victoria, London Bridge, Clapham Junction, East Croydon or intermediate stations between 16.45-19.15. Not allowed at all on Gatwick Express except between Gatwick and Brighton.
Must be purchased, a minimum of 7 days in advance, on www.southernrailway.com/buytickets/daysave
Adult £10; Group (up to 4 adults travelling together) £20. Up to 4 children at £1 per child may accompany adults.
Southern Daysave (peak)
Conditions as above, but no time restrictions except that travel on Gatwick Express allowed only on the services which extend to/from Brighton.
Adult: 1 day £30; 7 days £80; 5 separate days which must be specified in advance: Adult £100.
Southern Downlander tickets
Southern also issues very cheap South Coast and All-Network ‘Downlander’ e-tickets with morning-only travel restrictions. See: www.southernrailway.com/ticketing-promotion.php
TOTTON-HYTHE-FAWLEY RAILWAY LINE
Hampshire County Council’s Local Transport Plan for 2006-2011 still includes restoration of a passenger service between Southampton and Hythe as an aspiration for the period 2011-26, but no source of funding has been identified. Transport for South Hampshire says there are now higher priorities such as a triangular junction at Eastleigh to allow direct Southampton-Portsmouth services via Southampton Airport. [It is widely accepted that the service between Southampton and Portsmouth is poor, but it seems rather odd to give priority to an infrastructure improvement designed to enable Southampton-Portsmouth trains NOT to call at the major town of Eastleigh.] Meanwhile, New Forest Liberal Democrats are campaigning for passenger services all the way to Fawley.
SWT’S ‘RIGHT TIME’ RAILWAY: DUFF STOCK / CREW SHORTAGES / CANCELLATIONS / TRAINS TERMINATING SHORT OF DESTINATION / STOPS AXED FOR OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE
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.
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.
Wednesday 04/02/09 WELCOME RETURN TO “NORMAL SERVICE” AFTER MODERATE SNOWFALL CAUSED IMMODERATE DISRUPTION. 05.00 Portsmouth-Basingstoke AXED. 05.05 Eastleigh-Southampton AXED DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 05.15 Yeovil-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Salisbury DUE TO NO CREW. 06.03 Waterloo-Guildford AXED. 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED. 06.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED. 06.55 Basingstoke-Southampton AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 07.17 Guildford-Waterloo AXED. 07.32 Woking-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Staines. 07.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 08.22 Epsom-Waterloo AXED. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo AXED. 09.54 Waterloo-Dorking AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.35 Dorking-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.42 Southampton-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 11.05 Dorking-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 11.39 Waterloo-Poole 9 minutes late despite about 40 minutes’ layover time at Southampton and Brockenhurst. 12.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 13.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Wareham DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo AXED between Yeovil and Salisbury DUE TO NO CREW. 14.03 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 14.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester and 9 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 16.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.12 Waterloo-Shepperton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.30 Waterloo-Epsom REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.45 Waterloo-Havant REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 10 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.54 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 19.53 Waterloo-Alton THROWN OFF at Farnham DUE TO TRAIN LATE FROM DEPOT. 21.44 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham DUE TO TRAIN LATE FROM DEPOT.
Thursday 05/02/09 05.05 Eastleigh-Southampton AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 06.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 16.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 16.35 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.09 Waterloo-Effingham Junction REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.39 Waterloo-Effingham Junction REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.42 Waterloo-Shepperton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.02 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 18.05 Waterloo-Weymouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, INCLUDING 4 OF SUBURBAN STOCK. 18.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 18.16 Waterloo-Chessington REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.32 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 21.00 Guildford-Ascot AXED.
Friday 06/02/09 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late following emergency stop soon after Clapham Junction “DUE TO THE TRAIN IN FRONT STOPPING”. 07.20 Yeovil-Waterloo AXED between Yeovil and Salisbury DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 07.37 Twickenham-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Norbiton DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.41 Shepperton-16 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo 11 minutes late; West Byfleet stop AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, INCLUDING 4 OF SUBURBAN STOCK; many standing or sitting on the floor. 16.35 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.12 Waterloo-Shepperton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton 33 minutes late. 17.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo AXED between Basingstoke and Woking. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 17.50 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth “DIVERTED” and not calling at Petersfield or Havant (it presumably reversed at Haslemere and Woking and continued to Fratton via Eastleigh!!!) 18.02 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.32 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. Passengers on the 19.15 Waterloo-Havant THROWN OFF at Haslemere. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late and AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED.
Saturday 07/02/09 06.50 Poole-Waterloo 41 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.53 Wareham-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 07.20 Weymouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO A 4-COACH SUBURBAN TRAIN. 07.22 Waterloo-Weybridge AXED. 07.29 Brockenhurst-Lymington AXED. 07.44 Lymington-Brockenhurst AXED. 07.50 Poole-Waterloo AXED between Poole and Bournemouth. 07.59 Brockenhurst-Lymington AXED. 08.14 Lymington-Brockenhurst AXED. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 28 minutes late; REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, AND THEN TO A 4-COACH SUBURBAN TRAIN beyond Bournemouth. 08.50 Poole-Waterloo 22 minutes late and AXED between Poole and Bournemouth. 09.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED. 09.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 09.50 Poole-Waterloo AXED between Poole and Bournemouth. 09.54 Waterloo-Dorking 8 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 10.10 Chessington-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 10.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Vauxhall and Norbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 11.39 Waterloo-Poole THROWN OFF at Southampton DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 12.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late. 13.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 14.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 22 minutes late. 14.20 Weymouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO A 4-COACH SUBURBAN UNIT between Weymouth and Bournemouth. 14.20 Waterloo-Exeter 15 minutes late and REDUCED TO 3 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 26 minutes late. Moreton stop of the 15.05 Waterloo-Weymouth AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.23 Waterloo-Alton AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 17.15 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo REDUCED TO 3 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Sunday 08/02/09 07.09 Waterloo-Reading 6 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.18 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 13.34 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 15.54 Reading-Waterloo DIVERTED via Brentford. 16.32 Waterloo-Guildford 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.34 Windsor-Waterloo Diverted via Brentford. 16.39 Waterloo-Reading DIVERTED via Brentford. 16.44 Waterloo-Windsor DIVERTED. 18.27 Waterloo-Hampton Court AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 19.35 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN.
Monday 09/02/09 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 16.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.05 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.33 Waterloo-Guildford REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. LINES CLOSED BETWEEN BROCKENHURST AND BOURNEMOUTH DUE TO FLOODING AT SWAY AND BETWEEN EASTLEIGH AND FAREHAM DUE TO SIGNALLING PROBLEMS. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, INCLUDING A 4-COACH SUBURBAN TRAIN, DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers THROWN OFF at Brockenhurst. Passengers on the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth THROWN OFF at Southampton rather than Brockenhurst DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Hedge End and Botley stops of the 17.09/17.39/18.09/19.09/ 20.09/21.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO DIVERSION. Passengers on the 17.20/18.04/18.20 Weymouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Bournemouth. Passengers on the 17.35/18.05/18.35/19.05 Waterloo-Weymouth THROWN OFF at Brockenhurst. Passengers on the 17.50 Poole-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Hinton Admiral. Botley and Hedge End stops of the 17.55/18.55/19.55/20.55/21.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DIVERSION. Passengers on the 18.50 Poole-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Bournemouth. 19.06/ 19.20/20.10/21.10 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 25 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Brockenhurst. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton AXED. 19.50 Poole-Waterloo AXED. Passengers on the 20.05 Waterloo-Poole THROWN OFF at Brockenhurst. 21.30 Southampton-Waterloo AXED. 22.10 Weymouth-Eastleigh AXED. Hedge End and Botley stops of the 22.21 Basingstoke-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO DIVERSION. Botley and Hedge End stops of the 23.24 Portsmouth-Winchester AXED DUE TO DIVERSION.
