See our website [www.shrug.info] for:

* Issue 135 Part 2 - SWT PERFORMANCE 01.04.2012 – 30.06.2012 (Our unique diary of an extraordinary ongoing range of daily failures)

* A HISTORY OF SOUTH WEST TRAINS [Updated to October 2011] (the shocking story, through many voices, of a franchise which puts greed before ethics)

























Fares are currently one of the biggest areas of contention in the rail industry, with the Campaign for Better Transport and the Consumers Association taking an active interest, a widely interested press, the DfT’s recent consultation on fares and ticketing, and publication of Passenger Focus’ Spring Survey results.

The PF Survey (which has a larger statistical base than parallel work by the Consumers Association, as published in Which?) found 41% satisfaction with value for money on Southern’s Victoria-Sussex Coast trains, including its Portsmouth and Southampton services. SWT achieved just 32% for its Southampton line services and 26% for its Portsmouth line services. The Portsmouth line score is 76th best out of 77 routes, and the Southampton line score is joint 68th best, truly damning results for a franchise which has been with one operator longer than any other, and very much longer than Southern has been run by Govia.

While SWT’s results are unsurprising given Stagecoach Chief Executive Brian Souter’s view that “ethics are not irrelevant, but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed”, the Souter siblings may have niggling worries about greed becoming less politically acceptable. Mr Souter recently began diversifying his massive personal investments, and the Herald of 30th June reported that his sister had offloaded 52,000 Stagecoach shares (it will be interesting to watch whether any of her remaining 62.5 million ordinary shares, equivalent to a 10.85% stake, are offloaded).


When SHRUG’s co-ordinator attended the February 2011 meeting of SWT’s Passengers Panel, he focused on the severe and ongoing abuse of SWT passengers in the name of revenue protection. This became the predominant theme of the evening’s discussions, yet the Stagecoach-chaired Panel neglected to report the discussions on their website, apart from a passing complimentary remark made about SWT’s guards.

Passenger Focus has now condemned revenue protection abuses, which have spread to other companies, in remarkably robust terms. Interestingly, the Southern Daily Echo’s reports of SWT passengers being dragged through the courts on technical infringements of ticketing rules have not been evident of late. However, as many will recall from 2006, Stagecoach can suddenly present itself as caring about passengers when new franchise opportunities are at hand, and then revert to its familiar ‘Cowboy Country’ (World in Action programme which the High Court refused to ban) tactics.


The following is from an e’mail received by SHRUG’s co-ordinator during June. The sender has asked to remain anonymous for fear of recrimination.

“I thank you for your hard work keeping us apprised of SWT’s failures. As an ex-commuter, SWT still makes my blood boil every time I read your blog.

You should also know that I am an ex-member of the Passengers Panel (yes, I hate to admit it now). It is a tightly controlled (dictated to) group commanded over by Sir Alan Greengross, who also happens to be a non-executive director of Stagecoach. There is no rotating chair and members are railroaded into his opinions and those of him only. Minutes never reflected the real efforts real people were making. Being talked over was a regular occurrence. I felt so sorry for the succession of assistants who were chewed up and dispensed with as were the really good members of the panel who had the tenacity to challenge the company.

The real members were ousted and replaced by Sir Alan’s friends and these are all of the same demographic. There were some really good people: commuters, leisure users, younger, older, pensioners, disabled, middle class and working class. Now they’re a bunch of dusty nodding dogs, at very best. I’m pleased I managed to escape as my name was put on things I didn’t write and didn’t agree with either. Those articles are heavily edited and washed.

I had to leave my job after lateness became not only embarrassing but made it operationally difficult for me to do my job. Thankfully I no longer have to endure the daily grind whilst my bank account was drained by extortionate season ticket prices and seeing a degraded family life due to lateness and cancellations - with no real improvements to the railway in return.”


[Source: Daily Mail 4.4.2012]

45-year-old Geoff Holt made a solo and unaided 2,700 mile voyage across the Atlantic and became the first disabled person to sail single-handed around Britain, all while confined to a wheelchair. He was awarded an MBE in 2010. Mr Holt found travelling from Ryde Pier Head to Ryde Esplanade by Stagecoach’s South West Trains a much more daunting experience. He stated: “I can't recall the last time that I was so angry and upset. I was physically shaking, emotion choking my voice, a sense of genuine rage.”

He quoted the guard as pointing to his wheelchair and saying, “those things aren't allowed on these trains, they will damage the floors. He couldn't quite believe what he heard and asked the guard to repeat it, which he did. He had to remind himself that this was 2012, not 1912, that this was public transport, and that this was the year the Paralympics were coming to Britain.

Expanding his fictional list of reasons why Mr Holt could not travel, the guard then said, if he got me on the train, there was no guarantee he could get off three minutes later at the same station he had successfully travelled from earlier in the day. He might have to stay on the train to Shanklin, over 12 miles away. When Mr Holt said he had made the journey hours earlier the guard replied: “Rubbish, you would not have been allowed to board the train”.

Eventually, after several minutes of this posturing, huffing and puffing, the guard lifted the tiny ramp stored on the train and, quite literally, threw it on the platform, hitting Mr Holt’s foot and leg in the process. When he got home, he found it was grazed and bleeding. British Transport Police were to investigate Mr Holt’s injury, but he generously withdrew his allegation of common assault, highlighting the training issue which SWT needed to address.

Father-of-one Mr Holt added: ‘He had publicly humiliated me, he had publicly degraded me and he had made me feel like a worthless piece of dirt... it was quite simply the most disgusting way to treat another human being, let alone a disabled one.’

The wider picture

SWT expressed shock at the incident and their Customer Service Director, Jake Kelly, had to meet Mr Holt to apologise. The report on SWT’s website is about the only news item which was quickly removed rather than archived for ongoing public view.

No-one suggests that Stagecoach expects disabled people to be abused and injured on their trains, but it is difficult not to discern an element of the company’s attitude of ‘look after the pounds and the passengers can look after themselves’, or as Chief Executive Brian Souter so succinctly expressed it: “ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed”.

Who else might have been left humiliated, degraded and feeling like a worthless piece of dirt because of SWT? How about Lymington station facilities manager, Ian Faletto, who was sacked for stepping on the track? In his own way, he was a positive ambassador for SWT just as Mr Holt is for disabled people. He won a succession of awards for excellent customer service, some of it through embellishments provided at his own expense. As with Mr Holt, his treatment by SWT became worldwide news.

Stagecoach refused to believe the reason for Mr Faletto’s action, simply because he could not provide photographic evidence. The company made clear that it would use its financial might (built up to a considerable extent through public funds) to fight his appeal. It ignored over 8,000 petitioners, including the MP for New Forest West, a local priest, the Head of Hampshire County Council, and the Lymington Chamber of Commerce.

Then, not content with depriving Mr Faletto of employment, pension rights and travel concessions, a spokesperson issued a statement saying: “We are pleased that Mr Faletto has finally withdrawn his case, which proves definitively [this totally contradicts everything Mr Faletto had said] 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.”

Which spokesperson indulged in that bit of character assassination? Er, SWT Customer Service Director Jake Kelly.

Our ‘History of South West Trains’ (see www.shrug.info) shows just how widely Stagecoach attitudes are deprecated. Also on our website, our response to the DfT’s Consultation on Penalty Fares (Hogrider 126, Part 1) illustrates the lengths to which SWT will go to prosecute honest passengers. We have also reported various incidents over the course of the SWT franchises (see, most recently, Hogrider 133) in which the company has demonstrated its inflexibility in dealing with disabled people with mobility problems. So whilst the guard’s behaviour towards Mr Holt was condemned by SWT, he may well have believed that he was expected to be un-accommodating.


Preferred bidder for the next Great Western franchise will be announced later this year. The competition is between First (the current operator), Stagecoach, Arriva and National Express. There are strong rumours on the grapevine that First does not expect to win, because it exercised its option to give up the current franchise early.

By way of background, recent articles in the Herald indicate that First has financial problems, probably because it has not cherry-picked to the same extent as Stagecoach, and runs more services in areas particularly hit by the recession. Stagecoach, however, is profiting from putting greed before ethics and could take over some of First’s bus and/or rail operations. So there would appear to be a danger of a new First Great Western franchise being taken over by Stagecoach at an early date.

First and Stagecoach both support the website of fares expert Barry Doe, who lobbied our Group on behalf of Stagecoach during the last SWT re-franchising exercise. In his article in RAIL (issue 698), Mr Doe considers it would be a disaster if First lost Great Western, but Stagecoach would be a safe pair of hands. He condemns Arriva’s Cross Country for high fares and tighter peak restrictions, and wants National Express removed from the rail industry for principally running road coaches and for ending the full meals service on East Anglian trains.

Many bloggers also want First to keep the franchise, because the company has worked closely with stakeholders, recovered from its initial poor performance, and achieved remarkable increases in ridership on its West Country branch lines. To that extent, Mr Doe’s viewpoint is understandable.

