HOGRIDER 146 (JANUARY-MARCH 2015) PART 1
This newsletter contains evidence-based reports, research and analysis from the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group [SHRUG].
See our website [www.shrug.info] for a 15,000 word evidence-based history of SWT which records the views of Ministers, MPs, regulatory bodies, rail experts, user groups and individual passengers.
More protection for passengers from SWT penalty fares abuse?
SWT in the press
Minister describes class 450 outer-suburban trains as "infamous"; SWT indifferent, but admit they now form 20% of trains between Southampton and Waterloo
Survey by Which?
Lift failures let down mobility-impaired people (January-March)
Big payout for woman crushed by Waterloo ticket barrier
Serious SWT train fire
Fires and other serious incidents on Stagecoach buses
Stagecoach apparently agrees the SWT/NR alliance is a charade
SWT pulls out all the stops (literally)
SHRUG response to Network Rail's Wessex Route Study
SWT timetable changes in prospect
Stagecoach co-billionaire's redevelopment agenda progresses from Manston Airport to elderly couple's home
Disappointments start for Stagecoach East Coast passengers
Twitter exposes the daily misery of SWT
More protection for passengers from SWT penalty fare abuse?
Please let us have comments for inclusion in our response to the DfT's consultation by 18 April 2015 - See DfT's website and our contact details at the end of this newsletter
E'mail received by our group
"At approximately midday today (29 January) I was alerted by a fellow male passenger on the London-bound platform at Havant, of a teenage female passenger being given grief by two SWT ticket inspectors.
>From what I gathered, It sounds like this girl had simply not been able to buy, or had bought the wrong ticket by mistake, and the SWT revenue-protection staff simply decided to treat her as a fare dodger, which she wasn't. As a result the poor girl was in tears.
Having read your website over the past few years, I've seen just how bad SWT are and have been since 1996, and why a new operator is desperately needed for the London Waterloo-South Western train franchise.
In future I will at least be able to use Southern and Southeastern trains' services (I currently live in Sussex, and hoping to move to Kent). But for passengers who have no choice but to use South West Trains' Portsmouth, Southampton, Bournemouth/Poole and Weymouth to London Waterloo trains, I sympathise with their plight.
Sorry for the very long e'mail, but with my own interest in all things railways, plus how service on the routes mentioned above have gone from amongst the best on the old Southern Region under BR-Network SouthEast, to the worst under SWT, I wanted to express my opinion on the problems caused by Stagecoach South Western Trains Ltd.
Twitter conversations (January)
* I've a travel card on my Oyster. When I arrived at Barnes Bridge, none of my travel cards, including previous ones were showing up. It's never happened since or previously. It was a problem with your system as TfL could see all of my previous travel cards. [SWT response: Have you considered card clash? Something may be wiping data from your Oyster Card in your purse?] Card clash? Have you considered rude, incompetent staff? I received a letter today [5 January] dated 22nd December stating I now owe £90 as no payment received and I need to pay within 14 days of date of letter. Can you please send details for someone who will sort? [SWT response: I appreciate your comments, however this is outside our remit. Please contact IRCAS directly here.] I did appeal, but IRCAS claimed they received my letter late so fine increased to £55. Now I have a £90 fine hanging over me. I have paid £55 over the phone today begrudgingly but have been advised I risk you taking me to court.
* Just been told I can't use my railcard, it's in date but I'm just apparently not allowed to use it. Good one SWT. I was paying at the ticket machine, and it wouldn't work, so I asked to pay on the train (I approached the guard) and explained what happened, and her words were, "You can't use your railcard on the train". My response was that the ticket machine wasn't working, and she said "Tough". Never dealt with such a rude member of staff from SWT.
* Should be ashamed of yourselves. Prosecuting my girlfriend (a single mum) because her card didn't work in your ticket machine and no guard on train. She fully expected the guard to walk through and waited for him. [SWT response: If you don't have a ticket and board a train the onus is on you to find the guard and not wait for them to come to you.] She was getting her expenses paid for by work so she had NO REASON to fare jump. This is a genuine misunderstanding that common sense and good customer service could and SHOULD have avoided. I sincerely hope you apply that common sense now and enter into a dialogue with her before you waste a court's time! [SWT response: You can appeal the penalty fare at http://ircas.co.uk.] She doesn't HAVE a penalty notice. They took her details and she heard nothing for 3 months then got a COURT SUMMONS today!! The ircas website doesn't volunteer their number so that's very helpful. I'm curious - is it your usual process to tell someone you WON'T issue them a penalty then scare them with a court summons later? [SWT response: I'm not aware of the penalty fare process. I would have imagined a penalty fare comes first. Perhaps it was lost in the post.]
Twitter conversations (February)
* A member of your staff refused to recognise a simple mistake which was made - I was told to get off at a station I don't know and to find a cash point - he accused me of lying and I was left in the middle of nowhere, with no phone service and no idea how I could get home. I spend a lot of money on trains and don't expect to be patronised and belittled by you're staff. I'm 17 years old, got 3 big bags and was made to stand in the cold an hour from home because your guard was being picky. [SWT response: Sorry to hear this. Where are you now? Are you stranded, or have you resumed your journey?] I have just got home, after an hour of walking around trying to find a cash point and trying to get hold of someone to pick me up.
* My wife was just kicked off a train using a ticket specifically referenced in the booking confirmation. There was an announcement that the ticket type we purchased was not valid, despite it being the exact train we booked. [SWT response: Super off-peaks are not valid if you started your journey at Waterloo, but are in this case as she started back at Hull. Sorry she was ejected, please keep the tickets and contact our Customer Relations team about this.]
* Maybe I'm missing something but a single fare is £16.70. So how would the fine come to £300 ???? [SWT response: You'll be fined the most expensive ticket (first class) plus the penalty fare for this route.
* Fined for having a ticket for the 5th and not the 6th, which is strange because I didn't ask for a ticket for the 5th.
* Earlier tweets saying penalty fares are fines are incorrect and a lie. [SWT response: Apologies for the earlier reference to fines. Our mistake. We know they are penalty fares.]
* Great customer Service: "Stand in first class and you will be fined - don't use it as an overflow", SWT guard - 8am train at Whitton. [SWT response: The guard is correct, you do need a first class ticket to be in first class. But sorry if they came across as brusque.] Since you reintroduced two first class compartments - dozens often unable to board 8am train -picture from Wednesday.
Twitter conversations (March)
* SWT fining me 80 quid for standing in first class when two trains had been cancelled and there was no space. Outrageous.
* When I honestly told a guard at Waterloo I wanted to buy a ticket - I was then fined and now I have a £100 penalty to pay. It was only self service and I couldn't work out how to buy an open return and many times I have wrongly bought a day return and I can't get a refund so I thought the best idea would be to buy one on the train. [SWT response: If you wish to appeal there are contact details on the penalty fare. You should let them know the information you have told me.] I have and they've rejected it and slapped on a £70 admin fee. It's disgusting.
* I don't like the doors being forced open whilst I'm having a piss. [SWT response: It is a place where fare evaders like to hide, unfortunately.]
* Please explain policy. Bought ticket on train as usual because machine isn't cheapest fare with railcard, and got warning of penalty fare after paying. [SWT response: It is only acceptable to do so when there are zero ticket purchasing facilities at stations.]
Difficulties in purchasing tickets at SWT stations (January-March 2015)
Over 60 SWT ticket offices reported as closed during opening hours:
Unstaffed stations present a range of security risks. In many cases, stations have only ‘facility managers’ whose principal task is to sell tickets. Yet, during the past three months, SWT’s website has advertised failures (in some cases prolonged and/or repeated) to staff ticket offices even during advertised opening hours at Addlestone, Andover, Axminster, Bagshot, Basingstoke, Bentley, Branksome, Brentford, Brockenhurst, Chessington North, Christchurch, Cosham, Dorchester, Earlsfield, Egham, Esher, Farnham, Feltham, Fleet, Gillingham, Hampton Wick, Hamworthy, Haslemere, Havant, Hedge End, Hersham, Hinton Admiral, Honiton, Hounslow, Liphook, Lymington Town, Malden Manor, Milford, Mortlake, New Milton, Norbiton, North Sheen, Parkstone, Petersfield, Pokesdown, Portsmouth Harbour, Shepperton, Southampton Airport, Southampton Central, Sunningdale, Swanwick, Sway, Teddington, Tolworth, Totton, Virginia Water, Walton-on-Thames, Wareham, West Byfleet, Weybridge, Weymouth, Whitchurch, Whitton, Winchester, Winchfield, Winnersh, Woking and Worplesdon.
Ticket machines reported as failed at over 40 SWT stations:
Ticket vending machines are as unreliable as ticket office opening hours on SWT. They have been advertised as out of action at Addlestone, Andover, Ash, Ash Vale, Ashford, Axminster, Barnes Bridge, Bookham, Byfleet & New Haw, Chertsey, Chessington South, Datchet, Esher, Feltham, Grateley, Hampton, Hampton Wick, Hamworthy, Havant, Hinchley Wood, Liphook, Martins Heron, Motspur Park, Oxshott, Pinhoe, Portchester, Sholing, Southampton Central, Sunbury, Thames Ditton, Tolworth, Totton, Upwey, Wandsworth Town, Whitton, Windsor, Winnersh, Winnersh Triangle, Woolston, Wraysbury and Yeovil Junction.
It is clear from Twitter, and from reports that we receive, that the real position on both offices and machines is even worse and that SWT is so poorly staffed that it often doesn't know of the problems until passengers tell them.
Government clampdown in prospect
"Appealing against penalty rail fares will become fairer and more open under new proposals unveiled by the Department for Transport today (3 February 2015). Penalty fares can be charged by train operators if a passenger is found to be travelling without a valid ticket. A process already exists to enable those who think they have been charged incorrectly or unfairly to make appeals through 1 of 2 appeal bodies. The government is launching a consultation on a number of proposals that will make the system fairer for passengers and more consistent across the industry.
Rail Minister Claire Perry said: "More people are using our railways than ever, and passengers rightly expect that we take strong action against fare dodgers. But passengers penalised through no fault of their own must be treated fairly. That’s why we have listened to passenger groups and are working with the rail industry to improve the system so it is clearer, fairer and easier to use.
Currently passengers can appeal either through the Independent Revenue Collection and Support (IRCAS) or the Independent Penalty Fares Appeals Service (IPFAS). Measures for public consultation include:
* requiring train operators to remove the reference to criminal sanctions in letters chasing penalty fare payment. Government will provide new guidance to train operators to make clear that the threat of criminal sanctions for non-payment of a penalty fare, which is a civil offence, is not appropriate. Criminal sanctions will still apply in suspected cases of deliberate fare evasion
* requiring all appeal bodies to adopt the ‘stop the clock’ measure. This means that those appealing do not have to pay the penalty fare until a final ruling has been reached. The 21-day deadline for payment will be suspended when an appeal is received by the appeals body, and will only resume once a letter notifying the outcome has been issued. Only 1 of the 2 existing appeals bodies already uses ‘stop the clock’
* requiring all appeals bodies to be independent of transport operators and owning groups. Currently, the IPFAS is owned by the Go-Ahead group, which runs Southeastern. IPFAS will need to be separated from its current owner to continue to consider appeals
* creating an independent appeals process to make final decisions. This will look at cases which have been considered twice by the appeals bodies and remain unresolved. This would give passengers further assurance their case has been fully and independently reviewed
* regular ‘health checks’ of the system by government. We will ask train operators and appeals bodies to supply penalty fare and appeals information regularly to ensure that they are complying with the code of practice.
The public consultation will run from 3 February to 27 April 2015."
SWT in the press
* [Evening Standard 13/01/2015] "Yesterday's 7.45am South West Trains service from Richmond to Waterloo was delayed and had just half the normal number of carriages (four). Services afterwards were cancelled, so I had to get this train. I managed to cram onto an already over-capacity carriage with immense pushing and shoving, and we all stood for 20 minutes pressed together so tightly we could barely breathe. Today my service was cancelled outright. Both mornings: no explanation given." Miles Jackson.
* [Evening Standard 14/01/2015] "Rail passengers from south London and points further south can avoid the massive increase in the cost of a one-day Travelcard by simply buying a return ticket to London Terminals, taking you into Charing Cross or Victoria, effectively the heart of the West End. South West Trains doesn't make it easy to buy these from its machines and the regulator doesn't seem bothered. " Keith Ballinger.
* [Evening Standard 17/02/2015] "South West trains took time thinking up Valentine's Day puns but more thought about train operation to serve the rugby at Twickenham wouldn't have gone amiss. Long delays occurred apparently due to "unexpectedly large passenger flows" yet the Six Nations happens every year." Mark Green.
Footnote At Southampton Central, while the 10.33 to Brighton was standing under a screen showing it as the 10.30 to Poole, other screens were showing destinations such as 'London Waterlove' and 'Romsey and Juliet'. In response to the similar oddities appearing across SWT, one tweeter commented: "That doesn't really help if you don't speak English very well or at all. Signs should be clear". The exercise was, however, successful in increasing SWT's percentage of positive tweets, including one plaudit from the BBC's transport correspondent, Paul Clifton, who was told it meant a lot [of PR?] coming from him.
Minister describes class 450 outer-suburban trains as "infamous"; SWT indifferent, but admit they now form 20% of trains between Southampton and Waterloo
[Daily Echo 16/3/2015]
"South West Trains has apologised after a station announcer said fat people "should not sit down" on a Hampshire train as there was not enough space. Commuters were left shocked when the announcer said that only slim people should sit due to a shortage of space on the train, and that larger people trying to sit down would "simply not work".
It comes after a the row over the size of seats has gone all the way to Parliament, with a transport minister admitting journeys have become a misery for many commuters in Hampshire due to the narrowness of the seats. The announcer on the busy commuter train was reported as saying: “We are going to be like sardines on this train. Can I ask that only slim people sit on the three-seaters? If you are fat, then it is simply not going to work.”
One passenger on the Basingstoke to Salisbury train which was at Basingstoke railway station at the time, said they were shocked and added: “I would get fired if I said that at my work.” South West Trains has apologised for the incident and a spokeswoman said “all passengers are welcome” on its services.
But a commuter group has criticised the company, saying its narrower seats make travelling uncomfortable for passengers. Denis Fryer, organiser of the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group, said: “In the past eight years train fares have soared, as have car parking charges at stations and the speed in which a train gets somewhere has increased so the companies are just profiteering. So we are paying more and more money and people are less and less satisfied with the service. I actually try to avoid travelling in South West Train coaches if I can help it because it is uncomfortable. We need better quality and a bigger quantity of coaches, people are being fleeced for their money at local stations with parking and fare charges with no improvement to be seen in services.”
He called on MPs to take action, saying commuters currently face a “very uncomfortable journey” due to the current cramped conditions. And there are already signs that Government ministers are prepared to act, with transport minister Robert Goodwill saying some of the seats are so uncomfortable that they cannot be used by people suffering from back pain. The minister described the ageing Class 450 carriages as “infamous”, adding: “Their three plus two seating configuration can make the journey elbow to elbow for some people. As people get bigger, that will be an even greater problem. Some people with back pain cannot use those trains.”
Asked about the criticism of its seats, South West Trains was unable to offer any hope of replacing the Class 450 carriages. Instead, a spokesman defended them, saying: “Class 450 trains have been operated by South West Trains since 2003 and their use is a requirement of the Department for Transport. The seats are similar in size to those used on many other forms of transport, such as airlines, buses and coaches.” The spokesman did not comment on the minister’s suggestion that people with back pain were unable to travel, but said only 20 per cent of trains between Waterloo and Southampton are Class 450s. [Editorial comment: Hugely misleading; the bargain-basement class 450 came to SWT because Stagecoach negotiated a cheap deal with Siemens when the latter was facing the loss of 5,500 jobs - Evening Standard 24.4.2001 and 10.5.2001]
Related comment from Daily Echo Editor-in-Chief Ian Murray:
"It's the moment every commuter on the Waterloo to Weymouth line must dread - the arrival of a South West Trains 450-style carriage on the platform. As someone who travels to London on business, I know only too well that having to share one of the two-by-three seat-style carriages means for myself and everyone else - misery.