Tuesday 10/02/09 LINE STILL CLOSED BETWEEN BROCKENHURST AND BOURNEMOUTH IN THE MORNING PEAK. Replacement bus from Bournemouth arrived at Southampton Airport station just as the 05.38 Brockenhurst-Waterloo departed. 05.40 Basingstoke-Weymouth AXED. 06.04 Bournemouth/06.11 Poole-Waterloo AXED. Passengers on the 06.12 Waterloo-Weymouth THROWN OFF at Southampton. No replacement bus arrived at Southampton Airport station to connect with the 06.14 Brockenhurst-Waterloo. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.55 Poole-Waterloo AXED. 09.13 Poole-Southampton AXED. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 16.05 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 16.05 Waterloo-Weymouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, INCLUDING A 4-COACH SUBURBAN UNIT. 16.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.53 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 18.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 9 COACHES. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES.
Wednesday 11/02/09 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo ‘DELAYED’ at Andover due to a fatality. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo DIVERTED via Southampton. 07.10 Waterloo-Paignton DIVERTED via Southampton. Passengers on the 07.23 Waterloo-Alton THROWN OFF at Surbiton. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo - THE SOUTH’S JOINT MOST OVERCROWDED SERVICE - AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late – no announcements except the usual automated threats and wrong information. 19.06 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Wareham DUE TO NO CREW. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 23 minutes late.
Thursday 12/02/09 07.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.20 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Afternoon delays between Aldershot and Ascot due to signalling problems. 22.05 Waterloo-Poole AXED between Waterloo and Southampton DUE TO NO CREW.
Friday 13/02/09 07.45 Poole-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late. 08.07 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 10 minutes late. All intermediate stops before Norbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 09.02 Dorking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 18.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Twickenham.
Saturday 14/02/09 07.09 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 08.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Woking.
Sunday 15/02/09 07.40 Waterloo-Hounslow 15 minutes late DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK IN PLACE. 08.00 Waterloo-Petersfield 26 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW; passengers THROWN OFF at Haslemere DUE TO NO CREW. 08.04 Petersfield-Waterloo AXED between Petersfield and Haslemere DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK IN PLACE. 10.57 Waterloo-Hampton Court AXED between Waterloo and Raynes Park DUE TO NO CREW.12.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 24 minutes late. 13.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 14.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 14.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Haslemere AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Monday 16/02/09 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 6 minutes late. All intermediate stops, after Wimbledon, of the 07.58 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL COVENIENCE. All intermediate stops, after Wimbledon, of the 08.02 Dorking-Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL COVENIENCE. 08.07 Twickenham-Waterloo AXED. 08.10 Chessington-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.22 Epsom-Waterloo AXED. Passengers on the 08.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Surbiton. 08.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court AXED. 08.48 Effingham Junction-Waterloo AXED. Passengers on the 08.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Wimbledon. 09.09 Waterloo-Guildford AXED. Passengers on the 09.24 / 09.54 / 10.24 / 10.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Surbiton. 14.20 Waterloo-Newton Abbot AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 14.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 14.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 15.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 12 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Norbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.15 Gillingham-Waterloo AXED between Gillingham and Salisbury. 16.40 Chessington-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Motspur Park AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Tuesday 17/02/09 14.58 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 18/02/09 08.07 Twickenham-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers BARRED from fourth carriage of the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth DUE TO DUFF STOCK; DOZENS STANDING OR SITTING ON FLOORS. 19.38 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Thursday 19/02/09 Passengers on the 06.43 Southampton-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.12 Waterloo-Shepperton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.16 Waterloo-Chessington REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.44 Southampton-Portsmouth 20 minutes late. 20.00 Guildford-Ascot 22 minutes late. 20.15 Waterloo-Haslemere 33 minutes late.
Friday 20/02/09 07.47 Woking-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late.
Saturday 21/02/09 09.23 Windsor-Waterloo 5 minutes late.
Sunday 22/02/09 07.31 Wimbledon-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 19.32 Portsmouth-Waterloo 8 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 23/02/09 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 06.42 Southampton-Waterloo 7 minutes late and REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO NO CREW. 07.32 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES.
Wednesday 25/02/09 Earlsfield stop of the 05.00 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED. Passengers on the 05.15 Salisbury-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 05.43 Portsmouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Eastleigh AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.55 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late DUE TO PRECEDING LATE TRAINS. 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUETO DUFF STOCK. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.04 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 84 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Yeovil. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED.
Thursday 26/02/09 03.30 Guildford-Waterloo 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 04.58 Staines-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 05.53 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 05.58 Waterloo-Windsor REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.58 Waterloo-Windsor REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.54 Richmond-Guildford AXED between Richmond and Aldershot REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.23 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. MORNING PEAK AT WATERLOO DISRUPTED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 19.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN.
Friday 27/02/09 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 14.03 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 14.48 Salisbury-Romsey DELAYED BY DUFF SIGNALLING. 17.32 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.53 Waterloo-Basingstoke 15 minutes late. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all intermediate stations after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Saturday 28/02/09 FATALITY IN THE LONDON AREA. Passengers on the 10.20 Yeovil-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 11.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 27 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.23 Waterloo-Alton 37 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Farnham. 11.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 25 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Richmond AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.35 Waterloo-Southampton Airport 35 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Eastleigh. 11.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 34 minutes late. 11.54 Waterloo-Dorking 35 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Leatherhead. 11.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 25 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Richmond AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.11 Shepperton 25 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Norbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.15 Waterloo-Haslemere AXED between Waterloo and Guildford. 12.16 Waterloo-Chessington AXED. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 12.23 Waterloo-Alton 15 minutes late. 12.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.41 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Teddington. 12.42 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED. 12.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 40 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Basingstoke. 12.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 13.02 Southampton Airport-Waterloo AXED between Southampton Airport and Eastleigh. 13.03 Woking-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.05 Dorking-Waterloo AXED between Dorking and Ashstead. 13.10 Chessington-Waterloo AXED. 13.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 30 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Kingston. 13.15 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham. 13.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED. 13.20 Waterloo-Yeovil AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 13.32 Southampton Airport-Waterloo AXED between Southampton Airport and Eastleigh. 13.41 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED. 14.12 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED between Waterloo and Kingston. 14.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 15.15 Waterloo-Haslemere AXED DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 15.23 Windsor-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Clapham Junction DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.28 Waterloo-Windsor AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.39 Haslemere-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 01/03/09 Services between Romsey and Eastleigh AXED until about 09.30 due to emergency engineering work. 09.09 Waterloo-Reading 14 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Ascot, except Wokingham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Monday 02/03/09 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 9 minutes late; Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 38 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Bournemouth and Brockenhurst AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late and AXED between Dorchester and Weymouth. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo AXED.
Tuesday 03/03/09 15.16 Chessington-Waterloo AXED between Motspur Park and Chessington. Passengers on the 16.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth THROWN OFF at Fratton. 18.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 18.50 Poole-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 18.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 19.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 19.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 46 minutes late; stops at Woking and Clapham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 35 minutes late. 21.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 20 minutes late. 21.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 21.38 Portsmouth-Southampton 25 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 22.28 Portsmouth-Havant AXED. 22.59 Havant-Fareham AXED.
Wednesday 04/03/09 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.46 West Byfleet-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Thursday 05/03/09 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo AXED between Yeovil and Salisbury. 06.15 Yeovil-Exeter 25 minutes late. 07.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.55 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Wool and 27 minutes late. 08.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 42 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Southampton. 08.25 Exeter-Waterloo 50 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Salisbury. 09.03 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 15.03 Weymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 15.50 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 15.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 16.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 16.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 11 minutes late; Queenstown Road stop AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.44 Alton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 16.53 Windsor-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.56 Havant-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 16.58 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 32 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK: all intermediate stops after Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.03 Woking-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 17.05 Dorking-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Aldershot 30 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 17.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 30 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; passengers THROWN OFF at Twickenham DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.08 Guildford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.10 Chessington-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.13 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 37 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; all intermediate stops after Teddington AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.34 Guildford-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 17.40 Chessington-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.43 Waterloo-Shepperton 15 minutes late. 17.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 17.46 Waterloo-Chessington 16 minutes late. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil 16 minutes late. 18.04 Weymouth-Waterloo 40 minutes late. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 57 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Fareham and Fratton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.18 Waterloo-Haslemere 23 minutes late. 18.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 40 minutes late; stops at Branksome, Parkstone, Hamworthy and Wareham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.39 Waterloo-Poole 25 minutes late. 18.43 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED. 18.48 Salisbury-Romsey 30 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Eastleigh. 18.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 36 minutes late; stops at Farnborough and Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late. Passengers on the 19.08 Guildford-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Wimbledon. 19.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.22 Weybridge-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 19.24 Basingstoke-Fareham 27 minutes late. 19.35 Epsom-Waterloo AXED. 20.07 Waterloo-Guildford 16 minutes late. 20.07 Romsey-Salisbury AXED between Romsey and Eastleigh. 20.16 Waterloo-Chessington AXED between Waterloo and Raynes Park.
