HOGRIDER 133 (OCTOBER – DECEMBER 2011) PART 1
SHRUG’S PUBLISHED RESPONSE TO GOVERNMENT’S RED TAPE CHALLENGE
STAGECOACH DAVID AND GOLIATH STORIES: IAN FALETTO / SWT PASSENGER / BRIAN SOUTER
CONTEMPORARY STAGECOACH: WANTS FRANCHISING RULES CHANGED IN ITS INTERESTS / BLAZING BUSES / REJECTED HOVERCRAFT SCHEME / INTERESTING SCOTRAIL DIMENSION / DISCARDED TRAMWAY / OPINION TURNING AGAINST GREED ETHOS / CO-FOUNDERS LATEST MONEY MAKING VENTURES
MORE PUBLIC MONEY FOR STAGECOACH
PHENOMENAL FAILURES IN SWT TICKET OFFICE STAFFING
SWT’S NOT-SO-SECURE STATIONS
SWT’S INTRANSIGENCE COSTS DISABLED MAN DEAR
SWT STATION LIFT FAILURES
SWT’S ANNOUNCEMENTS STILL A CAUSE FOR CONCERN
WEYMOUTH OLYMPICS: SWT TELLS PEOPLE TO DRIVE
PASSENGERS PAY FOR PUNCTUALITY ON STAGECOACH BUSES AS WELL AS STAGECOACH TRAINS
LATEST BUS CUTS
GREAT VALUE GREAT WESTERN ROVER TICKET
A TYPICAL WEEK’S PERFORMANCE ON SWT
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS / CONTACT DETAILS
SHRUG’S PUBLISHED RESPONSE TO GOVERNMENT’S RED TAPE CHALLENGE
“Removing genuinely redundant legislation is fine. However, to scrap regulations which were introduced to protect rail passengers’ interests will simply increase the fragmentation which already creates negative perceptions of the rail industry and costs taxpayers huge sums of money.
In a DfT leaflet introducing privatisation, Secretary of State Brian Mawhinney stated that rail privatisation should bring the “best of British industry” like “the Sainsburys of this world” and achieve his aspiration of “responsiveness to passengers’ wishes”. This suggested that the private operators would strive for best practice. Instead, rail travel is a postcode lottery in areas such as comfort of rolling stock, fares structures, definitions of ‘off-peak’, provision of staff and revenue protection. Why are the many large towns in the South West Trains area less needing of travel centres than Brighton or Inverness? Why is a new generation of inter-city trains being developed at huge expense for routes such as London-Bristol, when many London-Southampton-Bournemouth-Weymouth trains are formed of outer-suburban coaches?
Most alarmingly, there have been widespread press reports over the years of passengers who fall foul of the ticketing rules being treated with a level of abuse which would not be tolerated in any other sphere of activity which presents itself as a public service. Following one such incident, Chris Huhne called for a clause to be inserted in franchises requiring the fair and proportionate treatment of passengers (reported in the Southern Daily Echo of 23.6.2007), and we would strongly support this, with substantial penalties for companies who infringe the requirement.
There have been several well-documented incidents of courts admonishing a train operator for wasting their time by prosecuting passengers where there was absolutely no evidence of intention to commit fare evasion. Should taxpayers be funding the courts for such purposes? In other cases, people have been fined three-figure sums for technical offences such as alighting from trains at a station short of their booked destination. This hardly manifests “responsiveness to passengers wishes”.
Our Group (South Hampshire Rail Users) therefore concludes that there are serious disadvantages for passengers in much of what you propose.”
STAGECOACH DAVID AND GOLIATH STORIES
1. LYMINGTON FACILITIES MANAGER IAN FALETTO
[We have checked the reported facts with some of Mr Faletto’s supporters, who have indicated that he is content for us to publish an article. We are grateful to them for clarifying some issues. Quotations are from the Lymington Advertiser & Times, and the Southern Daily Echo.]
WHAT WE KNOW
“I believe that a great injustice was done to Ian which has had a damaging effect on Lymington – anyone who visits the station can see the difference from the time he tended it” (The last word, from New Forest West MP, Desmond Swayne 5/11/2011)
It would seem unlikely that the sacking of Lymington Town station’s facilities manager Ian Faletto by SWT could get more time on TV news than President Obama’s state visit to Britain, but a reliable source tells us this actually happened in Australia.
Mr Faletto’s alleged ‘offence’ was to breach regulations by stepping on to the track. He has consistently stated this was to remove a supermarket trolley.
As for Mr Faletto’s personal safety in accessing the track, the trolley was dumped close to Lymington Town station, where all trains approach at low speed and call, on a single track branch line. He says he checked by phone that the live rail was off. Former SWT Manager, Martin Bedford, stated: “No one knows better than he did about the train times, the signals, the perils of the third line and when trains are due, so he would not have put himself in any danger.”
Expressions of disgust at the sacking quickly spread across Britain and beyond in the Telegraph, Mail, Mirror, Sun, Southern Daily Echo, Bournemouth Echo, Lymington Advertiser & Times, and probably many other papers, not to mention TV and radio.
A petition launched by the Revd Alex Russell of Pennington attracted 8,400 signatures. She travelled to SWT headquarters with Mr Swayne and other supporters of Mr Faletto, but no SWT employee would come out to accept the petition. A SWT spokesman claimed the company had an agreement for one person to access the building and hand over the petition, but the petitioners had turned down the offer. Revd Russell said talk of an agreement was “complete nonsense”. Mr Swayne then presented the petition to Parliament, saying that in “an act of shocking discourtesy to the travelling public”, the company had refused to accept the papers.
Head of Hampshire County Council, Ken Thornber, wrote to SWT Managing Director Andy Pitt (who has since taken early retirement) expressing his shock at the sacking, and highlighting that the Council had been an active partner with SWT for some years. He knew Mr Faletto, who had won 25 awards during his 27-year career, from when he ran his local station at Sway. Mr Faletto’s service to SWT could not be bettered by anyone he had met. He regarded Mr Faletto as a hero rather than as an employee for dismissal. Similar support came from the Lymington and District Chamber of Commerce.
Among published comments from members of the public, our Group’s co-ordinator said he was ‘not surprised’ by SWT’s actions and drew attention to the precedent of the Greg Tucker case. An Employment Tribunal ruled that SWT had wrongfully demoted Mr Tucker (a train driver), dismissing much of the company’s evidence as “incredible”, “risible” and “implausible, even absurd”. One key witness had appeared to give evidence “without regard for truth and solely with an eye to where the advantage lay”
Among the many published letters of support for Mr Faletto, a Lymington resident commented: “I wonder if anyone in the management of South West Trains has the vision to recognise that those who look for [Mr Faletto’s] downfall are the very people that South West Trains should be rid of, while he clearly has the very qualities that South West Trains need to encourage. I suggest promotion for Ian Faletto into a job where his good qualities can spread to other station masters, and dismissal for his detractors.”
At the beginning of November, Mr Faletto withdrew his appeal. Robin and Georgina Craufurd of the Friends of the Lymington to Brockenhurst Line, who have staunchly supported him, published a special newsletter which included the following personal statement:
“It was very disappointing to have to withdraw my tribunal claim against South West Trains for wrongful dismissal. I remain confident that I did the right thing in removing the trolley from the railway line at Lymington Town station. South West Trains however disregarded any evidence that I produced, and would not even allow me to view the CCTV footage which would have shown the youths playing around with the trolley before putting it on the track. I had witnesses that there was a trolley in the station yard on the Saturday, and that a trolley was on the skip when it was taken away on the Monday morning; yet SWT dismissed this as ‘anecdotal’. This shows the difficulty in defending myself against their allegations. SWT were not prepared to accept any evidence that did not back up their version of events; basically they wanted to get rid of me.
Shortly before the start of the Tribunal my legal advisers told me that I had no realistic chance of winning my case because SWT had followed due procedure. They also warned me that SWT were threatening to subject me to hostile and antagonistic cross-examination by their Counsel, and that they were going to demand all their legal costs if they won. To avoid being landed with a substantial financial penalty in this way, I had to take the advice of my Counsel and withdraw my claim. However I maintain that my version of events is the true one.
I am extremely grateful to the RMT Union and to Mr Singh their legal adviser for all their support and advice in this affair. I am also very grateful to all those members of the public who have supported me during this trying time.
PAR FOR THE STAGECOACH COURSE?
In some respects, this story seems all too predictable.