His view of Stagecoach as a safe pair of hands, however, is unbelievable. On SWT (Mr Doe’s home territory) it disposed of 120 decent Mark III carriages and introduced outer-suburban carriages on many services between Waterloo and Portsmouth, Southampton, Poole and Weymouth. Passengers are lucky to get a sandwich. Why is this good enough on SWT when National Express is condemned for ending full meals provision in East Anglia?

Stagecoach also introduced 20% fare increases on longer-distance trains arriving at Waterloo before noon, and ignored the “expectation” in the DfT’s press release of 22 September 2006 that “many regulated season tickets into London will be discounted for passengers travelling outside the height of peak times”. So why is the company a safe pair of hands when higher fares and tighter time restrictions are unacceptable on Arriva’s Cross Country?

Perhaps Mr Doe hasn’t noticed that Stagecoach’s Chief Executive Brian Souter recently stated that he sees future revenue growth coming from his road operations, Stagecoach runs Megabus coaches, for example between London and Southampton, and is currently trialling sleeper coaches between London and Scotland, which would extract revenue from the Caledonian sleeper train. Bad if National Express runs coaches, fine if Stagecoach does it?

In addition, Mr Doe should not forget that Cross Country has had to contend with overcrowding problems because of the pint-pot Voyagers introduced by the Virgin-Stagecoach partnership, but has increased capacity by about 40% on weekday services to Southampton.

Finally, he has devised an ingenious argument to justify the hated use of outer-suburban class 450 units on SWT’s Waterloo-Portsmouth services, namely that the average-distance journey on the line is 40 miles. [Rail Professional, April 2012]

That may be so, but plenty of people travel the 74 miles between Portsmouth and Waterloo, especially as Portsmouth Harbour station has ferry links to Ryde (largest town on the Isle of Wight) and Gosport (largest rail-less town in Britain). Mr Doe obviously thinks it fine for these passengers to travel in carriages which they find cramped and unsuitable, on the basis that an equal number of passengers are travelling, for example, only the 8 miles between Portsmouth and Havant or 6 miles between Woking and Guildford.

No doubt, therefore, he would welcome outer-suburban coaches for the Paddington-Bristol/Cardiff electrification, on the similar basis that many passengers will travel only between Bath and Bristol, or Newport and Cardiff. Then perhaps this route could equal Portsmouth’s value for money score under Stagecoach (Passenger Focus data as in item above) of 76th best out of 77 lines.


From SWT’s website 12/6/2012

“All the station’s passengers will benefit from the improvements that have been newly completed under NSIP [National Stations Improvement Programme], which include:
* A new art deco style station frontage
* An improved transport interchange for taxis and buses and a drop-off area
* A new and enlarged waiting area with additional seating
* A larger booking hall and improved ticket facilities
* State-of-the-art destination information screens
* New toilets and a wheelchair accessible toilet.”

What this means

* The down-side station entrance has been moved to the end of the “new” (1935) art deco frontage, and the (c.1980) glass entrance has been bricked up, plastered and painted (arguably, with very ugly effect).
* Minor adjustments have been made to the roadway system outside the down-side entrance.
* Booking hall and ticket facilities are not much different, but the up-side concourse looks bigger because the new (and apparently not very busy) pasty shop takes up less room than the busy travel centre which was destroyed by Stagecoach greed, leaving Southampton one of the most important cities in Britain without a travel centre (the bus station was also prey to Stagecoach greed).
* Passengers do have some improved access to the station, because the ticket barriers are often left open and unattended at weekends as well as in late evening.
* It appears there will be a larger and better waiting area on the down-side, which was still a building site, with no toilet facilities, three weeks after SWT’s announcement, as above, that works were complete.
* The up-side toilets remain dirty and decrepit, as do the patchwork platform surfaces, footbridge steps and canopies with their peeling paint.
* New summary destination screens help people making the most common journeys. The information screens on the dual-occupancy platforms retain their inadequate software, showing for example ‘Great Malvern’ above some Poole trains during their long layover.

To create two “good news” stories out of one, SWT put an item on their website on 3/7/2012, claiming that recent station improvements were “to improve passenger journeys to the Olympic and Paralympic Games”!



1. [Attempted rip-off]

Report from passenger on an Eastleigh-Peterborough day trip on 18/4/2012: “Bought ticket at Eastleigh ticket office – they tried to sell a ticket for over £100 but I had already checked online and quoted back the true price £66.70 which after some debate was accepted to be the correct fare. I’d left plenty of time to buy the ticket so I could afford the time to argue – others might not.”

2. [Jubilee shambles]

With SWT making a big saving from not having to run peak commuter services on the 4th and 5th of June, it might reasonably have been expected that a Saturday service would operate for the Thames pageant on Sunday 3rd June. Instead, Sunday services remained, with Queenstown Road station losing all London-bound services until 15.00 on the grounds that it couldn’t safely deal with the expected crowds. By mid-morning, many services were reported as ‘full and standing’ long before they reached London. Some return evening trains were very late, with stops omitted because of overcrowding and operational convenience.

Emma Bradley tweeted: "SW Trains really should have thought this through. Children literally crying cos can't get on the train at Norbiton, New Malden etc." Kris Temple tweeted: "A Jubilee mare from @SW_Trains – normal Sunday service, standing room only." [Guardian 3/6/2012]

Michael Constable wrote: “The Jubilee Pageant on 3 June was a great success, attracting over a million people to the banks of the Thames. Was it good enough for the train operators to provide Sunday services? For example this meant that South West Trains provided a ‘service’ of one train an hour on the Hounslow branch. I understand that the overcrowding on that route was so severe that it was pointless even trying to access stations, let alone travel on the trains.” [Modern Railways, July 2012]

3. [Unhelpful website message for people returning from the Isle of Wight Festival]

“Island Line services SUSPENDED
Due to signalling problems, the Island Line is SUSPENDED until further notice.
There are no alternative arrangements being made.
Message Received :25/06/2012 07:50”

4. [Axing services to provide for Ascot races]

It should have been an easy matter for SWT to slot a few extra trains for Ascot racegoers into their Saturday schedules. However, it seems from the website that extra trains were provided by cuts elsewhere:.

“Dorking Services Saturday 23 June 2012
Between 1200 and 1800 hrs, some trains between London Waterloo to Dorking will not run. Customers should travel on London Waterloo to Epsom services and to connect with Southern trains between Epsom and Dorking.
Message Received :23/06/2012 14:14

Windsor to Staines Saturday 23 June 2012
Between 1600 and 2030 Hrs buses will replace trains between Staines and Windsor. Customers travelling between London and Windsor may also use First Great Western Services between London Paddington and Windsor Central.
Message Received :23/06/2012 15:05”

5. [Caring for commuters paying about the highest fares in Europe: website gems]

“05:00 Poole to London Waterloo due 07:24
This train will be delayed and is expected to be 22 minutes late at London Waterloo. This train will no longer call at Pokesdown, Christchurch, New Milton, Brockenhurst, Totton, Southampton Central, Southampton Airport Parkwy, Eastleigh, Winchester, Basingstoke, Woking and Clapham Junction. This is due to over-running engineering works.

Additional Information: This train was initially delayed by over-running engineering work, but was then further delayed due to a freight train awaiting a member of train crew at Eastleigh.

Message Received :10/05/2012 06:30”

“17:53 London Waterloo to Basingstoke due 19:03
This train will be delayed at London Waterloo and is expected to be 25 minutes late. This train will no longer call at Surbiton, West Byfleet, Woking, Farnborough Main, Fleet, Winchfield and Hook. This is due to a delay on a previous journey.

Message Received :14/06/2012 17:36”

6. [Editorial observation in the Daily Echo of 1/6/2012] “Beating the fare dodgers adds to rail travel hurdles

Travelled to Manchester recently by train and was surprised that on arriving at Piccadilly station there were no ticket barriers to cross on leaving the carriages.

Contrast that approach and Cross Country trains with our own dear South West Trains where there are now so many checks and barriers to get through I’m surprised I haven’t been asked yet to provide retina scans and a blood sample.

Oh well, that’s the price you pay for ensuring ticket dodgers aren’t allowed to get away with ripping off the rest of us.

This week I travelled to London from Southampton and went through the usual barriers to pick up the South West Trains commuter to Waterloo. The train was packed but everyone appeared to have a seat.

True we were running late, and got progressively later as the train stopped and started along the route. By Basingstoke the reason became clear: the first section of the train was defunct and, we were informed, we had to move to the last five carriages to allow the dysfunctional engine [unit] to be removed.

There followed, in the stuffy heat of the strangely warm carriages, a long shuffle as passengers, some quite elderly, some with bags, made their way to where they might find a seat.

South West Trains staff watched as we trooped by. They watched as several mums with children, frail passengers with heavy bags passed by. They watched as those frail, laden and elderly folk made their way past the empty seats of the first class cabin without a thought to suggesting they simply stay there – the fault was, after all, the rail company’s not theirs. Ah well.

For some strange reason, however, the guard did not appear to make his usual ticket check at any point. Funny that. Surely he couldn’t have been worried what all us now late commuters might have to say.”


