HOGRIDER 105 : OCTOBER-NOVEMBER 2005
SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS' GROUP NEWSLETTER
SWT PERFORMANCE COLLAPSES: MORE THAN ONE TRAIN IN FIVE LATE
SWT’S “FOCUS ON PASSENGERS” – WHAT FOCUS?
BLAMING PASSENGERS FOR SWT’S FAILURES
WHEELCHAIR USERS BANNED FROM ASHURST STATION
LETTER ON BEHALF OF GROUP IN “RAIL” MAGAZINE
7 MILES PER HOUR WITH SOUTH WEST TRAINS
OLD SLAM-DOOR TRAIN FAILS REPEATEDLY
COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER – 4
APPENDIX 1: RAIL PERFORMANCE REPORTS
APPENDIX 2: MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
APPENDIX 3: MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
SWT PERFORMANCE COLLAPSES: MORE THAN ONE TRAIN IN FIVE LATE
The percentage of peak main line services running on time in the 4-week period to 12 November slumped to 78.8%, the worst performance since journey times expanded under last December’s timetable changes. Our performance reports suggest that the next 4-week period could be even worse.
SWT’S “FOCUS ON PASSENGERS” – WHAT FOCUS?
Repeated announcements were made at Southampton Central to the effect that the 06.15 to Edinburgh was delayed due to “awaiting a crew member at Southampton Central”. This was untrue as the train wasn’t in the station. Eventually, the 06.30 to Waterloo arrived first. It appears that it was too much trouble to change the screens along the line to show the two trains as running out of order. Between Winchester and Waterloo the guard broadcast instructions to passengers who had boarded in error on how to get to Newcastle and Edinburgh via Kings Cross, and then on how to get to Glasgow via Euston. Some would incur extra fares, and those going to Euston would have to make enquiries.
The 16.55 Waterloo-Alton was reduced to 4 coaches and the 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. The 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth therefore called additionally at Woking with severe overcrowding. It left there about 10 minutes late with a high proportion of empty seats, so it was clear that many of the passengers who normally use the train had been unable to board. The 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth was then very overcrowded.
Engineering works on 30 October saw the Waterloo-Weymouth main line closed all day between Southampton Central and Brockenhurst. This is a particularly risk-associated closure because any Wessex Electric trains left at Bournemouth depot will be isolated from the rest of the network. In the event of an overrun of the work, the Monday morning commuter service will then collapse all the way along the line from South Dorset to North Hampshire.
South West Trains took the risk, presumably for cheapness and operational convenience. The Wessex Electrics were apparently left at Bournemouth all weekend, since passengers complained of crowded 5-coach Desiros between Waterloo and Southampton throughout Saturday. The engineering works overran spectacularly, with no morning service for Bournemouth and Poole commuters. Passengers arriving at Totton for the 06.07 to Southampton for their London connection found two laden taxis departing. Another was summoned and supposed to call at Redbridge and Millbrook, but left Totton full, despite some Totton commuters driving themselves into Southampton. Such penny-pinching defies belief. A commuter who did drive into Southampton had to pay to park as there was nobody who could give him a permit on the down platform and he would have missed his train whilst trying to get one at the up platform. We have previously discovered that the later opening of the downside ticket office is due to a clerk being affected by last December’s service cuts on SWT.
The 4-coach 05.40 Basingstoke-Weymouth turned into the 06.30 Southampton-Waterloo. Passengers standing from Winchester were furious that a 10-coach Desiro going towards London had passed their station non-stop, presumably for operational convenience. When the 06.30 reached London, the guard apologised to Bournemouth and Poole passengers, but it was unlikely that there were any, since no replacement bus had arrived at Southampton by the time of the train’s departure. In fact, a broken gas main had caused a traffic jam stretching from Ashurst on the edge of the New Forest to the centre of Southampton. Although trains were running from Bournemouth by around 10.00, some commuters were still stuck in the jam on a belatedly introduced replacement bus. So bad were things on the road that some motorists reportedly threw bottles at workmen in fits of road rage. Such early trains as did run between Southampton and Waterloo were short and late, with no Wessex Electric units in evidence, apart from the duff unit in the down bay platform, later seen with a locomotive attached.
Thursday 3 November started with severe disruption to mainline services due to a bicycle on the live rail at New Milton. The 05.00 Poole-Waterloo was 35 minutes late. All intermediate stops after Southampton were axed for operational convenience, to the further fury of some Winchester passengers. There appeared to be no way of preventing the Desiro train from announcing its stops, and welcoming passengers aboard as it sped past them. The guard completed his ticket check before looking after his passengers, since the train had passed Woking before he announced that standing passengers could find a few seats at the rear of the train.
That was followed by a tree on the line at Sway and further severe disruption for much of the day. The 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth/Poole was reduced to 5 coaches, with the Poole portion starting from Southampton Central. So awful was the overcrowding that the train was held at Waterloo for 4 minutes to give passengers the option of switching to the 17.35. Many did so, and were then thrown off the 17.35 which was formed of duff stock. So people for stations between Southampton and Poole had to travel on the 18.05, where they suffered the dreadful overcrowding which they had sought to avoid on the 17.05. The 18.05 was 11 minutes late by Southampton. Passengers for stations from Poole to Weymouth were less lucky; they had no service from Waterloo until 18.35.
Isn’t it marvellous that, because punctuality is so vital on Mondays to Fridays, the much-needed Totton stop on the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo is forgone in favour of extra slack time, whilst the stop is made by a Saturday train with otherwise identical timings between Brockenhurst and Southampton Central? This causes Totton commuters to waste 75 minutes a week. Despite pleading from the Rail Passengers Committee, the new timetable from 11 December hasn’t produced the extra stop, showing that Stagecoach doesn’t care a damn.
On Friday 4 November a track-cleaning machine left Brockenhurst just ahead of the 05.45. This was hardly a good idea, given the lack of signals on the long stretch to Beaulieu Road. The track can’t have been too bad, because the 05.00 from Poole had been just a few minutes late at Totton as on many other days. The 05.45 was therefore 16 minutes late from Southampton Central, arriving just behind the cleaning machine. This delay was later explained on the 05.45 as due to a temporary speed restriction at Totton (where line speeds are always low due to successive curves), and on Waterloo station as having happened at Bournemouth.
Unfortunately, the 05.45 was apparently carrying the guard for the 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo. Owing to the shortage of platforms at Southampton Airport, the 06.50 departure was axed, with the train starting from the middle platform at Eastleigh, where the 05.45 therefore had to make an additional stop to drop off the crew. On passing Wimbledon, the guard of the 05.45 asked passengers to report anything suspicious and to let him know if they needed any help during the journey.
The 05.45 then arrived at Waterloo 25 minutes lack, at 08.11, to form the 08.05 to Poole. The latter departed 16 minutes late. The train which should have started from Southampton Airport at 06.50 was 12 minutes late.
The 21.05 Waterloo-Poole was very busy with commuters, weekend travellers with heavy luggage, and children with balloons. At Basingstoke, the doors were left open, in the very cold night air, and loud platform announcements ordered passengers to leave the train, without explanation or promise of any alternative service. Passengers staged a sit-in. After a few minutes, the guard announced that the train would continue to Poole after all. They had been going to send it back to Waterloo to form another service and transfer passengers to a different train, but had changed their mind! The 21.05 was then 12 minutes late at Totton.
A cyclist arrived on the platform at Totton when the 05.48 to Waterloo had its doors open. He reached the door adjacent to the cycle storage space and pressed the door button, but the train departed and left him behind.