At best it will be an awkward experience, with passengers forced to sit in rows facing each other. At worst the journey will be downright uncomfortable due to the fact that when all of the spaces are filled it is impossible not to spill over into your travelling companion's seating area.
Put simply, the seats are just too slim for all but the slightest-built travellers. For myself - an average bloke of 14 stone and 6ft in height - my body frame merges with whoever is sat next to me. Put two or three average blokes on adjoining seats and let's just say we tend to be firm friends by the end of the journey. And while it is uncomfortable and a little embarrassing when the person in the next seat is of the same sex, when they are of the opposite it is beyond awkward and into the realms of being legally fraught.
And these are just the bodily challenges. The fact the carriages have no tables to carry out work unless you pay the exorbitant upgrade to First Class, then the journeys are useless for carrying out work and difficult to manage when the 'at seat trolley service' delivers piping hot coffee and sandwiches. A sharp bend and there are beverage stains in laps and crumbs flying everywhere.
As for being asked not to take up a seat if overweight, I cannot say I have experienced any similar requests from the guard while travelling. Perhaps they ought to ensure the trolley service includes a selection of salads, however, if weight restrictions are to be the norm."
Webchat confirms big dissatisfaction with SWT carriages
SWT's March Webchat covered just over 200 questions. We categorised these by types of complaint. On our reckoning, the areas of major concern were:
Unsuitability / inadequacy / maintenance of trains: 28%
Poor performance: 16%
Fares / timetables / station facilities: 12% each
Survey by Which?
[Thanks to David Wallis for drawing this to our attention]
A recent survey by the Consumers Association scored 21 train operators by passenger satisfaction with capacity, cleanliness, frequency, punctuality, reliability and value for money criteria.
Of the four companies serving south Hampshire:
Cross Country was scored thirteenth best, with 52%. It was the only one of the four which scored a 4 -star marking , awarded for reliability.
SWT was in 16th place with 48%.
First Great Western was in 17th place with 47%.
Southern was in joint-18th place with 46%.
It seems likely that FGW's score reflects disruption from electrification work in the Thames Valley (its busiest sector) and Southern by the Thameslink development programme, which has badly affected passengers at London Bridge. SWT may have gained from constantly pleading its case on Twitter.
Lift failures let down mobility-impaired people (January-March)
Lift failures (in some cases prolonged and/or repeated), a major problem for disabled people, have occurred at Axminster, Basingstoke, Brentford, Brockenhurst, Clapham Junction, Datchet, Earlsfield, Eastleigh, Fareham, Farnborough, Feltham, Haslemere, Havant, New Malden, Putney, Richmond, Southampton Central, Staines, Surbiton, Vauxhall, Weybridge, Winchester, Woking, and Worcester Park. While a number of stations have acquired new lifts, at public expense, they are often out of action because no staff are on site.
Interesting Tweet on 31.3.2015
"Making everyone feel like criminals again with on AND off train ticket checks. What if someone was just crossing station bridge!? I guess South West Trains think that forcibly 'outing' autistic people is OK, right? What the HELL'S the matter with you people? There are no barriers at my station (Fleet). People also use the bridge to get from one side of the station to the other! Find a better way to determine criminal activity. I've had enough of your stupid ********.
[Editorial comment: Hardly surprising, since the Stagecoach Chairman recently ridiculed mental disability in a public speech!].
Big payout for woman crushed by Waterloo ticket barrier
[From the Evening Standard, 5.3.2015]
"I feared for my life" says passenger trapped by gates at Waterloo.
A woman has received thousands of pounds in an out-of-court settlement after being crushed by a ticket barrier at Waterloo station. Karen O’Brien, 64, of Twickenham, was trying to pass through the gates when they suddenly closed on her, crushing her torso and damaging her ribs. The gates could not be reopened until her husband was able to alert a member of staff.
Legal action by Mrs O’Brien’s lawyers, Irwin Mitchell, resulted in Network Rail Infrastructure admitting liability for the April 2012 incident. She now suffers “entrapment phobia”, the lawyers said, and the settlement is to help cover the costs of assistance and care needed for her recovery.
Mrs O’Brien said: “I felt absolutely helpless and feared for my life when the barriers closed on me as it all happened so fast and without any warning whatsoever and they showed no sign of stopping or opening. The incident has had a huge impact on my life and I have developed a phobia of being trapped, which has ruined my social life as I can no longer enjoy going on holiday as I fear being enclosed. I also have regular nightmares and flashbacks.” She added: “I hope that my case highlights the need for staff to be aware of the needs of passengers and to be in a position to act quickly should a gate error occur in the future.” Mrs O’Brien said the incident had also aggravated a respiratory condition which causes her problems sleeping.
Her lawyer, Louise Scott of Irwin Mitchell, said: “Hopefully, lessons can be learned from this event and the subsequent report, which recommended a more proactive approach from Customer Service Assistants in advising passengers to use wide gates wherever necessary so nobody else will have to go through the same thing as Mrs O’Brien.” A Network Rail spokesman said: “We acknowledge we were at fault in this incident, and have compensated Ms O’Brien for the injuries she sustained as a result. Keeping people safe in and around our stations is something that we take very seriously and further safety improvements have been made.” "
[Observation suggests it's commonplace for SWT staff to remonstrate with passengers who prefer to use the wider gates. They seem to be terrified that two people will exit/enter at once. Gateline staff at Southampton Central often position themselves well away from the gates and watch for people whose tickets don't work. It appears to be a case of putting profit before safety.]
Serious SWT train fire
It appears that SWT's fault-ridden and long-delayed class 458/5 units, formed of second-hand coaches, may not even be safe. From Rail Accident Investigation Branch's website:
"Electrical arcing and fire under a train, near Windsor, 30 January 2015
RAIB is investigating a train fire that occurred on the evening of Friday 30 January 2015, and which caused serious damage to the structure of the train.
The 19:53 hrs South West Trains service from Windsor & Eton Riverside to London Waterloo had travelled about 400 metres after starting from Windsor station, when a small bang was heard under the sixth carriage of the ten-carriage train, followed by about five seconds of severe sparking and flashing.
The train, which was formed of two class 458/5 electric multiple units and was travelling at about 15 mph at the time, stopped immediately. Some smoke entered the carriages through ventilators. There were two passengers in the sixth carriage, and they moved quickly into another part of the train. The guard of the train moved from the rear to the sixth carriage to investigate, and the driver also moved to the middle of the train. They could see that there was still smoke coming from below the sixth carriage, so the driver returned to the front of the train from where he contacted the signaller by radio to ask for the electric power to be switched off. While he was doing this, the floor of the sixth carriage was penetrated by fire, and smoke rapidly filled the vehicle.
There were eleven passengers on the train. The guard, assisted by the crew of another train that was in Windsor station, evacuated the passengers to the track, and helped them walk back to the station. The fire brigade were called, and confirmed by 20:50 that the fire was out. None of the passengers were hurt, but the guard was taken to hospital and treated for smoke inhalation.
The damaged floor of the train
RAIB’s preliminary examination found that the fire had originated in severe arcing in a junction box fixed under the carriage floor, where power cables from the collector shoes on either side on the train are connected to the main power cable (‘bus line’) which runs along the train. The arcing had burnt through the floor of the carriage, and had also destroyed parts of the structural members of the carriage body.
RAIB’s investigation will focus on the cable joint in this junction box, and how this joint was designed and assembled. It will also examine how the train’s structure and equipment, and the people in it, might have been protected from the consequences of a failure of this nature.
RAIB’s investigation is independent of any investigation by the Office of Rail Regulation.
We will publish our findings, including any recommendations to improve safety, at the conclusion of our investigation. This report will be available on our website."
Fires and other serious incidents on Stagecoach buses
Bus fires are generally rare and the number affecting Stagecoach buses appears increasingly disproportionate. Assuming our records are complete, there were 9 incidents in 2011; 11 in 2012; 10 in 2013; and 10 in 2014. These figures exclude any arson or overseas fires. The majority of fires occur when passengers are on board, and there are some horrific internet video clips of the conflagrations.
Stagecoach’s response to every incident is that safety is their absolute priority. However, fires have not been the only problem. Sanctions were imposed after a number of buses shed wheels in Scotland, a bus drove on after wrecking a shelter in Cheltenham, and a great grand-mother had to have a foot amputated after a bus ran over it as she boarded because the driver had not applied the handbrake. Another bus ignored a level crossing barrier on the Taunton-Exeter line seconds before a high speed train passed, and yet another demolished level crossing gates in Canterbury, causing major disruption to South Eastern train services. Latest incidents:
1. School bus in flames
[Posted by Peter Laing, under Scottish News - Top Stories, on 13.1.2015 - Stagecoach accounts don't quite seem to tally with those of eye-witnesses!]
"A horrified motorist desperately tried to flag down a school bus after seeing that it was being driven while on fire. Pauline Gibson flashed her lights and beeped her horn and then ran screaming to the vehicle after it stopped north of Wick, Caithness. Two minutes after the last of the students was evacuated, the coach was consumed by flames and destroyed. It is thought the coach, owned by Stagecoach, suffered a mechanical fault and the flames were fanned by the strong winds that battered northern Scotland in recent days.
Scotland Fire and Rescue Service and Stagecoach are now investigating what caused the terrifying blaze on Monday morning. The incident happened shortly before 9am when the 49-seater coach was still about five miles from Wick High School. Miss Gibson, 44, who was driving to work on the A99, said: “I could see flames coming out the side of the bus and it was still moving. You could see the flames. I was just behind it. I flashed my lights and blew my horn. He stopped and I ran out screaming. The school children were coming out the bus. There must have been about 12 or 15 of them. Two minutes after they got off it was an inferno. The school kids were upset and really shaken. I phoned 999. It was just minutes before it [the bus] was an inferno. One of the boys was saying he was really warm and he just thought it was the heater.” She added: “I’d hate to think of what could have happened.”
Gary Ridley, 49, saw his daughter, an S5 pupil, on to the bus near their home in John O’ Groats. “I saw the bus leave. It was not going along very fast. I thought it was stuck in a gear,” he said. “My daughter called 15 minutes later to say it was on fire while on it. She saw fire while she was on the bus, out the side window. The bus driver got off, saw it was on fire, and told everyone to get off.” A source close to the investigation said an electrical fault may have caused the fire and that strong winds may have fanned the flames.
A spokesman for Scottish Fire and Rescue service said: “We attended a coach fire at Quoys of Reiss farm at 08.59 on Monday morning. Two appliances from Wick were sent to the scene. Firefighters were met with a fire on a 49-seater bus and crews in breathing apparatus used two hose reel jets to extinguish the fire, which had destroyed much of the bus.”
A spokeswoman for Stagecoach said: “One of our vehicles travelling to Wick High School on Monday 12 January suffered a technical problem on the on the A99, in the Reiss area, at about 8.25am. The driver pulled over as a result of a warning light on the dashboard and ensured all passengers were able to alight the vehicle safely before calling the emergency services. Upon pulling over, the driver then detected smoke coming from the engine of the bus. No injuries were reported to any passengers or to the driver. A replacement vehicle was provided for the remainder of the journey. Safety is our absolute priority and we will investigate the cause of this incident as a matter of priority.” She added: “We are still investigating the cause of this incident.”
2. Carlisle bus station smash
[Source: ITV Borders]
"A bus crashed at Carlisle Bus Station this morning. The Stagecoach bus collided with the front of a building, smashing through the door. The emergency services were called to the scene on Lonsdale Street, although no one was injured."
3. Bus bursts into flames in Lincolnshire
[Source: Lincolnshire Echo 27.2.2015]
"A Stagecoach bus burst into flames this morning in Welton Village Green. The incident was reported to the fire service at 6.45am. Fire crews arrived and were able to put out the blaze. The bus was stationary at the time and no one was hurt. A mechanical fault is believed to be the reason for the fire.
A spokesperson for Stagecoach said: "At around 6.30am today smoke was detected from the rear of one of our vehicles as it arrived in Welton. As a result the Fire Service was called. There were two passengers on board who were safely escorted off the vehicle. Safety is our absolute priority and we will now investigate the cause of this incident." "
4. Bus bursts into flames in Newcastle
[Source: Newcastle Chronicle Live 3.3.2015]
"Passengers were evacuated from a bus after it burst into flames in Newcastle. The Stagecoach single decker was travelling along William Armstrong Drive, off Scotswood Road, when the blaze started. Firefighters from West Denton station attended the scene at lunchtime today. Traffic was diverted while thick black smoke bellowed from the vehicle and drifted across the road. One witness said: “I was driving past and saw the fire brigade putting out the flames. It looked as though the engine was on fire as it was covered in black soot. The fire brigade had everything under control.”
Stagecoach apparently agrees the SWT/NR alliance is a charade
On 30 April 2012, the following announcement appeared: "Train company South West Trains and infrastructure operator Network Rail today announced the launch of a new alliance with the aim of delivering better rail services in the south and south-west of England. A single senior joint management team now has responsibility for both trains and track on the route operating out of London Waterloo in a first for the UK rail industry. It is aiming to cut delays for passengers, provide better customer service, deliver more effective management of disruption, and improve the efficiency of the railway through more collaborative working and better decision-making."
The following is an excerpt from an article on SWT's Passengers Panel website, dated summer 2013 and written in the familiar style of the Panel's Chairman, Stagecoach non-executive director Sir Alan Greengross
"The danger is the temptation by the different parties involved in running the system to, if not pass, then at least share the blame between all the others. SW Trains, Network Rail and Government can all individually suggest they’d love to help solve an issue but unfortunately it’s impossible without the other two changing how they work, which anyway would not be doable under the current franchise agreement."
SWT pulls out all the stops (literally)
As the SWT timetable continues to fall apart, omission of stops has become increasingly desperate. For example, on 15/01/2015 the 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth was advertised as running non-stop to Bournemouth. Two days later, the 07.20 Weymouth-Waterloo was advertised as running non-stop from Bournemouth. Damn people at the wayside halts like Southampton and Winchester, or those with a plane to catch at Southampton Airport.
Scheduled stops on the Waterloo-Portsmouth direct line are omitted so frequently and erratically that passengers might be forgiven for wondering whether SWT makes its operating decisions with a dice.
On the suburban routes, the position is so bad that it is unrealistic to talk of a timetable. Half-hourly services suffer hourly gaps day after day. On 16/01/2015, Journeycheck announced that the many cancelled stops would include the 20.42 Waterloo-Shepperton running non-stop to Kingston. This helpful notice then appeared on Twitter: "Customers for the delayed 20:42 London Waterloo to Shepperton at Kingston, are advised the train will leave Kingston a little early".
Twitter comments from trapped passengers
(January) Currently locked on one of your trains at Woking. I want to get off. this isn't cool....Finally got off after having to knock on driver's coach, and he had to track down conductor : 12.58 platform 2, now late for my date. /// Was there a guard on the late 1734 Richmond to Waterloo? Going to Putney and it ran fast from Barnes with no notice. Not impressed. /// I got on at Vauxhall as it advertised the stops on the board as Clapham Junction then Putney. Its next stop after Clapham was Staines. /// He says we are going back to Hersham not Walton? [SWT response: Apologies, you are going back to Hersham.] /// The train doors didn't open at Clapham Junction. Next stop is Woking. SWT are a complete joke. 200 angry passengers. Well done.. Not. /// What poor customer service. Six of us lined up trying to exit at Twickenham but guard shut the doors and we had to leave. /// 17:11 Leatherhead - Epsom. We broke down, power cut, then you decided to have a trip down to London - missing every destination. I'm now on the same train going in the opposite direction. Any tips on how I explain my situation without being accused of being on the train without paying? /// Your driver forgot to stop at Ashford on 16.05 Reading service from Waterloo...lots of swearing in the quiet coach as a result!!!