Friday 06/03/09 05.19 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late and DIVERTED via Eastleigh. 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late; stops at Godalming, Farncombe and Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.58 Waterloo-Windsor AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 21 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENENCE. 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Hounslow AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, INCLUDING A 4-COACH SUBURBAN TRAIN, DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Virginia Water. 11.03 Weymouth-Waterloo 55 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; passengers THROWN OFF at Woking. 11.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 33 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.50 Poole-Waterloo 45 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.03 Weymouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 12.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. Passengers on the 13.33 Weybridge-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Addlestone DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 13.52 Waterloo-Weybridge THROWN OFF at Virginia Water DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 14.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 65 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Virginia Water. 14.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 14.35 Waterloo-Weymouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 14.44 Lymington-Brockenhurst AXED. 15.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 15.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Virginia Water DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 16.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Virginia Water DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. DUFF TRAIN BLOCKED LINE AT WHITTON: 19.01 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 25 minutes late; 19.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 28 minutes late; 19.20 Waterloo-Reading 41 minutes late. 21.07 Romsey-Salisbury diverted back through Eastleigh after leaving Southampton; 21 minutes late and Millbrook and Redbridge stops AXED.
Saturday 07/03/09 07.48 Salisbury-Southampton 27 minutes late. 08.38 Southampton-Salisbury 15 minutes late. 16.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 67 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Staines. 18.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Staines. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 08/03/09 Passengers on the 07.24 Tisbury-Exeter THROWN OFF at Honiton. 09.20 Exeter-Waterloo AXED between Exeter and Honiton. 16.14 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 26 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.15 Clapham Junction-Woking 15 minutes late. Passengers on the 19.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Eastleigh DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.33 Eastleigh-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 21.54 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking DUE TO DUFF TRAIN.
Monday 09/03/09 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.30 Haslemere-Waterloo 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; Clapham Junction stop AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.23 Windsor-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late. 10.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.15 Waterloo-Haslemere 27 minutes late. 11.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.16 Waterloo-Chessington REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES.
Tuesday 10/03/09 06.20 Waterloo-Reading 8 minutes late. 06.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.42 Reading-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 06.50 Waterloo-Reading ‘delayed’. 07.12 Reading-Waterloo ‘delayed’. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo ‘delayed’. 17.08 Guildford-Waterloo 7 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.16 Waterloo-Chessington REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stations between Hounslow and Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Wednesday 11/03/09 07.30 Chessington-Waterloo AXED between Chessington and Strawberry Hill DUE TO NO CREW. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Thursday 12/03/09 Emergency engineering works. 04.55 Southampton-Waterloo AXED between Southampton and Eastleigh and REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. Passengers on the 05.00 Poole-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Southampton. 05.05 Eastleigh-Southampton AXED. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 30 minutes late and grossly overcrowded. 06.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 06.12 Totton-Romsey AXED. 06.43 Southampton-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 26 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Haslemere and Fratton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.23 Waterloo-Alton AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 08.25 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 08.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED between Waterloo and Woking. All intermediate stops after Woking AXED from the 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.39 Waterloo-Poole REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. Passengers on the 19.06 Weymouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Bournemouth DUE TO NO CREW.
Friday 13/03/09 05.23 Shepperton-Waterloo DIVERTED due to level crossing problem. 06.12 Totton-Romsey AXED AGAIN – train ran through Totton non-stop, presumably DUE TO NO GUARD OR DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo DIVERTED due to a fatality. 07.00 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED. All intermediate stops, before Surbiton, of the 07.47 Woking-Waterloo AXED. 07.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.00 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED. 08.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. All intermediate stops, before Surbiton, of the 08.17 Woking-Waterloo AXED. All intermediate stops, before Surbiton, of the 08.20 Guildford-Waterloo AXED. 08.41 Shepperton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.43 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Twickenham. 09.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.09 Waterloo-Guildford REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter REDUCED TO 9 COACHES. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.50 Waterloo-Salisbury REDUCED TO 3 COACHES.
Saturday 14/03/09 09.32 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 7 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 16.39 Waterloo-Guildford 12 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 17.20 Waterloo-Reading 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Sunday 15/03/09 11.24 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 11.49 Woking-Alton 11 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 12.49 Woking-Alton 12 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 14.54 Reading-Waterloo 12 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Virginia Water and Clapham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.15.15 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham DUE TO NO CREW. 16.55 Poole-Southampton AXED between Poole and Bournemouth DUE TO NO CREW.
Monday 16/03/09 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 14.35 Dorking-Waterloo 31 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Raynes Park AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.50 Waterloo-Reading 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.05 Dorking-Waterloo 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Epsom AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 15.20 Waterloo-Reading THROWN OFF at Feltham DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.22 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Hounslow and Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading 26 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 17.58 Waterloo-Windsor 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.05 Waterloo-Aldershot 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.18 Waterloo-Haslemere 8 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 19.00 Waterloo-Epsom AXED. 19.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 19.05 Waterloo-Reading AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Tuesday 17/03/09 14.20 Weymouth-Waterloo delayed at Brockenhurst DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.46 Waterloo-Chessington REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.45 Waterloo Havant REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 18/03/09 05.23 Shepperton-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham, except Richmond and Clapham Junction, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. West Byfleet and Byfleet & New Haw stops of the 14.33 Woking-Waterloo AXED. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.50 Waterloo-Reading AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Thursday 19/03/09 05.23 Shepperton-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops, except Richmond and Clapham Junction, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.12 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. Lineside fire at Feltham. 17.52 Waterloo-Weybridge AXED between Waterloo and Staines. 18.05 Waterloo-Aldershot AXED. 18.07 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED. 18.22 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Staines. 18.28 Waterloo-Windsor AXED. 18.35 Waterloo-Reading AXED. 18.37 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Staines. 18.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 18.52 Waterloo-Weybridge AXED between Waterloo and Staines. 18.52 Reading-Ascot AXED. 19.07 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED. 19.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED. 19.37 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED. 19.53 Windsor-Waterloo AXED. 20.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED. 20.22 Waterloo-Weybridge AXED. 22.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED. 20.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED.
Friday 20/03/09 06.58 Guildford-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 07.32 Dorking-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.40 Chessington-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 08.05 Portsmouth-Basingstoke AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.20 Waterloo-Woking 15 minutes late. 21.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 35 minutes late.
Saturday 21/03/09 06.32 Reading-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 12.02 Reading-Waterloo 42 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Wokingham and Feltham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.32 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 15.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 96 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Guildford. 15.32 Reading-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 90 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Guildford. Passengers on the 15.50 Waterloo-Reading THROWN OFF at Ascot. 16.02 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Ascot. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo DIVERTED via Eastleigh. Passengers on the 16.50 Waterloo-Reading THROWN OFF at Ascot. 17.02 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Ascot. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Guildford. 17.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Guildford. 21.23 Windsor-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 21.32 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 22/03/09 16.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo AXED between Basingstoke and Woking DUE TO NO CREW.