The 06.07 to Yeovil Junction, which connects into the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo at Southampton Central, was advertised as running on time. However, the departures screens kept changing to show it running later and later, even though it originates from Totton sidings. The station had been left unstaffed, so an anxious passenger used the Help Line, but there was no one at the other end. The 05.45 raced through the station, and the screens changed to show the 06.07 as cancelled. Passengers were then stranded until 06.46.
On Thursday 17 November, the 06.07 from Totton was advertised as running on time, until 06.02 when it was advertised as cancelled from Totton and starting from Southampton Central. Commuters who would otherwise be stranded in the freezing cold until 06.46, due to Stagecoach’s inaction and obvious indifference, pressed the booking clerk to arrange a stop by the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo. It took 5 minutes to get a reply from the controllers, and then it was uncertain for several minutes whether the stop could be arranged. Fortunately, the 05.45 was 4 minutes late at Brockenhurst and there was time to give the driver a stop notice – a clear need for radio or phone contact between controllers and train crews? The 05.45 then called additionally at Totton and Redbridge, but not Millbrook, presumably due to there being no form of liaison with Network Rail to get it switched to the platform line on the 4-track section.
The 05.45 left Southampton 6 minutes late, screens along the line showing it as delayed due to the extra stops, but not referring to the cancellation of the 06.07 from Totton, or fact that the 05.45 was already 4 minutes late before those stops were made. The train then reached Waterloo precisely on time at 07.46, showing just how much slack time taxpayers’ money is buying under Stagecoach, when the time could be used for much-needed extra stops.
The stock for the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil arrived late; the train reached Southampton Central just before 06.21 and, as people alighted, the “connecting” 06.21 to Portsmouth departed from the other side of the platform.
Points failure at Totton sidings all day; Romsey-Totton services ran only between Romsey and Southampton Central. The 06.07 Totton-Yeovil was similarly affected; passengers arriving at Totton saw it advertised as cancelled and could not get help because, as so often happens now, the station was left unstaffed (it was to remain unstaffed for the remainder of the week). At 06.02 the 10 coach train which previously formed the 05.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo, but now carries thin air between Bournemouth and Southampton, ran through non-stop. Angry London commuters then raced for their cars to get to Southampton Central, where they were told a Totton stop had been arranged for the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo. Pity it had been too much bother to advertise it at Totton; these problems should be dealt with automatically; under Stagecoach you too often pay for your service and then have to fight to get it.
BLAMING PASSENGERS FOR SWT’S FAILURES
Interesting entries on SWT’s website on 14 October. The 07.50 Teddington to Waterloo was axed between Teddington and Wimbledon without explanation. The 08.20 ran fast from Kingston to Wimbledon due to an “unusually large passenger flow”. Clearly the horrid passengers caused problems for the unfortunate operator by not seeking other means of transport after it axed their train.
On 17 October, with cuts and delays on the Reading-Waterloo service due to a train failure, both the 07.50 and 08.20 from Teddington were axed between Teddington and Wimbledon, and the latter train reduced to 4 coaches. This was curiously advertised as “due to anticipating overcrowding” and problems on the London Underground. How thoughtful of SWT to axe trains in case a lot of people needed them.
WHEELCHAIR USERS BANNED FROM ASHURST STATION
(By David Mead)
There is an interesting article in the Ashurst Parish Newsletter regarding disabled travel from Ashurst. A resident patient at Snowdon House Hospital (home for patients with paralysis but not confined to bed), in a wheelchair, wanted to go from Ashurst station to Southampton, in order to do some shopping at West Quay. (Not an unreasonable request?). The carer therefore phoned SWT at Southampton to arrange disabled assistance.
South West Trains arranged a taxi from Ashurst station at an agreed time and it arrived as promised in the car park. So far so good, thought the wheelchair user and carer.
However, the taxi driver took them to Brockenhurst [Editorial note: opposite direction], where the passenger and carer got out.
SWT was unable to put them on a train because the swing bridge at Brockenhurst was out of use, due to trains using the up slow line.
SWT staff then put them in a taxi to Southampton [Editorial note: back through Ashurst], rather than arrange with Network Rail to open the swing bridge.
On the way back, they were put on a Virgin train in first class and sent to Brockenhurst station!
SWT staff made them wait 20 minutes at Brockenhurst before the wheelchair user could get off the station!
Then the staff said they had to get a taxi back to Ashurst!!!!
The taxi fares cost £50.00, which SWT paid for. The wheelchair passenger paid £4.00 only, for the return fare from Ashurst to Southampton.
The wheelchair user only wanted to visit West Quay Shopping Centre. What a fuss and a long way round, not to mention hours of travel to do just 6 miles each way?
The official answer from SWT, when asked afterwards, is that disabled people can’t use Ashurst as it was built on a bend and Health and Safety will not allow wheelchair ramps to be used on bends! So, there is no hope of my mother going for a train ride from Ashurst, and I doubt if I will renew her railcard.
It doesn’t get any better does it?
[Editorial comment: Presumably the whole fiasco started because SWT thought a taxi would cost marginally less from Ashurst to Brockenhurst than from Ashurst to Southampton direct. In the end it almost certainly cost a lot more than it need have. But what a disorganised shambles the exercise was! Time for a customer-focused operator to take over the franchise.]
LETTER ON BEHALF OF GROUP IN “RAIL” MAGAZINE (PUBLISHED 12/10/2005)
“SWT ‘slowest since steam’
ALAS, Barry Doe once championed good service rather than South West Trains (The Fare Dealer, RAIL 523).
This is a company which has gained Investors in People accreditation yet does not employ enough people to run a reliable service at peak holiday times (more than 20 trains cancelled or curtailed on both August 27 and September 3 due to there being no driver).
Of course people get angry when services disappear from screens one minute before departure time, and barriers and doors are closed 30 seconds early. SWT is running the slowest service since steam days: Southampton Central-Waterloo now takes almost 20% longer than in 1990.
Does the 18.39 from Waterloo really need 17 minutes to travel from Southampton Airport to Southampton Central, when Virgin services need only 6 minutes?
The Desiro trains have excellent acceleration and door closure requires only a few seconds. SWT services are hugely cushioned by slack time. Away from Waterloo, trains often depart around 20 seconds early.
I used to have a good connection at Southampton Central between the 1630 from Waterloo and 1755 or 1801 to Totton. There was also a direct service from Waterloo to Totton at 16.45.
>From last December the 1645 was axed and the 1635 has an unreliable 7min connection.
The doors of the ‘connection’ are often closed as passengers run to catch it. It then stands at signals down the line for the train from London to overtake. Passengers already on board gain nothing and those left behind are delayed 30 minutes. Give us a customer-focused operator!”
SWT consultant Barry Doe’s response
“My old friend Denis Fryer had a go at me in Open Access (RAIL 524) for supporting SWT. His bark is worse than his bite, but Fryer has long been a critic. He doesn’t mention that Totton has a superb half-hourly service home between 1705 and 1905
Yes, services are slower owing to more stops. Bournemouth was once 96min from Waterloo with one intermediate Southampton stop, now it’s 105-110min because of five stops.
I don’t like that, but I have to face the reality that usage at places like Winchester has soared and there aren’t paths for separate faster Bournemouth services. Quality, however, is about much more than speed alone.” (RAIL 525)
[Note the patronising tone and failure to address the complaints raised. Mr Doe and Denis have never met, but had several telephone conversations years ago, when Mr Doe preferred Connex’s Bournemouth - Victoria service to SWT’s much faster Waterloo service. Mr Doe was also disappointed that Stagecoach had not adopted his proposals for rail-bus links to Bridport/Abbotsbury and Ringwood.]