First there is the issue of the CCTV images. One morning in October 2008, a passenger arrived at Southampton Central with his bike and found the gates unattended (a common occurrence at the station), contrary to legal requirements. He opened the manual gate, to avoid missing his train to work. Staff then appeared and he politely showed his valid season ticket, but was given a £55 penalty. He refused to pay as he considered he had done nothing wrong. He was then prosecuted and threatened with a £1,000 fine, 3 months in prison or both. A criminal record would have prevented him from continuing his charitable work with vulnerable serving and former service men and women.
The following April, the Court directed SWT to release CCTV images to the passenger, along with details of the gate and its signage. SWT sent him just a polaroid image of the gates and confirmed in writing that they had looked at the CCTV images and destroyed them. In July, the passenger had to come back from holiday in Spain to attend court. SWT pulled out all the stops, producing three members of staff to give evidence against him. The passenger strongly considered that their evidence was partly false, and the destruction of the CCTV tapes inevitably looked suspicious. In any event, the court found the passenger not guilty, said the case should never have been brought, and admonished SWT for wasting court time.
Secondly, there is the issue of using wealth to squash opposition. Note this extract from a Guardian report of 14/6/2007:
“Ann Gloag, one of Britain's richest businesswomen and co-founder of the Stagecoach transport group, is using her financial muscle to fight an acrimonious legal battle to stop ramblers from using a four-acre chunk of woodland near her castle in the Scottish Highlands. It is a battle she is willing to fight all the way to the European court.
Mrs Gloag stunned countryside access campaigners and Scotland's political parties by winning a court ruling that she was legally entitled to bar the public from a swath of woodland in the grounds of her Perthshire castle, Kinfauns.
Mrs Gloag's lawyers successfully claimed she was entitled to a higher degree of protection because of her wealth, estimated at £385 million, her jewellery and furniture collections, her high public profile, and the prominence of her guests.”
The case was widely perceived as undermining the Scottish Parliament’s Right to Roam legislation, and Mrs Gloag was awarded costs which, reportedly, could have been as much as £200,000.
Lastly, and perhaps most distastefully, is the triumphalism SWT displayed upon getting rid of an employee who for years had been one of its best ambassadors.
This is what the Southern Daily Echo reported on 26/8/2006: “Just weeks after he moved down the track, award-winning Hampshire station master Ian Faletto has scooped another gong. The man famed for his first-class customer service, bowls of sweets on the counter and floral displays at his former station in Sway, has now turned Lymington station into the most improved in the region.
The accolade was handed out as part of the South West Trains Station Pride Awards 2006, covering 177 stations. Mr Faletto, 44, said: "Lymington is more of a town environment than Sway, but most of the passengers are calling me by my first name now. Now I've got this award, I've won every one there is."
Mr Faletto has previously won best small station, at Sway, best medium-sized station, at Salisbury, and best large station, for Southampton. He was given a lifetime achievement award last year.
South West Trains' New Forest area manager Martin Bedford said: "It's down to the dedication Ian has put in. I have a job to get him to go home. He always seems to have some plan in his head for the station. He's done a tremendous job in just ten weeks and built up a good relationship with the community."
This is what the Lymington Advertiser & Times reported on 5/11/2011:
SWT Director Jake Kelly stated: “We are pleased that Mr Faletto has finally withdrawn his case, which proves definitively [This totally contradicts Mr Faletto’s statement] that there was never any substance to the claims he made. However, we remain angry at the way these fictitious Walter Mitty-style claims were so quickly reported as fact.” [How’s that for the character assassination of someone whose work had won a lifetime achievement award? It sounds like the sort of thing a senior judge might say of someone convicted of a serious crime.]
This reflects Christian Wolmar’s assessment in his book ‘Stagecoach’ that “there is a fundamental defensiveness about Stagecoach’s attitude to the press, borne of an arrogance and deep conviction that the company is right and everyone else is wrong.”
SUSPICIONS OF A HIDDEN AGENDA
Desmond Swayne considered that “The decision is so utterly perverse that one wonders if there isn’t another secret agenda operating beneath the surface. Winning so many awards and being such a well known character may have ruffled feathers. Given the caprice of human nature, is it possible that someone was out to get him?”
There are some interesting circumstantial issues which tend to support Mr Swayne’s suspicions. Why was Mr Faletto’s manager looking at the CCTV tape in the first place, unless the company was trying to wrong-foot him? The network must produce thousands of hours of recordings, and SWT is hardly well staffed. For example, we report in this issue on the phenomenal number of SWT ticket offices closed during opening hours.
Ever since SWT seriously overbid for the current franchise, it has been striving both to whittle down ticket office opening hours, and to deal disproportionately with those who board a train prior to purchasing a ticket. On-board announcements endlessly threaten penalty fares, yet lurking on SWT’s website is the more ominous message “We have the option to pursue further charges”. The frequent lists of passengers (for example in the Southern Daily Echo) who have been fined £175 simply for boarding a train without a ticket suggests that this is no idle threat.
In this context, it would be surprising if SWT did not favour leaving Lymington Town station unstaffed, and one writer to the Lymington Advertiser & Times confirms that there have been rumours to that effect. Mr Faletto’s concern with looking after passengers is likely to have become an embarrassment. His former manager, Martin Bedford, says: “Mr Faletto was an old-school worker and public servant in a business whose only interest is profit. It seems there is no room for ‘nice people’ in the modern privatised workplace. Quite: “Ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed” (Stagecoach Chief Executive Brian Souter- private investments reportedly valued at around £400 million)
SWT consistently hid behind the excuse that they could not discuss a confidential matter in advance of the Appeal Tribunal hearing. A Brockenhurst resident appositely commented that Mr Faletto would no doubt have been happy to relieve them of this “duty of confidentiality” which had now joined “the pathetic litany of other lame excuses such as computer error and health and safety”. He further commented: “How insulting and cowardly of this, supposed, public service, for the highest official in the [SWT HQ] building not to meet Desmond Swayne MP – a four times elected representative of the very public SWT really do have a “duty” to serve”.
Indeed, if SWT was really treating the matter as confidential, why were numerous bloggers launching attacks on Mr Faletto in the local press during May, when the story was at its height, claiming in effect that he had been misrepresenting the facts? Where could such information have come from except the SWT manager who had looked at the tape or colleagues with whom he had discussed the issue? Conversely, if the bloggers were fuelled only by rumour and speculation, isn’t it a bit odd that their comments accurately reflected SWT’s stance?
This letter from John Dimmock in the Lymington Advertiser & Times seems relevant:
“Ongoing rumours and innuendo need answers. With regard to Mr Faletto, surely it is time for South West Trains to answer the rumours circulating. If they want people to have any confidence in them, then now is the time to put matters right.
One rumour going around is that Ian Faletto made two phone calls to Brockenhurst signal box. The first to ascertain if the electric had been switched on after engineering works overnight. Is it true he was told it was still off? The second call was to inform them that he had removed the obstacle. To verify if these calls were made is quite simple. If you or I made a phone call it would be shown on a phone statement; have they checked theirs? [Q: Would any call have been made on a public or an internal system?]
Another rumour is that when he phoned, the signal person was a man whose shift had finished, but was still there covering for a woman who should have been on duty. That being the case, was the signal box register filled in at the time, or later when she arrived? If there were engineering works, then surely the engineer inspector would have been in the box, and he can verify what happened. [Q: In this kind of circumstance, cover-up possible?]
There is rather a distinct smell to this matter, and if anything untoward has happened then it is time it was exposed and action taken by South West Trains to deny or confirm these rumours.
The third worry is, was this a conspiracy of entrapment to rid themselves of Ian? If so, how many people knew of it and how far up the ladder did this go?
If any of these rumours are true, then the wrong person has been sacked. For what little PR you have left, please explain.”
Nothing will remove the suspicions of a ‘put up job’ to get rid of Mr Faletto, unless SWT is prepared to respond to a host of issues raised in his defence. SWT apparently justifies its action on the absence of CCTV evidence of a trolley on the line. In other words, they simply disbelieve Mr Faletto. 8,400 petitioners will not be satisfied with that.
Mr Faletto argued that he needed to remove the trolley because it could have caused a derailment. SWT has dismissed the possibility of a derailment at this site. Yet, if the current were not off, as Mr Faletto claimed to have checked with Brockenhurst signal box, a trolley pushed by a train against the live rail would no doubt cause a fireball explosion, as happened when someone threw a cycle on to the tracks at Woolston station. This could cause considerable damage, and likely distress to passengers.
So why was SWT so unconcerned about a trolley being on the line? Did they know that the current was in fact off, as Mr Faletto claimed to have checked? And if it was off, doesn’t that add considerable weight to his account of the matter?
Finally, why was Jake Kelly so caustic in his comments if SWT had really been concerned about Mr Faletto’s safety rather than concerned to get rid of him?