Monday 23/03/09 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 06.23 Basingstoke-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 06.53 Waterloo-Alton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 07.52 Waterloo-Weybridge REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.44 Alton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 21.28 Portsmouth-Havant AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 21.58 Havant-Fareham AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Tuesday 24/03/09 06.12 Reading-Waterloo AXED. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo 24 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo 19 minutes late; stops at Sunningdale, Virginia Water, Egham, Ashford, Feltham and Vauxhall AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.24 Basingstoke-Portsmouth delayed at Hedge End DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 25/03/09 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.46 West Byfleet-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton 10 minutes late. 18.02 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 18.23 Windsor-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Datchet DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Thursday 26/03/09 06.23 Basingstoke-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking. Fatality in Templecombe area. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo DIVERTED. 15.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops between Basingstoke and Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.20 Yeovil-Waterloo DIVERTED. 16.35 Waterloo-Reading AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction DUE TO NO CREW. 16.42 Reading-Waterloo 14 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Staines and Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.22 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Friday 27/03/09 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 06.08 Salisbury-Exeter 21 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Exeter Central station. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 06.42 Exeter-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 9 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops between Waterloo and Richmond AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.12 Salisbury-Yeovil 16 minutes late. 08.25 Exeter-Waterloo AXED between Exeter St David’s and Exeter Central. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.45 Waterloo-Havant REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.55 Waterloo-Alton REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Saturday 28/03/09 08.20 Woking-Surbiton AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 29/03/09 07.10 Salisbury-Exeter 17 minutes late. Passengers on the 08.20 Waterloo-Plymouth THROWN OFF at Newton Abbot. 12.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 38 minutes late. 13.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 14.06 Plymouth-Waterloo AXED between Plymouth and Newton Abbot. 14.35 Waterloo-Poole 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.48 St Austell-Waterloo 13 minutes late; AXED between Plymouth and Exeter and REDUCED TO 3 COACHES between Exeter and Waterloo. 14.55 Poole-Eastleigh AXED between Poole and Bournemouth. 18.35 Southampton-Portsmouth 16 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW.
Monday 30/03/09 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Tuesday 31/03/09 05.50 Waterloo-Reading AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.00 Eastleigh-Portsmouth 22 minutes late. 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.17 Twickenham-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.12 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.50 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth delayed at Wool due to level crossing. 19.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 54 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Bournemouth, except Southampton Central and Basingstoke, AXED DUE TO OPERATONALCONVENIENCE. 20.10 Weymouth-Waterloo 34 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.10 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 21.55 Southampton-Waterloo delayed DUE TO NO CREW.
Wednesday 01/04/09 Millbrook and Redbridge stops of the 05.35 Salisbury-Southampton-Salisbury AXED. 05.50 Waterloo-Reading REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.20 Waterloo-Woking 12 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 16.12 Reading-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Wokingham.
Thursday 02/04/09 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.09 Waterloo-Guildford REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.46 Waterloo-Chessington REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 21 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Twickenham and Barnes, except Hounslow, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.20 Waterloo-Reading 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 19.40 Chessington-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 56 minutes late due to line-side fire; all intermediate stops after Ascot AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo 36 minutes late; stops at Feltham, Twickenham, Richmond and Clapham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.50 Waterloo-Reading 36 minutes late. 21.50 Waterloo-Reading 25 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Friday 03/04/09 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil THROWN OFF at Surbiton due to fatality. 16.55 Waterloo-Alton 31 minutes late. 16.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 24 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 31 minutes late. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford 31 minutes late. 17.09 Waterloo-Effingham Junction 30 minutes late. 17.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 30 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Fulwell. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 34 minutes late. 17.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 26 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 22 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Fulwell. 17.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.11 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Twickenham. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 28 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 24 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 17 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED. 18.50 Dorking-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 18.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.59 Effingham Junction-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.02 Waterloo-Guildford 33 minutes late. 19.03 Woking-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 39 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. All intermediate stops before Epsom of the 19.09 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.10 Chessington-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 19.50 Waterloo-Woking 28 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 20.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Hounslow AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Norbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Saturday 04/04/09 08.13 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 09.20 Weymouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES, INCLUDING A 4-COACH SUBURBAN UNIT, DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.54 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.30 Waterloo-Windsor 13 minutes late. 19.58 Guildford-Raynes Park AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 20.59 Raynes Park-Guildford AXED DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 05/04/09 07.01 Windsor-Waterloo AXED between Windsor and Staines. 09.08 Dorking-Raynes Park AXED. 09.52 Raynes Park-Guildford AXED between Raynes Park and Leatherhead. 16.20 Guildford-Raynes Park 19 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers THROWN OFF at Epsom. 17.22 Raynes Park-Dorking AXED between Raynes Park and Epsom DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 06/04/09 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.02 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Signalling problems in Dorset. 17.03 Weymouth-Waterloo 47 minutes late; stops at Hamworthy, Parkstone and Branksome AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 56 minutes late; stops at Southampton Airport, Winchester and Clapham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth THROWN OFF at Bournemouth. 18.04 Weymouth-Waterloo 69 minutes late; stops at Hamworthy, Parkstone, Branksome, Southampton Airport and Winchester AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 60 minutes late. 19.06 Weymouth-Waterloo 57 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 50 minutes late. 19.53 Windsor-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.10 Weymouth-Waterloo 55 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Bournemouth. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.10 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Bournemouth. 21.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 8 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.55 Southampton-Waterloo 17 minutes late.
Tuesday 07/04/09 14.50 Waterloo-Reading 27 minutes late; stops at Clapham Junction, Richmond, Twickenham, Feltham, Martins Heron, Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle and Earley AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.02 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 08/04/09 05.43 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late and REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.11 Bournemouth-Weymouth 24 minutes late. 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 07.55 Poole-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Southampton. 14.35 Dorking-Waterloo AXED between Dorking and Leatherhead. 15.05 Dorking-Waterloo AXED between Dorking and Leatherhead. 15.35 Dorking-Waterloo AXED. 16.56 Havant-Waterloo AXED DUETO DUFF STOCK. 17.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Virginia Water and REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.05 Waterloo-Aldershot AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 10 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUETO DUFF STOCK. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.54 Waterloo-Epsom AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Thursday 09/04/09 05.43 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Friday 10/04/09 Passengers on the 16.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Vauxhall DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED between Waterloo and Kingston DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Barnes and Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.20 Waterloo-Reading 21 minutes late DUETO NO CREW.
Saturday 11/04/09 05.22 Waterloo-Shepperton 37 minutes late. 18.05 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 23.00 Waterloo-Windsor AXED.
Sunday 12/04/09 10.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 13/04/09 11.50 Waterloo-Reading 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.10 Weymouth-Waterloo 33 minutes late and AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester.
Tuesday 14/04/09 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 15/04/09 07.47 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Lightning strike. 08.14 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Woking. 08.44 Alton-Waterloo REPLACED by a Guildford-Waterloo service. 08.47 Woking-Waterloo AXED. Passengers on the 08.53/ 09.23 Ascot-Guildford THROWN OFF at Aldershot. Passengers on the 09.00/09.30 Guildford-Ascot THROWN OFF at Aldershot. 09.39 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 09.44 Alton-Waterloo AXED. 09.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 9.53/10.23/10.53/11.23/188.8.131.52/12.53/13.23/13.53/14.23 Ascot-Guildford AXED. 09.53 Waterloo-Alton 22 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.00/10.30/11.00/11.30/12.00/12.30/13.00/13.30/14.00/14.30 Guildford-Ascot AXED. 10.52 Waterloo-Weybridge AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 11.20 Waterloo-Reading AXED DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 11.53 Waterloo-Alton THROWN OFF at Farnham DUE TO NO CREW. 12.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 13.12 Reading-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW. 13.44 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham.
Thursday 16/04/09 07.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 07.24 Waterloo-Dorking 10 minutes late. 07.53 Waterloo-Alton 25 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN; all intermediate stops before Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 23 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.15 Waterloo-Haslemere 19 minutes late. 08.23 Waterloo-Alton 13 minutes late. 08.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Norbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 24 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late. 08.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court 25 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 15 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Fulwell. 08.50 Waterloo-Woking 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.53 Waterloo-Alton 13 minutes late. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late. 09.03 Waterloo-Guildford AXED DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 09.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late. 09.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 14 minutes late. 09.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 13 minutes late. 09.41 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Teddington.