7 MILES PER HOUR WITH SOUTH WEST TRAINS
With the line between Southampton and Brockenhurst closed on Sunday 30 October, replacement buses were allowed 27 minutes for the 3-mile journey along the main road from Totton to Southampton, with stops at Millbrook and Redbridge (average speed about 7mph). The journey takes around 5 minutes by car.
OLD SLAM-DOOR TRAIN FAILS REPEATEDLY
Services on the Lymington branch were advertised as disrupted on 22 October due to the old slam-door train which operates on the line having failed at Lymington Pier. On 29 November it failed again, leading to withdrawal of service from around 20.00.
On 3 December, the service was suspended because of SWT’s familiar shortage of train crews.
COMMENTS RECEIVED FROM A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER – 4
27/09/05 07.30 from Southampton left 3 minutes late. At Southampton Airport the guard announced that the rearmost door on the front 5 carriages "isn't working very well" and might need "a slight push". At Winchester he reported that it was "poorly" and "sticking slightly". Arrived at Waterloo 5 minutes late.
30/09/05 17.35 from Waterloo left just 2 minutes late, surprising the guard who had noted that the 17.23 was still in the station, and had announced that we may be delayed leaving Waterloo due to a points failure outside the station. However, having successfully left the station, we then ground to a halt! 24 minutes late by Totton.
03/10/05 At Totton, the down platform indicator was showing the 09.43 arrival from Romsey well after the train had left the platform to go into the sidings to wait for its 10.01 return departure. 09.51 from Totton left 2 minutes late. Delayed at Woking waiting for the platform to clear. As we passed through Wimbledon, the guard made an unusual announcement asking for any "train operatives" on the train to contact him. Arrived at Waterloo 9 minutes late where two train staff and two "community support" officers seemed to be waiting for a specific passenger to get off the train, apparently unsuccessfully.
04/10/05 At Totton I was early enough to hear the approaching whine of the 05.48 Desiro - a strange sound I have not noticed on other stock.
05/10/05 The departure indicator in the passage under the platforms at Waterloo (at the top of the steps from the Waterloo & City line) was showing information that was at least 90 minutes old.
06/10/05 The platform 4 ticket office at Southampton has been closed before 06.30 for many months, requiring one or more staff with portable ticket machines to loiter on the station side of the ticket gates - sometimes without knowing the correct car park charges. When I asked about the closure today, I was told that the relevant staff member used to travel to Southampton on a train which arrived at 06.00 but the train times had been changed and he now couldn't get there until 06.30!
07/10/05 A seat on the 17.05 from Waterloo broke beneath a passenger just before departure time. Fortunately, there was a spare seat nearby which he moved to with the words "I'm not going to risk my back again".
10/10/05 A loud argument on the 06.30 from Southampton Central when one Winchester passenger accused another of pushing his way onto the train in order to grab one of the last available seats; this ended with the offended party suggesting they resolve the matter on the platform at Waterloo! 17.05 from Waterloo departed 3 minutes late due to "the signalman sending the Portsmouth train ahead of us".
11/10/05 06.35 from Southampton Central to Totton was cancelled due to "a temporary shortage of train crews".
12/10/05 One of the 3 downside ticket gates at Southampton Central taped off as "awaiting repair". 07.01 from Southampton Central to Weymouth was shown on the departure displays as cancelled. Strange freight workings this morning as passengers waiting on platform 1 at Southampton Central were treated to a trainload of Esso oil tanks, which screeched to a halt at the platform (at a volume which should have required ear protectors) before heading up the line, followed by a very long train of P&O Nedlloyd containers heading down the line. 06.30 from Southampton Central left a couple of minutes late - ran slow coming into and leaving Southampton Parkway due to "a backlog of trains following overrunning engineering works". Slow running through Byfleet & New Haw. Arrived at Waterloo at 07.57 – 11 minutes late.
13/10/05 London Underground has been taking lessons on making misleading announcements as the problems with the emergency brakes on Northern line stock which has led to the closure of the line is being reported as "problems connected to the signalling". Painfully loud announcement by the buffet steward on the 17.35 from Waterloo.
14/10/05 06.46 from Totton left 2 minutes late. 17.05 from Waterloo stopped as normal at Southampton Parkway where there was a long wait for the doors to open before the buffet steward made the announcement, "Could the guard open the doors in the rear five carriages" - according to a fellow passenger, this was the second time this had happened this week. Also delayed in the tunnel at Southampton Central, waiting for a platform to become available. At Southampton Central, passengers for Bournemouth were asking other passengers which half of the train they should be in.
17/10/05 06.30 from Southampton Central was a few minutes late into Waterloo due to "following a delayed service in the Brockenhurst area". The 18.05 from Waterloo was reported as being of 5 carriages only and a fellow passenger said it ran 20 minutes late.
18/10/05 06.14 arrival at Southampton Central from Portsmouth & Southsea was reported as being delayed by 16 minutes due to "awaiting a member of the train crew at Southampton Central" - which appeared to be a good trick! A fellow passenger commented that the franchise process must be gathering speed as the Meet the Managers session at Waterloo last week was attended by two directors rather than the usual supervisors. He had complained to them about the minimal publicity given to the decision to close the main line over Christmas - many people are unaware of this with the only announcement being buried in the "e-motion" magazine. 17.48 from Waterloo ran with only 5 carriages and a fellow passenger reported that the 18.05 from Waterloo had not arrived at Southampton Central by 19.42, making it at least 20 minutes late.
19/10/05 06.14 arrival at Southampton Central from Portsmouth & Southsea was 5 minutes late. 06.30 from Southampton Central was delayed by "two trains occupying the platforms" at Basingstoke and also stopped between Clapham Junction and Vauxhall - 13 minutes late at Waterloo. Doors on the rear unit of the 17.05 from Waterloo failed to open at Winchester and the guard had to make an announcement asking passengers to wait until he came down the train to sort the problem out. Several passengers asked the staff splitting the train at Southampton Central which half they should be in, as no announcement was made there on the train until after it divided (people wrongly in the rear half then had little or no time to get to the front half before it left).
20/10/05 06.15 Virgin Trains’ service from Southampton Central to Edinburgh was shown as "delayed" and 4 separate announcements were made that this was due to the train "awaiting a member of the train crew at Southampton Central", obviously untrue as there was no sign of the train. The 06.30 from Southampton Central was 7 minutes late departing due to "a temporary fault with the signal equipment at Bournemouth", but the platform indicators were still showing the first train at the platform as being the delayed 0615 service - very misleading for non-commuters, such as the typical long-distance Virgin passenger. Given the misleading platform indicators, presumably repeated at each station up the line, it was less than ideal that the guard's announcement at Winchester that the train would run non-stop to Waterloo came as the train had just left the station. A number of Virgin travellers obviously fell into the trap as the guard made a special (helpful) announcement at Waterloo for passengers who got on the train at Winchester expecting it to be going to Edinburgh, advising them on how they could continue their journeys (once they had paid extra to cross London on the Underground). 20.05 Waterloo-Poole was shown as departing from platform 13 with a change at Basingstoke; when passengers got there, they found it was the 20.09 to Portsmouth Harbour via Eastleigh service instead - cue general confusion. What the platform indicators had not managed to communicate was that the 20.05 would not run between Waterloo and Basingstoke and that passengers should take the 20.09 to Basingstoke where the stock for the 20.05 would be waiting for them. When questioned, the person at the information desk at Waterloo said that "two platforms there had technical problems" earlier in the day, and some services were terminating and starting at Basingstoke to reduce congestion up the line. The confusion was not helped by the guard on the Portsmouth Harbour train suggesting that Southampton line passengers change at Winchester instead of Basingstoke, which would run the risk of missing the connection if the Portsmouth train was overtaken before getting to Winchester. The 20.09 left on time, making an additional stop at Clapham Junction to pick up those waiting for the 20.05 and getting to Basingstoke 4 minutes late. The buffet trolley steward had to manhandle the trolley from the train onto the platform - no sign of a ramp - at some risk of injury I would have thought given her slight figure, even though the guard assisted her. No platform indicators at Basingstoke were showing any departure details and, in a nicely surreal touch, they were all showing clocks that were 2 hours behind time. By the time the stock for the notional 20.05 departed from Basingstoke, it was running 20 minutes behind schedule (or 1 hour 40 minutes early according to the Basingstoke time warp). The guard on the train apologised for the "mucking about" at Waterloo and then gave a different cause – apparently the problems were now due to a points failure at Basingstoke which stopped the train getting out of the sidings. At Winchester the indicators were not showing any departures and were running 1 hour behind time - same at Southampton Central where we arrived 23 minutes late.