1. [Private Eye 18/5/2012] “Another reader endured a painfully slow replacement bus, procured by Stagecoach-owned East Midlands Trains, from Derby to Crewe in late January. He says the driver had to ask the passengers which stations the bus should call at, and how to get to them. Fortunately one passenger knew how to use a mobile phone to find the stations along the tortuous route.

Franchisees would incur extra costs if every replacement bus carried a member of rail staff, briefed on how to find each station by road. Relying on bus drivers or paying customers to find the way is another clue to how Stagecoach managed to give its shareholders a £340m windfall in the depths of the economic crisis last year.”

2. [Private Eye 4/5/2012] ‘Just how easy it is to overpay is shown by an Eye reader’s purchase of a £172.50 “anytime” Luton-Chesterfield return ticket (standard class) on Stagecoach-owned East Midlands Trains. The following week he needed to make the journey twice, and the ticket clerk sold him a weekly season ticket, valid on all trains, for £158.70. Our reader would have bought two “anytime” returns – overpaying by £186.30 – had a ticket office not been available. Stagecoach’s grasping founders and fellow shareholders, who trousered a £340m windfall payout last year, can console themselves that he paid £13.80 too much for his first journey.’


[Source: legalweek.com 08 Dec 2011]

‘Freshfields faces £68m claim over Department for Transport advice

Author: Friederike Heine

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer is facing a potential negligence claim worth more than £68m from the Department for Transport (DfT) for advice it gave the organisation in 2006 in relation to a rail franchise agreement with Stagecoach South Western Trains (SSWT).

The firm received a letter before action from the Employment, Commercial and Companies Division of the Treasury Solicitor’s Department, dated 13 June 2011, which accuses the firm of negligently deleting a clause in the agreement that resulted in the DfT having to pay out £66.9m to SSWT, as well as £1.3m in costs incurred dealing with the dispute and arbitration proceedings.

The dispute centred on the period over which revenue shortfalls at SSWT should be assessed and the amount of revenue support compensation receivable from the Government. The letter alleged that Freshfields’ deletion of the clause was spotted by SSWT’s lawyers, Herbert Smith, with the company subsequently claiming revenue support compensation from the Government.

The letter stated: “Negligently and in breach of contract Freshfields deleted the Antidote Provision from the Revenue Support Provisions contained in the Franchise Agreement and/or failed to give the claimant any or any adequate advice in this regard… By contrast, Herbert Smith immediately spotted the deletion and explained the potential consequences of this to their client.”

It continued: “Had Freshfields not acted negligently and/or in breach of duty, the deletion of the Antidote Provision would never have been proposed by Freshfields, alternatively would have been rejected by the claimant if proposed and its true implications explained to it. The antidote provision would thus have remained in the franchise agreement thereby preventing SSWT from recovering an unintended retrospective windfall.”

A Freshfields spokesperson said: “In 2006, the firm acted for the Department for Transport on the negotiation of a regional rail franchise agreement with South West Trains. Some aspects of this mandate are currently under discussion but we are confident that this work was done correctly at that time.” Mayer Brown is advising Freshfields on the matter.’


While SWT apparently doesn’t employ enough staff to keep ticket offices open or ticket barriers closed (as below), it does have people who can visit stations to destroy local initiatives. The Friends of Crewkerne Station have had their useful information boards removed. At Wool, the Friends of Wool Station display case, and the case containing a village map which cost the Parish Council £50 to produce, were also removed. The cases were both provided by the former station manager, and the contents were saved by the current booking clerk. A ‘sheep’ painting was about to be removed from the goods shed when the booking clerk pointed out that it was covering a broken window.


Lift failures (in some cases prolonged and/or repeated), have recently occurred at Axminster, Basingstoke, Bracknell, Brentford, Brockenhurst, Clapham Junction, Farnborough, Fratton, Haslemere, Havant, Kingston, Richmond, Portsmouth & Southsea, Southampton Central, Staines, Surbiton, Waterloo to Waterloo East, West Byfleet, Weybridge, Wimbledon and Woking.


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, Aldershot, Ascot, Ash Vale, Basingstoke, Bentley, Claygate, Cosham, Datchet, Effingham Junction, Guildford, Hedge End, Richmond, Shepperton, Swaythling, Vauxhall, Virginia Water, Weybridge, Winchfield and Yeovil Junction.

[SWT has applied to reduce opening hours at Feniton, Sherborne and Templecombe.]


Winchester station was left without staff from 20.30 on 5th June, and Eastleigh from 17.00 the following day, from 16.00 on 15th June, and from 15.00 on 27th June (on the 27th, it was observed that the timed notice on SWT’s website was renewed about every two hours, veiling the long period that the station was left unstaffed).

At 2pm on 10th June, the main (upside) ticket windows at Southampton Central were staffed, but no other staff were in sight, with the ticket gates left open. On the morning and afternoon of 23rd June, the ticket gates were open and unattended on both sides of Southampton Central and Bournemouth stations. Predictably, the barriers at Southampton Central were in use during the Secretary of State’s visit on 11th June, but there must be a question of what purpose barriers serve when they are left open so often, and whether the costs of installation couldn’t have been diverted to projects which actually help passengers.


[DfT’s questionnaire follows, in a condensed and abbreviated form]

The consultation document sets out the Government’s objectives for regulating rail fares and ticketing as:

o Protect passengers from possible market abuse and ensure that rail travel remains affordable for a wide group of people, particularly where they do not have a realistic alternative.
o Allow more scope for innovation in fares and ticketing and encourage train operators to make better use of the capacity that is available.
o Ensure passengers are treated fairly when they are buying tickets, and have easy access to a complaints handling system if problems occur when buying or using tickets.
o Ensure that from a passenger perspective the rail network operates as an integrated whole.

Q1. Do you agree these are the right objectives? Is there anything we’ve missed?

Response Agree. It’s not clear why rail travel shouldn’t be available to all, to avoid social exclusion. Those who can’t afford rail are unlikely to have a car. Bus travel is often not a realistic alternative (Southampton–Bournemouth, for example, takes 5-6 times as long by bus as by train). Innovation in fares and ticketing could worsen a hideously complex system; it should be part of the search for affordability and simplification. Increased ridership in the regions was achieved less through fare adjustments than by new direct services, including dual-portion trains, to make travel easier. The fairly recent axing of the Portsmouth-Penzance train means the alternative one-change journey from Bournemouth to Plymouth involves travelling 265 miles via Reading (as against 130 miles by road).

The consultation document explains that Government regulates by:

o Protecting the availability and level of certain fares, generally: o commuter fares;
o off-peak fares for longer-distance journeys;
o Anytime fares for shorter-distance journeys;
o Requiring train operators to participate in the National Rail Enquiries service and the National Rail Conditions of Carriage and ensuring that:
o a through fare can be purchased between any two stations even if it involves using the services of more than one train operator;
o a ticket from A to B can be used on the trains of any operator for that journey, unless it is specifically stated to be valid on only one operator’s services;
o where train operators have a station ticket office or machine, they are required (except in certain defined circumstances) to sell tickets for any journey by any operator.

Q2. How effective do you think the current system is in achieving the Government’s regulatory objectives?

Response Ineffective. History shows that determined operators will sidestep the intentions of regulation and ignore anything less than compulsion. The cost of commuting is often thousands of pounds a year greater than the cost of season tickets because station parking charges are unregulated and have soared meteorically. Your press release of 22/9/2006, announcing the new SWT franchise award, stated “It is expected that many regulated season tickets into London will be discounted for passengers travelling outside the height of peak times”. That never happened, perhaps because Stagecoach feared the complications from its many cancelled and short-formed trains, which force passengers on to later services. The company did, however, increase many off-peak fares by 20% and rebrand the old off-peak fares as ‘super off-peak’ (adding some of the most stringent time restrictions in Britain). Current position: many empty off-peak seats.

The consultation document identifies the main benefits of smart ticketing as:
o Greater speed and convenience for passengers
o Better journey data, allowing for new ticket types designed around the way passengers travel today
o Potential to attract more passengers to the railway
o Potential to make more efficient use of rail capacity
o Reduced risk of overpaying
o Improved security features
o Savings from reduced cost of sales
o More accurate allocation of revenue between train operators
And it identifies the main risks and issues of smart ticketing as:
o Greater complexity from a wider range of fares/tickets
o Data security issues
o Functionality issues (does the technology work?)
o The need to ensure systems remain inter-operable across the whole rail network despite a potential proliferation of technologies

Q3 Do you agree with the benefits and with the risks and issues we’ve identified in relation to smart ticketing? Is there anything we’ve missed? How might we address the risks and issues?

Response Agree. Smart ticket technology is still in a relatively early stage of development. Anecdotal evidence from individuals, the press and sources such as SWT’s ‘Webchat’ suggest that the technology can be unreliable, and overcharge or cause inconvenience. Even relatively simple products such as concessionary bus cards don’t always work. Pay-as-you-go is fine in principle, but there could be real problems where a validator is not working and there are no staff on hand. For longer-distance journeys, there might be a case for reasonable mileage-based smart ticket fares so that passengers can get a good idea of what they will pay (this needn’t be flat rate; it might be something like ‘X pence’ per mile within the first 50-mile band, then ‘X minus A pence’ within the next 50-mile band, etc).