STAGECOACH ‘DAVID AND GOLIATH’ STORIES
2. A SWT PASSENGER
The following is extracted from e’mails received by SHRUG. We have no reason to doubt the authenticity of the accounts, because they are very much on par with SWT revenue protection abuses listed in our response to DfT’s consultation on penalty fares (See Hogrider 126, Part 1 on www.shrug.info) The sender confirmed his identity. E’mail of 13/9/2011
“My partner is being prosecuted by SWT for an incorrect train ticket he purchased at Southampton Airport. He purchased the ticket in extreme haste, and accidentally bought a child ticket to Winchester, when he should have purchased an adult ticket to Southampton Central using his young person's railcard. The difference between the price he paid and the price he should have paid was 5 pence. Yes - 5 pence.
He cooperated fully with the Revenue Protection Officer at Southampton Central, giving his name and address etc, but was not allowed to explain the reason for the mistake. The next he heard was a letter from SWT Prosecution Department, which he responded to in full explaining the circumstances. He then received a package of court documents for the prosecution.
It was an entirely innocent mistake since he was sent to Southampton on business and all of his expenses were being reimbursed by his employer. He lives in London.
He hasn't yet decided whether to plead innocent or guilty. There is a solid argument that he is innocent because there was no wilful intent (they are prosecuting under Section 5 of Railway Act 1889).
[This was followed by a number of questions about SWT to which SHRUG’s Co-ordinator answered as fully as he could. Clearly precedent cases were vital, such as those presented to DfT as above. The passenger then decided to plead ‘not guilty’.]
E’mail of 1/12/2011 [Prosecutor’s name supplied to SHRUG]
“I wanted to let you know what happened at the court case today. We sent a bundle of documents several months ago to the court and SWT with hard evidence proving that my partner made an honest mistake and didn't intend to avoid paying the correct fare. We had also sent several letters to SWT, which they didn't respond to, explaining all the facts and asking them to reconsider the prosecution, bearing in mind that my partner was clearly not guilty of the offence of intending to avoid paying the correct fare.
When we arrived at the court, the prosecutor took my partner aside (outside the courtroom) and said he wanted to make an offer. He was very rude and intimidating, and said again that my partner clearly intended to avoid paying his correct fare. He said it would be very expensive if we go to court and my partner is found guilty. I told him that he had to prove this, and he hadn't submitted any evidence to prove it. He said that I had no right to say anything, because I'm not a lawyer, and therefore the discussion was closed and he would not make an offer anymore.
Then 10 minutes later the usher of the court came out and said SWT’s prosecutor was willing to have another discussion, but without me being present. My partner went into a meeting with the prosecutor and the court clerk. The prosecutor offered my partner the chance to pay £150 to SWT and avoid a criminal prosecution. This is 50% of the amount that my partner was told he could pay in order to avoid prosecution, in the first letter he received from SWT saying that he would be prosecuted. My partner refused this offer.
It was clear to us that the prosecutor had not read any of the evidence which had been in his possession for months, until today, and having read it he realised there was no case to answer.
So we were then called into court. The evidence was given by both sides. The prosecutor was told off several times by one of the magistrates (of which there were three) for asking irrelevant questions, and for bullying my partner. The magistrate kept shaking his head almost every time the prosecutor spoke. Some of the questions asked by the prosecutor clearly demonstrated he hadn't read the correspondence and the clerk and the magistrate noted this.
The magistrates concluded that there was (I quote) "absolutely no evidence" that my partner intended to avoid paying the correct fare, and that it was an honest mistake.
A relief but a total waste of our time and very annoying.”
STAGECOACH ‘DAVID AND GOLIATH’ STORIES
3. BRIAN SOUTER
The Stagecoach Chief Executive has accused Google of blocking his personal website and controlling the right to free speech in the UK. In extraordinary comments for someone presented on SWT’s website as ‘The tough Scots bruiser who came to dominate the UK’s bus industry by ruthlessly driving rivals off the road’, Mr Souter called it a David and Goliath battle.
Daniel Livingstone, from Glasgow, commented: “What a lot of hot air - and his site isn't even censored. OK, it doesn't come up in the first few pages, but it is there. (When I searched earlier it was on page 10, most recently on page 11... and as pages about this storm in a teacup fill up the top results, his own page seems to be slipping even further.)”
Susan Lange, also from Glasgow, commented: “Ooooohhh, somebody loves them self..... Time to get-over-yourself Mr Souter, you're only a mere mortal, just like the rest of us. I, for one, am not interested in your story; I already know you make a lot of money out of the travelling public.... End of!”
John Maguire, from Sussex, commented: “Mr Souter (or Sir Brian) peddles a curious arrogance for one so resolutely devout in his following of scripture. Where is the humility in having a personal website to promote yourself and, more so, where is the humility in demanding it be promoted by Google to attract even more viewers? Why is it so important to him that people can find him on the internet and read his life story? Perhaps he should just write a book and see if he could get it published. [Source: Herald, Scotland]
* SEEKING NEW RAIL FRANCHISING RULES IN ITS OWN INTEREST
* BLAZING BUSES
* INTERESTING SCOTRAIL DIMENSION
* CHIEF EXECUTIVE ‘SCUNNERED’ BY REJECTION OF HOVERCRAFT SCHEME
* NO LONGER A MAJOR TRAM OPERATOR
* PUBLIC AND POLITICAL OPINION TURNING AGAINST GREED ETHOS
* CO-FOUNDERS’ NEW MONEY MAKING VENTURES
STAGECOACH WANTS NEW RAIL FRANCHISING RULES WHICH FAVOUR IT
Richard Branson and Brian Souter are bidding to keep Virgin Trains’ West Coast franchise (49% Stagecoach-owned), but want the rules changed so that weight is given to customer service instead of franchises being awarded to the highest bidder. Asked to give his opinion of state-run continental companies which are increasingly taking on franchises in Britain, Sir Richard said: “State-run companies generally speaking do not do that great a job, I believe.” Brian Souter commented that “we have lost bids before like East Coast mainline based on someone overbidding”, and the Virgin Trains’ bid would have “transformed” the London-Edinburgh route. [Guardian 8.12.2011].
Mr Souter has obviously forgotten that he bid almost £1.2 billion for the SWT franchise, and then stripped out quality electric rolling stock and provincial travel centres, while the amounts of the 3 failed bids were broadly comparable - £636 million, £513 million and £501 million.
Stagecoach must have been very disappointed not to win the Great Eastern franchise, which has been awarded to Abellio [Dutch Railways]. It had even pursued a merger with the deposed operator, National Express. When the merger was successfully resisted, a Stagecoach spokesman indicated that, ‘We continue to believe that any acquisition of the UK bus and UK rail operations of National Express on the right terms would present a significant opportunity for the group to generate value for our shareholders” [Herald 16.10.2009]. ‘Generating value’ sounds like the Stagecoach practice of stripping assets to boost profits as happened so disastrously for passengers on SWT.
Unfortunately, Virgin Trains’ customer service is not always as great as Sir Richard believes. A few examples:
(1) West Coast had the worst punctuality score of all the franchises in the 4 weeks to November 12 2011 [RAIL Issue 685].
(2) Former Secretary of State for Transport, Philip Hammond, chose the Virgin Trains franchise to illustrate eye-watering fares. Virgin Trains appears to have no close rival for the most time-restricted off-peak fares in Britain; tickets are not valid for arrival in London before 11.29, or departure after 15.00. However, that’s not quite fair. SWT’s super off-peak fares are actually the former off-peak rates cynically rebranded, and are not valid for arrival in London before 12.00.
(3) Report by Andrew Gilligan, Evening Standard 14/07/08:
“Late last night, in the middle of Birmingham, I was physically assaulted, called a f***ing c*** and a prick, and left stranded after the last train back to London had gone. The person who did all this was not a mugger or a hooligan, or even one of my political enemies, but a member of staff of Virgin Trains.
The provocation, I admit was pretty serious: I’d asked, politely, if I might board the 9.45pm from New Street to Euston with a bicycle. Each of the trains on this route has two sizeable bike parking areas for precisely this purpose. Strictly speaking, you need a reservation to use them, although this is almost never insisted on if space is available, as it was last night and indeed almost always is.
I explained, again politely, that it is possible to get bike reservations only at Virgin ticket offices (the website does not offer them); that I had started my journey yesterday evening from a place without a Virgin ticket office, or any other. I explained that the connection did not allow enough time to get a bike reservation at Birmingham; that for my particular journey it was, in fact, impossible to go through the bureaucratic hoops Virgin required; and that this was also the last train of the night. I even offered to take the bike’s wheels off. It made no difference: after a barrage of four-letter words, I ended up getting pushed on to the platform.