21/10/05 05.48 from Totton was one minute late - excellent news as I would otherwise have missed it. The train indicators were working again at all stations apart from Eastleigh, where they were not showing any departures and the clocks were running 1 hour behind time. Two passengers joined the train at Winchester and had a slight contretemps across the table over who had the most space for their laptop. 16.05 from Waterloo was 5 carriages and was already full 5 minutes before departure time with many people standing; it did not have any free seats until Southampton Central - where they were all immediately filled up again (and more) with people getting on at Southampton - plenty of justification for running this service as a 10 carriage train. [Editorial comment: this train is always 5 coaches only, presumably because SWT is hiring 120 coaches fewer than promised.]
24/10/05 05.48 from Totton was two minutes late. 15.05 from Waterloo was 11 minutes late at Southampton Central - and the 16.35 Totton stopping service set off as it arrived, so hard luck for anyone trying to get the connection to Millbrook or Redbridge. The rear half of the train had to wait for the shuttle to clear the platform at Totton, so left there 20 minutes late.
PS. I was curious about the suspiciously generous timings for the last leg of some trains terminating at Southampton Central, so reviewed the current timetable on a dull journey.... The Monday-Friday journey times (with no intermediate stops) from Southampton Airport to Southampton Central are 6 minutes for Virgin Trains services and between 7 and 9 minutes for South West Trains services apart from the following, which all terminate at Southampton Central: 17.48 from Waterloo (12 minutes); 18.39 from Waterloo (17 minutes); and 21.45 from Reading (13 minutes). The corresponding Saturday journey times are between 6 and 8 minutes for Virgin Trains services and between 7 and 9 minutes for South West Trains services apart from the following, which all terminate at Southampton Central: 16.39 from Waterloo (10 minutes); 21.45 from Reading (12 minutes); and 22.45 from Reading (13 minutes). The Sunday journey times are between 6 and 8 minutes for Virgin Trains services and between 7 and 8 minutes for South West Trains services apart from the following, which terminates at Southampton Central: 21.48 from Reading (14 minutes).
31/10/05 No service at all from Totton this morning due to overrunning engineering works - arrived to find a taxi ordered to run as a replacement service to Redbridge, Millbrook and Southampton, but it already had 4 passengers for Southampton, so I drove to Southampton myself. Tried to get a free car parking ticket at Southampton Central but was told that I would have to go over to the ticket office on platform 1 to organise this, which would mean missing the London train, so had to pay the extortionate (unregulated) price for parking. Will try to claim it back - see future updates! A passenger from Brockenhurst reported later that a bus driver waiting there could not say when the bus would leave, meaning that he had no chance of getting to London on time for a meeting, so he turned round and went home again. A rail replacement bus was seen around 8am stuck in an enormous queue of traffic on Hunters Hill at Colbury, backlogged from emergency gas works on the Redbridge Causeway - and local radio was estimating 2 hours to get into Southampton!
01/11/05 Noted that the 06.26 Weymouth service was shown as 30 minutes late at Southampton Central - apparently due to signal problems at Basingstoke. 06.30 from Southampton Central left 3 minutes late and arrived Waterloo 6 minutes late - guard reported this was due to "earlier holdups just outside of Southampton". The guard on the 17.05 from Waterloo was making his announcements so loudly that a passenger was seen sticking his fingers in his ears every time he spoke.
02/11/05 A fellow passenger reported that some people did not get to work until 1pm on Monday due to the overrunning engineering works and the traffic blockages around Totton. Noted that the Caffe Ritazza frontage is in place on platform 1 but the notice advising that the longstanding building works would be completed by the end of October has disappeared - and the area behind the Caffe is still a building site. Also noted that the Ritazza "London Milan Paris ...." location list did not manage to find space for "Southampton Central station". The guard on the 06.30 from Southampton Central made the announcement that due to a fault he was unable to sell any more tickets and suggested that people pay on arrival at Waterloo. At Waterloo, passengers heading for Exeter were being redirected to travel on Great Western services from Paddington due to a landslip in the Crewkerne area. 17.05 from Waterloo was 7 minutes late at Totton - the guard made no announcement about the delay but did manage to advise us that the Southampton football match had been postponed, a message that was also on the departure indicator at Totton.
03/11/05 05.48 from Totton left 34 minutes late due to "a bike being thrown in front of this train at New Milton" and the need to turn the traction current off. It left Totton after the 06.07 to Yeovil Junction which was itself 8 minutes late leaving Totton (for no apparent reason having been in the yard at Totton well before its scheduled departure time). The 05.48 then ran to Southampton Central, Southampton Airport Parkway and direct to Waterloo, with passengers for its normal intermediate stations being told to change at Southampton Central for one of "several trains following that stop at these stations". Approaching Winchester, the automated announcement that the "next station is Winchester" was made, then the "this train is for Basingstoke, Woking and Clapham Junction" announcement followed. Similar announcements were made at Basingstoke, Woking and Clapham Junction, even though we had been told of the revised stopping pattern before we had even reached Southampton Central. Is there no override? If there is, have staff not been trained to use a system that has important safety implications? Arrived at Waterloo 20 minutes late (but how late would the passengers for the omitted stops turn out to be?). More woe for passengers travelling on the 18.05 from Waterloo - the 17.35 had been cancelled (apparently due to a problem with the doors) and two full peak-time trainloads of passengers were therefore crammed on board. Many had no seat until the first stop at Winchester, with some having no seat even then. Those (vainly) looking for spare seats at Waterloo would not have been helped by a member of the station staff telling them incorrectly at the train would split at Southampton. The 18.05 was delayed due to "congestion out of London Waterloo", and "by a stopping train in front of us", running 10 minutes late at Totton. A fellow passenger reported that the 17.05 had run as 5 carriages only and the guard had delayed departure to allow passengers without seats to cross the platform to the empty 17.35 if they wished to have a more comfortable journey! Hard luck if you took that option (which many did) as the 17.35 was then cancelled and the 18.05 grossly overcrowded and running late. Remind me what this rail privatisation was supposed to achieve!