The consultation document identifies the following issues with the current system of season tickets:
o High upfront cost
o Commuters who travel fewer than five days a week pay more per journey than 5-day a week commuters, which may be acting as a barrier to some people wishing to enter or re- enter the job market
o Perceived financial disincentive to work flexibly or part-time
o No incentive to travel outside the busiest periods

Q4 Do you agree with the issues we’ve identified with the current system of season tickets? Is there anything we’ve missed?

Response Agree. Many commuters have little choice as to when they travel. Even if they can rearrange their lives, no train may be available: Totton (the fourth largest town between Weymouth and Southampton) has no direct London commuter service between 05.49 and 06.46, and the only alternative connectional service is unreliable. Flexibility on SWT is also limited by commuters seeking to avoid long-distance trains formed of outer-suburban carriages (some units need to be upgraded so that time may be used productively with laptops, paperwork etc). On longer-distance services, timetables in many cases provide a disincentive to travel outside the high peak: the 05.50 from Portsmouth arrives at Waterloo only 9 minutes before the 06.15, and the 05.00 from Poole only 23 minutes before the 05.45. The high-peak load might be flattened slightly by operating more trains with fast and stopping portions (attaching /dividing en route) to shorten travel times for the longest journeys.

Q5 What features would you expect to see in a smart, flexible and more tailored season ticket? (Please select all that apply)

o Fares vary by time of day
o Fares vary by day of the week
o Fares reflect the number of journeys actually made
o Other (Please state)

Response Fares reflect the number of journeys actually made. There are two kinds of flexible working: that where employers allow their staff to come and go with varying degrees of flexibility (subject to parameters such as ‘core time’) and that where staff are required to vary their hours to suit an employer’s’ needs. Some employments may include elements of both kinds of flexibility. In addition, season tickets may be used for short journeys at weekends, or to attend meetings away from the normal workplace. It is often lower-earning staff in work such as retailing and catering who have least opportunity to vary their hours. A high percentage of these will be women, so there are potentially discrimination issues. Given that a typical commuter, working five days a week, is likely to work around 45 weeks a year, it would seem fair to provide alternative season tickets for a chosen number of journeys (say from 5 days to 225 (5 x 45) days) at a rate of 1/225th of the annual season ticket rate for each day. Holders would then pay only for the day they travel. This, in principle, is comparable with how Flexible Daysave tickets can work for longer-distance journeys on Southern.

Q6 Do you have any other suggestions as to how season tickets could be tailored to better meet the needs of particular groups?

Response The suggestion of an alternative season, based on a number of days, as in our response to 2.3 above, would help part-time workers and those who cannot meet the cost of an annual season ticket. Given that families with children are reportedly suffering some of the worst consequences of the recession, ‘traditional’ season tickets might be made a ‘family asset’, valid for weekend travel by nominated family members (who could be included on the photocard which accompanies season tickets). In addition, there used to be a railcard for annual season ticket holders, and Gold Cards still have Network Card validity in the South East. Given that all seasons represent a substantial outlay, they might carry a national railcard validity at no extra charge. Such changes would be seen as a small payback by train operating companies whose directors have enjoyed huge bonuses whilst fares have soared and huge sums have been paid in subsidy from taxpayers.

Q7 Could you work more flexibly in order to avoid the busiest trains? Working more flexibly could include working at home or from a different work location some of the time; changing the total number of hours worked and/or start and finish times) If not, why is this?

Response [SHRUG’S co-ordinator’s position] As a long-term, long-distance commuter (over half a million miles until retirement in 2009), I left home at 05.30 and got back at 20.00, and this was typical of the working pattern of many people with whom I travelled. It was not practicable to work from home, and I could be required to work into the evening when helping to prepare urgent ministerial briefings. There comes a point where disagreeable working hours can increase tiredness to the point of reducing efficiency, not to mention the days when the rail service collapses (defective trains, missed connections, fatalities, lineside fires, lightning strikes on infrastructure etc). Over the years I saw cases of people who couldn’t stand commuting and switched jobs, or suffered health or marital breakdown which they attributed to their stressful lifestyles.

Q8 Are there any other factors that prevent you from changing your commuting patterns? (Please select all that apply)

o Domestic or caring responsibilities
o School or nursery opening hours
o Availability of rail service at other times
o Other (please state)

Response [SHRUG’S co-ordinator’s position] As above. This doesn’t apply to me personally now, but family-friendly lifestyle issues can’t totally be swept aside for the convenience of train operators.

Q9 Do you agree that introducing new commuter fares could help the railway operate more efficiently by encouraging some commuters to change their travel patterns?

Response The principal factors undermining efficiency are poor timetabling, defective rolling stock, and infrastructure failures. On SWT alone, hundreds of seats to and from London are often lost in the peaks, but the problem is obscured by presenting performance failures in percentage terms rather than in terms of lost seats. This can have huge knock-on effects in terms of loadings. Problems are exacerbated when trains are terminated short of destination or have stops omitted at the drop of a hat for operational convenience. This means that, however commuters plan their journeys, they often end up struggling with what’s available. It also means that fare bands by time of day would be an operational nightmare. In any case, with some of the highest fares in Europe, the most likely effect of raising peak fares would be to put people off travel altogether. Since many people can’t afford annual seasons, it seems fairer to price shorter-term seasons pro-rata to the annual rate.

Q10 What do you consider to be the main benefits and the main risks/issues with introducing new commuter fares?

Response Higher fares would be unaffordable. Time bands would be unlikely to work because of the many daily cancellations and short formations.

Q11 How could we ensure that any new commuter fares structure was as fair as possible?

Response Given the points made above, the fairest approach would be to make season ticket periods flexible, whilst pricing them pro-rata to the annual season ticket rate, and introduce the option of a season (or season carnet) which could be used on non-consecutive days.

Q12 How could we use fares to achieve more efficient use of rail capacity on intercity services?

Response It needs to be borne in mind that intercity traffic can be very mixed. One train may carry commuter, business and leisure passenger flows, with proportionality between the different flows changing over the course of the journey. There are often many empty seats in First Class. This could be addressed in some cases through a lower basic first class fare, with higher fare levels for packages including food and drink. Some passengers might then switch to First Class from the highest rates of standard class.

Some operators offer an extraordinary range of fares on individual services. Walk-on fares are above what many people can afford, and seats are filled by Advance on-line fares at giveaway prices. There must be an overwhelming case for simplification, which should also cut administrative inefficiencies and help people get the right ticket.

The worst capacity problems often occur on Friday afternoon/evening and Monday morning. The Friday problem is doubtless exacerbated by stringent time restrictions for cheaper tickets. Since there are fewer commuters and business travellers on Fridays, there should be scope to ease these restrictions. The Monday morning problem can be exacerbated by the tail end of weekend leisure travel. This might be ameliorated by providing faster and more frequent services on Sunday afternoons and evenings, which implies more effective handling of weekend engineering work possessions.

Currently, passengers with Advance fares valid only on one specified departure who miss that departure must buy a new ticket to travel on the next train (unless the missed departure is due to a missed national rail connection, in which case train operators generally accept the original ticket on the next service). We are considering whether passengers could be allowed to “pay the difference” instead (potentially on payment of a fee, if this was considered necessary to avoid perverse incentives).

Q13 What do you see as the main advantages and disadvantages of such a change?

Response The present system is simply unethical profiteering. There can be all kinds of valid reason why people miss their train. Even ‘paying the difference’ can represent a huge penalty, so difficult to see any adverse incentives.

There is evidence of an imbalance (even after taking account of differences in average income) between fares in the London commuting area and other parts of the country, and that passengers on higher yield services are effectively cross-subsidising passengers on lower yield services. This is something we intend to explore further as part of the review, but we do believe that there is a case for reducing any significant regional imbalance in fares levels.

Q14 What would you see as the main advantages and disadvantages of such an approach?

Response Increasing fares in the regions will not help those affected, nor will it help London commuters. There are various issues here. Many regional commuter services are high-yielding, and (for example around Bristol) could be higher-yielding still if they had enough carriages. Public transport accounts for a much lower proportion of total travel in the regions, and there is peak road congestion in many areas. If rail fares rise, more people are likely to switch to their cars, increasing pollution and congestion.

The Government is working with ATOC to consider how to provide open access to rail fares data. This could allow private sector companies to develop more innovative approaches to delivering rail fares information in a way which helps passengers to better understand the fare options available to them. However, we would need to minimise the risk of data being provided in a way that inadvertently resulted in passengers buying invalid tickets for their journey. We also need to consider possible wider consequences e.g. train operators changing their pricing strategies.

Q15 What steps could the Government take to protect passengers’ overall interests as part of providing open access to fares data?

Response It’s good that you realise that passengers are at the mercy of people like Brian Souter who believes that “ethics are not irrelevant, but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed”. What is needed is an independent national advice line. It could be a requirement in franchises that operators would provide them with full information, and that passengers would bear no responsibility for any errors that might occur as a result of their advice.

Q16 Selling tickets through ticket offices is a major cost for the railways. How can we reduce this cost without deterring passengers from using the railway?