Now I’ve been kicked off half-empty trains before for the crime of bringing a bike – but never in such circumstances, and never in such a fashion. You feel, I can report, not so much angry, more amazed: even by Virgin standards, this was stone-carved, historic, off-the scale-bad.
After our contretemps, I and the bike came home from Birmingham by taxi. To my amazement, I found that the chauffeur-driven trip cost me not much more than a standard ticket on Virgin Trains.”
(4) Letter from “Arnie” – Evening Standard 15/07/08:
“Andrew Gilligan is spot on. I visit Birmingham every month and in my experience, most Virgin Trains staff are rude and incompetent. Last week, I watched a man run down the stairs and dash across the platform to try and get on the train in time. A Virgin attendant yelled at the top of his voice and began swearing like a madman; surely a completely unacceptable way to treat customers?”
(5) From the Evening Standard 10/10/2008:
“A train manager threatened to have a commuter arrested after he came to the rescue of a vulnerable fellow passenger. Stand-up comedian Tom Wrigglesworth intervened when the Virgin Trains manager demanded an elderly passenger buy a new ticket because she had got on the wrong train.
Lena Ainscow, 75, sobbed as she was forced to hand over £115 for a new ticket, despite having been told to board that service by Virgin staff. Wrigglesworth, 32, stepped in and organised a whip-round among passengers for her. But the train manager saw him, said the collection was akin to begging and called police before warning him to hand back the cash or face being arrested.
Mrs Ainscow was travelling to see daughter Carol Battersby, her two sons, and husband Ian, a Regimental Sergeant Major with the Royal Artillery who has recently returned from Iraq. Her £11.50 pre-booked ticket for the trip to see the family in Bromley was for yesterday’s 10.45 Manchester to Euston service but her Virgin travel itinerary said she had been booked on the 10.15am service and she was advised to board the train by Virgin staff in Manchester.
Her explanation and pleas for discretionary sympathy failed to sway the manager who forced her to pay for a new ticket. Wrigglesworth, from Shadwell, East London, who is a regular at the Comedy Store in Piccadilly Circus, pleaded with him but was told not to interfere. He said, “I couldn’t sit there and let this helpless woman deal with it on her own. I had to do something so I got a paper bag from the buffet car. I told the other passengers that if we all gave 50p or £1 we would get the money in no time. Everyone was happy to help and someone even put in £30. When I gave her the money she got upset again”.
Mrs Ainscow, a grandmother of 11 from Bolton in Greater Manchester, said she was “overwhelmed” by the generosity of her fellow passengers/ She Said: “When the guard said I had to buy a new ticket I was devastated. The only money I had was the savings I’d scraped together to get my grandchildren a present. “Tom really spoke up for me, he was marvellous. The train was only half-full, I don’t know why the manager had to make me buy another ticket. It was a simple mistake – and not mine either. My itinerary was wrong.”
Mr Wrigglesworth was met at Euston by transport police. He said: “The manager accused me of begging and asked me to give everyone’s money back. I told him I wouldn’t and that people didn’t want it back. When I got off at Euston there were a few police officers waiting. Thankfully a couple of the other passengers waited and helped to explain. Once the police had been put in the picture they walked away”.
---- Mrs Ainscow’s daughter Carol said: “Tom has restored my faith in mankind. He was an angel. I dread to think what would have happened to my mother if he hadn’t been there.”
(6) Article by Christian Wolmar on 4/2/2011:
“Interesting contrast on two journeys recently. On East Coast, a very friendly conductor asked me for my Senior Railcard – yes folks I have one – when I showed him my ticket. I said that he was the first conductor to ask for it in over a year and a half and, in fact, my card had run out for some of that period and I had taken journeys without realising it. He said that this happened a lot and that people forgot to renew. I pointed out that although I had ordered it online, as most people do, there was no automatic reminder, which would hardly take any effort to do.
He agreed, and said that he never made people buy a full fare, but merely charged them the extra that they would have paid without the card, and if it was only a couple of quid, he did not bother. But he did say there was a bit of self interest as he got £6 for every renewal that was made as a result of his check.
On Virgin, there was a superficially equally friendly conductor, a middle aged woman who gave very clear and precise details about ticket availability. We were on the Mark 3 train out of Euston, a real pleasure, in contrast to the ghastly Pendolino, and she specifically explained this was a ‘spacious train’. Indeed. She too, asked for my Railcard and when I showed it to her, I said that it had once run out because I had not received a renewal reminder.
Oh yes, she said, ‘there’s a lot of fraud around cards’ ‘Fraud?’ I replied ‘That’s hardly the right word. It’s just people forget and they do not get reminded which would not take much to do’ ‘Well its fraud because they are cheating on their tickets. And it would be a lot of administration to send out reminders’.”
Mr Souter considers that Stagecoach’s future fortunes will be driven by long-distance buses rather than trains, and he plans a £44m investment in new Megabus coaches in the UK and US [Herald 8.12.2011].
As we reported in issue 131, an engine fire and 8 incidents of wheel loss on Stagecoach buses between May 2009 and January 2010 resulted in Stagecoach Perth, Stagecoach Glasgow and Stagecoach Fife receiving formal warnings. Stagecoach Strathtay, which covers large areas of Perth, Aberdeen and Dundee, was banned from expanding its services for four months.
It now seems there is also cause for concern south of the border. Googling ‘Stagecoach Bus Fires’ produces scary photographs/videos of Stagecoach buses ablaze in England. Reports include:
* A Stagecoach in Newcastle bus bursting into flames at Killingworth (March 2011).
* Peak traffic chaos in Carlisle when an empty Stagecoach bus caught fire (May 2011)
* A Stagecoach bus fire in Sheffield (May 2011)
* A double-decker ablaze on the Preston-Blackpool route. Twenty five passengers, including an 18-month-old baby, escaped. Lancashire Fire and Rescue service said the bus was ‘100% destroyed’. (July 2011)
* A bus fire filmed by Colin Green Photography of Leeds. Intensity of the fire reported as ‘enormous’ with heat from the fire felt 20 metres away (July 2011)
INTERESTING SCOTRAIL DIMENSION
First Group’s Scotrail franchise is usually perceived as progressive and passenger-focused. Yet it is reported [RAIL Issue 684] that the SNP would like to break it up; scrap the popular sleeper train to London; and replace East Coast’s Anglo-Scottish trains north of Edinburgh and Glasgow with local Scotrail services. This has caused a big outcry.
Scotrail is a mixed bag of operations, with intensive commuter services in the central lowland belt, and scenic routes which are among the least profitable services in Britain.
So could this unpopular proposal by the SNP be designed to let the party’s biggest donor, Brian Souter, cherry pick when the current franchise expires? Mr Souter is already proposing double-decker ‘sleeper buses’ between Glasgow and London after trials with a single-decker [Herald 8.12.2011]. He may not have much success; Westminster is offering to meet half the cost of renewing the sleeping car fleet if Scotland funds the balance.
CHIEF EXECUTIVE SCUNNERED BY REJECTION OF HOVERCRAFT SCHEME
Brian Souter says he is scunnered (furious) that Edinburgh City Council has killed his plan for a hovercraft service across the Forth (Portobello-Kirkcaldy) by refusing planning permission for the Edinburgh terminal on environmental grounds. Stagecoach had spent £500,000 (equivalent to Mr Souter’s most recent donation to the SNP) over 10 years on developing the scheme. He considers the decision stifles innovation and, along with the problems of the Edinburgh tram scheme (3 years late and seriously over budget), creates a negative impression of Edinburgh as a place to invest [Herald 10.12.2011].
STAGECOACH NO LONGER A MAJOR TRAM OPERATOR
Stagecoach now runs trams only in Sheffield. It has surrendered the bigger Manchester Metrolink network (which is undergoing a big expansion programme, with construction of new routes) despite the government recently giving an amber light to further investment in tram schemes. This puzzled the media, but Mr Souter’s comments about the Edinburgh tram scheme as above, may suggest he is unwilling to undertake the risks which tramway construction can entail. Stagecoach clearly prefers a quick buck, as exemplified by its huge profit from sale and re-purchase of East London Buses.
PUBLIC AND POLITICAL OPINION TURNING AGAINST GREED ETHOS
‘Ethics are not irrelevant, but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed’ [Stagecoach chief executive Brian Souter]
A recent report by research firm Just Economics found that lower and middle-income families are being ‘completely priced out of the rail market’ [Metro 27.6.2011]. This was followed by a poll which found that 86.2% were against £340m being paid in dividends to Stagecoach shareholders (including £88m to the two Stagecoach founders) at a time of austerity when financially-squeezed commuters were facing New Year fare rises of around 8% [Guardian 19.8.2011]. Significantly, 86.2% represents a big increase over the 70% who, in South West Train’s 2006 poll, thought the company should not have been re-franchised to Stagecoach.