(February) Train driver didn't release the doors when we stopped at Clapham Junction. Does my additional journey-time count as delay? [SWT response: If you were in the rear part of the train some doors may not have been opened because of short platforms at this station.] No announcement though. At least, none that could be heard from the vestibule! /// The Shepperton train didn't stop at Fulwell, there was no announcement and now I'm stranded in the cold. /// Got on a train labelled as a stopping train to Shepperton and it didn't stop till Norbiton. On my way back to Earlsfield...
(March) Nice one, not opening the doors at Brentford and making me miss my stop! /// I'm off it now. I was on a train from Wimbledon to Clapham Junction but it didn't stop and went to Vauxhall. I had to go back on myself. People have connections to make. /// Son boarded train to be told all stops now cancelled, he had to go all the way to Waterloo and then come back to West Byfleet. /// Thank you for taking me to Norbiton instead of Wimbledon, I even asked your staff which train to get on! [SWT response: Was it not announced that the train was running fast to Norbiton?] No it wasn't and it wasn't on the carriage displays either. I didn't hear anything, and considering a large number of people got off making the same mistake I don't think so. /// Boarded a Weybridge train at Barnes expecting to go to Syon Lane. Without ANY announcement it went non-stop to Feltham! /// Appointment I had to get to by 6.30 in Twickenham and you send me to Feltham. /// Good one SWT, now on a train to Earlsfield along with plenty of other people who were trying to get off at Clapham Junction as the doors closed...
Officially ‘cancelled’ SWT trains still the tip of a huge iceberg
SWT's performance figures for 'preceding 52 week' periods have shown punctuality targets missed but 'reliability' targets exceeded. A footnote on SWT's website explains that 'reliability' means: 'Percentage of the advertised train service actually operated (Monday to Friday all day)'.
The following table illustrates how trains 'actually operated' represent only a fraction of the capacity lost both through stop-skipping to mitigate the punctuality statistics, and through failure to run full-length trains, particularly at peak times.
The figures are from snapshot sampling of SWT’s live running data. Whilst they do not represent the full numbers of trains in each category, the samples are very substantial and the proportionality should be statistically valid for illustrative purposes. Full details of the relevant trains are in Part 2 of this newsletter. See www.shrug.info
Since July, a month of particularly wretched performance, it is clear that Stagecoach is disadvantaging its long-suffering passengers even more by stepping up 'stop-skipping'. Whereas, seriously delayed trains were already omitting a succession of stops, slightly delayed or short-formed services are also now omitting even a single stop. Twitter revealed that passengers were continuing to be carried past their stops where onboard announcements about cancelled stops were not made or were inaudible. At worst, they may then be threatened with fines for travelling past their station.
Illustrative table of SWT 'reliability'
|October 2014 (25 days)||November 2014 (30 days)||December 2014 (29 days)||January 2015 (30 days)||February 2015 (28 days)||March 2015 (31 days)|
|Whole train equivalents of missing carriages.||264||234||432||189||193||216|
|Trains not making all scheduled stops||654||958||558||637||486||440|
Percentages may not sum, due to rounding.
SHRUG response to Network Rail's Wessex Route Study
"I attach a response on behalf of the South Hampshire Rail Users' Group. We are grateful for the opportunity to comment.
The proposals are commendably detailed and will no doubt be subject to further development over time. We have therefore arranged our comments under broad headings, and hope they will be helpful.
* Wessex is increasingly populous, a driver of the national economy, and one of the most heavily-trafficked sectors of the national rail network. Investment should be proportionate for economic, environmental, health and social reasons.
* Crossrail 2 raises issues about passenger flows around Waterloo and when there is disruption in the suburban area.
* It is doubtful whether some of the other proposed infrastructure improvements are sufficient to sustain the suggested level of traffic increases, particularly around Southampton and Portsmouth, and between Basingstoke and Reading.
* Illustrative timetables showing how communities outside the London suburban area would be affected by service development options would be helpful.
* The Southampton area could benefit from a local 'metro' service of the kind being developed for Bristol.
* There are far-reaching benefits from maximising the movement of containers by rail.
* Rolling stock should be fit for purpose, and simply cramming passengers to increase profits when fares are often uncompetitive should not be an option.
* Poor passenger satisfaction scorings could result in future governments diverting investment to road-building programmes or being distracted by previously discredited ideas such as converting commuter rail routes to intensively-operated busways.
Need for a strategic vision
The demand for commuting to London already outstrips capacity. The inevitable overcrowding can only be exacerbated by the rate of house-building in the area. Much of this is concentrated along the already overcrowded routes between Waterloo, Portsmouth and Southampton. There appears to be a lack of joined-up thinking which allows blocks of new flats, advertised as commuter-friendly, to mushroom close to severely overstretched rail services at places such as Basingstoke and Woking. Dense populations mean good profits for house builders and rail operators, but ever greater discomfort for commuters. In addition, the recent revival of the nineteen sixties' concept of merging Southampton and Portsmouth into a Solent City is likely to increase the market for local transport within that area as well as for commuting to London.
Southampton is the second largest container port in Britain, and its success has strategic importance nationally as well as locally. Creditably, the proportion of container movements in the area which travels by rail has increased to some 36 per cent. However, the area around the container terminals is seriously affected by road traffic congestion and pollution. The latter has been monitored and health warnings issued at times of greatest risk. As with passenger traffic, the case for investment in rail freight seems clear-cut. Movement of containers by rail should be maximised.
Passenger capacity in the suburban area
Commuters pay considerable sums to travel to work in London yet often have to stand for an hour or longer even when the service is fully operated, which it virtually never has been in the past year. In addition, it is extraordinary that SWT is allowed to design for more severe overcrowding (4 standing passengers per square metre) than other train operators. In conjunction these factors have social consequences (impact on health and family life) and economic consequences (a tired work force).
Part of the capacity shortfall is hidden in statistics. It is clear that punctuality is abysmal. For the 4 weeks to 6 December 2014, SWT mainline punctuality was just 77.6%, with a moving annual average of 87.1%, against the charter standard of 89%. For suburban services, punctuality was 80.4%, with a moving annual average of 89.5%, against the charter standard of 92%. The proportion of scheduled trains actually operated is purportedly within charter standards. However, our monitoring of live running data shows that, every month, up to around 1,000 SWT services haven't been running their full route or making all scheduled stops, and the loss of capacity through short formations has been equating to some 200-400 full-length trains.
Basing passenger satisfaction solely on the NRPS data is misleading, since passengers are asked to rate the journey they have just made. This has no relevance for commuters who need a satisfactory journey every day. There is also little point in making comparisons with the ratings of other operators. SWT consistently performs poorly and it is no consolation to its passengers if some of their counterparts on other networks are marginally even less satisfied.
Whether or not the service is fully operated at a particular time, delays are endemic, leading to an unreliable workforce and lost working hours. In total the social and economic costs of performance shortcomings in the Wessex area must be enormous. It would be useful if these could be quantified both for illustrative purposes and to strengthen the case for investment even more.
Capacity enhancements - general
The options for infrastructure enhancements such as additional tracks and a Woking flyover (discussed for decades) are clearly essential to meet passenger growth. Additional turn-back facilities can be useful for increasing services over parts of routes with particularly high passenger demand, but can disadvantage passengers by encouraging operators to turn back delayed trains short of their scheduled destinations. For example, the revised layout through Havant station was presented as making services more reliable, but seems only to facilitate turning back trains before they reach Portsmouth, worsening reliability for the dumped passengers.
Capacity enhancements - Crossrail 2
Crossrail 2 would obviously help to address capacity issues, both across central London and by diverting some SWT suburban branch services away from Waterloo. Two strategic considerations appear paramount:
(1) Huge numbers of passengers change at Clapham Junction between Victoria and Waterloo services. Crossrail 2 would increase the proportion of trains heading to or through Victoria and decrease the proportion heading to Waterloo. This raises issues about capacity between Clapham Junction and Waterloo, particularly given the regeneration of the South Bank and ease of transferring by foot between Waterloo and the southern entrance to Blackfriars station for Thameslink services towards Bedford, Peterborough and Cambridge.
(2) The concentration of services between New Malden/Raynes Park and Waterloo means that any major incident on this section can lead to SWT services collapsing over a wide area, with additional adverse, social and economic consequences. This contrasts, for example, with services through Croydon, which head to Victoria, London Bridge and Thameslink's London stations; and with services through Dartford which have three separate routes to Cannon Street and Charing Cross.
Suppose the Crossrail 2 tunnels could extend to west of New Malden, with Crossrail trains taking over services to Hampton Court, Woking, and Guildford via Hinchley Wood. This would he
lp meet both the strategic considerations outlined above: (1) Clapham Junction should be left with capacity to accommodate stops by mainline peak SWT trains, which are a longstanding major commuter aspiration. This in turn would increase capacity between Clapham Junction and Waterloo by removing the need for many commuters to travel to or from Waterloo on mainline services and then retrace their journeys on suburban trains.
(2) When there is major disruption on the New Malden-Waterloo section, long-distance trains are often turned at Guildford or Woking or diverted over the circuitous route via Staines. The latter option would appear virtually impossible to operate after the introduction of additional scheduled services through Staines. However, with the Crossrail service pattern outlined above, passengers could switch to Crossrail services at Woking or Guildford, whilst the Hampton Court Crossrail services would be left with capacity for passengers from Surbiton and stations eastwards.
The proposal for further deployment of carriages with 2+3 seating on long-distance main line services to help address capacity shortfall on suburban services is shocking. Fifty years ago, BR introduced the prototype XP64 carriage which was designed on ergonomic principles for passenger comfort and has influenced the design of long-distance carriages ever since. At a recent meeting with Haslemere rail users, the current rail minister accepted that the outer-suburban units operating between Waterloo and Portsmouth were not designed for that route and one of her officials undertook to raise the issue in the context of the extension of the SWT franchise from 2017 to 2019. However, history suggests that there will be no satisfactory outcome under the current operator. There are other means of increasing capacity, such as converting first class coaches to standard class, and reducing off-peak fares to increase incentives to travel outside the peak. When the current SWT franchise was awarded, the government announcement "expected" reduced season ticket fares in the shoulder peak. This was ignored in the quest for increased profits.
Double-decker trains also merit consideration. However, these are always considered to need longer station dwell times for loading and unloading. Twitter regularly exposes an already unacceptable situation on SWT whereby doors are shut in the faces of boarding, and even alighting, commuters to allow trains to depart punctually. Double-decker trains would therefore seem more suited to outer-suburban limited-stop services. Some routes, such as Waterloo-Basingstoke, have no tunnels, though there are some lesser impediments such as an aqueduct.
The proposed AC electrification of the lines from Basingstoke to Salisbury via both Andover and Salisbury is welcome for environmental reasons, including eradication of diesel trains under the Waterloo roof.
With longer, electric, trains operating between Waterloo and Salisbury, the less-populous Salisbury-Exeter route would presumably retain diesel operation long-term. This could be advantageous in terms of connectivity. The West Country now has no direct services to anywhere south of the Salisbury-Waterloo route. Some journeys, such as Bournemouth-Plymouth are remarkably circuitous or involve multiple changes. The routes west of Salisbury might therefore be served by a raft of services between Brighton/Portsmouth/Bournemouth, via Southampton and Salisbury, to Bristol/Cardiff/Plymouth (potentially via Okehampton if that route is reinstated), so that most journeys in that regional axis could be made with no more than one change of train.
The longstanding idea of running Weymouth-Bristol services in and out of Yeovil Junction, providing connections with Salisbury-Exeter line services also appears worthy of further consideration, since it could create a rail hub for a wide rural area.
Turning to freight, it is clearly sensible to have two electrified routes available between the Southampton container terminals and Basingstoke, but there appears to be no alternative route available between Basingstoke and Reading. Are the freight operators expected to maintain their modern fleets of diesel locomotives just for when Basingstoke-Reading is closed through train or infrastructure failures or for routine engineering work, or could Network Rail provide a small contingency diesel fleet? The alternatives might be dual-voltage electric locomotives operating via Chertsey and Kew, providing the live rail could provide sufficient power, or early infill electrification between Salisbury and Chippenham/Bath. The latter would also enable electric passenger train operation between the South Coast and Bristol/Cardiff.
Traffic from Fawley is already negligible as oil is now transferred by pipeline.
Clarity of outcomes
The clarity of the projected medium and long-term outcomes is noticeably uneven. Residents in the London suburban area can expect improved capacity and reasonable service levels in any event. Outside this area, choice of infrastructure enhancements and timetable options could have widely varying effects and rail users cannot guess how far particular options might meet their travel needs. For example, how would "high-speed" services to Bournemouth impact on the remainder of the passenger network? It would therefore be useful to append some illustrative hourly service patterns based on a range of assumptions.
This problem can be illustrated historically. The final British Rail timetable had weekday departures from Waterloo to Southampton every 20 minutes, the three services per hour taking 69, 79 and 84 minutes. Current times are 74, 77 and 93 minutes. Although one of the three trains is now two minutes faster, this involved removing a stop at the important town of Eastleigh, a focus for prospective further housing developments. A similar service pattern on the Waterloo-Portsmouth route had trains taking 81, 85 and 98 minutes. They now take 88, 92 and 119 minutes. The current impoverished services appear to be a by-product of re-organising the SWT mainline timetable to provide a 15-minute shuttle from Waterloo to serve the significant first class market at Haslemere.
>From the 2007 timetable, the standard-hour service at Totton, the fourth largest town between Southampton and Weymouth, was cut by 60%. The 'standard-hour' journey time from Waterloo to Totton increased by 25 minutes, and from Totton to New Milton and Christchurch it roughly doubled. Data from the Office of Rail Regulation show that entries and exits at Totton station increased by almost 118,000 (71.7%) in the five years before the change, more than at any other station between Southampton and Weymouth except Bournemouth, Poole and Brockenhurst. In the following five years it broadly stagnated while growth continued apace elsewhere. It is vital to avoid wasting resources on such unattractive and disadvantageous scheduling if rail use is to be maximised.
Short-term timetable development outside the suburban area
Long-distance timetable development needs to take better account of demographic change. South Hampshire, in particular, is becoming increasingly suburbanised. For many decades there has been a tendency for residents to move out of the established urban areas to medium-sized population centres such as Eastleigh, Chandlers Ford, Hedge End, Fareham, Totton and New Milton. At the same time, the larger towns and cities are seeing big influxes both of students and of workers from other EU member states. There is also a trend towards constructing luxury accommodation within city centres.
Overall, therefore, the demand for rail travel in the region is, and is likely to remain, considerable but neither concentrated nor uniform. Faster inter-urban journeys have been achieved in the past and should be restored and improved even further, though not beyond a point where other significant markets are neglected or disadvantaged.
As the study confirms, there is already a serious capacity deficit in the region. To a considerable extent this arises from failure or delay in implementing objectives identified in the Strategic Rail Authority's Strategic Plan of January 2002. Such objectives included:
* Longer platforms developed at Waterloo and 60 other stations between 2002 and 2005 to accommodate 10-car trains. This was purported to have been agreed between the SRA and SWT, so was presumably delayed when the second SWT franchise was reduced from twenty years to just three through unacceptable performance. The operator's promises of 'gold plating' of track in the London area where the infrastructure, and hence the service, now collapses day after day similarly disappeared. There is at a last a programme to bring in second-hand carriages to provide longer trains, but even that is running a year late.