04/11/05 06.30 from Southampton Central was shown on the indicator boards as 2 minutes late right up to 06.30, when it was then reported as "Delayed" and then 8 minutes late, updating whenever we got to within 2 minutes of the displayed departure time until the train actually arrived at 0645. Apparently a slow-moving leaf-clearing train had inexplicably been allowed to go ahead of the train at Brockenhurst - we eventually overtook it at St Denys. Slow progress through Southampton Parkway and an additional stop was made at Eastleigh - believed to be to allow the guard for the 06.50 service from Southampton Parkway to join his train starting today at Eastleigh (due to his absence at Parkway after having been delayed on a Portsmouth-Southampton service, missing his "connection" and having to travel on the delayed 06.30 from Southampton). Our guard made an announcement at Eastleigh but did not give any reason for the delays or additional stop. Many passengers at Winchester declined to join the train as we were already full when we arrived there. Further up the line, the guard apologised for the delay which was due to "a variety of reasons" including "emergency speed restrictions at Totton" and the unscheduled stop at Eastleigh (but with no reason given for the stop) - but no mention of the major cause being the leaf-clearing train as eye-witnessed by Brockenhurst commuters. At Waterloo the station announcement gave a different version of events, with the delay being caused at Bournemouth. On the 17.05, between Basingstoke and Winchester, the guard was called by the driver and then announced that we would be "delayed en route to Winchester and Southampton behind a slow-running train" which could not be passed before Winchester, but we were in any event just 90 seconds late into Winchester. However, from Southampton we followed a Virgin train to Totton and were 9 minutes late there.
07/11/05 All the departure indicators at Southampton Central were showing "We regret we are unable to display train running information at present". At Winchester all the departure indicators were showing "Welcome to Winchester", with no train running information. 18.05 from Waterloo left 10 minutes late due to "earlier signal problems in the Wimbledon area" - 11 minutes late at Southampton.
08/11/05 05.48 from Totton left 4 minutes late. At Eastleigh, the departure indicators were showing "We regret that owing to a fault no information can be displayed at present." On the 17.05 from Waterloo, the guard asked that tickets not "be at the bottom of a bag, to make my life easier".
09/11/05 While waiting for the 09.51 from Totton, noted one passenger struggling to use the ticket machine on the platform and trying to go to the ticket office which was locked. Also a passenger tried to go into the waiting room but found that similarly locked. The guard of the 09.51 (which was particularly in need of an external clean) apologised that he had not had time to come through the train due to having to operate the doors and the number of stations coming up to Southampton - he said he would pass the information on to the new guard at Southampton who would have time to pass through the train and sell any tickets required. No seat until Winchester on the 17.05 from Waterloo.
10/11/05 Staff by the platform 4 gates at Southampton Central at about 06.25 appeared to be more concerned with having a chat with a colleague than manning the gate. Guard on the 18.35 from Waterloo made announcements about reporting unattended packages on the grounds of "national security" and gave the arrival time at Weymouth as "depending on how we get on".
11/11/05 18.35 left Waterloo 5 minutes late and was running 15 minutes late by Winchester due to "delayed arrival of train stock and slow running through Clapham Junction" - 11 minutes late at Southampton Central.
14/11/05 Having been left as a building site for many months, the area behind the new Ritazza unit at Southampton Central is now being worked on - causing the buffet on platform 1 to be closed for two weeks. A large new screen has appeared over the entrance to platform 1, but its contribution to passenger information is negative as both it and the previously working two screens next to it are all blank. Around 18.30, a couple of young men were playing football in the disabled parking bay at Totton station, close to parked cars.
15/11/05 Overloud announcements by the guard on the 06.30 from Southampton Central. On the 17.05 from Waterloo a large party of young men missed the Weymouth half of the train - announcements had been made advising passengers to be in the correct half, but they thought that they were in the front half when in fact they were in the rear half - a distinction difficult to make if you are not a regular passenger. After the group got off the train they saw the front half disappearing into the night. The platform staff standing nearby did not advise them to get back on the rear half, so that they could at least travel further down the line, so the party was left at Southampton Central.
16/11/05 Noted that the Southern notice about the December timetable changes talks about improving "connections", whatever they are - we are told such things do not exist on SWT! Despite the sign on the closed buffet stating that "Our Ritazza unit will be open as normal", it was closed until 06.20 and then opened with only one staff member. 17.35 from Waterloo delayed at Southampton Central awaiting a crew member for the rear half of the train. Yet another passenger found himself in the wrong half of the train, which splits at Southampton – he was overheard on his phone saying "I was sure I was in the front half". Arrived at Totton 5 minutes late, where passengers were greeted by the sight of a young man rollerblading unsteadily through the station car park.
17/11/05 06.07 from Totton was cancelled after having appeared on the departure indicators as being on time until 06.02, and will apparently start from Southampton Central today. This will be most likely due to being late out of the depot at Salisbury, which would have given plenty of time for restorative action, but with the short notice cancellation it was left to the ticket office manager at Totton to try and get the 05.45 from Poole to pick up additionally at Totton (a scheduled stop for the corresponding service on Saturdays which it manages to achieve with exactly the same Brockenhurst and Southampton Central timings). The short notice meant that it was already too late to organise taxis; the taxi contract is with a company in Southampton who would not have had time to drive out to pick up passengers. After 5 minutes of waiting to get through, the manager reported that "they will try to do something", but there was no certainty of action until the 06.22 departure appeared on the indicator, by which time some passengers were on the point of driving to Southampton to be sure of catching the train there. A Brockenhurst passenger subsequently commented that we wouldn't have had the additional stop at Totton if the train hadn't already been running late due to "icy conditions". The train additionally stopped at Redbridge (where nobody normally gets on) but not at Millbrook (where two people normally get on) as this would involve asking the Network Rail signalman to change us to the slow line instead of our normal fast line through the station. The train was 4 minutes late leaving Totton and 5 minutes late at Southampton Central, where the departure indicators reported the delay as being due to the additional stops. This was repeated at other stations up the line and in on-board announcements, without mentioning either that the train was already running late or the reason for the additional stops being a SWT cancellation. 16.35 from Waterloo was slightly behind time at Southampton Central. The screen on platform 4 showing departures from other platforms was blank. Caught the 17.56 from Southampton Central, but only after double-checking that the 1st train displayed on the departure indicator was not actually the one standing at the platform (and observing at least two other passengers doing the same and also noting that the train guard could not explain the misleading sign) - the first train displayed on platform 3b was "17.52 TERMINATES HERE" but this only referred to platform 3a, while the train actually standing at platform 3b was the 2nd train listed on the departure indicator - very confusing and misleading!
18/11/05 The new screen and the two original screens over the entrance to platform 1 at Southampton Central remain blank. Interestingly, the poster stand that had on Wednesday shown timetable changes for Southern had been reversed so that South West Trains information was displayed to passengers coming onto the platform, with the Southern information now round the back of the stand, obstructed by platform seating. Just before passing through Woking at about 07.20, the guard on the 06.30 from Southampton Central made an announcement about a "reported fire in the Clapham Junction area" and that "everything is in a standstill at Clapham Junction" A passenger then mentioned that, at 06.10, Radio 4 had been reporting severe delays around Clapham Junction, but that he had discounted this information as the SWT departure indicators at his local station showed a perfectly running service. Guard announced that there was a "queue of trains in the Surbiton area"; then that we had been "requested by the signalman to stop at Surbiton to pick up passengers" - this appeared to be a Portsmouth service cancelled at Surbiton and the incoming trainful of passengers (none of whom got a seat) advised us that they had been told that the problem was a cable fire. Guard then announced we would be "standing at Surbiton until further instructions from the signaller". Then "any passengers requiring to go back to Woking, there is train at platform 2". And "looks like there will be a substantial delay getting into London Waterloo". Left Surbiton at 07.50. Guard reported "services are passing slowly through Clapham Junction". Came to a halt shortly after leaving Surbiton due to "awaiting signal due to congestion in the Clapham Junction area". Progressed slowly to Wimbledon where, as we passed through at 08.15, a platform indicator was seen showing a 06.38 departure to London Waterloo as "delayed". No opportunity was given for our passengers to change at Wimbledon to other services such as Thameslink or the District Line. Guard could not give an estimate of the delay into Waterloo. Passed slowly through Clapham Junction at 08.30 (a platform indicator was showing a 07.38 departure as due at 06.21), noting some workmen digging around some smouldering cables. Then ran without further delay into London Waterloo, arriving at 08.38, 54 minutes late. On the 18.35 from Waterloo, a passenger had to check with 3 other passengers before she was sure she was in the correct half of the train for her destination - given some people's experiences of getting this wrong recently, this was perhaps a wise move, but there must be a way of showing which half of the train you are in by some method in the carriage itself.