To put this into context, it’s probably fair to say that the way Britain perceives itself is changing. The media now seem to talk less about ‘rich and poor’ or ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ as about the ‘99%’ being fleeced by the ‘1%’ at the top.
This is happening on a broad front. For example, on 2.11.2011 the Press Association reported the Prime Minister as having said the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke ‘for the whole country’ when he condemned the excesses of those at the top of society. The September 2011 edition of Rail Staff carried an RMT advertisement saying: ‘We have a privatised industry that still receives £billions of public money. Unbelievably three times the subsidy British Rail received. This money from UK tax payers like YOU helps feed the corporate greed of the privateers. Senior management and shareholders have all done very well out of privatisation. In fact, we reckon rail privatisation has created almost as many millionaires as the National Lottery.’
CO-FOUNDERS’ NEW MONEY MAKING VENTURES
Mr Souter may have got the message that his advocacy of greed is less acceptable in a time of austerity. He is now acquiring or setting up miscellaneous overseas businesses within his private Souter Investments portfolio, meaning that Stagecoach revenues are proportionally less significant in fuelling his wealth. Ventures include the Istanbul ferry company (bought for £550m) and a 68-strong fleet of buses operating in Poland under the PolskiBus brand [Sunday Herald 23.10.2011].
His sister, Stagecoach co-founder Ann Gloag, is investing in a fund to obtain planning consent for a huge biomass power station adjacent to a densely populated area of Southampton. The project is attracting fierce criticism from residents and Southampton City Council alike [Southern Daily Echo 11.10.2011].
MORE PUBLIC MONEY FOR STAGECOACH
Stagecoach will receive a taxpayer hand-out worth up to £45 million between November and May, to help its East Midlands rail franchise back into the black. Brian Souter said the Government would pay a revenue subsidy after the franchise “lost in excess of £30 million in the first half”. --- The transport operator added that its London bus business - it bought the East London Bus Group, which operates the Selkent, Thameside and East London brands, out of administration for £52.8 million last year [ after selling it for £263 million 4 years earlier] - was going well. [Evening Standard 7/12/2011]
PHENOMENAL FAILURES IN SWT TICKET OFFICE STAFFING
In the past three months alone, SWT’s website has advertised failures (in some cases prolonged and/or repeated) to staff ticket offices during opening hours at Addlestone, Andover, Axminster, Bagshot, Brockenhurst, Brookwood, Chessington South, Clandon, Earley, Farnborough, Farnham, Feltham, Frimley, Fulwell, Godalming, Hampton Wick, Havant, Horsley, Liphook, Motspur Park, Overton, Oxshott, Raynes Park, Shepperton, Southampton Airport, Staines, Stoneleigh, Tolworth, West Byfleet, Weymouth, Winchester and Wool stations.
SWT’S NOT-SO-SECURE STATIONS
Security for some. While Mrs Gloag threw money at excluding ramblers from the grounds of one of her castles, SWT has repeatedly sought government agreement to leave its stations unattended for longer periods. No surprise, therefore, that cycles are being stolen at Andover and Lymington Town [Lymington Advertiser & Times 5.11.2011]. Totton station, which now has only token staffing despite serving the fourth largest town between Southampton and Weymouth, has a ‘cycle theft hotspot’ notice. Stations where cycles are stolen should obviously be precluded from ‘secure station’ status which, in any event, is based on pretty subjective criteria.
SWT’S INTRANSIGENCE COSTS DISABLED MAN DEAR
Winchester MP Steve Brine commendably took up the case of a 64-year-old disabled man who needs to travel from Hampshire to London to see his grandchild. SWT refused to carry the man because his scooter was fractionally over their prescribed size limits, and it cost him £400 for a smaller model [Southern Daily Echo 17/11/11]. SWT said their policy was ‘consistent with government guidelines’, but guidelines are by their nature intended to allow for reasonable flexibility.
[On 26/10/2011, SWT hosted a ‘Try the Train Day’ at Basingstoke. Their website reports Stakeholder and Accessibility Manager, Phil Dominey, as saying: “We are aware that transport plays a crucial role in people’s lives but we know that for many lack of confidence or knowledge can often prevent them from travelling by train. Our ‘Try the Train’ days have proved very popular and useful to the local community, and we hope we have helped to demonstrate just how easy train travel can be.” Or not.
Also during October, Private Eye reported: “This South West Trains poster, featuring an artist’s impression of a delighted SWT passenger in a wheelchair, could have encouraged wheelchair users to nominate a helpful employee during “customer service week” last week. SWT promised to enter all nominators into a draw for first-class tickets on SWT’s network, but what would a wheelchair user do with such a prize? None of SWT’s trains has room for a wheelchair in first class.”]
SWT STATION LIFT FAILURES
Lift failures (in some cases prolonged and/or repeated), have recently occurred at Bracknell, Brentford, Clapham Junction, Eastleigh, Fareham, Farnborough, Feltham, Fratton, Haslemere, Havant, Kingston, Richmond, Southampton Central, Surbiton, Twickenham, West Byfleet, Weybridge and Wimbledon.
SWT’S ANNOUNCEMENTS STILL A CAUSE FOR CONCERN
‘Thirty-six announcements in 38 minutes on my South West Trains journey yesterday at 6am. Can anyone beat that? – Bleary-eyed’ [Evening Standard 2.11.2011]. This ongoing trauma reflects SWT’s twice-yearly Webchat events, where areas of dissatisfaction have been raised by passengers umpteen times before, but simply get the brush-off. SWT is contractually bound to the Webchats, but would no doubt prefer to pick off individual passengers privately. Such is apparent in this refusal to address passengers’ problems through the new FixMyTransport website: “To allow us to follow our agreed processes, would you please advise our customer to use one of the established methods of contact to obtain a full response to their concerns."
WEYMOUTH OLYMPICS: SWT TELLS PEOPLE TO DRIVE
Major sporting events give train operators an opportunity to ‘go the extra mile’ in looking after passengers and portraying themselves positively. Pity, therefore, about this advice in SWT’s pocket timetable No.28 on services during the Olympic Games:
“Trains to and from Weymouth are expected to be extremely busy. Spectators for the sailing events are recommended to drive to one of the Olympic park sites for buses to the spectator areas.”
[Cross Country, however, is providing extra services. The 06.04 Birmingham-Bournemouth and 05.11 Manchester-Bournemouth will extend to Weymouth. The 18.45 Bournemouth-Manchester and 19.45 Bournemouth-Birmingham will start from Weymouth, and there will be additional services at 11.35 from Weymouth to Bournemouth and 12.35 return.]
IT’S NOT JUST THE OLYMPICS WHERE SWT IS NO LONGER ACTING LIKE A PUBLIC SERVICE:
Recent notice on SWT’s website:
“On Thursday 8 December, the annual Varsity Match takes place at Twickenham Stadium. On this day, the car park at Twickenham Station will be closed all day, and during the evening peak crowd control measures will be in place in preparation for the returning fans from the rugby match. We apologise for any inconvenience caused.”
PASSENGERS PAY FOR PUNCTUALITY ON STAGECOACH BUSES AS WELL AS STAGECOACH TRAINS
SHRUG has accumulated many years of evidence that SWT finally moved out of the bottom of the punctuality league by axing stops at the drop of a hat, with passengers dumped short of their destinations or left standing on platforms. This helps trains reach their destinations not on time, but in time to start the next service punctually.
It now appears that Stagecoach buses operate similarly, as in this letter in the Evening Telegraph of 7/11/11:
On boarding a bus recently, I was left aghast when the driver informed me the only reason he had stopped was to allow passengers who had boarded in Perth to get off. He explained that as he was running late he had been instructed by his supervisor not to stop to pick up any passengers so he could make up time.
I later spoke to one of the passengers who had alighted the Stagecoach bus and he informed me that the driver had driven down the Perth to Dundee dual carriageway and had not followed the scheduled route that would have taken him through the various Carse of Gowrie villages.
I could only imagine the anger and frustration of anyone who had been left stranded by this.
If this is so that they can ‘tick the box’ on punctuality then I find it disgusting and the bus firm should be ashamed that it could treat customers in such a manner. — A. Payne, Invergowrie.”
HOPE ON THE HORIZON? [Evening Standard 20/12/2011]
“BRITAIN’S bus industry is to face its most radical shake-up since privatisation 25 years ago, after the Competition Commission found deregulation had left passengers suffering from poor services and higher fares. The watchdog reported that bus operators “face little or no competition” in some areas of the country. Its probe did not take in London because the market is regulated. However, throughout the rest of the UK there are about 1,250 bus companies but the five largest — German-owned Arriva, and listed rivals Firstgroup, Go-ahead, National Express and Stagecoach — carry 70% of all passengers.