Friday 17/04/09 06.20 Waterloo-Reading 28 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.23 Ascot-Guildford AXED between Ascot and Aldershot DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.28 Aldershot-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.53 Ascot-Guildford AXED between Ascot and Aldershot. 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.23 Ascot-Guildford AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TODUFF STOCK. 07.53 Ascot-Guildford 26 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter THROWN OFF at Crewkerne DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN.
Saturday 18/04/09 06.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 15 minutes late.
Sunday 19/04/09 07.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late and REDUCED TO 5 COACHES.
Monday 20/04/09 07.46 West Byfleet-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.09 Waterloo-Effingham Junction AXED. Afternoon disruption on the Hampton Court branch due to electrical problems. 21.55 Southampton-Waterloo 30 minutes late.
Tuesday 21/04/09 15.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 16 minutes late; stops at Hamworthy, Holton Heath, Moreton and Upwey AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.13 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. Delays of up to 15 minutes on evening peak Guildford-Waterloo services due to signalling problems.
Wednesday 22/04/09 20.20 Waterloo-Reading 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Thursday 23/04/09 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 8 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.28 Aldershot-Waterloo 28 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Ascot, except Richmond, AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.07 Woking-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 22 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 09.20 Waterloo-Reading 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops before Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.23 Windsor-Waterloo 51 minutes late due to vehicle striking bridge; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.50 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late. 11.23 Windsor-Waterloo AXED between Windsor and Staines.
Friday 24/04/09 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late; Godalming, Farncombe and Woking stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.43 Southampton-Waterloo 10 minutes late and REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK; Hook, Winchfield and Fleet stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Signalling problems. 07.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 39 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Virginia Water AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.54 Richmond-Guildford 21 minutes late. 08.07 Waterloo-Reading 36 minutes late. 08.20 Waterloo-Reading 38 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Wokingham. 08.50 Waterloo-Reading 31 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Ascot. 09.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 27 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Hounslow AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Ascot. 09.56 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Bracknell. Raynes Park stop AXED from the 09.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo. 10.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 13 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Hounslow AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth diverted; Woking and Worplesdon stops AXED. 10.50 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late; Fleet and Farnborough stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth diverted; Woking stop AXED. 11.14 Lymington-Brockenhurst AXED due to vehicle hitting bridge. 12.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Guildford. 12.28 Guildford-Waterloo delayed DUE TO NO CREW. 12.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Guildford. Passengers on the 20.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke THROWN OFF at Fleet DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 23.57 Waterloo-Shepperton diverted; all intermediate stops between Clapham Junction and Kingston AXED.
Saturday 25/04/09 09.50 Waterloo-Reading 22 minutes late and REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Sunday 26/04/09 12.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 26 minutes late. 14.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 16.27 Waterloo-Hampton Court 26 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 17.27 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.21 Waterloo-Chessington AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 27/04/09 00.18 Waterloo-Kingston AXED due to engineering work. 00.42 Waterloo-Strawberry Hill DIVERTED to Surbiton. 07.46 West Byfleet-Waterloo AXED. 07.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 17 minutes late. 11.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 19 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Fatality at Hilsea. 14.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 84 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Woking. 15.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 80 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Woking. 15.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED. 15.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 80 minutes late and AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 15.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Hilsea. 16.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED. 16.44 Southampton-Portsmouth AXED. 16.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Guildford. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 40 minutes late and AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 16.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED. 16.56 Havant-Waterloo 30 minutes late; Guildford and Woking stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.03 Portsmouth-Fareham AXED. 17.15 Waterloo-Fratton AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 17.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 34 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Woking. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 36 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Haslemere AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 22 minutes late. 18.04 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Haslemere AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Guildford. 19.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED. 19.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 21 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton 33 minutes late. 19.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late; AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Tuesday 28/04/09 06.11 Bournemouth-Weymouth 43 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Dorchester. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.25 Weymouth-Brockenhurst 12 minutes late and AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester. 07.39 Waterloo-Poole 9 minutes late. 08.25 Exeter-Waterloo 35 minutes late and REDUCED TO 3 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.10 Exeter-Waterloo 61 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Salisbury. 10.20 Waterloo-Exeter REDUCED TO 3 COACHES. 10.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 10 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Norbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 49 minutes late. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 15 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Salisbury. 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton REDUCED TO 3 COACHES. 14.30 Exeter-Waterloo 30 minutes late; passengers THROWN OFF at Salisbury. 18.02 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 8 COACHES.
Wednesday 29/04/09 11.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 11.20 Waterloo-Reading AXED. 16.50 Waterloo-Woking REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 18.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers THROWN OFF at Brockenhurst. Passengers on the 19.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo THROWN OFF at Havant DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.37 Weybridge-Waterloo 12 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Hounslow AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Thursday 30/04/09 07.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late and REDUCED TO 5 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 15 minutes late. 12.48 Reading-Waterloo 48 minutes late due to line-side fire; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.20 Waterloo-Reading 17 minutes late. 13.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 14.20 Waterloo-Reading 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.42 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Staines. 14.50 Waterloo-Reading 18 minutes late. 17.25 Waterloo-Alton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.04 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.13 Waterloo-Shepperton REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.52 Waterloo-Weybridge AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
* Passenger Focus is soon to champion air passengers, as well as rail and bus passengers. In addition, Transport Secretary Geoff Hoon has told the Civil Aviation Authority to put passengers first and do more to uphold environmental obligations. He says he wants passengers at the heart of how airports are run, with aspirations such as more seating, toilets and baggage carousels addressed. Regulation could include not only the country’s three largest airports, Heathrow, Gatwick and Stansted, but also ten other main airports, including Luton. [Evening Standard 9/3/09; Metro 10/3/09]
[Fair enough, but didn’t John Prescott similarly speak up on behalf of rail passengers, and aren’t the worst train operators now doing everything that passengers don’t want?]
* BAA recorded its worst February this year. The number of passengers going through Heathrow collapsed by nearly 10%, while Gatwick and Stansted passenger traffic fell by around a sixth. Ignoring closures due to snow, the underlying passenger number fall of 6.4% was worse than in January. [Evening Standard 10/3/09]
* The High Court has given the Government the go-ahead to build a second runway at Stansted [Evening Standard 13/3/09]
* Department for Transport civil servants repeatedly met aviation industry chiefs in advance of the decision to back a third runway at Heathrow, even though they told environmental groups that there was a blanket ban on meetings with any external bodies. Documents released to Greenpeace also disclose that the communications directorate at the department saw it as its job to “monitor protest groups continuously and brief staff and police accordingly”. However, the government has indicated that BAA cannot lodge a planning application for a third runway before the next general election, so a Conservative government could block it. [Guardian 27/3/09]
* An alliance of council leaders has lodged papers at the High Court in an attempt to stop a third runway at Heathrow. Wandsworth, Hounslow, Hammersmith & Fulham, Hillingdon, Kensington & Chelsea and Richmond are asking for a judicial review of the way the Government took its decision. They accuse the Government of breaking EU rules on noise and air pollution. [London Paper 7/4/09]
* Black Velvet buses has wrestled two Eastleigh routes from Bluestar. The companies have been feuding since last September when Black Velvet picked up a route previously covered by Bluestar. Bluestar [using Stagecoach practices condemned by the Monopolies and Mergers Commission as ‘deplorable, predatory and contrary to the public interest’] reintroduced its services, running them 3 minutes ahead of Black Velvet’s services. Black Velvet pulled out, and then Bluestar announced that it would pull out too. Bluestar, part of the transport giant Go-Ahead, dwarfs its rival. Hampshire County Council has now put up more than £500,000 in an attempt to stop further cuts to bus services. [Southern Daily Echo 19/2/09]
* The dwindling number of local bus operators has prompted The Office of Fair Trading to launch an investigation into the provision of local bus services. Takeovers mean that nearly two-thirds of services are controlled by just five large operators — Arriva, Go-Ahead, Stagecoach, FirstGroup and National Express. The study will consider whether concentration in the market has a positive or negative impact on the prices consumers pay and the services they receive, and whether or not there is competition between operators bidding for tendered services. [Share Cast 5/3/09]
* The 31 bendy buses on Red Arrow routes 507 from Waterloo to Victoria and London Bridge are to be replaced by 53 single deckers to comply with the Mayor of London’s wishes. The change will cost operator Go Ahead millions, but they will get an 18% increase in mileage revenue. [Evening Standard 23/4/09]
* A protest group has been launched about environmental detriment and the threat to wildlife from the conversion of the Fareham-Gosport rail route to a high-speed busway. Hampshire County Council has been awarded a £20 million government grant for the scheme and is already clearing the trackbed. Construction work is due to start in August and will take 18 months, with construction teams possibly having to work through the night, though the Council says that that would be exceptional. However, local residents are horrified at the prospect of sleepless nights. [Southern Daily Echo 7/3/09 and 28/3/09; The News 23/4/09]
[It seems a pity that Hampshire County Council didn’t develop an alternative rail scheme, which would have been more attractive to potential users. Rail capacity might have been increased incrementally. For example:
- Tramway or railway between Gosport and Fareham;
- Segregation of Brighton/Waterloo and Southampton/Eastleigh services into Portsea Island with a mixture of four-tracking and dual-levelling of the Cosham-Portsmouth line (Portsmouth & Southsea station is bi-level already, and the line thence to Fratton was built below ground level on an old canal bed;
- Introduction of some Portsmouth services from the site of the old Southampton Terminus station in an area that has seen huge development in recent years – the track is still in use for occasional trains. This would relieve capacity through Southampton Tunnel.]