Noting that the re-franchising consultation document from the DfT requires ticket gates at additional stations such as Southampton Airport Parkway and Winchester, a fellow passenger mentioned this week that the Platform 4 ticket gates at Southampton Central had not been working properly for the last two weeks.
21/11/05 06.30 from Southampton Central: I had a spike sticking out from underneath my seat. Just before we reached Waterloo, the senior conductress went through the carriage making a late ticket check and then had to push back through those passengers who had started standing up in preparation for arrival. On the 17.05 from Waterloo, 10 people in 3 parties were independently unsure whether they were in the correct half of the train at Southampton. Multiple announcements were made on the approach to Southampton about the need to be in the correct half of the train, all to no purpose as there is no indication in the carriages where you are in the train - not a problem for regular commuters but appallingly bad customer service for occasional passengers who generally get it wrong. By the time the new guard for the rear half of the train makes an announcement, the front half of the train has usually left the station.
22/11/05 At 06.20 the 05.47 from Southampton Central to Eastleigh had not left and was shown as shortly to depart from platform 3, where the Yeovil Junction service was currently standing. The Yeovil service was hastily reassigned to platform 3A and the Eastleigh service to 3B before both services left behind schedule. The 06.35 to Totton was announced as "17 minutes late due to temporary problems with the signalling equipment at Salisbury". The second coach of the 06.30 to London Waterloo was suffering from a distinct lack of heating - 7 minutes late at Southampton Parkway due to "following the delayed Southampton-Eastleigh service". Also ran slowly through Eastleigh, apparently due to waiting for the delayed Totton shuttle to cross the tracks ahead of us - 10 minutes late at Winchester. When the guard was asked the reason for the cold carriage he said he would "check the cupboards in a minute" - also overheard another passenger asking the same thing. Guard subsequently announced to the carriage in general (without checking that the passengers raising the question had heard him and somewhat indistinctly as he was some way down the carriage) that "there is nothing I can do about the heating", and he would report the problem to the depot and indicated that he would arrange for free hot drinks to be served. However, the trolley did not come through the carriage until 5 minutes before we were due to arrive at Waterloo and when it did, there was no hot water with which to provide the drinks. A passenger asked for a bottle of water instead, to be told that only hot drinks were free! Arrived at Waterloo 19 minutes late (as announced by the guard, but 22 minutes late by the clocks in the station). Checking the SWT website for any disruption to the train service before leaving work, the "How's my train running" link reported "An error in the application has occured" (sic). The guard’s announcements on the rear portion of the 17.05 from Waterloo were inaudible after the split at Southampton Central.
23/11/05 Arrived at Southampton Central in good time for the 06.30 to find a queue of three people waiting for the single staff member with a portable ticket machine (the ticket office at the platform 4 exit always now being closed at this time of day) - and one of those queuing had a complicated ticketing and timetabling query, leaving only a very few minutes to purchase a car parking ticket and sprint across to platform 1. None of the departure indicators on Southampton Central were working, so it was a surprise to get to platform 1 to find a Virgin train pulling into the platform from the direction of Eastleigh instead of the expected 06.30 to Waterloo. At 06.29 the departure indicators sprang into life to show the 06.15 Virgin service as "Delayed" and the 06.30 to Waterloo as due in on time. At 06.31, the Virgin train having left, the departure indicators went off again to be replaced with the message that no information can be displayed at present. A station announcement said that this was "due to a technical fault". The 06.30 left Southampton Central 7 minutes late with the guard confusingly reporting that this was "due to signalling problems between New Milton and Sway". Departure indicators not working at either Southampton Airport Parkway or Winchester. Arrived at Waterloo 15 minutes late. In the evening, I noted a distinctly icy welcome at Brockenhurst around 22.00 where, despite the message on the indicator boards to "please take care in the wintry conditions", the waiting room was locked - and the toilets out of order "due to problems with the main sewer".
24/11/05 At 06.27 a freight train ran through platform 1 at Southampton Central, with the previously on-time 06.30 to Waterloo leaving 2 minutes late as a result. Left Winchester 3 minutes late and 3 minutes late into Waterloo. 19.35 from Waterloo was 7 minutes late at Southampton Central - there was no soap and barely any running water in the disabled toilet on this service.
25/11/05 Departure indicators at Millbrook not working. Announcement at Southampton Central "due to increased security...." - surely "decreased security" - the guard on the 06.30 got it right with "due to increased security concerns..." 06.30 from Southampton Central left 2 minutes late, and 2 minutes late from Winchester. Stopped alongside another service just before Farnborough - never a good sign! Trackside workers were standing next to a signal gantry. Guard then announced that he was "extremely sorry to report, that there are major signalling problems in this area, with delays of 60 minutes getting into Waterloo". A fellow passenger commented that he had noticed a Weymouth service had been shown at Southampton Central as "Delayed" when he was waiting to board the 06.30, leading him to conclude that the major problems were known about before our service left Southampton Central but (yet again!) no warning given to passengers of serious problems, to allow them to make their own decision about whether to travel. At Farnborough the indicators showed a 06.46 departure as "Delayed" at 07.31. Further trackside staff were seen with flags and mobile phones. At 07.40 the guard reported that we may have gone past the affected signals. Guard made announcement when approaching Waterloo "at long last, 31 minutes late" apologising for the delay due to "complete signal failure between Fleet and Farnborough"; after a slow entry to Waterloo, arrived 35 minutes late. In the afternoon, arrived at Waterloo in time for the 17.05 departure to find only 5 departures listed from Waterloo. According to enquiry desk staff, there had been a fatality at Surbiton and no services were currently running into Waterloo. A very limited service was running outbound to Woking, and Salisbury/Exeter passengers were advised to join it, to the obvious annoyance of one passenger who said he had not got on a Woking service as he had no information about onward services. Passengers for Southampton and Bournemouth were advised to remain at Waterloo. However, after 20 further minutes an announcement was made that Portsmouth, Southampton and Weymouth passengers should in fact travel to Woking and change there. A massive crush developed immediately for the only Woking service available. I hung back from that, and the next service (a Woking/Guildford special), and shortly afterwards managed to be one of the first on the delayed 17.09 to Portsmouth via Winchester which left at 17.38. After making reasonable progress down the line, it was very annoying to find ourselves standing for an extended period just outside Woking waiting "for a platform to become available". When we pulled into Woking, it was no surprise to find a very large number of people waiting on the platform. After some people got off our service, the train refilled to overflowing (the guard warning of delay if he couldn't close the doors), while still leaving many on the platform. Left Woking at 18.35. The whole saga was repeated outside Basingstoke with another long wait for an available platform. Left Basingstoke 19.20 (against a timetabled departure of 17.54). As we were leaving, I saw that the 17.35 from Waterloo to Weymouth and Poole service was shown as being 2 minutes behind at 19.22 - fortunately it did not overtake us before Winchester and we got to the latter at 19.40 (running 1 hour 25 minutes late) where I got out to change to the following 17.35 from Waterloo which left at 19.45 (itself 1 hour 14 minutes late). The indicators at Winchester had only showed the current train, not any following trains, so passengers were dependent on guard and station announcements about whether to change here or, for example, carry on to Eastleigh - sadly there were no such announcements (just the standard ones like those made every day) so passengers were left to work it out for themselves. According to the guard on the 17.35, the fatality had been in the Hampton Court Junction area. On arrival at Southampton I was asked by two other passengers which half of the train we were in - so at least one part of today's journeys was normal! A fellow commuter travelling to Christchurch had followed the advice at Waterloo and had managed to get to Southampton via 3 trains - a crammed train to Woking where a subsequent train to Basingstoke could not be boarded because of the number of passengers on the platform, eventually getting another train to Basingstoke and then another to Southampton. This commuter observed that many trains that had been terminated early had just been left empty blocking platforms - and there were no staff anywhere to be seen. He had also been on the 07.00 from Southampton Central this morning, getting into Waterloo almost 2 hours late at 10.10 after having been told after leaving Southampton that there might be a 20 minutes delay, so he had suffered a truly appalling day. I eventually arrived at Totton at 20.14, 1 hour 44 minutes after I should have arrived there.