Jeremy Peat, chairman of the Competition Commission’s investigation, said: “In too many areas of the country, competition has stagnated and the incumbent providers know that they face little in the way of serious challenge. The incentive to increase services, innovate and even lower fares is absent.”
The watchdog’s proposals to open up the market include boosting the number of multi-operator ticket schemes, banning ‘over-bussing’ where operators boost frequency to knock out competitors, and ensuring new entrants can share bus stations managed by rivals “on fair, reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.””
TSO’s national timetable book from 11 December 2011 is somewhat improved in that there are only 6 tables in illegibly small print, compared with over 20 in the previous edition. Whether details are shown of the final destinations of trains which span several tables remains a geographical lottery. The small print tables include Waterloo-Southampton-Weymouth and Southampton/Portsmouth-Victoria/Brighton, as well as Victoria-Brighton; Euston-Glasgow; Brighton-Bedford; and cross-Birmingham services between Hereford and Stratford-upon-Avon. Why TSO can’t simply reflect the consistent presentation of the book when it was published by ATOC is an enduring mystery.
There are few service changes affecting southern Hampshire:
Passengers using connections to the West Country will find that SWT has juggled the lengths of some trains on the Waterloo-Salisbury-Exeter route to reflect loadings better. In addition, the 13.10 Mondays-Saturdays Bristol-Waterloo service is axed between Bristol and Salisbury, but there is a new 12.51 from Bristol which attaches to the 12.26 Exeter-Waterloo at Salisbury. The 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth calls at Wool on Mondays to Fridays. SWT’s timetable runs for a whole year, so improvements from next summer are already ruled out.
Cross Country trains from Southampton to the North East are accelerated by a few minutes between Birmingham and Derby. The 13.46 Southampton-Edinburgh (Mondays to Saturdays) calls additionally at Alnmouth. The 13.35 from Newcastle (Mondays-Fridays), which ran fast from Basingstoke to Southampton Central via Andover and Romsey, now runs to Winchester (15 minute connection into the 15.27 Manchester-Bournemouth) and terminates at Eastleigh.
First Great Western’s 17.23 service from Portsmouth Harbour now runs to Cardiff on Mondays to Saturdays. Previously it terminated at Bristol on Mondays to Thursdays. On Mondays to Fridays, the 16.49 Great Malvern-Southampton (via Swindon and Melksham) now starts from Cheltenham Spa at 17.40. On Saturdays, early Portsmouth Harbour-Cardiff services are accelerated by shortened station stops at Westbury: the 06.00 leaves Westbury 10 minutes earlier, and the former 07.05 starts at 07.23 and runs later to Westbury. On Sundays, the 16.08 Portsmouth Harbour-Cardiff calls additionally at Bradford-on-Avon. [Modern Railways magazine reports some pressure in South Wales for faster timings between Cardiff and Bristol, and twice-hourly direct services between Swansea and Bath, to stimulate economies on both sides of the Severn. This could have long-term implications for the Portsmouth-South Wales service.]
LATEST BUS CUTS
Bus services in southern Hampshire continue to be cut at an alarming rate. There is now a downward spiral in which evening and Sunday services are withdrawn or thinned, followed by the thinning of weekday services to hourly, two-hourly, or even three days per week, followed by total withdrawal.
Bluestar services between Southampton and Lymington/Cadnam are halved west of the Totton area on weekdays. Late Sunday services on the Southampton-Calmore route have gone, along with all Sunday services between Southampton and Salisbury (the latter to be reintroduced seasonally from 1 May 2012). Marchwood has no evening or Sunday services, and Beaulieu has buses only on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Many local First Group services in the Southampton city area have been thinned or cut, along with a few buses on the Southampton-Fareham/Gosport routes.
Stagecoach buses in normal service are now extinct in Southampton City Centre, which somehow seems appropriate as the company’s profiteering destroyed the well-used bus station. Stagecoach now runs just 5 Monday-Friday services from the General Hospital to Winchester.
One reason advanced for the closure of the rail route through Ringwood was the more-direct bus route to Southampton. Ringwood is now greatly expanded, but has no buses at all to Southampton.
Direct bus services between Southampton and Bournemouth are long gone (except the early morning Bluestar 6 / Wilts & Dorset X1 which works as a through bus for the benefit of students travelling from the Brockenhurst area to Priestlands School). So are those between the sizeable towns of Totton and Romsey, even though Romsey bus station would take only about 15 minutes by bus from the Calmore terminus in Totton.
Buses appear well used, where provided, by retired people, those staying at home to look after small children, and students. With extended trading hours, the areas in which they provide suitable transport between home and work are contracting, and most services do not start early enough, or finish late enough, to feed London commuter trains.
GREAT VALUE GREAT WESTERN ROVER TICKET
Stagecoach-run SWT is the only South Coast rail franchise which does not provide ‘Rover’ or ‘Ranger’ type tickets for unlimited travel within prescribed geographical areas, so it’s easy for people in southern Hampshire to overlook what good value such tickets can be.
First Great Western’s Rover and Ranger tickets provide some of the best-value rail travel in Britain. The Solent and Severn Rover, valid from 9am (earlier on several trains) on Mondays-Fridays and all day at weekends, costs £40 for 3 days in 7, and £60 for 8 days in 15 (children half price). With a Disabled/Senior/Young Person’s/16-25 railcard, these prices reduce to £26.40/£40. Tickets are valid on other operators’ services in the prescribed areas.
The ticket can be used in the area bounded by Portsmouth Harbour - Southampton -Eastleigh - Salisbury - Swindon - Great Malvern - Cardiff Central - Severn Beach -Tiverton Parkway - Axminster - Weymouth - Lymington Pier - Southampton, including Bath, Bristol, Weston-super-Mare, Gloucester, Cheltenham and Worcester.
One passenger with a senior railcard recently made the following eight journeys from Southampton at a total cost £42.75 (£39.60 actual charge for a 8-in-15-day Rover advertised at £40, and £3.15 day return Tiverton Parkway-Exeter): (1) Bath; (2) Weston-super-Mare; (3) Great Malvern; (4) Cardiff; (5) Exeter; (6) Weymouth; (7) Weston-super-Mare; and (8) Weymouth. That’s about £5.35 for each trip, in some cases to destinations well over 100 miles from home.
[Conditions and prices taken from the FGW leaflet dated September 2011; please check for full/current details]
YOU COULDN’T MAKE IT UP!
On 10/12/2011 SWT’s website used the 24-hour clock for the right times of the severely delayed 11.39 Waterloo-Poole and 12.05 Waterloo-Weymouth, and the 12-hour clock for the expected times. This confused the system, which showed the 11.39 as 848 minutes late, and the 12.05 as 13,834 minutes late. This seems especially hilarious because SWT often axes stops and dumps/strands passengers just because trains are over 5 minutes late! The entries duly remained on view for a very long time.
CLASS 450 TRAINS: MEDIOCRE PERFORMANCE AS WELL AS UNPOPULARITY
SWT’s class 450 outer-suburban units are immensely unpopular on Portsmouth-Waterloo commuter services, yet are also used regularly on a number of even longer-distance express services between Weymouth and Waterloo.
Modern Railways, January 2012, reports that the class 450s achieve about 30,000 miles per technical incident. The ageing BR class 158 diesel units, used on the Salisbury-Southampton-Romsey stopping service achieve over 71,000 miles.
POORER TRAINS FOR BETTER ON SWT
The Wessex Electric trains (with Inter-City Mark III carriages), built specifically for the Waterloo-Southampton-Bournemouth-Weymouth line, have now taken over Gatwick Express and many London-Brighton services. The displaced Gatwick Express carriages are to be used to lengthen SWT’s class 458 outer-suburban trains to 5-car units. The longer trains will not appear until 2013-14. A very small number of class 450 outer-suburban units will be transferred to other routes, such as Waterloo-Poole.
Why outer-suburban stock is good enough for London-Southampton/ Bournemouth/Poole/Weymouth, but not London-Bath/Bristol/Cardiff etc. is an enduring mystery. Is it simply that Wessex drew the short straw when the SWT franchise was awarded? Could matters have been exacerbated by the combination of SWT being operated by a greed-driven Scottish company and a succession of transport ministers with Scottish constituencies, to whom Wessex may have looked a bit remote.