* Articles in the railway press suggest that the Weymouth Quay branch will never see trains again.
* The Folkestone Harbour branch (until now used by the Venice-Simplon-Orient express) has also closed, with compensatory improvements at Folkestone West station.
* Lymington branch trains are expected to switch to class 158 diesel trains on Mondays to Fridays and to Blue Desiros on Saturdays and Sundays, as Stagecoach finally ends it status as the last operator of slam-door electric units. [A remarkably inept suggestion by the Lymington and Pennington Community Forum’s economy and environment committee to terminate the line on the outskirts of Lymington, in order to open up the river, has failed to gain any support.]
* The Moorgate branch of Thameslink has closed to enable extension of platforms at Farringdon for cross-London trains.
* Hammersmith & Fulham is pressing Lord Adonis to include a station at Old Oak in the Crossrail scheme. This is seen as a means of regenerating an ‘untapped’ area of West London. [Evening Standard 23/2/09]
* Blackfriars Underground station is now closed until late 2011 because of Crossrail works. [Evening Standard 23/2/09]
* Network Rail Chairman Sir Ian McAllister is quoted in a secret report as saying that he needs Crossrail ‘like a hole in the head’, and that building works will disrupt services on other lines. The report also found that severe delays on the West Coast main line last year, which incurred a £14 million fine, were ‘trivial’. Network Rail has been criticised for being out of touch with the public, overly focused on meeting government targets, and packing its board with second-rate non-executive directors. [Evening Standard / Guardian 2/3/09]
* Network Rail has identified a number of potential routes for electrification. On the third rail system, the routes are Basingstoke-Salisbury; Ashford-Hastings and Hurst Green-Uckfield. [Railnews 02/09]
[Not clear how Basingstoke-Salisbury electrification would affect the Waterloo-Exeter service (potentially a high-powered electric unit pushing a non-powered unit from Waterloo to Salisbury, where the train would attach to a high-powered diesel unit from the Southampton line whilst the electric unit was removed?) Ashford-Hastings would allow the Southampton-Brighton service to continue as the Ashford train, though not with the current timetable because of the layout constraints in Brighton station. Hurst Green-Uckfield would allow through working from Victoria to Uckfield; currently all Uckfield services run to London Bridge because the ventilators for diesel fumes under the Victoria raft are in the wrong position for diesel Turbostars.]
* “The Department for Transport estimates it would cost £500 million a year to bring UK commuter fares in line with other EU countries. The Government could raise £460 million by taxing fuel on domestic flights at the same rate as petrol; surely this would be a fair swap? - Cat Hobbs, Campaign for Better Transport” (Evening Standard 23/2/09)
* Big increases in non-regulated fares are in prospect for May: National Express East Coast is to increase some advance purchase tickets by 11%. Stagecoach’s East Midlands is pushing up a swath of off-peak fares by 5%, whilst First Great Western is raising some peak fares into London by up to 3%. [Guardian 22/4/09]
(HIGH SPEED LINES)
* The Conservatives have unveiled plans for a new ultra-fast rail network which would initially link London, Manchester and Leeds, with eventual extension to Newcastle and Scotland. This is seen as key to the argument that a third runway at Heathrow is not needed. They would also put a moratorium on building over defunct lines that are still in public ownership, and create a passengers’ champion. The Transport Secretary dismissed the proposal, saying the Conservatives’ budget plans would require a cut of £840 million from the transport budget. (Evening Standard 12/02/09]
* Transport minister Lord Adonis wants to give firm backing to a new high speed line by early next year. One proposal is for a single line, with trains running at 225mph including double-deckers, from London to Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow, as well as having a spur link to Heathrow airport. Other options include direct lines to the North and Scotland. The Government has ordered a report into High Speed Two, a fast line to the West Midlands with possible extensions, which could be operating within 12 years. This follows the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, know as High Speed One. He considers it no longer possible to argue that Britain should continue to shun the development of high speed lines, which can push forward economic and social development. [Evening Standard 25/3/09]
* Government attracted a trade union backlash after awarding a £7.5 billion train contract to a Japanese-led consortium and admitting that some of the 12,500 jobs created will be based overseas. The trains will run between London and Edinburgh in 2013, before being introduced across Britain. They will replace the Inter City 125(mph) and 225(kph) fleets. Meanwhile the government has said that Canadian group Bombardier was close to becoming preferred bidder for 120 new carriages for the Stansted Express service. [Guardian 13/2/09]
[At least it’s unlikely that the new trains will bear any resemblance to Siemens’ hard-seated, rough-riding, harshly-lit and over-actively air-conditioned Desiros. According to the Evening Standard of 3/3/09, Siemens is rejoicing that it has escaped with a fine of only £890 million for endemic corruption.]
* Network Rail bosses have been given the go-ahead to be paid huge bonuses. Chief Executive Iain Coucher stands to collect £600,000 on top of his £583,000 salary. Co-directors Peter and Ron Henderson are in line for bonuses in excess of £400,000. Network Rail receives annual taxpayer funding of more than £3 billion. Last year the Office of Rail Regulation fined the company £14 million for the fiasco following its failure to complete engineering works at Liverpool Street on time. The bonuses would be in defiance of ministers. Lord Adonis recently admonished Network Rail for closing both main lines from London to Scotland on consecutive weekends, and urged the remuneration committee to act responsibly and to consider the public mood on bonuses. [Evening Standard 25/2/09; Guardian 16/4/09]
* Mr Coucher says Network Rail is planning to spend £35 billion over the next five years to deliver “longer, faster and more reliable trains” with fewer delays and transformed stations. A total of £12 billion will go on easing chronic overcrowding with longer platforms built to take 12-carriage trains. A further £11.5 billion is to be spent on replacing old parts of the network including tracks and signalling with £11.4 billion earmarked for day to day maintenance. Thameslink will see capacity increase through London by 400 per cent, and Crossrail is to get more money. King’s Cross station will be redeveloped, with the concourse tripled in size, and the track bottleneck at Reading station will be eased. [Evening Standard 31/3/09]
* Network Rail’s five-year plan includes £71m for upgrading Southampton tunnel for larger containers and £55m for upgrading the alternative route from Redbridge to Basingstoke via Romsey and Andover. About £2.5m would be spent on renovation at Southampton Central. [Southern Daily Echo 2/4/09]
* The Purbeck Rail Partnership and Network Rail are planning signalling improvements to allow 7 or 8 return diesel train services to operate daily between Wareham and Swanage from the Spring of 2013. [RAIL No 613]
* National Express is struggling financially with its East Coast franchise, and may seek to renegotiate its contract, contrary to DfT’s rules. Meanwhile, Richard Branson’s Virgin Trains has indicated that it could mount a bid. National Express chief Executive, Richard Bowker, who launched his career at Virgin, did not conceal his irritation. A spokesperson for National Express said, “Given that Virgin West Coast is now rooted to the bottom of the long-distance train time-keeping league we shiver at the very thought of Richard Branson bringing his own unique version of “success” to East Coast. We run Britain’s premier long-distance railway and we intend to keep it that way”. Meanwhile, National Express and FirstGroup are unhappy about Grand Central being allowed to introduce new Sunderland and Bradford services on the East Coast route. [Guardian 30/1/09 and 3/2/09]
[One can understand that Mr Bowker would be a bit sick if DfT did not bale him out. As head of the former Strategic Rail Authority, he bailed out Stagecoach (which has a 49% share in Virgin Trains) with £29 million of taxpayers’ money when the company was in serious difficulty and under threat of losing its SWT franchise for abominable performance.]