Commuter stress is well-recognised as a serious phenomenon, for example by the Commons Transport Select Committee, in a recent report on overcrowding. Such is government concern about stress in the workforce that Wednesday 2 November was designated National Stress Awareness Day by the Health and Safety Executive. So what did we get to relieve commuter stress in that week? (1) Proposals which would ban commuters from having a quiet drink on their evening train, and favoured by virtually no one except the British Transport Police. (2) The suggestion of higher fares for arriving in Waterloo between 08.00 and 09.00, even though Britain’s rail fares are already much higher than in the rest of Europe. (3) The threat of airport-style scanners at rail stations, which would severely slow passengers, cause inhuman crowding in the peaks, and almost certainly reduce capacity.
Christian Wolmar in the Evening Standard of 4 November asked why the Government wanted to punish commuters, and it did seem like that to the ordinary rail user. However:
- It now looks unlikely that a drinks ban will proceed – concerns about allowing the police to lead on policy were a factor in the Government’s defeat in the Commons on 9 November, and a ban would raise the “nanny state” question.
- The greedier private train operators are always looking for ways of increasing their huge profits. The Secretary of State has in the past been reported as being firmly against restraining passenger growth through fare increases. One report has already suggested that passengers arriving in London before 08.00 might benefit from lower fares, though not clear whether that means lower than existing levels or lower than enhanced fares for those arriving between 08.00 and 09.00. However, the large fare increases in the new SET franchise scarcely give grounds for optimism.
- The Secretary of State clarified in the Evening Standard of 8 November that the use of scanners in relation to the Heathrow Express service is a very limited trial and the Government realises that an airport-style system is “totally impractical on the Underground and rail network”. While nobody has said precisely what use might be made of such checks in the railway environment, we might conjecture that security at special high-profile events like the 2012 Olympic Games is in mind.
Sometimes the world seems to have gone mad. Someone who is delayed en route to their station, and jumps aboard a waiting train before the doors are locked in their face Stagecoach-fashion, could be charged a £20 penalty for travelling even a couple of miles without a ticket. The alternative, which they are required to choose, is to sit on a perhaps-unstaffed station for perhaps an hour or longer after staying to buy a ticket.
Commuters have long subsidised off-peak rail users but, as above, there is an apparently unquenchable thirst to take more money from them, notwithstanding that they already pay greatly higher fares than their counterparts in mainland Europe.
Then Stagecoach decides to let people travel between Southampton or Portsmouth and Waterloo for just £1.00, presumably as a re-franchising gimmick.
The available trains are (1) the 09.55, 12.55 and 20.55 from Southampton to Waterloo on Mondays to Saturdays; (2) the 08.39, 11.39 and 21.39 from Waterloo to Southampton on Mondays to Saturdays; (3) the 12.45, 14.24, 19.15 and 20.15 Portsmouth to Waterloo on Mondays to Saturdays and 20.45 on Saturdays; and (4) the 05.20, 06.15, 12.00 and 22.30 Waterloo to Portsmouth on Mondays to Fridays, and 07.30, 12.00, 21.30 and 22.30 on Saturdays.
* Some delegates to the Conservative party conference at the beginning of October got to Blackpool late due to Network Rail’s engineering works.
* Someone in the Association of Train Operating Companies apparently noticed that civil partnerships would be introduced from December. The new edition of the leaflet on the Extended Family Railcard (which reduces the savings available with the former Family Railcard) depicts 4 white men, 3 white boys, and a white girl dressed - rather insensitively - as a Christmas fairy, on its front cover. The former edition had 2 white couples, 2 white boys and 2 white girls. Political correctness of sorts? The ASA has declined to act.
* The ticket machines on the Grenoble tramway system are multi-lingual. Choose the English version and they welcome you to Croydon Tramlink!
* Have you spotted the notices on the Desiro’s WCs telling you not to flush while sitting down? One good reason for this is that the flush button would be behind your back. But it’s good of SWT to focus on contortionists when they have so little customer focus generally.
* The decision to award the South Eastern Trains Franchise to Govia was apparently unexpected since it saw a spectacular overnight movement in the direction of Go-Ahead Group’s shares. One day they slumped 27p and the next day rose by more than £1.
* Trains will not be able to run through Woking from Christmas Day to 2 January inclusive, owing to engineering works. Trains from Weymouth and Poole will run to Waterloo via Fareham, Guildford, and Surbiton. Portsmouth-Waterloo services will be reduced to hourly. SWT has produced a leaflet but this unhelpfully fails to give the times of services.
* There are virtually no changes of significance to South Hampshire passengers in the new timetable from 11/12/2005. The through service to Aberdeen will go only as far as Edinburgh and the 07.35 from Waterloo will make extra stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth to allow a local stopping service to be axed.
RAIL PERFORMANCE REPORTS
Note: These details are snapshots, based on passengers' own experiences and website information. The Group does not have the resources to provide a full picture of the performance shortcomings which passengers suffer. We are able to provide fuller coverage on some days than on others. Please note that trains can become increasingly late during the course of their journeys, or make up time where stops are omitted and passengers thrown off, so the "minutes late" figures may not represent the position at the end of a journey.
WITH THE OCCASIONAL LEAF FALLING, SOME EARLY TRAINS FROM WEYMOUTH AND PORTSMOUTH TO WATERLOO WERE SLOWED EVEN MORE FROM THE BEGINNING OF OCTOBER (THE SWT TIMETABLE IS ALREADY THE SLOWEST SINCE STEAM DAYS). BBC TV SOUTH REPORTED SWT AS SAYING IT WAS UNABLE TO FIND A CURE, BUT LEAVES ON THE LINE ARE AN INFRASTRUCTURE PROBLEM FOR NETWORK RAIL AND BIG IMPROVEMENTS WERE ACHIEVED LAST YEAR.
Saturday 1/10/05 Duff stock on the 10.16 Waterloo-Chessington caused widespread delays to mainline stopping services from Waterloo. 10.20 Waterloo-Woking 18 minutes late. 10.24 Waterloo-Dorking 21 minutes late. 10.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 28 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Kingston axed for operational convenience. 10.33 Waterloo-Guildford omitted all intermediate stops before Surbiton for operational convenience. 11.09 Waterloo-Guildford axed between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 11.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 17.50 Waterloo-Woking 23 minutes late. 17.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 18.15 Waterloo-Haslemere 12 minutes late. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.03 Waterloo-Guildford 15 minutes late.