Response Many stations would be unstaffed without the presence of ticket office personnel. This means less security for vulnerable passengers and greater opportunity for vandals. Ticket machines can be very difficult to use. One consequence is that some passengers will go to a major station rather than their local facility. The operator can then point to reducing footfall as an excuse to concentrate services at a handful of stations. This disadvantages local communities and increases road pollution for people in the larger centres.

On community rail lines, the concept of stations as local hubs is well established. There must be many stations with redundant buildings that could be developed and let for non-railway purposes, or spare ground that could be used for eg local markets. This could generate useful revenue to support ticket offices.

It’s interesting that at Totton, SWT has severely reduced ticket office opening hours. At Romsey, barely 5 miles away, FGW has increased opening hours and there is a community café. Romsey is a significantly smaller town than Totton.

Q17 What are the costs/benefits of reducing ticket office opening hours? What would you consider to be an acceptable alternative to the ticket office that met most of your ticket requirements?

Response The costs are likely to be reflected in greater vandalism and reduced footfall. There is also the notional cost of turning people against rail travel generally. No benefits.

A station is a railway’s presence in a community. It can provide advice, display information and sell a wide range of products. For example, the senior railcard is not available on-line to people without a current passport or driving licence.

What passengers often find is an unstaffed facility with an impressive range of threatening notices. I book long-distance travel by internet, because my station booking office closes at 10.00. For local journeys I have abandoned rail, because I often make snap decisions to go out, and can’t be bothered with SWT’s awkward ticket machines and the worry about being treated like a criminal if a machine doesn’t like my cash or cards.

Q18 What safeguards would need to be put in place for passengers in the case of changes to ticket office opening hours?

Response Permit to travel machines should be compulsory, with the right to pay the balance of the cheapest fare to the guard or at the destination station. Penalty fares should go.

CCTV should be constantly monitored for all stations, and stations should be frequently inspected during the day to check for safety, eg items which could be pushed on to the track, such as abandoned supermarket trolleys.

Q19 How important is it for passengers to be able to buy train tickets from a wider range of outlets (e.g. including post offices or retail outlets located away from the station)? Please feel free to make any additional comments about how you would like to be able to buy train tickets in future

o Very important
o Important
o Quite important
o Not important
o Don’t know

Response ‘Ticket machines at Tesco’ could make getting a ticket easier, but not help with getting the right ticket.

Q20 What other improvements would you most like to see to make buying rail tickets easier?

Response Simplification across train operators. The awful ticketing complexity is, at the end of the day, just another bad outcome of the fragmentation of the rail industry. History has demonstrated that the more flexibility train operators are given, the more the product they provide will differ. When privatisation was in prospect, Dr Brian Mawhinney presented it in terms of promoting best practice through increased responsiveness to passengers needs. It’s about time that concept was resurrected.

Q21 Do you have any other comments about the impact of anything in this consultation document on passengers or potential passengers, including by income group, equality group(s) or any other group?

Response Clearly there could be discrimination issues about having dearer season ticket rates in the high peaks, because people in fixed-hours frontline work such as retailing and catering are often low paid, with a high proportion of women.

People really need a simple fare structure with all standard class tickets in a sensible price range.

Q22 Are there any other comments you would like to make about anything else in this consultation?

Response Basically, you are consulting on what to do about the mess which some of the private operators have created, yet you also want franchises to be less prescriptive. The less prescriptive they become, the more complex the fares structure will become, as individual operators increasingly go their own way. The consultation doesn’t convey much cause for optimism.


Experience of existing rail devolution arrangements

Devolution has generally had very positive results. The devolved areas are most notably distinguished from the remainder of the national network by the greater scale of route and service expansion. However, in the case of Wales, aspirations for a quasi- national network may have had adverse consequences on the shaping of some services. For example, there is recognition that the economy of the industrial south has strong links with the economy of the Bristol area. It is doubtful whether re- directing direct services from South West Wales and Swansea from Bristol and Bath to the largely rural Anglo-Welsh borders was commercially or socially beneficial.

How decentralisation could contribute towards achieving objectives and outcomes

Most journeys within Britain are relatively short, so good local transport systems have particular potential to increase ridership and enhance value for money.

People voting in local elections are more likely to have transport issues in mind than those voting in general elections, so there could be a democratic gain from de-centralisation.

Local government should have a better understanding of transport needs in its area than national government. The risk is that local authority staff cuts inevitably mean reduced focus or expertise on rail.

It is well established that good local transport can increase perceptions of an area as desirable both for residential and commercial purposes.

Public transport solutions need to focus on the full range of services available, but local government currently has a much greater role in bus operations (particularly in deciding which services to subsidise).

In conurbations such as the Southampton, Portsmouth and Bournemouth areas, there needs to be an equivalent of the London Travelcard, which has been a major driver of public transport use. The ability to switch between different transport modes with a single, affordable, ticket helps reduce the gap in flexibility between public and private transport.

Views on activities that should be devolved

This probably needs to be flexible, to respond to local circumstances. Overall, the activities in paragraph 4.5 of the consultation document look reasonable.

Views on types of service that should be devolved

The strategic network of longer-distance services needs to be specified nationally, as there is no other relatively intensive public transport network. However, local bodies should be encouraged to comment on stopping patterns. There are likely to be cases where extra (or different) stops could fulfil local needs and make use of spare capacity in long-distance services without increases in overall journey times.

Services which are relatively self-contained would appear most suited to local control. The Community Rail Partnerships have been a big success story, and there is scope to build on this through increased local control. In Hampshire, this might embrace the Lymington-Brockenhurst, Salisbury-Romsey-Southampton-Romsey, and aspirational Southampton-Hythe services.

It needs to be borne in mind, however, that these services might be more productive if they were less self-contained. Would an hourly Lymington-Southampton service attract more passengers than the current half-hourly Lymington-Brockenhurst (geographically discrete) service? If the lines from Salisbury to Basingstoke, Eastleigh and Southampton are electrified, as suggested, to provide a diversionary route for electrically hauled freightliner trains from Southampton Docks, would the Salisbury-Southampton leg of the Salisbury-Romsey-Southampton-Romsey service attract more custom if it were worked as an extension of the Southampton-Portsmouth stopping trains rather than running in a circle from Romsey?

The wider Hampshire rail network provides an interesting scenario for de-centralisation, where something like the co-signatory approach would seem particularly valid:

Following electrification to Bournemouth, services increased considerably. For example, there were some 1,380 departures a week from Southampton Central in the summer of 1967. Forty five years later, there are some 1,810, an increase of about 31%. The devil is in the detail. In 1967, services inter-connected excellently, making a wide range of journeys attractive, and services at many local stations were half-hourly compared with hourly today.

Cross Country and regional services increased under BR and, in some cases, increased further after privatisation. However, with four operators in Southampton, each with booked paths, connectivity has been seriously eroded, making many journeys less attractive.

There needs to be a mechanism for local bodies to press for local improvements in longer-distance services where these are practicable, and for the DfT to provide support where an operator is unreasonably obstructive of such change. Re-scheduling is an area where increased ridership may easily meet any additional costs of desirable improvements.

Examples of timetabling issues in Hampshire are:

* Portsmouth trains now provide same-platform connections at Winchester with the limited Cross Country Newcastle trains, instead of with the hourly Manchester trains.

* Since 1967, Totton (now the fourth largest town between Weymouth and Southampton) has doubled in population to 30,000 since 1967, but still has the same level of off-peak train service, and with worse connections. The main road between Totton and Southampton has some of the worst pollution and congestion in Hampshire. Some other stations on the Weymouth main line have much better services for fewer passengers (based on ORR footfall data).

* New Milton, another centre of rapid population growth, has worse off-peak services than in 1967. Westbound there is still a twice-hourly service from London (one direct, one via connection at Brockenhurst) but, eastbound, there is only an hourly service. For local passengers, there are still two off-peak trains an hour, but they now arrive and depart a few minutes apart at Southampton, reducing connectivity with other services.

* On the Southampton-Portsmouth line, the hourly SWT stopping service and fast FGW service arrive and depart at Portsmouth a few minutes apart in each hour. This is a remarkably poor service for two of the largest cities on the South Coast.

* In 1967, the busier stations between Southampton and Fareham had half-hourly off-peak services, with a much enhanced peak service. SWT, which is responsible for these stations, provides only an hourly service, despite suburbanisation of the area. Southern manages to provide a few extra peak stops, particularly in the morning. This means, for example, that Netley and Woolston have 5 trains to Southampton within about 90 minutes in the morning peak, but only an hourly return service in the evening.

Devolution cannot operate in a watertight compartment. The implications for other users of the rail network, including freight customers and operators, need to be safeguarded by DfT. This would seem to favour a model such as the co-signatory approach.

Views on the five options

Any changes need to be seen against the background of an administrative and legal jungle. Co-signatory status looks to be the most workable option, with operating companies’ histories of co-operation with outside agencies taken into account when franchises are awarded. Things which need to be avoided are more fragmentation, more litigation, and obstruction by operators, for example by retiming services to block others’ aspirations, as happened when SWT thwarted Anglia’s attempts to operate to Southampton.