WATERLOO INTEGRATED CONTROL CENTRE FAILINGS
The report of an extensive independent review into the severe service disruption on June was placed on SWT’s website in October. It exposed the much-trumpeted Waterloo Integrated Control Centre, based on liaison between SWT and Network Rail, as totally unable to handle a major incident.
PLEA TO REMOVE MANAGEMENT OF CLAPHAM JUNCTION FROM STAGECOACH
“With the many different operators using Clapham Junction, wouldn’t it be better if in the next round of franchise agreements it was taken away from South West Trains and given to Network Rail? Clapham Junction has so much potential and needs to be given the full attention of a company that has a track record of developing its managed stations. I feel it could become one of the great commuter stations in the world: I don’t understand why it isn’t treated in the same way as say Waterloo, Birmingham New Street or King’s Cross. It just needs a little love and attention. G.Edwards, London NW6.” [Modern Railways, January 2012]
MEDSTEAD – ALTON RAIL SERVICE?
The Southern Daily Echo of 2/11/2011 reported that Lightweight Community Transport was hoping introduce a few railcar services between Medstead and Four Marks (on the Mid-Hants Railway) and Alton (connections for Waterloo) during December, with a regular service in the new year. The railcar has been modified since earlier trials revealed reliability problems. Such vehicles already provide services to Stourbridge Town, on Britain’s shortest branch line service.
SMALL EXPECTATIONS FOR FAREHAM BUS ROAD
The new Fareham bus road (which is all that became of the formerly-approved Portsmouth-Gosport-Fareham tram system) doesn’t even reach Gosport, and is not expected to get significant numbers of passengers out of their cars [BBC South Today 10.11.2011]. Many will hope for a more positive future for the little-used Totton-Fawley rail line, which similarly runs through areas of substantial population. Meanwhile, the effects of urban pollution on life expectancy seem to be retrieving their former high profile, with government opinion more favourable to trams again.
A TYPICAL WEEK’S PERFORMANCE ON SWT
The following is sampled from Part 2 of this newsletter, which will be posted on our website.
The Spring 2011 statistics from Passenger Focus show SWT in 17th place out of 22 franchises for how well they deal with delays. Satisfaction among off-peak passengers is 34%, down 16% in 4 years. Among peak passengers, the comparable score is 26%, down 16% in 2 years.
SWT passengers pay some of the highest fares in Europe to travel in uncomfortable trains which are frequently cancelled or reduced in length because of defective rolling stock. They pay an additional huge price through measures such as axing stops and terminating trains short of destination, which enhance performance by getting trains into position for their next service.
It’s no fun being dumped at an unfamiliar station, or left standing as your train races past, especially in extreme weather or at one of SWT’s increasingly unstaffed stations. You may have a connection to make, need to get to an important appointment, or suffer a disability, and will have paid good money for this contemptible treatment.
* The operational details for each day shown below consist of a snapshot or snapshots of people's experiences and/or website data. We do not have the resources to provide an ‘all-day, every day’ record. The capital letters highlight common types of operator failure and reflect the language of stressed passengers.
* The snapshots provide evidence of the substantial scale of the problems. The overall picture is worse than it may appear, particularly because of missed connections. Passengers are much more concerned about more minor delays when they have connections to make.
* Delays should be seen in the context that Stagecoach is generally operating the slowest services since steam, another of their performance enhancing measures. Many trains, as illustrated in Issue 126, have such slack schedules that, pro-rata to distance, they would waste about 70 minutes between Kings Cross and Edinburgh.
* On many days the loss of peak seats through defective rolling stock and shortage of train crews will significantly outweigh the additional capacity which Stagecoach boasts of having introduced. This adds to the stress and discomfort caused by the reduction of seats on suburban trains, and from cramming long-distance passengers into outer-suburban carriages.
* Trains can become increasingly late during the course of their journeys, or make up time where stops are omitted and passengers thrown off, or because of slack schedules. This means that the ‘minutes late’ figures may not represent the position at the end of a journey.
Sunday 04/12/11 Passengers on the 01.42 Waterloo-Twickenham TRANSFERRED TO BUS at Wimbledon. 07.50 Waterloo-Woking 11 MINUTES LATE. 08.50 Waterloo-Woking 15 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.09 Waterloo-Wokingham 56 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.50 Waterloo-Woking 14 MINUTES LATE. 11.44 Waterloo-Windsor 10 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 13.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 MINUTES LATE and AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 14.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE. 14.26 Eastleigh-Portsmouth 13 MINUTES LATE. 14.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 23 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Guildford AXED UE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.57 Guildford-Waterloo AXED between Guildford and Woking. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE.
Monday 05/12/11 06.28 Aldershot-Waterloo 27 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Ascot AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Signalling problems: Vauxhall and Earlsfield stops of the 06.42 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED. Vauxhall and Earlsfield stops of the 06.50 Waterloo-Guildford AXED. Vauxhall and Earlsfield stops of the 06.54 Waterloo-Dorking AXED. 06.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 12 MINUTES LATE; Vauxhall, Earlsfield and all intermediate stops after Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Hampton Court services AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton. Shepperton services AXED between Waterloo and Kingston. 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford 26 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Effingham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.39 Waterloo-Guildford 27 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Effingham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 24 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 26 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.07 Waterloo-Reading 10 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Bracknell AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 24 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.37 Waterloo-Reading 18 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Ascot AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.46 Guildford-Waterloo 40 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 MINUTES LATE 09.16 Waterloo-Chessington AXED. 10.10 Chessington-Waterloo AXED. 10.20 Waterloo-Woking 31 MINUTES LATE. 10.33 Waterloo-Guildford 22 MINUTES LATE. 10.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 44 MINUTES LATE. 10.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court 34 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.39 Waterloo-Poole 22 MINUTES LATE. 10.42 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED. 10.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 21 MINUTES LATE. 10.46 Waterloo-Chessington 36 MINUTES LATE. 10.50 Waterloo-Woking 35 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.54 Waterloo-Dorking 20 MINUTES LATE. 11.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 23 MINUTES LATE. 11.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Twickenham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 13 MINUTES LATE. 11.40 Chessington-Waterloo 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops AXED. 11.41 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED. 11.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.03 Woking-Waterloo 15 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 15 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.41 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Twickenham. 13.05 Guildford-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE. 16.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 MINUTES LATE. 16.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 MINUTES LATE. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 MINUTES LATE. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 10 MINUTES LATE. Bournemouth portion of the 16.35 from Waterloo 12 MINUTES LATE. 16.43 Fareham-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 17.55 Waterloo-Alton 13 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton REDUCED TO 9 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 18.50 Dorking-Waterloo 7 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.10 Chessington-Waterloo 5 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 MINUTES LATE.
Tuesday 06/12/11 Derailment at Westbury; all stops there AXED. 06.40 Salisbury-Bristol AXED. Signalling problems; by 08.40 most services into Waterloo AROUND 10-20 MINUTES LATE. 08.36/09.06/09.36/10.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton. 08.51 Bristol-Salisbury AXED. 08.54/09.24/09.54/10.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED between Surbiton and Waterloo. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 30 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Richmond AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 37 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops between Guildford and Fratton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. All intermediate stops between Kingston and Clapham Junction of the 09.03/09.33/10.03/10.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo AXED. 09.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 39 MINUTES LATE; passengers DUMPED at Dorchester. 09.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 37 MINUTES LATE; Farnborough stop AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 32 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops between Guildford and Fratton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.39 Waterloo-Poole 25 MINUTES LATE; Farnborough and Fleet stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.58 Guildford-Waterloo 15 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Epsom AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 15 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court 15 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester. 13.15 Bristol-Waterloo AXED between Bristol and Salisbury. Poole portion of the 15.35 from Waterloo 15 MINUTES LATE. 15.59 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 MINUTES LATE AND REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK; Farnborough stop AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.07 Romsey-Salisbury 18 MINUTES LATE. 16.20 Waterloo-Woking 6 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 MINUTES LATE. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 8 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo 13 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.38 Portsmouth-Southampton 12 MINUTES LATE. 21.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court 27 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 MINUTES LATE; 22.11 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Teddington.
Wednesday 07/12/11 08.53 Waterloo-Alton 13 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 MINUTES LATE. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 MINUTES LATE. 09.03 Waterloo-Guildford 14 MINUTES LATE. 09.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 MINUTES LATE. 09.09 Waterloo-Guildford 13 MINUTES LATE. 09.20 Waterloo-Reading 20 MINUTES LATE. 11.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court 8 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 11.09 Waterloo-Guildford 15 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Effingham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 12 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
PERSON HIT BY TRAIN AT NEW MALDEN: SWT SERVICES COLLAPSED.