* The west bay (formerly platform 5) at Southampton Central to be returned to use in 2004-05.
* A half-hourly service seven days a week between Portsmouth Harbour and Bristol Temple Meads by 2005-06.
* Infrastructure changes at Worthing Central to allow fast trains to overtake slow trains (potentially facilitating the acceleration and increase of services from Brighton to Hampshire and beyond).
In addition, the original specification for the current SWT franchise included electrification of the down loop west of Totton station, which would have afforded greater flexibility in timetable planning.
Quite apart from the capacity deficit on Waterloo commuter services, the Southampton-Portsmouth area desperately needs a more attractive pattern of passenger services now. A report commissioned by the previous Minister for Portsmouth identified rail connectivity in the Solent area as a prime aspiration, yet no proposals evolved, and timetables which improved incrementally during half a century of post-steam operation now appear set in stone.
Given past delays and current shortcomings, some quick wins, alongside longer-term objectives, are highly desirable. A few suggestions:
* Longer trains on the Portsmouth Harbour-Cardiff Central service which can suffer from severe overcrowding. A new fleet of four-car units was in prospect a few years ago but never materialised. Proposals to convert the class 442 Wessex Electric trains to diesel sets with class 43 power cars could provide an economic solution.
* Just one train unit is required to allow the Southampton-Newcastle service to increase from two-hourly to hourly (the trains already run as far south as Reading). These trains have an advantage over the Bournemouth-Manchester service in that they provide good 'same-platform' connections to and from Portsmouth Harbour at Winchester. If necessary, a few additional container trains might be diverted via Westbury to provide the paths.
* Other possible deployments for diesel Wessex Electrics, or stock displaced by electrification schemes, might be more Brighton-Bristol trains (as proposed in the current study) or Bournemouth-Bristol services (Great Western was reportedly given running rights from Southampton Central to Poole from 2017) allowing Bournemouth passengers to travel to the West Country with a single change at Salisbury or Westbury.
* Southern's Victoria-Gatwick Airport-Southampton service could be restored through to Bournemouth, one of Britain's few resorts of international status. The SRA cut the service back from Bournemouth to Southampton (causing further congestion at Southampton Central during turnarounds), despite proven demand for the through service, in order to help SWT gain an acceptable level of performance.
* The routeing of Brighton-Southampton services via Southampton Airport should be regular instead of token, given that some 20% of airport users reportedly come from that geographical axis.
* The Portsmouth-Southampton line currently has about the worst inter-urban service in the South East, with fast and stopping services arriving and departing at Portsmouth a few minutes apart in each hour. It is hard to believe that an additional hourly service could not be incorporated. Observation suggests that passenger traffic on Southern train services from Southampton is heavily concentrated on Havant, Chichester and Gatwick, so an additional Southampton-Portsmouth hourly service would seem to deserve priority over more Brighton-Bristol through services. In addition, both the Botley and Netley routes already accommodate extra trains during planned and ad hoc diversions arising from infrastructure failures or maintenance, suggesting that there is already available capacity.
* Stopping services between Southampton and Bournemouth could be served by portions off faster services to/from Waterloo as currently happens in the commuting peak. This would provide a much more attractive service than the ludicrously slow Waterloo-Poole off-peak service, with its long layovers at Southampton Central and Brockenhurst.
* Some minor changes are urgently needed, such as closing the gap in Southampton-Eastleigh services between 07.38 and 08.35 on Mondays to Fridays. Imagine the outcry if such a poor service ran between Brighton and Worthing.
Government needs to modify the franchising regime so that passenger train operators (four in the case of southern Hampshire) meet periodically to develop optimum timetable patterns in relation to public aspirations. The current lethargy poses risks for the rail industry, particularly on SWT with its abysmal passenger satisfaction scoring on the value for money of its tickets. Already, one think-tank has raised the old chestnut of converting railways to busways. The danger is not that this is ever likely to materialise on any big scale - the hurdles are enormous - but that a future government may feel obliged to undertake a root-and-branch review of transport expenditure, slowing down the investment which the railways need. In addition, improvements to the road network will mean rail has to become more attractive to maintain demand.
2043 passenger service specification
The Wessex Route Study's proposals for operation through Southampton Airport Parkway (3-5 trains per hour to Waterloo; an hourly service to both Manchester and Hull; an hourly service to Paddington via Heathrow; the Salisbury-Romsey local service; plus 4 freight trains) is ambitious, even with the proposed lengths of extra track.
The Government's strategies for airports are not yet final, but in principle the proposed direct service to Heathrow would be a particularly welcome enhancement. There are also possibilities of providing better connectivity with Stansted via either Crossrail or Crossrail 2.
It is unclear why the current two-hourly weekday service between Southampton and Newcastle (with a token daily extension to Edinburgh) via Doncaster and York would be replaced by an hourly service to Hull. Is there evidence to support the case for concentrating services on Hull, when York / Newcastle / Edinburgh are all major rail hubs and high-demand destinations and Hull is a terminus?
Some Cross Country services have already had their journey times extended by one hour through re-routeing via Newcastle instead of Preston to protect revenue on the West Coast franchise. Has re-routeing Southampton trains off the East Coast main line at Doncaster been conceived simply to protect revenue on the East Coast franchise?
The total of four freight trains, two Cross Country trains, two local services and one Paddington via Heathrow train every hour between Basingstoke and Reading looks unrealistic, even with a flyover at Basingstoke. These services will mix with Paddington services from Newbury and the West of England at Reading West, creating a substantial bottleneck. A further flyover at Reading West or additional tracks look highly desirable, and probably essential.
Rather oddly, proposals for services on the regional route through Fareham, Southampton and Salisbury appear much more detailed than those for the main line, yet more-intensive timetabling in the area as a whole would suggest that all services will need to mesh very tightly.
Portsmouth and Southampton - grasping the nettle on capacity
The proposed capacity improvements, such as additional tracks and flyovers, are clearly essential for realising the level of growth anticipated in the Study. An expanded Southampton Central station would also help operationally. In any case, this station is in a very poor state and generally has poor facilities relative to its importance.
That said, the current congestion, conflicting movements and delays in the Southampton and Portsmouth areas suggest that, notwithstanding such enhancements, the very substantial increase in passenger services envisaged in the Study needs something more radical.
In addition, what about further potential growth in freight traffic, given that container ships are getting ever larger? Health and environmental considerations suggest that every container which can travel reasonably economically by rail from Southampton should do so, further increasing capacity pressures.
Portsmouth suffers not only from rail congestion, but can be cut off from the national network for extensive periods by a single train failure. What is needed is a 4-track railway southwards from the triangular junction east of Cosham station, so that trains via Fareham can access Portsmouth & Southsea station independently of trains via Havant. Ideally the 4-tracks should extend through to Portsmouth Harbour station, given the ferry links to Gosport (Britain's largest rail-less town) and the Isle of Wight.
Proposals for service increases in the Southampton area seem to be based on funnelling a train through Southampton tunnel every three minutes. Given the mix of trains, stopping patterns and junctions around the city, this seems unrealistic. Southampton needs a 4-track railway westwards from Central station to Redbridge to facilitate the movement of container trains alongside the wide range of passenger services. Ideally, it needs a direct tunnel eastwards from Central station to Woolston. This would usefully shorten the route to Portsmouth via Netley. A rail line crossing the River Itchen to Woolston was discussed in the nineteen seventies when the Itchen road bridge was built, while abandoned proposals to convert the Netley line to rapid transport would have seen trams actually crossing the bridge. With a shortened route, the Woolston-St Denys line could be abandoned, or retained as a link to Northam train depot (use comparable with the old St Enoch approach lines in Glasgow).
Portsmouth already has reasonable services at local stations, but this radical expansion of capacity at Southampton could facilitate operation of a limited metro service such as is being developed in the Bristol area, covering such population centres as Romsey, Winchester, Fareham, Totton and Hythe."
SWT timetable changes in prospect
We understand that SWT is required to withdraw its Bristol services from December 2015 because of Great Western electrification work. This will release some diesel units, while others currently run on all-electric routes and could be redeployed after replacement by imported second-hand electric stock.
On 11 March, SWT's website offered a very limited and low-profile outline of some proposed new services from December, and invited comments. The consultation period was a whole 9 days. Having submitted comments, we discovered that an application to ORR to approve the new services had been prepared in advance, and that there were also some changes to electric train services, with more to follow. So much for consultation.
Proposed new services (most trains serving Yeovil are combined with, or extensions of, existing services) are below. We have striven to summarise these accurately but cannot accept responsibility for any errors:
05.20 Southampton-Waterloo and 07.03 Waterloo-Weymouth.
06.28/16.30/18.26/20.30/19.30/21.30 Yeovil Pen Mill - Yeovil Junction.
10.20 Waterloo-Yeovil Junction via Frome.
06.42/16.55 Yeovil Junction-Waterloo via Frome.
12.50 Waterloo-Yeovil Pen Mill via Frome.
13.50/15.50/16.50/17.50/18.50 Waterloo-Yeovil Pen Mill via Sherborne.
15.50 Yeovil Pen Mill-Waterloo via Sherborne.
14.50 Yeovil Pen Mill-Exeter St David's.
16.36 Exeter St David's Honiton.
17.07 Honiton-Exeter St David's.
08.56 Waterloo-Wareham, 12.15 Wareham-Bournemouth, 14.55 Bournemouth-Wareham and 16.26 Wareham-Waterloo. These are diesel trains, intended to serve the Swanage railway.
07.50/11.50 Waterloo-Weymouth via Yeovil Junction.
15.32/16.53 Weymouth-Waterloo via Yeovil Junction.
15.47/16.47 Yeovil-Pen Mill to Waterloo via Sherborne.
18.45/19.45 Waterloo-Yeovil Pen Mill via Sherborne.
Hourly 16.05-23.05 Waterloo-Poole and 15.55-19.55 Poole-Waterloo, plus 19.58 Weymouth-Waterloo. These would replace services which currently join/detach from Hedge End line trains at Eastleigh. Some of these trains would have 10 coaches to increase capacity.
On 25 March SWT announced a "New £50 million package of benefits for South West Trains passengers which included, the introduction of smart ticketing across the network and 170 new easy-to-use ticket machines; more than 57,000 additional seats and 73 new services; 1,400 additional parking spaces at stations across the network; enhanced customer service [reversal of Stagecoach cuts?] ; and more fares promotions.
The service improvements include:
Two additional trains per hour between Basingstoke and Waterloo on Sunday afternoons, one from Salisbury and one from Portsmouth via Eastleigh (the latter presumably the service which will no longer be attached to Poole services between Waterloo and Eastleigh)
Half hourly service from Salisbury to London on Sunday afternoons, and new hourly express trains on Sunday early evenings from London Waterloo to Salisbury calling only at Clapham Junction and with journey times of 70 minutes.
Half-hourly service on the Hounslow loop on Sunday afternoons.
Half hourly connections through to Hampton Court until the end of service Monday to Saturday.
Clearly the changes will contain some useful improvements, but at best this is tinkering around the edges. This view was confirmed by Rail Minister Claire Perry in a letter she sent Julian Lewis MP on 6.3.2015. Dr Lewis had kindly forwarded our comments and data showing how Stagecoach had killed exceptionally high passenger growth at Totton (fourth largest intermediate town between Southampton and Weymouth) stone dead through huge service cuts and downgrades.
Ms Perry stated "I cannot comment in detail on a live procurement, however I understand his frustration with the service from Totton and we are considering if we can achieve timetable and service improvements as part of the Direct Award. Whilst this will not result in wholesale changes to the timetable I hope that all passengers will see benefits in ticket retailing and customer service." The outcome will be interesting as there is probably nowhere on the SWT network where changes should be easier to achieve than between Southampton and Weymouth.
One odd outcome of the prospective improved Sunday evening services is that direct journeys from Waterloo to Totton would become 19 minutes faster than the normal Monday-Saturday timings rather than only 9 minutes faster as at present. What other operator provides such poor services during the week?
Stagecoach co-billionaire's redevelopment agenda progresses from Manston Airport to elderly couple's home
Stagecoach strongly denied involvement in co-founder Ann Gloag's purchase of Manston Airport for £1 and its resale for development [Evening Standard 6.6.2014]. This may have been due to ministerial interest. On 5.3.2015, DfT announced that the government was keen to secure the future of the airport, after Mrs Gloag had sold it. Presumably this means that a decent profit for Mrs Gloag could be followed by a big expense for taxpayers.
Meanwhile, Mrs Gloag is evicting an elderly couple from their home [Herald (Scotland) 11.3.2015]. The husband stated: "I worked for the estate for 40 years. Now she wants us out. Last Wednesday I received an eviction letter from Gloag Investments informing us they wanted to modernise Mid Lodge Cottage - our home - to convert it into a holiday let. We have to be out by June 30. We were devastated. We have never met the woman and I would not want to now.... "We love the place but we wouldn't want to stay on even if she allowed us," he said. "We would feel uncomfortable and expect her to make it difficult for us to remain."
[Note: Plans to build a huge bio-mass plant close to people's homes in a residential area of Southampton have been abandoned. Mrs Gloag reportedly backed the development.
Disappointments start for Stagecoach East Coast passengers
Passengers are beginning to pay for the gung-ho return of the East Coast franchise to Stagecoach (in which Virgin has a 10% interest for the use of its name).
Letter in Evening Standard 19.3.2015
"Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin called the privatisation of the profitable East Coast Main Line a "fantastic deal for passengers". I'd be interested to hear how Virgin ending the existing East Coast loyalty scheme, which provided a free ticket for every £250 spent, and replacing it with a Nectar scheme that requires a £2,500 spend for free travel, could be called anything other than a bum deal for the line's most loyal passengers. Jack"
Stagecoach lobbyist Barry Doe in RAIL Issue 770
"It is well known that on the West Coast, Virgin allows railcard holders to travel at any time with Off-Peak tickets. It also allows Weekend First £15 upgrades to be booked in advance, and holders of Standard Anytime fares to travel First Class at weekends without paying any supplement. Note that none of these special facilities will apply on Virgin Trains East Coast."
Labour would conduct immediate franchise review If Labour wins power in May, it plans to start an early review of rail franchising. The public sector would be running parts of the national network as soon as practicable.
London pollution Data given in response to a FOI request show that Britain's 50 worst pollution spots are all in London. In some cases pollution is 3.5 times EU legal limits. [Source: Evening Standard 5.3.2015]
Trains to Hythe back on the agenda? Councillor David Harrison of Hampshire County Council has raised the point that Totton and the Waterside need as good a train service as Brockenhurst. This is very valid as the population in the area is much greater. He has obtained the support for a Southampton-Hythe passenger train service from the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and Leader of the Council, Roy Perry, who has contacted the Council's representative on the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership.
Metamorphosis In a typical statistical manoeuvre, on 13/1/2015 the 07.25 Exeter-Waterloo was running 35 minutes late until Gillingham, where it turned into the 09.18 Gillingham-Waterloo service.
Licence to cram helps halt train On 14/1/2015 SWT's website reported that the 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo was 'stuck' at Queenstown Road, 'due to door problems and heavy passenger loadings'. The latter was presumably the result of planning for more passengers per square metre than on other operators' trains.
Waterloo-Reading downgrade As we reported in the previous issue, many Waterloo-Reading trains are operated by inner-suburban trains with no toilet facilities. Remarkably, this is a frequent occurrence at weekends when far fewer trains are in service. Unsurprisingly passengers complain of vomit and worse on floors, and even of children in tears.
Engineering work information The weekend of 21/22 February saw major disruption of SWT's mainline train services. Time had stood still at Lymington Pier where posters still showed the revised timetables for 7/8 February.