(This information is given for general guidance – please check before travelling)

There are no significant timetable changes affecting South Hampshire. On Saturdays, the 13.47 service from Southampton terminates at Newcastle instead of Edinburgh. On Saturdays from 7 July to 8 September, the 17.45 Bournemouth-Manchester diverts to Leeds.

The new GB timetable book is truly appalling. Nearly all the tables have reverted to minuscule type. The objective seems to have been to keep the book close to its former size (pages are not numbered and counting them would be an enormous task) while reproducing whole tables several times, in some cases just because last trains of the day will be operating slightly later during the Olympic Games. Despite this shambles, the extension of some Cross Country services to Weymouth for the Olympic sailing events is excluded.

Cross Country’s own timetable booklets clearly set out the Games changes inside their front covers. SWT, however, produced a 12-month timetable from December 2011 with their website suggesting this was to help people plan their journeys to the Games. These leaflets helpfully omit the changes for people attending events!

Some changes of local interest during the Olympic Games are below (please check times and dates before travel):


Mondays-Fridays 30 July-10 August; Monday-Thursday 3-6 September; Saturdays 4-11 August and 1 September:

06.04 Birmingham-Bournemouth extends to Weymouth: in Hampshire serves Basingstoke (08.10); Winchester (08.25); Southampton Airport (08.33); Southampton Central (08.46); Brockenhurst (09.00), and arrives Weymouth at 10.15.

05.11 Manchester-Bournemouth extends to Weymouth: in Hampshire serves Basingstoke (09.10); Winchester (09.25); Southampton Airport (09.33); Southampton Central (09.43); Brockenhurst (10.00), and arrives Weymouth at 11.13.

Return services from Weymouth on the same days are at 17.41 to Manchester and 18.30 to Birmingham (Saturdays excepted); 17.35 and 18.36 (Saturdays)

Sundays 29 July, 5 August and 2 September

There is an additional train at 08.51 from Southampton Central, reaching Weymouth at 10.08. The return service is the 18.38 Weymouth-Birmingham.


The 23.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth will be retimed to 00.05 on Games days, and the 00.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth will be retimed to 00.30 and run additionally on Monday mornings.

On Sundays 29 July, 5 August and 2-9 September, there is an additional 05.40 Southampton Central-Waterloo, calling at Southampton Airport (05.48); Eastleigh 05.53; Winchester (06.03); Basingstoke (06.21); Fleet (06.32); Farnborough (06.38); Woking 06.48; Clapham Junction (07.11; and Waterloo (07.20).

On Sundays 29 July, 5 August and 2 September, the 09.03 Southampton Central-Weymouth starts from Waterloo at 07.35 and runs to the standard Sunday timings for the 35-past services.


Southern’s class 456 suburban trains are to transfer to SWT by December 2014, when they will be about 23 years old. This seems to be yet another step in the following peculiar sequence:

* The London end of the main line between Waterloo and Weymouth was left with a substantial capacity problem because Stagecoach disposed of the class 442 Wessex Electric units;

* New high-density housing developments are nonetheless taking place close to stations such as Basingstoke and Woking;

* Second-hand suburban stock is being drafted in, with outer-suburban coaches increasingly redeployed on longer-distance services, while passengers outside SWT get new or higher-quality rolling stock.

Long-distance commuters tend to lead pressured lives and must optimise use of their available time. They generally choose the fastest services and hugely prefer mainline stock where they can sit more comfortably and use laptops / read papers / drink coffee.

While season ticket costs soar, despite being among the highest in Europe, this is what South Hampshire’s London commuters can look forward to under a franchise operator which appears to have no ambitions for them but a proven record of huge dividends for the company’s founders:

From May 2013

06.50 Southampton Airport - Waterloo will increase from 10 coaches of mainline stock to 12 coaches of cramped outer-suburban stock. This produces an increase of 142 seats but, as the train makes intermediate calls only at Eastleigh, Winchester and Woking, the change will mainly benefit Woking commuters.

07.38 Southampton-Waterloo will increase from 4 coaches of outer-suburban stock to 5 coaches of mainline stock. This improves comfort and produces 64 extra seats. However, it is a stopping train, overtaken en route, which doesn’t reach Waterloo until 09.29. It is therefore of little use to most South Hampshire commuters.

17.09 Waterloo - Portsmouth Harbour (via Eastleigh) will increase from 5 mainline coaches to 8 outer-suburban coaches, providing 206 extra seats but cramped travelling conditions.

17.39 Waterloo - Portsmouth Harbour (via Eastleigh) will increase from 8 coaches of outer-suburban stock to 10 coaches of mainline stock, providing an increase of 128 seats. The mainline coaches presumably come from the 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth and 18.39 Waterloo-Poole, so do not improve the service quality overall.

18.39 Waterloo - Poole will increase from 5 mainline coaches to 8 outer-suburban coaches, providing 206 extra seats but cramped travelling conditions.

Sometime between March and December 2014

06.50 Portsmouth Harbour - Waterloo will increase from 8 to 12 coaches of cramped outer-suburban stock, providing 270 extra seats.

Knock-on effects

As part of the re-shuffling of stock, some Salisbury line diesel trains will be lengthened. This will depend on the transfer of diesel units which currently work a few services over electrified routes such as Brockenhurst-Lymington and Basingstoke/Winchester-Southampton/Portsmouth/Havant. The 16.38 Winchester-Totton will be a train to watch because Stagecoach somehow avoided the original franchise requirement to procure electrification of a siding at Totton, which is necessary for electric trains to terminate there.

What more might be done with existing resources?

A new peak timetable could provide for:
* longer-distance trains making more stops at the country end of their journeys and fewer stops closer to London;
* outer-suburban stock restricted to the outer-suburban area and connecting with longer-distance services; and complementary adjustment of train lengths as necessary.

Off-peak, there are substantial opportunities for using slack time to increase stops at poorly served stations within existing overall journey times, and to accelerate some services. In the case of the Waterloo-Poole service, something even remotely like the original franchise requirement (with fast running from Clapham Junction to Basingstoke) would represent a big improvement.


SWT commuters who remember the prolonged industrial action on SWT will commiserate with their East Midlands counterparts.

[Source: Railnews] ‘Disruption has been affecting East Midlands Trains as ASLEF drivers staged another strike, in protest at proposals to change their pension plans. Drivers walked out yesterday after two 24-hour stoppages last week, and further walkouts are planned tomorrow as well as on 15 and 17 May, although talks are set to take place.

East Midlands Trains warned that its drivers were gaining nothing by taking action. The operator's HR director Clare McCartney said: "We want to meet now to get this unnecessary dispute resolved. This is a strike over nothing. The average driver will lose around £1,200 in pay by following ASLEF’s misguided call. “We have a strong track record of properly funding pensions and we will continue to do so.”

The Union said: 'EMT is telling the media that they are being kind to us by "saving" us £500 a year in money we don’t need to pay into the fund. This is very misleading. We don’t want to cheapen our fund. The company fails to mention that because the pension scheme is "shared cost" they save £750 a year – and so £1,250 less goes into our pension fund. In fact, some £2.1 million.'

Tomorrow's talks had been arranged following 'an approach from the company', said ASLEF. Its negotiating team will be led by general secretary Mick Whelan, accompanied by president Alan Donnelly and Dicky Fisher, the full-time officer responsible for EMT.

The strikes mean that a limited service runs on EMT's main line between London and Sheffield, but passengers on many routes are advised to use other operators' trains instead. Replacement buses also run in some areas.’

Reader comment: (Jak Jaye, Sutton) “Good for them! I wouldn’t believe EMT, aka Stagecoach shysters, a single word.”

[From RAIL Issue 699] “It has emerged that the Government also cautioned against the changes in pension scheme contributions at East Midlands Trains. A letter (quoted on the ASLEF website) from Transport Minister Norman Baker to one of ASLEF’s members expressed the Department for Transport’s “disappointment” in EMT choosing to reduce contributions rather than have them remain as they are. “Leaving contributions as they are would have ensured some stability in the current economic climate,” said Baker. In response, ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said that if the Government disagrees with what its franchisee is doing, the moral and logical thing to do would be to “knock some sense into the company”.”

The Financial Times [26/6/2012] stated: “Stagecoach reported pre-tax profits for the year to the April rose to £239.8m from £209.7m, for the same period a year earlier, on revenues of £2.6bn (£2.4bn). The results were lifted almost entirely by one-off items, including a £38m exceptional gain from changes to the company’s pension scheme, which reduces its liabilities going forward.”

The more charitable face of Stagecoach

[From Private Eye No 1317] “Stagecoach founder Ann Gloag has opened her wallet because the church she attends when at her castle near Inverness needs a £50,000 roof repair. If only her windfall payout from Stagecoach last year had been more than £37m, she might have been able to cover the full cost of repairs and saved the congregation having to raise the remaining £20,000 at a time of economic hardship. Slates can be adopted at £3 each.”