13.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 47 MINUTES LATE; Woking stop AXED. 13.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 47 MINUTES LATE. Passengers on the 13.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth DUMPED at Wimbledon. Passengers on the 13.47 Salisbury-Waterloo DUMPED at Basingstoke. 14.23 Waterloo-Alton AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton. 14.35 Guildford-Waterloo AXED. 14.35 Dorking-Waterloo AXED between Dorking and Epsom. 14.39 Waterloo-Guildford AXED.
* Services between Waterloo and Weymouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking.
* Services between Waterloo and Poole AXED between Waterloo and Southampton.
* Semi-fast services between Waterloo and Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Woking.
* Stopping services between Waterloo and Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Guildford.
* Services between Waterloo and Hampton Court AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton.
* Waterloo-Woking services AXED.
* Services from Waterloo to Waterloo via Kingston AXED between Waterloo, Wimbledon and Kingston.
JOURNEYCHECK INFORMATION ON SWT’S WEBSITE WAS THEN SUSPENDED, WITH A GENERAL NOTICE SAYING WATERLOO SERVICES WOULD RUN UP TO 90 MINUTES LATE FOR THE REST OF THE DAY.
Thursday 08/12/11 04.52 Southampton-Waterloo 30 MINUTES LATE. 05.35 Guildford-Waterloo 16 MINUTES LATE. 05.57 Haslemere-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 06.30 Woking-Alton AXED. 06.42 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 20 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE; Ash Vale, Brookwood and Woking stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.50 Weymouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 9 COACHES. 06.59 Aldershot-Waterloo 25 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE; all intermediate stops after Ascot AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo REDUCED TO 10 COACHES. 07.20 Waterloo-Woking 16 MINUTES LATE. 07.29 Aldershot-Waterloo 41 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO STOCK IN PLACE; all intermediate stops after Ascot AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.30 Guildford-Ascot 18 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.32 Woking-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 07.39 Farnham-Waterloo 28 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO STOCK IN PLACE; all intermediate stops between Woking and Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO STOCK IN PLACE. 08.34 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 MINUTES LATE. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 MINUTES LATE. 09.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 24 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.39 Reading-Waterloo 22 MINUTES LATE. 10.12 Brockenhurst-Lymington 25 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.20 Waterloo-Woking 15 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.39 Waterloo-Poole 19 MINUTES LATE. 14.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 21 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE. 14.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 12 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Richmond AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.39 Waterloo-Guildford 14 MINUTES LATE. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 10 MINUTES LATE. 16.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 MINUTES LATE. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 9 COACHES. 16.33 Waterloo-Guildford REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 16.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 MINUTES LATE. 17.03 Weybridge-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 17.04 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 MINUTES LATE. 17.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 19 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.50 Poole-Waterloo 18 MINUTES LATE; passengers DUMPED at Winchester. 18.05 Waterloo-Aldershot 11 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Aldershot AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.06 Weymouth-Waterloo 41 MINUTES LATE. 18.09 Reading-Waterloo 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Staines AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 MINUTES LATE. 18.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 15 MINUTES LATE. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 MINUTES LATE. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton 19 MINUTES LATE. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading 10 MINUTES LATE. 18.20 Weymouth-Waterloo 19 MINUTES LATE. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 14 MINUTES LATE. 18.32 Waterloo-Guildford 30 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 MINUTES LATE. 18.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 18.39 Waterloo-Poole 10 MINUTES LATE. 18.50 Poole-Waterloo 16 MINUTES LATE. 18.58 Waterloo-Windsor AXED between Waterloo and Staines DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE. 18.59 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 MINUTES LATE and DIVERTED between Eastleigh and Woking. 19.24 Basingstoke-Havant 10 MINUTES LATE. 19.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 MINUTES LATE. 21.05 Waterloo-Poole AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 21.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 MINUTES LATE.
Friday 09/12/11 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 32 MINUTES LATE; passengers DUMPED at Salisbury. 06.19 Honiton-Waterloo 5 MINUTES LATE. 07.26 Exeter-Waterloo 40 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers DUMPED at Gillingham. 07.46 West Byfleet-Waterloo REDUCED TO 8 COACHES. 08.20 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.34 Guildford-Waterloo REDUCED TO 4 COACHES DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.20 Waterloo-Exeter 21 MINUTES LATE DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 9 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE. 16.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 MINUTES LATE. 16.41 Reading-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Feltham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. All intermediate stops, between Hounslow and Barnes, of the 17.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 11 MINUTES LATE. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 MINUTES LATE. 20.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 13 MINUTES LATE; Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.05 Waterloo-Poole 4 MINUTES LATE.
DUFF TRAIN AT BROOKWOOD; NO RECOGNISABLE MORNING MAINLINE SERVICE ON SWT:
Passengers on the 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo DUMPED at Basingstoke. 05.30 Southampton-Waterloo 120 MINUTES LATE; 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo 120 MINUTES LATE; passengers DUMPED at Woking. 06.00 Southampton-Waterloo 120 MINUTES LATE. 06.18 Salisbury-Waterloo 120 MINUTES LATE. 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth DIVERTED via Havant and 75 MINUTES LATE; passengers DUMPED at Wool. 06.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth 90 MINUTES LATE and AXED between Waterloo and Woking; all intermediate stops between Basingstoke and Portsmouth Harbour AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 120 MINUTES LATE; passengers DUMPED at Woking. Passengers on the 07.00 Southampton-Waterloo DUMPED at Basingstoke. 07.07 Poole-Waterloo 159 MINUTES LATE and DIVERTED via Havant; passengers DUMPED at Surbiton. 07.10 Waterloo-Exeter 14 MINUTES LATE. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo 24 MINUTES LATE. Passengers on the 07.22 Waterloo-Weybridge DUMPED at Hounslow DUE TO ANOTHER DUFF TRAIN. 07.35 Waterloo-Weymouth AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 07.39 Waterloo-Poole AXED between Waterloo and Southampton. 07.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 07.59 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 28 MINUTES LATE. 08.05 Waterloo-Weymouth AXED. 08.14 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham. 08.15 Waterloo-Haslemere AXED. 08.23 Waterloo-Alton AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 08.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 80 MINUTES LATE; passengers DUMPED at Surbiton. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth AXED between Waterloo and Bournemouth. Passengers on the 08.49 Exeter-Waterloo DUMPED at Basingstoke. 08.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED. 08.53 Waterloo-Alton AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 08.55 Basingstoke-Waterloo 24 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED between Weybridge and Hounslow DUE TO ANOTHER DUFF TRAIN. 09.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 64 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Southampton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.20 Waterloo-Exeter AXED. 09.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 40 MINUTES LATE. 09.39 Haslemere-Waterloo AXED. 09.44 Alton-Waterloo AXED. 09.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED. 09.53 Waterloo-Alton AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton. 09.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 19 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.03 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED BETWEEN Weymouth and Wool. 10.05 Waterloo-Weymouth AXED between Waterloo and Surbiton. 10.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 25 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Basingstoke and after Eastleigh AXED; passengers DUMPED at Fratton. 10.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester. 10.23 Waterloo-Alton 35 MINUTES LATE; Surbiton and Weybridge stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo AXED. 10.39 Waterloo-Poole 35 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Winchester AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 23 MINUTES LATE. 11.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops except Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.35 Guildford-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE. 11.39 Waterloo-Poole 128 MINUTES LATE. 11.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.53 Waterloo-Alton 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Woking AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 12.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 154 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth AXED and passengers DUMPED at Dorchester. 12.15 Alton-Waterloo AXED between Alton and Farnham. 12.28 Waterloo-Windsor AXED DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE. 12.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED. 12.59 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Fratton. 13.03 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester. 13.07 Romsey-Salisbury 10 MINUTES LATE; Millbrook and Redbridge stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED. 13.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester. 13.24 Waterloo-Dorking 15 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Raynes Park AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE 13.51 Windsor-Waterloo AXED DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE. 15.03 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Dorchester. 15.33 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS / CONTACT DETAILS
As always, thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to contact us. Without your support and input, this newsletter would not be possible. This newsletter is produced in good faith, based on reports and information from many individuals and sources including information identified from press and website research. Contributions are always welcome. We aim for accuracy at all times, because our good reputation depends on it. We do not use material which could be offensive or which appears unlikely to be correct.
Address for correspondence: Denis Fryer, 19 Fontwell Close, Calmore, Southampton, SO40 2TN (email@example.com). Contact details of Government and transport bodies and the media are on the Group's website, www.shrug.info
[For environmental reasons, Part 2 of this issue, which provides daily samples of SWT’s multitude of delays, cancellations and operational-convenience measures is no longer being produced in hard copy, but will be available on our website in both Word and HTML formats as usual.]