Novel SWT excuse SWT posted the following on their website early on 2/3/2015: "A fault with Wandsworth Town entrance gate means station closed and trains aren't stopping but you can use local buses".
Twitter exposes the daily misery of SWT
SWT’s Twitter facility provides information, apologises endlessly, and refers people to Customer Services who, if they are lucky, will send an often unhelpful reply weeks later. Passengers hate the rip-offs, problems with trains and stations, information deficit, cancelled stops, not getting replies from Customer Services, and the rudeness and aggression of some members of staff. Disabled people may be refused assistance or even told to seek help from other passengers. It must all be pretty depressing for decent members of staff as well.
What is particularly noticeable on Twitter is the virtual absence of any promise to improve the treatment of passengers. Some excerpts for January-March, with small grammatical corrections, are below.
[Councillor Paul Spooner to SWT and Anne Milton MP on 7/1/2015: 7.39 Ash Vale to Waterloo: another disruptive journey this morning. 2015 starts as 2014 ended.] [SWT response: Due to ice, trains were unable to take up power from the third rail. This meant there were trains blocking the lines.] [Anne Milton: That doesn't explain what happened. There are often icy conditions but not always problems.... It's very frustrating. Why today? Assume there are measures that can be taken to prevent the problem...?] [Councillor Spooner: You would think so! Public transport has to work efficiently and comfortably for passengers.]
Priceless SWT-speak (January)
Train on fire! Had to evacuate walk down track! No direction from staff! Just told us to go to Windsor Central. Pathetic. [SWT response: Yes we are aware of the situation. When disruption happens it can be difficult to know what the immediate consequences will be.]
If you can't do the job, hand it over to someone who can. [SWT reply: There have been issues, but overall we do run a good service.] You can say that, but you don't. It's a daily/weekly debacle and it's getting worse, not better.
I've heard SWT claim from Network Rail for delays of 15 minutes or more for problems with the track (like today), is this not true? By that logic SWT actually make more money when delayed services are running between 15 minutes and 1 hour late!! [SWT response: These are the terms of our franchise, nothing to do with delays on other networks.]
I can't help but notice some journeys are getting longer by a minute each year. Why is this? [SWT response: We adjust journey times each timetable to make connections more robust and to guarantee more reliable services.]
What happened to the 18.39 Vauxhall to Reading?? [SWT response: We were advised of a platform change at 1840 on that train, and it left from Platform 1. Sorry about this.]
Can you confirm today is a void period for season ticket holders please? [SWT response: That decision won't be made until later. If it is, we will announce this.]
Another useless SWT train - 13.13 from Vauxhall. Clearly said on the board on the platform that stopping at Clapham Junction, Putney etc. and didn't stop until Staines. WHY?!. [SWT response: Well that is very odd as there were no alterations of that train and our train tracking software clearly shows it stopping.] Perhaps ask any of the other fiftyish confused people who got off at Staines and had to wait for next train back to Waterloo.
National Rail Enquiries worse than useless. Waterloo departure boards out of action, website just gives error messages, and staff shrug. [SWT response: Apologies. We've had a slight technical error which we are working to resolve as soon as possible.]
It's stopping at Liss and Liphook! What about Rowlands Castle?? Come on! Is this a joke? Feels like a slap in the face! [SWT response: Sorry, Control have put as many stops in as they can.] Honestly, this is a disgusting way to treat people who pay you thousands of pounds a year for a service.
Any idea if the fault beyond Salisbury will be fixed tonight? [SWT response: Not at the moment, we are still trying to understand the cause.]
It's a minor thing, but all last week not a single day that my train wasn't at least 3 minutes delayed, am and pm. [SWT response: Service times are not only implemented by us but also by the government. Be assured we do our best to keep to them.]
Staff checked my travelcard. Everything was OK. Then stood and stared at the handheld card-checker for a while. [SWT response: Just ensuring that you weren't sold the wrong ticket that could get you a penalty fine.] Really? I'm relevant enough to run after me from the gates halfway to exit 5 at rush hour and then hold me back for aeons. Do your staff really need to know where I live, from my mouth, despite it being registered on my travelcard?
The 23:50 from Waterloo was due to arrive Ascot at 00:47 and your connecting train to Bagshot is due to leave at 00:50 [SWT response: I'm afraid the minimum connection time at Ascot is 6 minutes so if you miss the 00:50 you will have to make your own way.]
You really are vile. Watching a connecting train arrive and leaving before the people have had a chance to change is disgusting. [SWT response: Thank you for the information. I will pass this on.] That'll help, just like last week when I moaned about the last train leaving Ascot on time to leave us stranded.
Priceless SWT-speak (February)
Waiting room at Farnborough locked! So we all wait in 2 degrees for a train that then takes 88 minutes to get to Waterloo... [SWT response: This is because the station is un-staffed I'm afraid. Train taking a longer diversionary route due to planned engineering works.]
What's happening to the 08:11 from Shepperton please? [SWT response: Running as normal, just our screens disagree with us due to a technical fault.]
Recently been in hospital, at home recovering, booked tickets for tomorrow but left 16-25 card at university address, what can I do? [SWT response: Sadly, there is no exception to the rule, I'm afraid.] Will I get a refund on the tickets I've already bought? [SWT response: Yes, you should be able to if you follow the procedure specified. No guarantee but I can't see there being a problem.]
To miss Clapham when you run fast to Waterloo effects 90% of people on train. What about passenger safety? I and many others were forced to stand in front on yellow line because platform too busy at Barnes!! [SWT response: We do consider crowding when deciding where to run trains non-stop from , sorry to hear it was more crowded than anticipated.]
Same with this morning, and yesterday morning, no response from anyone, not from on-board staff or twitter, so what do we do?? [SWT response: Due to the number of tweets we get in busy period your message was lost through the feed.] Just sums up your services if you're inundated with tweets during the rush hour in a morning, and can't respond...
What is your policy on refunds for missed flights??? [SWT response: I'm afraid we don't have a policy for missed flights. You can see our compensation policy here] First day in new job too.
Would love to know why SWT think it's acceptable to hold a train at Brockenhurst for 25 minutes because it's running 10 minutes late. [SWT response: This train was held due to operating regulations for services on this route.]
Please show departures at Waterloo up to 1 minute before they leave. I keep missing them as not on the board 2 minutes before departure. [SWT response: We remove the trains from the departure boards 2 minutes before to ensure they are dispatched safely.]
Why didn't it stop at Southampton Airport? Complete joke. [SWT response: The train has been speeded up to avoid it causing further delays to other trains as it nears Waterloo.]
Thanks for not stopping the 6:46 at Totton. About time you started caring about your customers for the money you charge. [SWT response: Apologies, this was to reduce delay following a door fault earlier. Sorry the screens weren't updated in time.]
Are you operating ghost trains now....08:07 from Haslemere to London Waterloo just disappeared from screens? No announcements. [SWT response: The train is running early due to an operational reason.] So my wife's now waiting at Farncombe for 45 minutes because you ran the train 16 minutes early. What's the "operational reason"? [SWT response: It was decided to run it early to prevent it from being delayed.]
Do you need heavy police presence when there's all oyster inspection at Wimbledon station? Such waste of resource for this! [SWT response: Our revenue inspectors also provide customer service to passengers.]
When is the ticket office at Chessington North going to open again? Just having one ticket machine is no good! [SWT response: There should be someone there tomorrow to fix the blind so it will hopefully be re-open from Saturday. Apologies.]
On platform 2 at Waterloo told to go to platform 6 for late Worcester Park train; when we get there announced it departs platform 2! [SWT reply: Apologies for this. We are aware there was an issue with advertising this service this evening.]
Stagecoach is so dodgy! Zero ethics and dubious business practices and homophobia! [Amazingly ill-informed SWT response: Sorry you feel this way, is there a reason for this?] Just look to Mr Souter and his story.
How can you justify a first class carriage on the 5-coach 18.39 Waterloo departure which gets dangerously busy at Clapham Junction?! [SWT response: We have a number of first class customers on our main line routes, which we also need to cater for.]
Announcing the 18:15 to Portsmouth will depart from platform 15, then changing your mind at 18:14:45? [SWT response: Sorry for the confusion, I'm not sure why that happened.]
Feel insulted that I was stopped to have ticket checked whilst having to RUN to change trains because of your slow service! [SWT response: I'm sorry about that, however you are required to show your ticket when requested by a member of staff.] Yes, and of course I did, but it's SWT's fault I was delayed and had to run! Half an hour wait in this weather if I missed it.
Priceless SWT-speak (March)
Weymouth 17.08. We had to swap trains. Assume we'll now miss scheduled replacement bus at Wareham and Bournemouth train to London?! [SWT response: You may do I'm afraid, however I will inform the bus controller in that area and they will try to help.]
Today's 0630 Southampton-Waterloo has been rather poor. Now being told to get off at Woking. What's going on? [SWT response: Due to earlier signal problems at Poole this train has been terminated at Woking due to late running. Apologies for this.] I appreciate that, but I get the 0630 so I can get a desk with my team. Now I won't.
So being dumped at Woking. Once again SWT proves not fit for purpose! [SWT response: Sorry for the termination of your train at Woking. This is due to late running which could cause further delays into London.]
Your employees are so rude....closing the doors when people want to get on....disgraceful. [SWT response: I understand your concern, however I can assure you the Guard wasn't being rude, just preventing delays.]
There are always cancellations for some reason. Going to end up losing job due to you guys not running on time. [SWT response: We have to balance a busy network with some old infrastructure. Apologies that this doesn't always allow the service you expect.]
SWT, you have a monopoly with a large number of trapped passengers paying a very high price for tickets. You can never just hold your hands up and tell it like it is. Always a stream of whimpered excuses. [SWT response: The Network Rail & South West Trains Alliance (Editorial comment: taxpayers, surely?) is investing heavily in our infrastructure. We do however have a large network.] I keep hearing this but your customers do not feel like they get the service they deserve (i.e. pay for). You chose to run a busy Network. No one forced you. Stop making excuses and provide the service people pay for.
Business travel. Finally got through to complaints line who sorted it, but very poor. Over an hour on hold. [SWT response: Apologies for this. I hope you passed on to them the time you had waited?] I did. Your rep didn't seem bothered at all.
"We were made to come in on platform 11, the rest of this train was on platform 13, so apologies for overcrowding." [SWT response: The train was meant to attach on arrival at Waterloo, but it did unfortunately go to the wrong platform. Sorry for the crowding.] Editorial comment: Obviously the train's fault!
Why, also, when going down to the Jubilee are the escalators the wrong way round causing both lines to cross paths and crush?? [SWT response: This is done for crowd control measures in peak time, I'll pass your feedback to station management.]
So, where was the rail replacement bus? Was told it didn't show the previous night either. Still waiting for explanation... [SWT response: Hi, yes due to a clerical error, it wasn't ordered for that run. I'm very sorry for the inconvenience this caused.]
Why did you stop replacement buses before engineering work was complete? Stop ignoring the question! [SWT response: The buses have been contracted to work until the planned finish of engineering, they're not always able to work later.] Given that engineering work has never overrun that makes so much sense!
Why do I have to get off at Woking now to get another train to Farnborough? So it doesn't impact your punctuality statistics too much. [SWT response: This is done to recover the train service as quickly as possible to avoid delays to trains all night long.] Editorial comment: Since when did SWT run trains all night long?
Absolutely appalled by service this week. 6 journeys, 6 delays. Wasn't even told the 17.53 was cancelled, let alone an apology. [SWT response: The 17:53 had an intercom fault, which is why no onboard announcements were made. Sorry for the problems tonight.]
Train left minus the passengers stood on the platform. [SWT response: Yes, there was a problem with releasing the doors at Vauxhall. I'm terribly sorry. Where are you travelling to?]
Did it go something like this - Q. "Shall we let everyone on board the train as we do everyday at the same time" A. "No, not today." [SWT response: There was conflicting information with the station signs advising to 'stand clear'- this is being investigated.]
For some reason SWT has prioritised telling people there is no first class on the train over saying there aren't any toilets! [SWT response: We are not able to announce 'no toilets' but you should find this is written on the information screens.]
What's with shutting the doors at Clapham Junction on passengers getting off the Dorking train? Unacceptable and unnecessary. [SWT response: Apologies for this - we try to dispatch our trains quickly to keep any delays to a minimum but clearly were a bit too quick today.]
Toilets on the trains from Waterloo to Hampton Court? [SWT response: There are several stations en-route which have toilets if passengers are in particular need.]
[After stops omitted] Young children are freezing cold at Christchurch station - SWT, you are responsible for this! [SWT response: We apologise for this, we're doing our best to get a train to stop with you shortly.] [Editorial comment: Try using brakes, or put signal on red perhaps? ] Yeah, while your customers freeze on stations with no services or toilets! A 'not in use' train has just picked up - the way you treat your customers is appalling - young children left! Duty of care?
How does a train miss a turning? [SWT response: The signaller accidentally set an alternative open route.]
Broken down train at Feltham? [SWT response: This was due to the train being wrong routed.] Didn't that happen last night too?? [SWT response: Yes, it did.] That seems a little bit careless?? No?
Your guard has deliberately repeatedly shut the doors on people who are trying to get off an on the train. Fact. [SWT response: Guards certainly don't shut doors on purpose, they must avoid even small delays which can escalate very quickly.]
Just on 6:49 train from Richmond to Waterloo. Train not cleaned or tidied from previous night. Food waste, last night’s papers. [SWT response: Apologies for the mess. Depending where our trains are overnight it is possible that a small number might miss the cleaners.]
Can I renew a weekly season ticket on the 6.55 from Eastleigh to Waterloo? Queue at ticket desk was over 15 minutes long. [SWT response: You should buy before boarding, but if your weekly ticket starts on Monday you can renew it on the Friday before from 12:00.]
I need to get on the first 5 coaches and I don't know which coach I'm on. [SWT response: Could you pop your head out of the door at the next station and check?]
Rear coach of this 4 car train 1720 Waterloo to Reading has no air conditioning. Very stuffy. [SWT response: This is a very busy train and likely to be warm from the number of passengers. Sorry for any discomfort.] Tthat's rather unhelpful of you. There's no noise from the air conditioning. It's broken.
The 6.43 from Teddington to Waterloo left two minutes early, so a number of people missed it. [SWT response: This should not have happened and I have passed it on. Train staff may have departed promptly through habit.]