[From the Herald 7/7/2012] “Stagecoach tycoon Ann Gloag will head off today to take part in the Wacky Banger Rally to raise money for an abandoned babies unit in Kenya. The businesswoman has joined forces with Glasgow solicitor Angela McCracken and two others in a bid to raise £100,000 for the centre……. So far, they have raised a total of £67,000 but Ms McCracken yesterday urged people to donate as much as they can to help them achieve their target.”


Stagecoach bus fires have become a feature of public transport in Britain in recent times, with blazes now averaging around seven a year. The majority occurred when passengers were on board. Were this to happen on the railways, there would undoubtedly be a huge outcry, but bus provision is more local in nature, and devolved in Scotland, and political attention is not focused to the same extent. However, unless bus passengers’ lives are worth less than rail passengers’ lives, the issue deserves a higher profile. There are some horrific internet video clips of Stagecoach buses ablaze. If you like satanic black smoke, the clip of the Stagecoach bus fire in Palm Desert, California at the end of April is also worth a look.

Some recent incidents:

January 2010 - Manchester
June 2010 – Invergowrie
June 2010 - Tealing
September 2010 - Monifieth
September 2010 - Letham
March 2011 - Aylesham
March 2011 - Killingworth
May 2011 - Sheffield
May 2011 - Carlisle
July 2011 - Freckleton
August 2011 - Herne Bay
December 2011 - Inverness
December 2011 - Cambridge

Latest incidents:

(1) Aberfeldy

[Source: Daily Record 26.4.2012]

“Children's terror after school bus catches fire

Relieved school kids have told of their terror after their bus burst into flames. The youngsters were heading up the A9 on a double-decker Stagecoach bus when it suddenly caught fire. Pupils noticed smoke billowing out of the rear and alerted the driver. She pulled into a lay-by before leading around 40 passengers – many of them from Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy, Perthshire – to safety.

One of the youngsters on board, Robbie Dow, 14, said: “It was pretty scary. I was sitting at the back with my friends and suddenly there was a huge bang and smoke started coming through the back seat. Some of the prefects started shouting to the driver that the bus was on fire, so she stopped as quickly as she could and we were evacuated.”

Robbie, whose younger brother Hamish, 12, was also on the bus, said the driver tried in vain to tackle the blaze with a small extinguisher. The brothers’ mother Elizabeth, from Bankfoot, Pertshire, said she was shocked when she heard of the fire on the radio but was relieved when the boys contacted her on their mobiles. Another bus following behind stopped at the scene and picked up the younger children and took them on to school.

Firefighters from Dunkeld and Pitlochry dealt with the blaze. It broke out at around 8.15am on Tuesday on the way from Perth. Fire service spokesman Bill Butterworth said: “There was quite a severe fire in the engine. The firefighters did a good job getting everything under control quickly.” The fire crews also managed to prevent an oil spill from the bus making its way into the drainage system. Yesterday, Stagecoach chiefs promised an “urgent” investigation into the cause of the blaze.”

(The Tayside Fire and Rescue Service’s website notes that Stagecoach has had other bus fires in the past. Rather a lot in fact!]

(2) Blackburn

[Source: Lancashire Telegraph 2.5.2012]

“Bus catches fire in Blackburn

Firefighters were called after a bus caught fire in Blackburn this afternoon. Blackburn Fire Station received a call at around 4.40pm after reports that smoke had been seen coming from a single-decker Stagecoach bus near Billinge, in Preston New Road.

Passengers on the bus were evacuated by the driver, who pulled up after noticing the smoke coming from the vehicle’s engine. Blackburn watch manager Damian Hartley said: “The driver did the right thing by evacuating the customers and getting them well away from the bus. “Fortunately we were there before the fire could spread any further.” A dry powder extinguisher and a hose reel jet were used to put out the flames.”

(3) Blyton

[Source: Worksop Guardian 1.7.2012]

“GAINSBOROUGH fire crews were called to reports of a Stagecoach bus on fire near Blyton at 7am on Thursday 21st June. The bus driver and one passenger on the Volvo double-decker bus escaped from the vehicle unharmed. Crews, who attended the fire on the A159, say it was caused by a mechanical fault in the engine.”


The Evening Standard of 30.4.2012 reported: “Stagecoach today promised commuters on its South West Trains route into Waterloo a better service after signing a tie-up with Network Rail [this is dubbed the ‘deep alliance’]. The deal means a single team will be responsible for train and track on the Wessex route. Stagecoach chief Sir Brian Souter said: “This new model is a real opportunity to deliver change that will benefit both passengers and taxpayers.””

The Railway Magazine of April 2012 outlined the elements of the ‘alliance’, which include better reporting of faults, faster service recovery after fatalities and cable theft, volunteer(?) managers to provide extra assistance when required, investment in new radios at Waterloo, more customer information screens at main stations (what about the majority of stations which are increasingly being left unstaffed?), better customer information and ‘alternative route plans’ (commuters generally know about alternative routes, the problem is finding space on the available buses or trains).

The following performance snapshot (extracted from the diary in Part 2 of this newsletter, which will be posted on our website) for the day of the Stagecoach announcement must raise doubts about whether the ‘alliance’ will get beyond scratching the surface of SWT’s problematic performance. More major initiatives, which might make a difference, include ‘gold plating’ track in the London area, which was part of the 20-year franchise agreement which Stagecoach lost through that same poor performance.

Monday 30/04/12 Poor performance exacerbated by signalling problems and a failed freight train. 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 15 MINUTES LATE. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 16 MINUTES LATE. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 6 MINUTES LATE. 06.08 Salisbury-Exeter 13 MINUTES LATE. 06.19 Honiton-Waterloo 18 MINUTES LATE. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK IN PLACE. Passengers on the 07.10 Haslemere-Waterloo DUMPED at Woking. Passengers on the 07.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth 8 MINUTES LATE. 07.17 Guildford-Waterloo DUMPED at Surbiton. 07.23 Waterloo-Alton 17 MINUTES LATE. 07.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 7 MINUTES LATE. 07.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 MINUTES LATE. 07.37 Waterloo-Hounslow 11 MINUTES LATE. 07.39 Waterloo-Poole 11 MINUTES LATE. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo REDUCED TO 5 COACHES. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 24 MINUTES LATE. Passengers on the 07.52 Epsom-Waterloo DUMPED at Wimbledon. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 22 MINUTES LATE. 08.15 Waterloo-Haslemere 10 MINUTES LATE. Passengers on the 08.17 Woking-Waterloo DUMPED at Surbiton. 08.20 Guildford-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE. 08.22 Epsom-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.31 Dorking-Waterloo 6 MINUTES LATE. 08.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 MINUTES LATE. 08.46 Waterloo-Chessington 15 MINUTES LATE. 08.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 10 MINUTES LATE. 08.53 Waterloo-Alton 13 MINUTES LATE. 08.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE. 08.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo DELAYED. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE. 08.58 Guildford-Waterloo 14 MINUTES LATE. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 MINUTES LATE. 09.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 MINUTES LATE. 09.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 19 MINUTES LATE. 09.23 Waterloo-Alton 25 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE; Surbiton and West Byfleet stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.33 Waterloo-Guildford 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Effingham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.39 Waterloo-Guildford 28 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Epsom AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.40 Chessington-Waterloo 13 MINUTES LATE. 09.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 26 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Kingston AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE and passengers DUMPED at Fulwell. 09.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 18 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Barnes AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.03 Waterloo-Guildford 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Effingham Junction AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 MINUTES LATE. 10.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 MINUTES LATE. 10.09 Waterloo-Guildford 14 MINUTES LATE. 10.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 15 MINUTES LATE. 10.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 14 MINUTES LATE. 10.15 Waterloo-Haslemere 10 MINUTES LATE. 10.16 Waterloo-Chessington 21 MINUTES LATE. 10.20 Waterloo-Woking 15 MINUTES LATE. 10.23 Waterloo-Farnham 13 MINUTES LATE. 10.24 Waterloo-Dorking 13 MINUTES LATE. 10.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED. 10.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Richmond AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 MINUTES LATE. 10.33 Waterloo-Guildford 13 MINUTES LATE. 10.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 MINUTES LATE. 10.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops before Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.39 Waterloo-Guildford 11 MINUTES LATE. 10.39 Waterloo-Poole 17 MINUTES LATE. 10.40 Chessington-Waterloo 14 MINUTES LATE. 10.41 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED between Shepperton and Teddington. 10.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 16 MNUTES LATE. 10.46 Waterloo-Chessington 14 MINUTES LATE. 10.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 10 MINUTES LATE. 10.54 Waterloo-Dorking 12 MINUTES LATE. All intermediate stops, after Surbiton, of the 10.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo AXED. 10.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 22 MINUTES LATE. 11.03 Waterloo-Guildford 18 MINUTES LATE. 11.08 Guildford-Waterloo 15 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.09 Waterloo-Guildford 13 MINUTES LATE. All intermediate stops, after Kingston, of the 11.11 Shepperton-Waterloo AXED. 11.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 10 MINUTES LATE. 11.16 Waterloo-Chessington AXED. 11.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 20 MINUTES LATE; all intermediate stops after Surbiton AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 10 MINUTES LATE; passengers DUMPED at Kingston. 12.10 Chessington-Waterloo AXED. 12.20 Waterloo-Exeter 11 MINUTES LATE. 12.39 Waterloo-Poole AXED between Waterloo and Southampton. 12.42 Waterloo-Shepperton AXED between Waterloo and Kingston. Passengers on the 12.50 Poole-Waterloo DUMPED at Winchester. 13.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 99 MINUTES LATE. Passengers on the 13.20 Waterloo-Exeter DUMPED at Basingstoke. 13.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth AXED between Waterloo and Guildford. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 32 MINUTES LATE and DIVERTED via Havant. 13.39 Waterloo-Poole 61 MINUTES LATE and DIVERTED via Havant; passengers DUMPED at Bournemouth. 14.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 30 MINUTES LATE and DIVERTED via Havant. 14.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth DIVERTED via Havant. 14.20 Waterloo-Exeter 33 MINUTES LATE. 14.22 Waterloo-Weybridge AXED. 14.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 32 MINUTES LATE and DIVERTED via Havant. 14.39 Waterloo-Brockenhurst 10 MINUTES LATE. 14.47 Salisbury-Waterloo AXED. 14.50 Waterloo-Salisbury AXED. 15.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 30 MINUTES LATE and DIVERTED via Havant. 15.26 Exeter-Waterloo SEVERELY OVERCROWDED. 15.44 Southampton-Portsmouth AXED DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE. Passengers on the 15.44 Alton-Waterloo DUMPED at Woking. 15.50 Waterloo-Reading AXED between Waterloo and Staines. 15.50 Poole-Waterloo AXED. 15.59 Portsmouth-Waterloo 40 MINUTES LATE, REDUCED TO 8 COACHES, and DIVERTED via Havant. 16.03 Weybridge-Waterloo AXED DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES and AXED between Waterloo and Winchester. 16.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 24 MINUTES LATE; Guildford and Woking stops AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.18 Gillingham-Waterloo 18 MINUTES LATE and AXED between Gillingham and Salisbury. 16.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 15 MINUTES LATE. 16.38 Portsmouth-Southampton 22 MINUTES LATE DUE TO NO CREW IN PLACE; all intermediate stops after Fareham AXED DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 16.43 Fareham-Waterloo DUMPED at Woking. 16.50 Waterloo-Yeovil AXED. 17.04 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Bournemouth. 17.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke AXED between Waterloo and Woking. 17.20 Weymouth-Waterloo AXED between Weymouth and Bournemouth. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 15 MINUTES LATE. 17.22 Reading-Waterloo AXED between Reading and Wokingham. 17.30/18.00/18.30/19.00 Waterloo-Epsom AXED. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 17.50 Poole-Waterloo 25 MINUTES LATE and AXED between Poole and Bournemouth. 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil REDUCED TO 3 COACHES. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 MINUTES LATE. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton 11 MINUTES LATE. 18.18 Waterloo-Haslemere AXED between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 18.26 Exeter-Waterloo 36 MINUTES LATE and AXED between Exeter St David’s and Exeter Central. 18.39 Waterloo-Poole 14 MINUTES LATE. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo AXED between Portsmouth and Woking. 18.47 Salisbury-Waterloo 15 MINUTES LATE. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth REDUCED TO 4 COACHES. 19.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 16 MINUTES LATE. 19.15 Waterloo-Havant 17 MINUTES LATE. 19.20 Waterloo-Exeter 19 MINUTES LATE. 19.23 Waterloo-Surbiton AXED. 19.25 Waterloo-Alton 12 MINUTES LATE and SEVERELY OVERCROWDED. 19.35 Epsom-Waterloo AXED. 19.44 Southampton-Portsmouth 17 MINUTES LATE. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 MINUTES LATE. 21.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 MINUTES LATE.