* In the 10 months to the beginning of March, Virgin Trains’ like-for-like revenue fell by 0.6%. Virgin blames the serious disruption which passengers have endured through line upgrade and is targeting growth of 9% to 10% this year. [Evening Standard 16/3/09]
[The kind of abuse and humiliation of passengers recorded in our previous issues can’t be helping – Sir Richard needs to ensure that the company adheres to Virgin rather than Stagecoach standards.]
* Go Ahead is experiencing a slowdown in passenger growth. South Eastern passenger numbers have grown by 0.7% since the start of the year, compared with 2.7% in the last 3 months of 2008. However, this is better than expected and fare revenue has so far increased by more than 5% this year owing to price increases. Passenger growth on Southern this year is 3.7%, compared with 5.2% in the previous quarter, while London Midland saw growth increase by nearly 5%. Southern’s revenue is up 6.7% and London Midland’s by nearly 10%. Go Ahead’s rail business is causing little concern because none of its franchises have pledged significant sums to DfT. [Guardian 24/4/09].
* First Group says its annual rail passenger revenues are up 7.6% on the previous year. This compares with the 10% increases being recorded last summer. [Evening Standard 19/3/09]
* London Underground carried 1 million fewer passengers in January, as city job cuts threaten to widen a multi-billion pound funding gap in the Tube network. The financial black hole is heading for an estimated £5bn, and TfL fears that upgrades could be scrapped. The Piccadilly, District, Circle, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines could be adversely affected. Experts have warned that engineering problems and overcrowding could worsen, causing more frequent line and station closures. [Guardian 30/3/09]
* Select Service Partners is in talks with its bankers as falling passenger numbers expose weaknesses in a £1bn private-equity deal struck at the peak of the market. SSP operates Upper Crust, Millie’s Cookies and Cafe Ritazza, as well as M&S Simply Food, Burger King and Starbucks. [Guardian 1/4/09]
* The Government has cut back promises to ease overcrowding on railways. The rail White Paper, published in July 2007, pledged 1,300 extra carriages but transport bosses have decided to reduce this to 973. Only 423 have been ordered, with a further 550 due to be requested in the next two years. The shortfall, which will save the Government £70 million a year, is likely to hit Southern and Southeastern. Shadow transport secretary Theresa Villiers said the decision was a disgrace as passengers were already “struggling with subcattle-class overcrowding”. A Department for Transport spokesman said it would make up the shortfall with about 1,200 new Thameslink carriages. [Evening Standard 30/3/09]
* Transport Minister Lord Adonis has recognised that waiting for a train late at night in London on poorly lit and unmanned stations can be a “frightening experience”. South West Trains, First Capital Connect, and National Express have all announced plans to reduce ticket office opening hours. On the new Southern franchise, there will be improved security with staffed ticket gates for 15 hours a day at 14 stations in South London. [Evening Standard 18/2/09]
[Just a small point: which 15 hours? London stations tend to have services up to around midnight. Are we to believe that ticket gates will be staffed continuously until close of business, meaning that they won’t be staffed before around 09.00? Or is this the old Stagecoach story of shouting that gates offer security, and then leaving them open from 22.00, at the time of day when security measures are most needed? Or will the gates be left open in the middle part of the day?]
[Letter from the Evening Standard of 11/2/09: “Plans to cut rail ticket office hours fly in the face of the public’s desire to see stations manned for longer periods. One evening recently I was at an unmanned railway station when an automated announcement requested me to report anything suspicious to a member of staff – not very useful. Then there was a last-minute change of platform which was not announced so I missed my connection. Can we have some joined-up thinking from the train operators? Michael]
* The East London Line extension is to go ahead, providing a direct link between Clapham Junction and Docklands. This will complete the Overground radial route around London (Clapham Junction-Shepherds Bush-Hampstead Heath-Whitechapel-Canada Water-Clapham Junction), though through trains will not run all the way around the circle. [Evening Standard 12/02/09]
* The London Underground Circle Line will be replaced by a Hammersmith-Edgware Road-Kings Cross-Liverpool Street-Embankment-Victoria-Edgware Road service from December 2009. At the same time, Hammersmith and City trains will run to Plaistow or Barking instead of Aldgate. [Evening Standard 5/03/09]
* London TravelWatch has found that 25 of the 47 proposals for reduced booking office opening hours on First Capital Connect do not meet the rules set down by the Transport Secretary. Successive surveys have shown that passengers want to see more staff on stations, not fewer. There is hope that many of the proposals will be rejected, as happened on South West Trains. (Evening Standard 10/02/09]
(TRANSPORT FOR LONDON)
* Boris Johnson has announced a £9.2 billion budget for major schemes in the capital. Projects set to be undertaken include: completion of the Jubilee line upgrade, delivering a 33 per cent increase in capacity to serve an extra 10,000 passengers an hour; The start of the redevelopment of Tottenham Court Road Tube station to provide additional capacity and serve Crossrail; the start of work on the new Isle of Dogs Crossrail station; and stepping up work to extend the East London line as part of London Overground and the Docklends Light Railway, in preparation for the 2012 Games. [Evening Standard 31/3/09]
PRIVATE EYE RESEARCH AND COMMENT
* The government’s refusal to suspend its fare-rise formula (retail inflation plus one per cent) was widely reported as a herald to falling rail fares next year. Really? Southeastern’s special formula (inflation plus 3 per cent) will increase regulated fares unless July’s deflation exceeds minus 3 per cent. And firms can raise ‘Anytime fares’ by any amount they wish. And if they think regulated off-peak fares are too cheap for recession-hit passengers, simply changing the tickets’ time restrictions will force more people to buy ‘Anytime’ tickets. [Issue 1231]
(FIRST GROUP AND GOVERNMENT)
* During last year’s debates on the local transport bill, Labour peer Lord Snape, a consultant for FirstGroup, raised concerns about “quality contracts” which enable councils to take charge of local buses if the services offered by unregulated private operators are unsatisfactory. The bill was enthusiastically supported by Lord Rosser and other Labour peers, but Lord Snape repeatedly carped that Lord Rosser had been briefed by the local councils’ Passenger Transport Executive Group. Lord Snape blamed the Passenger Transport Executives rather than the bus companies for passengers’ main complaints, pressed for bus operators to have their voices heard, and fretted over “investor confidence in the bus industry” if councils were allowed too much control. He sought ministerial assurance that the bill would protect “the legitimate interests of bus operators and passengers” and that “quality contracts “will be used only as a last resort by sensible authorities”. In fact, Labour allowed councils to create quality contracts years ago, but put up so many hurdles that none was ever established. The new bill, which was passed at the end of last year, streamlines the process and still allows firms like FirstGroup to have a say. Snape’s amendments for an extra “public interest test” and stronger appeal rights for bus firms were rejected. [Issue 1229]
* Labour’s relationship with FirstGroup in Scotland is less intimate. In November, Audit Scotland noted that Transport Scotland, which manages the First ScotRail franchise, “did not consult on the franchise review and extension options with external bodies”. Audit Scotland also noted that Guy Houston, Transport Scotland’s £90,000-a-year finance director, held FirstGroup shares and share options and attended “key meetings” where franchise extension was discussed. There was no record of him declaring his interest at those meetings or removing himself from discussions. When Audit Scotland’s report was published, he resigned without working his three months’ notice. Houston was formerly FirstGroup’s UK bus finance director. Transport Scotland didn’t know of his shareholding until after he got his job. Last month, Members of the Scottish Parliament on Scotland’s audit committee were told it was none of their business what pay-off he got. [Issue 1229]
[Remember how Stagecoach chairman Brian Souter became the Scottish National Party’s biggest donor, and the party mysteriously dropped its commitment to bus re-regulation from its manifesto?]