Can't believe you made my daughter get off Southampton to London train at Basingstoke and told her train was behind re her ticket. [This is a condition when travelling on an Advance ticket. Sorry for any distress caused.] Sorry not good enough. Basingstoke wouldn't help her. Young girl on her own. She was very distressed. Two trains at once!!!!! /// This week every morning with SWT is a magical adventure. Never know what will happen, where you will go, or how long it will take. /// More poor service, not enough staff this time. Shocking service again. /// You can always rely on a consistently poor service from SWT. /// Thanks SWT for wrecking our day and charging us for the privilege. No trains, broken replacement buses and no compensation sum it up. /// Faulty trains, signal failures, short formation, poor communication, increasing fares. Can you blame customers for being angry? /// I'm 3 days into a 1-month season ticket and it's no longer recognised by any of your ticket barriers - how do I get a replacement? /// Yesterday in Christchurch another disaster. I told you, the company is a laughing stock and we customers pay the price. Shameful. /// I'm appalled at SWT's attitude to customer complaints. Not even prepared to look into my issue. /// Always did prefer First Great Western, to be fair. /// Just got a taxi from the station, I've had this twice this week, and previously it's happened. I think the papers need informing. /// Try generating some good will by not treating all passengers as criminals. At busy times let passengers buy tickets on the train. /// What's going on in Clapham Junction? Why the rush to get on the next train even if not going to your destination? Forced to get on the next train and change at Woking whilst I was waiting for Alton train... /// Got on the late 17:42 at Waterloo to Basingstoke, and outside Woking told to get off as train now only stopping at Basingstoke. My issue is being told to get off at Woking and next train to my stop was 2 minutes behind when it was actually 20! /// If they paid out for 30-minute delays they'd go bankrupt. /// Please don't pretend to apologise, it does not work. Just confess SWT is ****, that's what we all know. /// This happened two days in a row and was a total nightmare! /// Very unhappy about your service today. Allowing passengers to take over the PA and shout abusively to the whole train. Not impressed. /// Your company has been a total disgrace tonight. I've had to get a £60 cab home. /// Getting a cab, will invoice SWT and complain about appalling service. /// You are an absolute joke of a company and the government needs to remove your monopoly over the south west of England. /// I leave the UK the weekend after! Good riddance to SWT, honestly the worst service I've ever experienced! /// Your guards at Waterloo spend majority of time huddled in groups and when you ask them a question they shrug - it's all the time! [SWT reply: I'm sorry you feel this way. If you'd like to make a complaint please speak to Customer Relations.] Brilliant, because I have several things that will go into a letter tomorrow. Look forward to an insincere reply; they just don't care (are the most complained about operator). /// Being driven ******* insane by SWT's inability to run even a half-decent service. /// It's illegal to carry cattle the way Stagecoach carry us. Already anticipating the destruction of the East Coast Main Line. [Second caller: I live in Nottingham and we have their sister company East Midlands Trains. They're so rude and ungrateful.]
I pay £350 for a SWT travelcard and what do I get in return? Unhelpful, rude customer service and a bill of £16 to get me home. /// I am so angry with this appalling service tonight. /// Why is the 1715 Waterloo-Exeter stuck here? Train manager's announcements are a whisper. Information please. Respond in a timely manner in Twitter. What's the point otherwise? Never travelling with SWT again. /// I am not happy with how you have set me up for the day, as it's a lot of money for poor service. /// Of course no one will get a complaint form as you lose your place in queue on platform. /// Thanks for sending an alert out for the bus strike SWT...the same bus strike that was postponed yesterday... /// I left work at 7pm! Stuck at Syon Lane for 45 minutes, Clapham Junction for 20 minutes, now my train has been diverted to Guildford, a train that's suppose to stop at Woking. How do I get to Woking!!!! /// Your service would need to improve tenfold to be diabolical! Announced the wrong train costing me my meeting! /// It gets better. Now a man has fainted. FUN FUN FUN MONDAY NIGHT. /// Always somebody else's fault / decision / issue. Guess it means you're off the hook, and forget people delayed yet again on this line /// This is completely unsafe. The tweet went out 5 hours ago saying things were back to normal. This isn't normal. /// So everyone is left on the platform again at Surbiton? Maybe you guys could employ me when I get the sack!? Cancellations, no information, 8 coaches instead of 12. I am now on a very overcrowded train. /// Your strategy is to ignore me and hope I will go away, but I won't - you owe me a response from 25/02/2014. [SWT response: What is your customer reference number and I will track this down for you.] It's SW-150130-AGA. This will be the 5th time I've given it. /// I have only just left after about 45 minutes processing a simple refund. £10 admin charge and machines not working - short of the mark! /// Missed two trains because of lack of communication, moving platforms and drivers who don't know where they're stopping! /// Don't think turning off the escalators at Waterloo is ideal when people still on! Some shocked commuters today. [SWT response: The escalators are turned off to ease overcrowding on the Underground. It was turned off with people on it? Which exit was this?] Turned off when full. 7:57am. Second of 4 escalators from train concourse going down to Jubilee Line entrance to Tube. /// Just throwing it out there, SWT are utter ****. It'd be quicker to walk from Southampton to Weymouth.
I want my money back. I don't pay for bad service, sorry. Horrible journey. /// I know it's not your fault, personally, but I spend the equivalent of half my rent getting to and from work and only 3 of my trains have run on time this year, though fares have gone up. /// I am on a train between Bracknell and Ascot, and starting to feel ill. I need to get home - guard is struggling for lack of information. /// Why is it that when I want to go from Southampton to Andover after 2 hours I'm back in Southampton and will be late for work! I left from platform 2 as the sign said that was the train to Andover and the on-train sign has been saying next stop is Andover. /// Outrageous sexism from SWT staff...offering free ticket via London for female friend affected by landslide line closure whereas I was told to just get the bus. /// Platform change announced for 9.34 Epsom to Waterloo at 9.32. Guard wouldn't hold train for pregnant woman at 9.34. A disgrace. /// Only two people fainted on me in our cattle truck (I mean carriage) today. Any chance we can get 12 carriages back as the norm? /// You make Boris's cable car look like a reliable public transport option. Pitiful and shameless.
Customer Services (January)
[11 January] I ordered a ticket for first class delivery on 6th January but it still isn't here? Please can you tell me where it is? /// It's been like this, for a month. It's really frustrating. This could be happening to hundreds of other people. Hope it's not.../// Had my season ticket to Waterloo recoded twice, still won't work on Jubilee to London Bridge. Any suggestions? [SWT response: I'm afraid not, what station was it done at so we can investigate?] /// We tried contacting customer services. By phone 3 times and sent an e'mail. No answers. /// Appalling service today from SWT, trying to retrieve lost bag.
Customer Services (February)
Been 20+working days since Customer Complaint submitted re: severe disruption on 27 December! Where's my response?! /// Over 5 weeks ago. No response. Appalling customer service. /// Very bad experience with your customer services on the phone. Five people didn't know what a gold card is, which I want amended. Your staff should at least understand what an 'annual gold card' is when it cost me £5,000 a year! /// I have e'mailed your customer services team twice and haven't received a reply. I pay £480 per month for a season ticket to/from Syon Lane - I'm sorry to complain but there are delays every day on my journey. /// I have phoned them a number of times and keep getting passed on to the next person who can't help. I need to claim refunds for numerous cancellations in the third week of January and last night. Clapham Junction to Claygate. /// This is totally unacceptable. This is possibly the WORST customer service I have experienced. Please sort it within 48 hours. /// If you take 25 working days to reply to someone, you should bother to write something original. You are an awful firm. /// I still do not understand why it's taken so long and why there has been no communication!!! /// They are always running behind, I've never known a response from SWT to be under 20 days.
Customer Services (March)
I sent an e'mail to you guys months ago and tweeted not long ago and they said they'd get back to me and nothing. /// I have made a complaint before and was told by Donna on customer services that you were very busy. I waited for 2 months. /// Just received vile customer service at Southampton Central. Minute you step outside of London, train station staff are so unhelpful! /// Do I now make a complaint about your complaints process???? [Second caller: Don't waste your time - they don't care and that's that. Divert your energy elsewhere i.e. MPs, who are paying attention.]
Disabled people (January)
Today I held doors from 3 attempted closures whilst folks still getting off. Often whistle goes before we've started getting on... If I hadn't have held them, they'd have closed on an elderly lady with a walking stick. /// How do I complain about train delays? I've been travelling on a crutch for over 1 hour.
Disabled people (February)
I was told there would be someone on platform to help. There was no one. In the end had to ask passengers to assist - very embarrassing. /// Guard on the 15.08 from Strawberry Hill purposefully closed doors on a frail old man stepping off train at North Sheen. Disgusting. /// Disappointing that not all rail replacement buses are wheelchair/pushchair accessible. /// It [Pokesdown station lift] has not been working for some time. Anyone in a wheelchair is completely stuffed at that station. /// Couple of people wanting to use toilet now including a disabled chap. Why do they get locked in the evenings? 19:50 Waterloo - Reading.
Disabled people (March)
I saw a member of staff with a ramp, at Clapham, but did not get me off the train. This is not acceptable! [SWT response: The message didn't get through to Clapham in time to help you off there.] /// I struggle to balance on a train without leaning on a wall/doorway, even with stick. Appalling customer service.
SWT once again let me down! Station announcements all wrong so got off a stop too late! New trains again! /// Worst service possible from SWT, shame it's not a one-off. Chaos and misinformation yet again. /// The 19.54 service wasn't displayed at Hampton Court! Many people left to find other routes. /// Why was it still on the board, announced, full of passengers, but didn't stop then? /// It might be an idea to let people know the 25 minute delayed train isn't stopping at Guildford now!!!! Argh!!! /// Just sat on a busy line for 10 minutes in the dark with no update. /// Lack of information. Keep us well informed rather than let us stand on cold platform guessing. Automated announcements not good enough. /// The poor commuters of Wandsworth Town bamboozled again. Platform 3, platform 4 confusion, trickery at play yet again. Sigh. Waterloo-bound train was advertised as platform 3. Without warning it pulls into platform 4 at 13:14. (I was on platform 2 and saw it all). /// We are sat at Fulwell, already 20 minutes late. Doors open. No announcement. ?????? /// So no information boards at Waterloo. Total chaos, staff overwhelmed, where are the management to support staff.... hiding in their offices. /// I know stuff happens that's out of your control but communication about changes not good enough this morning. /// I'm in Waterloo. I've just had to tell the driver and guard it's cancelled as they were waiting with me. They didn't have a clue. /// Train to Strawberry Hill and every automated announcement of the next station has been wrong with no guard correction. Difficult?
2042 Brentford to London Waterloo. Keeps announcing it's going to Woking and stations are all mixed up. /// No platform change announcement for the 8.58 Twickenham to Waterloo? At the 10-car end there's not enough time to cross over so I'm late! /// It WAS advertised and guard told us 3-4 times the crew was "on its way in 5 minutes" and then we were all thrown off 3/4 hour later. /// Your information on trains is incorrect leading to people getting off at the wrong stations!!! I was on two different trains that this happened on and missed Richmond stop, got one back for Staines and same would have happened had I not recognised Twickenham station!!! /// Hour late home and £20 cab yesterday. Today late for work after just sitting at Raynes Park for 10 minutes. Keep taking my money SWT. Yesterday it was the train that sat at Wimbledon for 40 minutes. Told to stay on it by the guard then told its being diverted. /// My daughter is on the 11 :35 from Waterloo and train is sitting outside Bournemouth for 30 minutes. No announcement. /// Love being told to change trains for carriage adding, then watching the train leave whilst we're stuck on a delayed, smaller train. /// Thanks for displaying on all boards that the 15:45 to Portsmouth Harbour was stopping at Worplesdon - oh no it wasn't, was it!!!
HELP please? Announcements on train different from that when at Waterloo. Do I get off?? Earlsfield boards weren't working either!! ... Finally the announcements on train are now correct!! But nothing from the guard to apologise. /// Trains are running again between Fulwell and Shepperton. The website says differently! /// My service endured 3 long stops I presume from signalling faults but we weren't given any information until we started moving again before pulling into the station. /// Why was the 17.14 Chandlers Ford cancelled??? No announcement at the station! I missed my connecting train at 17.38 from Southampton Airport to Waterloo! /// Changed trains at Woking for connection to Clapham Junction. Told there that none stopping. Why wasn't that announced on my train? Poor. /// Train announced 1 minute before departure. Left on time. No time to board. Working late, why bother trying to see family? /// My friend is pregnant. The staff at Walton had no idea what was happening and we have been left stranded here. /// Just some announcements or station staff would have helped, the place was abandoned. [SWT response: Again I can only apologise. There was an issue with staff this morning and we can't play announcements early due to our neighbours.] /// Before we left, guard told Woking passengers to alight, and then on approach to Woking said it was agreed to tell passengers that to avoid overcrowding, but that we would actually be stopping there. It was clear this wasn't a change of plan, but deliberate!
If you have to run a train on the Kingston line fast because it's late, please stop at Norbiton - going to be late to work! /// Why do you stop trains calling at stations with no alternative? Kingston etc. Further up the line, every station has alternative services. /// Bagshot only gets two direct trains an evening, so you cancel the stop? How is that fair? [Second caller: My point exactly but with Camberley.] /// Surely you could find a better train to cancel than the busiest train back to London. /// Does that make it OK to offload a completely full train, further inconveniencing hundreds of passengers and causing chaos at Woking? /// But you have a train full of passengers to get to Waterloo, surely best to run it there rather than giving us even more delays!] /// My train to Putney left early. I missed it. It's raining. Why do you torture me? /// You guys have some gall! 2.5% fare increase and second cancelled train for me in a week. You really are just a criminal gang.... 17.36 from Weybridge to Waterloo. How do you justify the arbitrary fare increase and no measurable increase in quality of service... The cancelled train earlier in the week was "due to staff shortages"! There's usually 9 revenue protection officers at Weybridge. /// Running slightly late so you cancel a train throwing my girlfriend off on her way back. SWT, you are a joke. /// Was there a reason the 09.41 to Waterloo left Twickenham at 09.39? /// It would be nice if you didn't boot customers off the fast trains without warning. /// There were no trains from Petersfield to Waterloo from 06.30 to 09.00, so impossible to arrive in London before 10.30. HOW IS THAT NOT A SEVERE DISRUPTION, SWT? /// Why did 5.48 Hounslow-Twickenham leave 3 minutes early? Left loads of people waiting on platform. 30 minutes till next train. /// Unbearable - I get the earlier train as its embarrassing to be consistently late for work and I'm still in late! /// Well done,18:20 Waterloo-Weybridge way behind schedule as usual so will now miss connection for Addlestone. That's every journey home this week *******. /// I'm supposed to be at work now but am nowhere near. Just thought you should know! /// Very helpful to have the 14.42 from Brentford (the only train that hour), leave at 1441. Wholly unacceptable. /// Stuck at Woking. No driver or guard - so we wait to get to Waterloo. Unbelievable in this day and age. /// How do I go about getting a refund for the continual late service? You have now made me late for work again today! /// The 09:12 to Shepperton via Kingston. Stuck for ages then get told they're waiting for a driver. Absolute joke. /// New day, same poor service from SWT. Service not stopping at Clapham Junction. Late home last night. None out of three on time so far. And I pay £6k for this! Because less than 1 hour late there's no recourse. No accountability. The worst service provider I know! /// In the past 2 days I've caught 2 trains and currently on my 3rd. All late or delayed! Do you care? What are you doing to fix? /// SWT services are unacceptable. Cancellations, delayed trains EVERY day. Apologies not good enough, are you going to offer refunds? /// Only just got to work.... Three and a half hours late! I'll definitely be expediting a refund from today's travels. /// Shepperton train finally arrives at Waterloo only 35 minutes late! Well done. I'd better get a rebate off my season ticket! /// The 16:34 from Isleworth towards Waterloo pulled off a good two minutes before that time. /// An unusually poor show today. No staff at station, no information on boards, no replies to tweets. Very disappointing. /// How much more of this repeated disruption is there going to be? /// Trains not calling at Clapham Junction is ridiculous. You selfish operators just want to avoid fines rather than offer a service. [SWT response: Sorry for the inconvenience. Trains are run fast to help the train service recover after disruption happens.] It doesn't work as now I'm going to struggle getting on the train behind at Barnes due to the amount of people. /// Please also consider how late the Addlestone-Weybridge train is most mornings. Frequently miss connections. /// £20 to sit on what should be a 40-minute journey... turns out it's going to be 1hr 45 minutes. /// 14:22 from Raynes Park left 2 minutes early, and now I have to wait another half an hour! /// Now it looks like the train half an hour after the one we are on has overtaken us! Unacceptable. /// To shut the doors as people are trying to get on, having waited for people to get off, is NOT ON!! /// How about the guard showing some humanity and holding the departure when they can see it on the other platform. [Second caller: I support him entirely. Terrible service.] [Third caller: Me too, we are your customers. Delaying that service which sits at Virginia Water can have NO knock-on effect, pathetic.] /// First a missing driver on the 20.52 and now 'door problems' on the 21.07. /// So not only was my train late, it's now terminating in the middle of nowhere. Thanks again. /// Train broke down on way back from Bournemouth. Shambles. /// On 10.30 Bournemouth-Dorchester, delay meant missed connecting train to Yeovil. Outside the station in the cold and livid.