DfT’s on-line consultation closes on 23 August 2012. As always, thoughts and ideas from Group members and other interested readers for inclusion in SHRUG’s response should be sent to the Co-Ordinator as soon as possible (and no later than the end of July please).

It is proposed that the new franchise will start in September 2013 for the Thameslink and Great Northern routes, July 2015 for the whole of the current Southern network, and April 2014 and 2018 for certain routes to be extracted from the South Eastern franchise. Please note that company and DfT names for franchises and groups of services do not necessarily match.

In South Hampshire, Southern’s Victoria/Brighton – Portsmouth/Southampton services are at stake, so our interests are fairly limited.

A few initial thoughts:
* Taking account of pricing, service innovation and attitude to passengers, we are unlikely to get a better operator than Govia.
* The idea of Southern services being taken over when the new franchise is almost two years old seems to have inherent risks. Suppose Southern is performing much better than the franchise which absorbs it?
* Any ideas for further service innovation which could be commercially viable? Faster services, or more stops between Swanwick and Southampton? Restoration of the Victoria – Bournemouth service? Diversion of Brighton-Southampton services via Eastleigh (if not already implemented)? Southampton-Victoria service to be replaced by a Southampton-Chichester-Gatwick-Tonbridge regional service, as proposed in the past? Faster Victoria-Portsmouth service to compete with SWT?



Government funding of £17.8m has been made available for a smart card for travel on buses and ferries in Southern Hampshire. It is intended that it will eventually include rail travel. The grant will also go towards improvements to the upside of Southampton Central station (goodbye to the grubby, down-at-heel toilets?), to real-time bus stop information, and to bus-only schemes and cycle routes. The intention is to encourage greener travel, including commuter journeys.


It may be Britain’s busiest rail station, but Clapham Junction was closed from 21.20 on the evening of 10 May 2012 after failure of internal equipment left it without lighting. The power failure had started at 16.20. The Evening Standard reported the next day that major travel disruption had been caused to tens of thousands of passengers. Interestingly, the daylight hours were about the same as they will be at the height of the Olympic Games. Clapham Junction is served by direct London Overground trains from Stratford, but is managed by Stagecoach.


Stagecoach’s only remaining bus service in Southampton (Route 46: General Hospital – Winchester) largely transferred to Velvet Buses on 11th June. Stagecoach retains the “college days only” service at 07.15 from the General hospital, and 15.00 and 16.40 return. Velvet accepts Stagecoach returns, but Stagecoach won’t accept Velvet returns. There’s a surprise!


Perhaps because of the succession of Scottish transport Ministers in the last Government, SWT’s passengers were locked into Stagecoach’s ‘Hindsight Club’ (to use Stagecoach Director Brian Cox’s term) for another 10 years. Times may be changing. The Guardian of 18/5/2012 reports that John Cruddas, Labour’s new policy review co-ordinator, will have the job of “putting the flesh on Miliband’s crusade, launched at the Labour conference last year, to build a new economy that shuns asset-stripping “predators””. The Observer of 1/7/2012 reports that Labour is now seriously considering a policy change which would see the railways incrementally returned to public ownership, by not renewing franchises when they expire.


“SCOTTISH ministers have imposed a total black-out on the release of government material relating directly to the Queen until at least five years after her death. The ban may cover areas such as the awarding of honours – such as the knighthood for the SNP's biggest donor, Sir Brian Souter – and has raised concerns about the weakening of freedom of information (FoI) legislation. Scotland's former information tsar, Kevin Dunion, has "significant concerns" about the step, which would mean an absolute blackout on the release of any official communications with the monarch. --- SNP ministers are already under fire for refusing to release information it holds on last year's knighthood for Stagecoach tycoon Souter, who has given the party £1.2 million since 2007.” [Herald, Scotland 20/5/2012]


[Thanks to David Wallis for this report] When the GW franchise is re-let, something ought to be done about Torquay station. It is obvious that this popular holiday destination will attract large numbers of elderly people yet there is no lift available here. A friend who suffers from severe arthritis is unable to climb stairs easily. The only way to cross the lines is by a footbridge. My friend had to use the public highway to cross the line on a nearby bridge and return to the up platform. Fortunately the station has two entrances and we had plenty of time for the train. The station itself is in need of a facelift. The canopies require painting and there is an assortment of weeds growing between the lines.


[Thanks to Mr Jon Evans for this] A new free smartphone application has been launched that allows UK rail commuters to access information on service disruption, as well as providing a method of sharing personal updates / comments in real time with other users who share their route. Available for free on all smartphone devices, and the first of its kind, Mynet Travel provides an innovative solution to the lack of accurate information offered both on a daily basis, and during severe transport delays.

The ‘MoneySavingExpert’ website includes a new split ticketing application (http://splitticket.moneysavingexpert.com). Currently it covers only walk-on singles, and works only for the day you view it. Big savings can be achieved by buying multiple tickets for a single journey, but the train must stop where the tickets join. Martin Lewis, creator of the website, comments: “Train fares and logic go together like pool cues and giraffes, so to really save, you need to lob the rulebook out the window. Quite simply, split ticketing shouldn't work, it makes no sense, yet it does work on hundreds of routes and the savings can be enormous.”

A new website, commuterville@my6percent, gives graphic details and images of travel on SWT, including the Jubilee shambles.


As always, thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to contact us. Without your support and input, this newsletter would not be possible. The 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 (denis@fryer1491.fsnet.co.uk). 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.]