* The Metronet consortium collapsed in 2007 but its legacy of waste and incompetence remains. Metronet handed work to its shareholders, including Bombardier, which got £3.4 billion of contracts for new signalling and trains. Bombardier adopted a standard product for the sub-surface lines. The upshot will be longer trains than today’s, but enlarged sidings, stations, and Neasden depot at taxpayers’ expense. In addition the trains will have standard interiors, even though they can’t switch lines because Metropolitan trains have 8 carriages, Circle trains 6 and other trains 7. This means that Buckingham commuters will have fewer seats and will have to stand for comparatively long distances. It was assumed that the new signalling would permit more services, but the re-signalling scheme collapsed. Chesham is to have all day trains to London from 2011, but this will mean halving the Amersham service to 2 trains an hour. The Chesham-Chalfont shuttle must end because the bay platform at Chalfont will be too short for the new trains. Initially, new Metropolitan trains may have to run short of one carriage. With the new interiors, this will reduce seating per train by about 40 per cent. [Issue 1230]
* When the Circle Line is reshaped, to run from Hammersmith to Edgware Road and then round the Circle, each train will have 7 cars rather than today’s 6, to increase capacity. Four doorways will need to be closed at some stations, including Paddington (Circle Line) because the platforms are too short. This is likely to cause mayhem when visitors to London find they cannot get to a door. Tracks at Hammersmith will need expensive extension for 7-coach trains, and trains will have to be berthed in suburban depots if money cannot be found to extend sidings. Metronet’s promised new signalling would have allowed additional 6-coach Circle trains to operate but the contract was scrapped when Metronet went bust. [Issue 1233]
* The curse of the private rail consortium, still hampering London Underground long after Metronet collapsed, is now hitting Edinburgh, where the BSC consortium is contracted to deliver a new tram system by 2011. Princes Street has been temporarily closed to traffic but city-centre track installation was halted last month because of a dispute between the city council and BSC, which complained of delays to preparatory roadworks and reportedly wanted changes which would increase project costs by £80m. This is reminiscent of disputes between the Tramtrack Croydon Ltd consortium and TfL, before TfL lost patience and bought out TCL for an eye-watering £98m. [Issue 1232]
(RAIL DIRECTOR GENERAL)
* Preposterous bonuses for Network Rail cause outrage every year, but things don’t end there. The DfT’s director general of rail, Mike Mitchell, enjoyed perks 41 times in 2007, according to the recently published register of hospitality for top civil servants. DfT uses its own murky criteria to award rail franchises, and the short length of awards means there’s always bidding in the pipeline and firms trying to curry favour.
In January 2007, Mitchell was dined by Go-Ahead, and in February by SNCF. In April, DfT confirmed Gatwick Express would be taken over by the Southern franchise of Govia, Go-Ahead’s joint venture with a firm part-owned by SNCF. In June DfT awarded Govia the franchise for commuter trains into Euston and Birmingham.
In April 2007, Mitchell was dined by National Express, which won the hotly contested East Coast franchise four months later.
Mitchell was a guest of Stagecoach in May, a month before it was announced that the company had won the East Midlands franchise.
First Group treated Mitchell to a drinks reception in January, a ball in February, and dinner in March and June. These all followed a passenger ‘strike’ in January 2007 in protest at overcrowding and delays on Great Western, which had been awarded to First soon after Mitchell left them for the DfT. Only after a second ‘strike’ in February 2008, did DfT give First Great Western a ‘remedial’ notice.
In February 2007, Mitchell received ‘performance tickets’ from Canadian train builder Bombardier. Learning British customs quickly, newcomer Hitachi took him to a reception the same month. In March 2007, DfT invited bids for up to 2,000 new inter city carriages. Bombardier took Mitchell to the opera on 2 June, and a dinner and ‘private showing’ on 14 June. Two months later, DfT named Bombardier and Hitachi as shortlisted bidders, along with a third bidder who soon withdrew.
DfT’s rules on accepting hospitality say it “must not give the impression to any member of the public, to any organisation with whom you deal or to your colleagues that you have been, or may have been, influenced by a consideration to show favour or disfavour to any person or organisation’. They also state: “You must not accept any hospitality… that would, or might appear to: place you under any obligation to an individual or organisation making the offer; compromise your hospitality”. So that’s all right then. [Issue 1231]
* As world oil supply faces a future of rising demand and prices, the latest DfT strategy is a new government company called Diesel Trains Ltd to buy 200 diesel-powered carriages by 2012. Normally trains are bought by rolling stock companies but financiers aren’t keen on buying trains which could run out of affordable fuel before the end of their 30-year shelf life. Logically Britain would electrify more lines but the Government still hasn’t reached a decision. In 1996, BR’s trains were sold for less than their true value. DfT says it will eventually try to sell the new trains to the private sector, so the state will sell trains cheap again, unless the government of the day can live with the political aberration of state-owned assets for publicly funded rail services. [Issue 1232]
* Members of the Scottish Parliament still can’t fathom the deal to extend First Scotrail’s franchise. Last week they questioned Guy Houston who resigned from Transport Scotland when the Audit Scotland report questioned his presence at meetings where the franchise extension was discussed. Transport Scotland had recruited Houston from First Group but they didn’t ask if he owned shares in the company and he didn’t declare his shares until after his appointment. He transferred them to his wife a week before his resignation. He told Scotland’s public audit committee that he had no input into financial decision-making on the extension despite being finance director of the body managing the franchise. Transport Scotland was so obsessed with “market activity” (First Group’s share price) that it didn’t consult on the extension. Even Scotland’s transport minister didn’t receive a full business case, and Audit Scotland was thwarted by the secrecy. These shadowy goings-on could have been avoided if the SNP had kept its pre-election promise to nationalise Scotrail and stop money “disappearing into the pockets of shareholders”. [Issue 1233]
* From March 22, South Eastern trains will be diverted through the Thameslink Tunnel to allow the upgrading of Blackfriars station. However, passengers will be hundreds of seats short as most South Eastern Trains cannot run on Thameslink [because they are not dual-voltage] and Bombardier is late delivering the new trains. Bombardier blames delays to components from suppliers hit by the credit crunch but defective welds, which could cause a derailment, were reportedly found in some components. [Issue 1232]
* The Metronet problems are familiar across the railway as a whole. One reason that the cost of the West Coast Main Line modernisation increased from £2 billion to £9 billion was Railtrack’s failed plan for new signalling to accommodate extra trains. Old signalling had to be adapted unexpectedly. The Virgin-Railtrack upgrade plan proved hopelessly unrealistic and resulted in Virgin getting subsidy of £162 million in 2007-08, instead of paying £152 million. Virgin was previously part of the consortium chosen in 1996 to build the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, which would be largely funded by Eurostar profits, thanks to Virgin’s marketing magic. Eurostar didn’t deliver, Virgin was kicked out in 1998, and taxpayers footed the bill. Meanwhile, Virgin won the Cross Country franchise by promising to eliminate subsidy by 2009. Virgin’s plans were such a mess that the Cross Country network was slashed and given extra subsidy, and Virgin was kicked out in 2007. Yet Richard Branson reckons he can make the financially troubled East Coast franchise “successful”. [Issue 1230]