Good to see trains are leaving Raynes Park BEFORE the departure time. Awful service from SWT! The 12.01am from Raynes Park at 11.59 and 58 seconds. Slightly annoying when you've sat on a bus replacement for 20 minutes! /// WHAT is the point in the train from Waterloo arriving at Guildford ONE MINUTE after the train to Portsmouth departs?! /// 18:48 Train from Kingston is only 10 minutes late, but you have now changed it to go straight to Waterloo. /// Don't appreciate guards who won't listen to customers. Very rude guy on 1837 Weybridge to Addlestone train. Locked doors early, leaving people behind. /// I love this 35 minute delay...now I just found out that this train isn't even stopping at Woking anymore. /// To keep to the timetable you throw customers off. That way no train is late and everyone is happy. /// I'm a touch hungover, it's trying to snow and then you cancel the ******* train again. Thanks. /// Why did the 1507 train from Guildford to London via Cobham leave 2 and a half minutes early from Guildford?? /// 08.24 from Worcester Park left platform with Customer Information System showing 08.22. Do you actually understand commuters and the way they plan their journey? [Second caller: Can't believe I would ever have to type this but the 8.24 from Worcester Park to Waterloo departed 2 minutes early. Lots of people missed it.] /// Kicking us off the train at Woking, then making it run fast to Fratton. What is that all about? /// Great consistency!!! Disaster at Waterloo last night and more of the same today. How do I get my refund? /// Thanks for dumping us in the middle of no where or Fulwell as it's known...zero helpful information as usual. /// Every morning and evening you're late. Now I got here before the train is 'expected' and it's already leaving. /// Thank you, SWT for being so useless. Waiting for the 7.39 from Bracknell to Waterloo but it has been cancelled with no announcement [SWT response: Apologies for the late advice, the train has been cancelled due to an onboard fault.] Presumably, a different fault that meant one whole carriage was out of use on 7.32 so I couldn't get on it? /// I am now going to be half an hour late rather than an hour early and it is all because of disruption. I will be pursuing a refund. /// Once again your Waterloo to Weybridge train was late, meaning that, once again, the connection to Addlestone was missed. Due to your incompetence, I'm having to get a taxi home, AGAIN. It's not good enough. /// If SWT takes prompt running of their service seriously, how is the 18:02 service from Waterloo to Woking ALWAYS LATE!!! Literally! /// It's absolutely ridiculous that every single train I get is ALWAYS late which means I ALWAYS miss my connections. Sort it out. /// Kingston-Waterloo train scheduled for 16:48 and it left at 16:46.(platform hour time, not personal watch). /// I am now late for work thanks to you cancelling the 11.57 from Epsom to Waterloo without any warning.. Horrendous service./// I was on the 16:58 to Woking. Thrown off at Parkway as it was decided the train would go direct to Waterloo and not stop.[SWT response: That train did run non-stop. Sorry for the disruption it caused to your journey yesterday.] Used to it by now I'm afraid! /// Can you do anything about trains leaving before they're due? Its frustrating when I'm on time and the train's already gone.
Why have I just been asked to get off the 19.20 Reading? Why is it fast to Feltham? [SWT response: Apologies for this. This train is short-formed; to avoid further overcrowding it will miss some stations tonight.] How does that avoid overcrowding? It wasn't overcrowded at Waterloo. /// What about leaving early before the scheduled time? Are people just supposed to guess when you may leave? /// The 9.42 to Basingstoke was already late and we sat on the train for a long time before they said it was not stopping. I think this is probably the 3rd or 4th time this has happened! You can't save that much time by not stopping at stations. /// Now we are on the train they make the announcement it's not stopping at Clapham Junction????!!!!!! /// You've already run two fast. That's not good enough when people want to get home. We pay a lot of money for this 'service'. It's like going to a shop to buy something to be told: "Oh, you can't have it now, you'll have to wait a week". Jokers. /// Can't say I've been on every train service, but SWT is the best if you want to sit stationary for 20 minutes. /// At Bracknell, delayed for another 15-20 and now have to change to get to Twickenham. Not impressed! /// Nothing like being turfed off train at Clapham, where you stand zero chance of boarding another at 6.30pm. /// 95% of a crowded train were forced to get off? Is Droopy making these operational decisions? /// Clearly you don't care about your Alton customers stranded at Farnham. /// Why has my hour-delayed train terminated early at Farnham to then sit at the platform?! /// SWT make you spend 2 extra hours getting home by kicking you off at Woking then have the cheek to ignore your e'mail. /// Why cancel the train at Woking?! What about the passengers who you've already made two hours late for work? Don't we matter, are you just trying to avoid fines?! /// Why did 1349 from Basingstoke to Weymouth leave at 1347? /// 3rd train in a row of mine cancelled/severely delayed. You know people have to be places at specific times yeah? /// I pay for a ticket to Vauxhall. Why do you keep making my train a 'fast' to Waterloo? Very poor service. /// Found out the train was running late so it skipped some stations. Not an excuse to make everyone else down the line even later.
How do you find it acceptable to take £700 off someone if they no longer need a season ticket? /// Am I going to get a refund for bus ticket as no trains running from Portsmouth to Cosham and no replacement service running yet!! [SWT response: You'd need to confirm with Customer Relations, but I believe not.] /// I've been suffering this commute for 9 years, and the £6.40 compensation I got on my £3.4k ticket was insulting.
Nice "computer says no" attitude from SWT staff when you lose your ticket on the platform! Got my receipt. "Buy another ticket." Great. /// Completely and utterly ripped off by SWT. Terrible customer service .....feel sick! [SWT response: Is there a particular issue we can try to help you with?] Yes there is, your inability to print me off a replacement weekly season ticket, when one of your barrier machines gave me back the wrong ticket! /// Please help with unjust parking fine at Haslemere station - advised to contact by station manager. He has just agreed with me that it is unjust! I am prepared to go to the papers and court about this as it is so unfair! /// I'm an annual ticket holder. You make me late approx 8/10 journeys. I do one train with wrong ticket and you reject appeal and fine me. May I also suggest a work trip to Japan. They seem to have the train system working for longer than half a day. /// Does a 2-part return ticket act as a proof of purchase if the outward ticket has been accidentally lost during the out journey? [SWT response: No, proof of purchase is the receipt. However if you have lost it you'll need to purchase a replacement.]
Bad service from London Waterloo. Rude conductor. Forced to pay double for catching an earlier train. /// Am gobsmacked. On train Surbiton-Exeter. Wanted upgrade to 1st class, ticket inspector just quoted me £385 ! 1st class half-empty. Madness. /// Been sold the wrong ticket, specifically said need only zone 1 as have a 2-6 and Epsom extension.
Replacement buses and taxis (January)
Hopeless situation from Kingston to Waterloo with huge rail replacement delays. /// So far my journey to Kingston from Waterloo has been exactly two hours and I'm only in Wimbledon. [SWT response: So sorry, we are investigating what happened.] /// So the bus ride from Surbiton to Clapham will take 80 minutes now ? A complete joke. [SWT response: Sorry, that is what we've been told by some of the drivers.] /// I'm not sure what bus it was as we all got off as too hot! One from Surbiton but everyone left just before we got to Wimbledon!! /// Argh… to the SWT replacement bus driver who wouldn’t open the door for me even though he wasn’t going anywhere soon. /// Standing at Clapham Junction having to listen to one of your staff insulting all customers that ask her questions about replacement buses. Not nice. /// With your fares you owe customers a reliable, scheduled replacement service, none of which has been the case in past 6 months. /// The later one has turned up now! But that doesn't change the fact I am late for work and have been stood in the cold 40 minutes! /// The coach she's on has a driver that doesn't even know how to get to Salisbury. /// Any apology for the sheer chaos today? Replacement bus failed to show up despite your staff member telling me it was moments away. 20-minute delay coming home too. /// So the ******* replacement bus I'm on has broken down, great! /// Disgraceful state of affairs midnight at Clapham Junction. Dozens alighting trains. No seats on replacement buses to Wimbledon. /// Terrible service from SWT. No trains, bus replacement service appalling. Driver terrible!!! /// Thanks for selling me a ticket to a train that wasn't running with no staff/information at the station to direct me to the bus service. /// Despite what the National Rail app says, when I tried to get a London bus from outside Tolworth my train ticket was not accepted! /// Neither driver was sure where 2nd bus was going. All an absolute shambles, yet again. /// Next time you pick your replacement bus drivers, maybe pick those that aren't going to crash the bus on the A3? /// Knowing we were going to be sitting in traffic for hours you could have hired better replacement buses. I'm sure these don't pass health and safety tests, they look like they are from the 70s... /// Your rail replacement service is awful. Waited for one bus to Clapham Junction and it was full. SEND MORE BUSES!!
Replacement buses and taxis (February)
I caught the bus at 6.15 but did not leave till 7 as people were trying to help with directions. /// Replacement bus from Bournemouth missed 18.33 from Southampton Airport to Waterloo. /// Bus drivers just ain't got a clue! Same when work was between Alton/Farnborough - I had to direct! /// Rail replacement bus late at Byfleet & New Haw, missed the connection at Weybridge to get into London. Roads empty, why the delay? /// Trains in Havant area stuck as signal problems. Guard said buses at Rowlands Castle would accept train ticket. Just been refused. /// Now waiting for a replacement bus for the bus replacement. Driver can't tell us how long it'll take or anything re onward trains. /// Appalling customer service/dreadful attitude of driver on 1829 rail replacement from Southampton Central. Doesn't know the way! /// I'm sorry but you really are a shambles. No trains from Southampton after match day and the replacement bus driver didn't know the way. /// Bus we are on is leaking as well. Which doesn't help when I am desperate for the loo. /// A replacement bus service is still supposed to get you there on time.. How do I get a refund for this awful service? I will now be late to a concert I am performing at and having come from London I am not best pleased! If the driver was capable of driving properly it wouldn't have taken 20 minutes to get out of Hamworthy car park...
Replacement buses and taxis (March)
15:54 London to Bournemouth delayed by half an hour. Get to Bournemouth to discover I have to wait 30 minutes for rail replacement bus to Poole. /// On r70 to Richmond and bus driver wouldn't accept the train's not running so had to pay again. /// Rail replacement bus from Bournemouth to Poole, late last night. No bus provided and no information given. Care to explain? Bus should have gone at 01.23. Security man at station said it had happened more than once before. SWT must have known. /// Got the 08:24 from Upwey to Wareham. Then a replacement bus between Wareham and Bournemouth. It was a double-decker Stagecoach bus. The driver has no idea where he is going, he left people in Branksome. Have just been told that they are not holding the train for us. FANTASTIC SERVICE as always. Now have a slow train with another 2 1/2 hour journey to Waterloo. /// Stuck at Bournemouth station. No bus for onward travel to Poole, no replacement transport. Absolutely diabolical. /// Currently sat at Rowlands Castle and I've seen 3 replacement buses to Haslemere... nothing to Havant in the last hour. [SWT response: Are you standing at the The Green? The next bus should have been 1213 but might be delayed due to traffic.] Been here since 11:10. One coach went past without stopping. Not sure if it was one of yours. Getting a taxi instead. /// Thank you for cancelling the 7.15 replacement bus service this morning, I love paying £65 for a taxi. Sorry, not love, loathe! /// Would be nice to be refunded for the taxi I was forced to get as my train was delayed therefore missed the replacement bus. /// I got dumped at Guildford last night and told to get a replacement bus that didn't exist. So £15 in a cab! /// The bus was 20 minutes late. So yes, I have arrived in plenty of time for the 17:45 to Clapham Junction. I should have been on the 17:15. /// Bus broke down at Weybridge. Now on a bus to Woking. Like an episode of Top Gear. Just not funny. /// Stranded at Andover for an hour thanks to a massive **** up with your rail replacement bus; will take 5 hours Salisbury-London. /// Had to drive my husband myself, 40 minutes to Surbiton. Appalling service AS USUAL! [SWT response: Really sorry about this. We have had a problem with the bus for this service. There is a bus at 07:06, confirmed.] No there isn't! Sort it out! They are now ordering taxis to Waterloo! It's an absolute shambles! /// Absolutely appalling service by replacement buses at Weybridge. No staff, no signs and drivers starting rows and not helping. /// Thanks for costing me £13 to get a taxi after a 1 hour wait with no details, worth the £82 per month for no information or replacement buses? /// Barnes. Waiting from 17.07. The 17.11 and 17.13 never showed up at all. Thought the train service was bad. /// Hope the 11.47 to Windsor will be held at Hounslow until we get there. Replacement bus driver doesn't seem to have a clue where he's going... /// 09.08 Woking to Walton. Driver just asked passengers for directions.
On 18.50 from Waterloo to Salisbury and have never seen or experienced such a rude guard in all my 25 years commuting on this line. /// [Name] at Portsmouth & Southsea tickets couldn't have been any ruder if he tried, nil customer service skills happening with him. /// The announcer on the 18:22 from Waterloo to Weybridge is such a fan of his own voice. Has been speaking 40% of journey so far. /// Loads of folk get off the 18:22 Windsor train at Twickenham. But still the guard tries to shut doors when folk still getting off! /// I don't expect to be spoken to like that by staff when asking for help. /// It seems the guy on the SWT lost property line has also lost something... his customer service. Don't worry, he's found his attitude. /// Apologies don't cover ridiculous members of staff with no common sense, poor manners and trying to rationalise their wages. /// After 10 minutes we realised we needed the second part of our ticket but he just kept saying no, not allowed through! /// Dislike the majority of SWT employees. Rude, sarcastic, blazer wearing *****. /// Once I forgot to top up, was told aggressively I looked like a fare dodger, I'm 43 and wear a suit. It was at Queenstown Road in Battersea. He kept me there for 20 minutes unnecessarily, even another "inspector" had to intervene as he was being rude and aggressive with me. I complained to SWT and you said it had nothing to do with you and I should complain to company you use. /// "There is a machine you know, you don't have to bother me" - SWT employee. /// Why bother giving commercial guards equipment to sell tickets on train if they're going to get arsey if they have to use it? /// Train guard on the 8.20 Portsmouth-Waterloo is being very rude to passengers needing to buy a ticket.. Isn't that your job!? /// My partner had absolutely disgusting service from SWT station staff today. Interrogated while buying ticket. Upset and ruined her day. I'll e'mail. It was general hostility from the start of the interaction, amplified when she tried to read his name tag. Not cool. In addition I have seen other staff also at Basingstoke treat customers in a really hostile way when they are merely seeking assistance. /// 1600 Waterloo to Portsmouth. Guard has made 8 announcements in 10 minutes, all about tickets, loves the sound of his own voice. Shut him up please. Defeats object of quiet coach. /// I'm not usually one to complain, but the ticket lady who served me at Waterloo station today was extremely rude...hard to write it all in one tweet so if you could look at my feed that would be great. I'm not used to getting shouted at! /// He barely left enough time for people to get off the train. Surely we have priority over people at the next stop to get on? It's not our fault the train was late. The guard was very aware people were still trying to get on the train. /// What a service you provide on 16.10 out of Ascot, toilets broken and get shouted at when I bring it up with [staff member's name]. You'll fine someone £20 when they don't buy a ticket but your guards are allowed to dictate to someone like 1930s. /// It makes me sick to think I pay £177 a month for your rude, arrogant staff to shrug off questions with a disgusting attitude! Shameful! /// One of your guards on the 19:05 from Waterloo to Weymouth is being incredibly rude with passengers, whilst ticket checking. /// The man you have working at Raynes Park this morning is a disgrace of a human being. So rude; shrugged his shoulders and refused to help. He said 'oyster is oyster'. I couldn't touch in and now will be charged when I touch out. /// Thanks to the guard for shutting the doors on me WHILST I was putting my heavy cases on the train. /// Not impressed by the guard on the 7.59 train to Waterloo from Grateley. Very miserable and unhelpful. /// Can't get on the train as it's like a cattle truck. Next train please? As NONE OF YOUR STAFF ARE ANYWHERE TO BE SEEN. /// 8.58 from Waterloo guard particularly rude when approached at Ashford. /// On the 14:08 train from Southampton Airport to Waterloo. The guard has the ID hidden under the tie and refused to say his name -- is this normal? /// Staff at Vauxhall very unhelpful and no answer at help point. /// Thanks for replies but please can you explain why only 4 carriages on last train and why staff so unhelpful? £35 cab fare to home. /// Disgusted by the way I have just been spoken to by a member of staff at Waterloo. £400 a month clearly doesn't include manners? /// Why can your insensitive, cold-hearted and inconsiderate guards not have the decency to wait 30 SECONDS for a delayed connection? /// My partner received the most disgusting 'service' from one of your staff at Waterloo this morning. How do we complain? /// One of your staff just swore at me at the barriers at Waterloo for my ticket not working and having to let me through! He was awful, another staff member had to apologise on behalf of him. /// Waterloo to Farnborough, rude staff at Waterloo, no information on why train was late and no advice on what train to catch. /// After showing my ticket, his explanation was I took too long in there (train toilet). How can you do this to another human being, SWT ? /// I'd like someone to contact me as I'm shocked and disgusted with the lack of help and the way the passengers were treated.
Guard on platform 4 at Southampton Central was disgusting today, shouting and being abusive to people trying to get on a crowded train. /// 10 seconds after the doors open at Wimbledon your platform staff are blowing whistles. Train is late anyway, who's fault is that? /// Arrived at the station at 14:36:10 and the doors were closing but the guard had his doors open, train then sat for the remainder of the time. /// I don't mind trains being busy, or a bit late. I know it's complex. But I do mind being spoken to rudely and blamed for your error. /// How do I go about complaining about the poor attitude of your guard on a recent service into Waterloo? /// Can't believe I have just been kicked off the train, thanks for employing insensitive and prejudiced *******. /// I understand delays, ok, but there is no excuse for rudeness from staff. Ironically it says "customer assistance" on his vest. I asked if he could let me through as my ticket has stopped working. Absolutely no need for the rudeness that followed. I will gladly submit a formal complaint. /// Well done SWT for employing the most miserable, unfriendly train guards. /// Horrendous customer service today from SWT. Thanks for making my wife cry! /// Can you tell me where I can make a complaint about a member of your station staff please? /// Left item on train, went back but this guy totally ignored me. Could have got item in seconds. Doors just locked. Found him later, he couldn't care less or answer why he totally ignored me. /// Rest assured I won't be using SWT again! Horrendous customer service. Bought a first class ticket, been rude to by your staff at Waterloo, and now sat in economy... /// Thanks to the ticket officer in Ashford Middlesex for making me miss two trains while she was having a nice chat. /// Could you please teach your ticket office staff at Surbiton some manners? /// Bracknell to Reading, the cancellation is not the issue. It's the unhelpfulness of the staff as to why. /// The machines only allow 7 day tickets, not daily to be purchased. Your staff don't seem interested in resolving the situation! And they are pretty rude too. /// I HATE getting on the train because of how miserable you guys are. And your attitude towards the people isn't 'right'. I ran for the train and JUST managed to catch it. It was the train going from Cosham to Portsmouth at 12:30 today. As soon as I got on the train I walked straight up to him and asked for a ticket. He refused to give me discount from my rail card and made me pay the full price. You guys need some training on how to deal with customers. I've seen a lot of talk over social media how everyone on feels that they are treated like a criminal when being approached by an officer from the company you work for. I calmed the situation down and asked again nicely, to which he told me to get off the train. Next time I get treated in that way again from you guys I'm phoning the police. /// Rude staff behind the ticket desk in Poole. Perhaps some customer service training wouldn't go amiss !?!? /// This is the third time your employee [-----] at Southampton Central has stirred up trouble. She is very rude and aggressive. /// Absolutely appalled by the service today. Staff was rude and unhelpful. /// Can you provide me with a address where I can make a formal complaint about a member of revenue officers!! /// The guy at Bournemouth station with 'customer service' on his badge, could not be more dismissive and unhelpful if he tried. /// There were 6 ticket inspectors on the Chessington South train. Can you not find 4 of them a different train to inspect? It looks idiotic!
Very disappointed with the guard who joined the 09.40 from Portchester at Eastleigh this morning! I feel like a victim! /// A member of your staff at London Waterloo needs to be inspected due to complete discrimination towards me this morning at 9am. /// I was on the Windsor & Eton, now re-routed via Feltham. Not permitted to alight at Barnes despite being at platform. Guard made announcements about broken down train. Would not let us off at Barnes because "you wouldn't know where to go." /// Please remind your staff that when they're walking through crowded trains to use words like 'excuse me' instead of shoving past. /// SWT need to invest in some customer service training for their staff at Fratton. Always really rude. /// Station staff tells me no need to run, I'm going to miss train anyway. Not true. Happy to be told not to run (though I was being safe and hardly anyone around), but not to be made fun of. Disappointing. Oh and I made the train. But it's announcing the wrong stations. /// Disappointed in SWT's attitude towards my friend today. We are college students NOT animals. /// Guards allow able-bodied to sit in disabled when I could be sat by my baby. Now stood by a smelly toilet cuddling my baby! /// On the delayed 08.09, but what happened to the 07.14 and 07.46? [SWT response: The 07:14 is running later than the 08:09 and so is behind you. The 07:46 was cancelled.] Why was it cancelled? The staff at Petersfield unfortunately aren't helpful... /// As you don't seem to be able to improve your service, at least employ staff with manners. SO rude on so many occasions. /// Almost all of your staff I come in contact with are very rude and unhelpful. Thanks for the customer service!! /// Isn't it worth checking which drivers can drive which trains before they turn up so people aren't left frustrated? /// I arrived at Virginia Water at 8:15. Sheer volume of school kids at Addlestone/Chertsey makes it impossible to buy a ticket in time. Appreciate the role of revenue staff however the comments and looks to female commuters were highly unprofessional. Then make derogatory comments at female commuters. Worth it for all those juicy penalty fares though eh?? /// Bit aggressive with the doors on the 07.28 Clapham Junction to Reading. You're late...give people time to board! The platform was busy, the train was 1 minute late, driver closed the doors when approximately 1/2 of people were on. /// Any idea when the staff shortages will be fixed at Bournemouth? Already delayed 40 minutes and now stuck here for over 20 minutes?? /// Please tell your Waterloo station staff to be nice with passengers; they are rude and arrogant beyond expectation. /// Unbelievably rude staff at London Waterloo today. I thought you were better than this. Out of pocket again. Thanks(!) /// He kicked the rubbish under a seat and walked off. That's disgraceful. /// Maybe you could put a few quid aside to send some of your staff back to charm school?
Are you going to fix the huge leaks at Eastleigh station? It's made parts of the platforms unusable and unsafe. The platforms have multiple holes in the platform canopy, which become waterfalls in this weather. /// Lady fell on platform 8 at Waterloo 5 minutes ago. She's being helped but this is the 2nd this week - could you sort out the slippery platform? /// You need to get someone to look at the potholes in the Wraysbury car park (heading to London side). /// The subway at Hamworthy station is flooded, had to wade through the water! /// Ladies loos platform 5 at Woking - absolutely disgusting!!
Both upper levels closed at Fleet and Farnborough car parks. Who is responsible for building these ice rinks? [Second caller: This is unbelievable - how are you customers meant to plan their commute when some 50% of the car park spaces are unavailable? These are brand new car parks! /// Again today, Hounslow train station secure bicycle compound is not only EMPTY but blocked by bins. /// Tap in the gents at Wimbledon station has been running for a week now. NR Staff tell me not their problem! /// Following the problems last night will you also be investigating the lack of managers on the platform to support the staff? /// Station is a tip. Grime, gob, gum, litter and mud everywhere. Like Pamplona festival has occurred. But shite not tomatoes. All steps, footbridge, all platforms, public seating. Likely to be earthworks on grass but contractor should clean up mud! Also attitude of ticket office bloke who mutters back at customers (who can't buy tickets because machines too slow). /// Train was cancelled. No pre-notification so sat at station, they then closed the waiting room as he was going home. Sat in cold. /// Stuck in the lift at Surbiton station, any idea of getting out, been on here ages !!! /// Did you know Portsmouth Harbour station flooded? Stepped off train at platform 3 to an inch of standing water. Is roof broken or will it be sorted? /// No toilet facilities at Winchester for Fare Paying Public! Due to engineering work, NO access to platforms. Not on really when you're running buses?? Shocking treatment!!! /// Rush hour at Waterloo station and only 8 of 14 Ticket booths staffed. Sort it out SWT, that's a terrible service you are providing.
Please fix lift at platform 9/10 Clapham Junction. Currently stuck at top of steps with my baby, pushchair and an elderly disabled lady. /// CPPlusUK1 being a nightmare, again, and their agents, PayPoint no better. SWT should deeply regret giving them a monopoly. /// Benches on platform 4 at New Malden are like rocking chairs. Atrocious installation. What are you doing?! Please fix. /// Brockenhurst station waiting room is half cordoned off like this for months and floods when it rains. Fix? /// In keeping with your terrible timekeeping, you clock at Waterloo is an hour slow.
Ticket offices and machines (January)
Are you fining people who travel without a ticket today? There is a queue of people at Waterloo buying tickets. /// Missed first train due to ticket queues, good job second train is late (8.24 Basingstoke - Farnborough) or I might miss that too! /// Surely in this day and age taking payments for tickets should be pain free? Fleet station absolutely manic as usual! /// Huge station queues to renew rail tickets. Isn't it time for more digital ticketing solutions? /// I wanted to buy a ticket because there was only one machine with a long queue and then the guard complained about it. /// Waterloo ticket office has 14 windows, currently only 3 open with long queue during this peak time of the day! /// The ticket machine at Bitterne is broken again. It'd be cheaper to employ a stationmaster.
Ticket offices and machines (February)
Ticket machine not working at Strawberry Hill, so I'm forced to pay more than I would pay even without my railcard. Was freezing on selecting railcard page. /// At Surbiton where I have been in a queue for over 20 minutes. I tried to purchase a ticket to Guildford at Clapham Junction and the machine froze. No ticket, but charged me anyway. Who deals with it? /// Far ticket machine at Brookwood not working again and car park very slippery!
Ticket offices and machines (March)
Missed my train, these machines are terrible when they do work. When are you going to step up your game? /// A lady behind me in the queue for the kiosk had the shutter pulled down on her by the female rail staff. No explanation. /// Today's incompetence: 2 windows open at Waterloo ticket office. Queue of 30 people, lots of staff standing around = missed train. /// Why do you have 14 ticket booths and only open less than half of them?! Where are your staff at what is clearly a peak time? /// There has been a systematic reduction in ticket sales staff at Winchester for some years now. Your training can't be that inept.
5 coaches??? Rubbish 7.50 from Whitton to Waterloo - higher fares, smaller trains!!! /// Roasting hot (coach 68124, 0716 Farnborough-Waterloo). /// Another late SWT journey without a working loo. What a joke!!! /// The 16:24 from Reading has no flushing toilets or running water. Disgusting service. You are a disgrace. /// What is wrong with you? Yet another 455 [suburban unit without toilets] on the Reading line and no announcement let alone apology. Very poor customer service. /// Can you turn the oven down from gas mark 4 in the 1st quiet carriage on the 19.05 Weymouth service? /// Please turn the heating on in my train, it's brass monkeys in here! /// This is a real problem with your trains. Every time I use them, all toilets are either out of order or non-existent. /// Wife jostled and battered, had panic attack, off at Richmond before stop. Will go home at own cost. Disgraceful. My wife and I cordially invite a director to experience with us the service you provide. Just one journey. I will pay. [ Second caller: completely agree with this. Get a director on the train to experience service as they are clueless.] /// No heating at all.. Oh well nearly home.. I can defrost there. /// Do you think you might turn the heating on !? It's minus 3 outside and no heating. ..Dorking to Waterloo. /// Train back from Guildford to London is absolutely filthy, not only a terrible service today but cleanliness appalling. /// 1912 Reading-Waterloo, front end of 3rd coach. Maybe the door controls shouldn't be open?! /// On the 18.09 from Waterloo. ALL 4 toilets are not working. This is unacceptable and your guard is not interested in being helpful! There are kids and everyone trying to use them. A few of us broke a door open but it's not flushing so won't last. /// On the train to Exeter and the toilets are filthy as usual! /// No heating on 20:54 to Epsom, are you having a laugh? I'm freezing. /// Why are none of your toilets open on the 8.42 from Reading?????
SWT never get it right. Either freezing you to death with too much air conditioning or suffocating you with over-the-top heating. /// Please don't put the heaters on, hundreds of people on here. Travelling on the Waterloo train from Hampton Wick. /// With the millions at your disposal, how have you managed to **** up 3 of the 5 trains from Winchester between 7 and 8 am? /// Still shivering after today's experience! /// Now on a train with no heating or lighting. /// On the 19:09 to Reading from Waterloo and there are no toilets on here, my son is bursting. Carriages 3-5 and both locked. [SWT response: Sorry they're out of use. Please speak to the guard, who should be able to help.] He says they are out of use, all 4 sets....I have 20 minutes until Bracknell and a son on the verge of tears. Poor form really. /// One of your train doors is broken! You have to push it open. /// How come carriages blow cold air in winter and hot air in summer? /// The 15:05 due to be 5-car to Weymouth too short. Rear 5 cars going at Basingstoke. Apparently 1st has been declassified... there isn't even standing room and yet more people trying to get on.. /// My poor parents froze to death on their journey to London from Winchester. No heating in February is poor service. /// Toilets were disgusting on our 10am train. Do you give them a once over between journeys? More like neglect not vandalism! /// The next train is 4 coaches, when a championship side are at home. Good work all round. /// Any idea why the 11:39 from Clapham to Portsmouth has only four carriages? Crammed before we even got on. /// Another lady being ill on your trains today because it's too stuffy. Nearly fainted. Had to help her off train and calm her down. /// I am quite fed up with sitting amongst litter and filth, so can cleaners not travel and clear litter?
Why are both toilets in the back half of the 11.19 Clapham to Kingston closed? You want us to **** in our seats? Disgusting. /// My daughter was harassed by group of drunks in the "quiet" carriage of 8.25pm train from Exeter to Sherborne. /// The toilets are quite awful. Went in feeling travel sick. Came out depressed. /// [From Anne Milton MP, 4.3.2015]: Seat misery for those on 6.15 train even spot on the floor by loos a bit crowded. /// Suddenly all the rubbish bins on the "blue" trains have disappeared. Is this to make room for more passengers? /// Seriously fed up with your lack of open/usable toilets in your trains. What's the point of having them if they're all locked!?! /// Why do SWT have metal covered heaters on the floor? Just burned my leg on one! Another perk to my £3.5k travel card I guess! /// SWT trains occasionally get cleaned but the state they are generally in is just diabolical. /// On the 16:59 from Bournemouth to London Waterloo and shivering it's so cold! According to the guard the heating can't be altered! /// Oh dear SWT, I've been in cleaner public toilets than the train I'm currently on 8.25 Kingston. /// Why do we put up with this, 4 car train at rush hour again! Not worth the extortionate fares.
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. 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).