Sunday 2/10/05 07.42 Portsmouth-Southampton 15 minutes late. 09.40 Romsey-Totton axed due to duff stock. 15.59 Windsor-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late due to no driver.
Monday 3/10/05 06.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 06.44 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late; stops at Petersfield, Liss and Liphook axed for operational convenience. 07.22 Epsom-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 07.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 08.00 Shepperton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 08.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court 16 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton axed for operational convenience. 08.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 10 minutes late. 08.16 Waterloo-Chessington 10 minutes late. 08.20 Waterloo-Woking 11 minutes late. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 14 minutes late due to duff stock. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late. 10.58 Waterloo-Windsor 11 minutes late due to duff stock. 15.52 Bristol-Salisbury 17 minutes late due to duff stock. 15.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 16.12 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 16.20 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 36 minutes late. 17.50 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.12 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 18.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 18.32 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 18.39 Waterloo-Guildford 19 minutes late due to duff stock. 19.55 Southampton-Waterloo 18 minutes late.
Tuesday 4/10/05 ‘Live Running’ information system on SWT’s website inoperative. 12.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 13.05 Dorking-Waterloo 41 minutes late. 13.35 Dorking-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 15.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 15.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 25 minutes late. 20.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 16 minutes late.
Wednesday 5/10/05 ‘Live Running’ information system on SWT’s website inoperative throughout the morning. 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 05.49 Weymouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.43 Cosham-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 06.40 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.45 Southampton-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 07.52 Basingstoke-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 08.14 Guildford-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 08.17 Woking-Waterloo axed. 08.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 30 minutes late; Farncombe and Godalming stops axed for operational convenience. 09.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 23 minutes late starting; with the Woking and Farnborough stops axed for operational convenience, it was 11 minutes late by Fratton. 12.20 Waterloo-Reading 28 minutes late due to no rolling stock; all intermediate stops before Staines axed for operational convenience even though the 12.50 service was 15 minutes late. 12.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late due to no crew. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late. 14.03 Waterloo-Guildford 18 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops before Surbiton axed for operational convenience. 16.50 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 18.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court reduced to 4 coaches. 18.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed due to duff stock. 19.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 20.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Thursday 6/10/05 On its departure from Waterloo, conductor of the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth/Poole announced it as if the whole train were calling at all the scheduled stops; only on the approach to Southampton Central did he announce that the train was about to split. On arrival, the train was advertised as the 18.10 to Cardiff Central though, after a couple of minutes, the screen changed to “Welcome to Southampton Central”. Many confused passengers from this latest shambles. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 17.58 Guildford-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 18.05 Guildford-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 61 minutes late. 18.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 19.20 Waterloo-Honiton 11 minutes late.
Friday 7/10/05 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole downgraded to class 444 Desiro units; a passenger wishing to alight at Totton found himself trapped in a saloon due to a duff internal door; the door was forced open with the help of a passenger on the other side, and then opened and shut itself incessantly.
Saturday 8/10/05 ENGINEERING WORK BETWEEN TOTTON AND BROCKENHURST; TRAINS FROM WATERLOO TERMINATED AT SOUTHAMPTON CENTRAL, WITH SCHEDULES BETWEEN SOUTHAMPTON AIRPORT AND CENTRAL STATIONS INFLATED BY 1-2 MINUTES TO CHEAT ON PERFORMANCE. SERVICE FROM BEAULIEU ROAD EXTINGUISHED, WITH NO ALTERNATIVE ROAD PROVISION. OTHER TIMINGS ALSO INFLATED; FOR EXAMPLE, THE 18.45 SALISBURY-WATERLOO GIVEN AN EXTRA 7 MINUTES FROM WOKING AND EXPECTED TO ARRIVE 10 MINUTES “EARLY”. 12.01 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver. 13.23 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 13.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 14.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 17.55 Southampton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.23 Axminster-Exeter axed. 21.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 22.08 Staines-Waterloo 32 minutes late.
Sunday 9/10/05 ENGINEERING WORK BETWEEN SOUTHAMPTON AND BROCKENHURST: THE HOURLY, DAY-LONG, SERVICE AT BEAULIEU ROAD SIMPLY AXED WITH NO ALTERNATIVE PROVISION ADVERTISED. EXTRAORDINARY SCHEDULING TO HELP CHEAT ON STATISTICS; FOR EXAMPLE THE 07.16 BASINGSTOKE-WATERLOO ALLOWED 17 MINUTES TO GET FROM CLAPHAM JUNCTION TO WATERLOO AND THE 07.34 PETERSFIELD-WATERLOO ALLOWED 19 MINUTES. Passengers on the 01.05 Waterloo-Southampton thrown off at Basingstoke due to there being no driver provided. 11.57 Salisbury-Bristol axed due to duff stock. 12.45 Staines-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 16.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. Afternoon passengers reported having been waiting an hour at Ashurst for a replacement westbound bus.
Monday 10/10/05 A Staines commuter reported being half an hour late to work due to huge ticket queues; only one ticket window staffed, and only one other member of staff with a portable ticket machine to help. At various times of day, many arrivals and departures at Waterloo a few minutes late despite the slack schedules. 06.43 Cosham-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late.
Tuesday 11/10/05 05.41 Salisbury-Totton axed due to SWT’s crew shortage. Delayed 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton arrived at Southampton Central with 15 seconds in hand before it was due to return as the 06.21 to Portsmouth. The guard told a member of platform staff to stop waving his baton as the driver needed time to walk through the train. Eventually, a two-minute turn-round time was achieved. This does serve to highlight the severe shortage of rolling stock on SWT. 08.20 Waterloo-Woking axed due to duff stock. 17.56 departure stood at Southampton Central, right up to departure time, with the screens showing “1. 17.52 Terminates here; 2. 17.56 Bournemouth”. The 17.52 arrival from Victoria was held inside Southampton tunnel for over 3 minutes ensuring that it missed the connection with the Bournemouth train. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 18.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 20.10 Chessington-Waterloo 9 minutes late.
Wednesday 12/10/05 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth axed. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 11.28 Waterloo-Windsor delayed due to no crew. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late. Passengers on the 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton thrown off at Basingstoke; no reason advertised. 14.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 14 minutes late. 15.51 Windsor-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 15.57 Brighton-Reading 23 minutes late. 16.12 Reading-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 16.51 Windsor-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.57 Brighton-Reading 23 minutes late. 18.58 Waterloo-Windsor 16 minutes late.
Thursday 13/10/05 05.15 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Salisbury due to duff stock. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. Many morning peak arrivals at Waterloo several minutes late despite the very slack scheduling. 07.20 Poole-Waterloo 53 minutes late; stops at Fleet and Farnborough axed for operational convenience. 07.58 Weymouth-Waterloo 44 minutes late. 08.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 08.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 41 minutes late due to duff stock; Farnborough stop axed for operational convenience. 08.54 Poole-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 09.55 Southampton-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 10.52 Waterloo-Weybridge axed due to duff stock. 11.05 Waterloo-Poole 20 minutes late; stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed for operational convenience. 11.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 11.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 23 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham, except Clapham Junction, axed for operational convenience. 11.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 11.54 Waterloo-Dorking 25 minutes late due to no crew; omitted all intermediate stops before Epsom for operation. 12.05 Waterloo-Poole 22 minutes late. 12.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 24 minutes late. 12.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 15.58 Waterloo-Windsor 11 minutes late due to duff stock. 16.50 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late due to duff stock. 17.20 Waterloo-Reading only 7 minutes late due to duff stock, but stops at Clapham Junction, Richmond and Twickenham axed for operational convenience. 17.39 Waterloo-Effingham Junction axed due to duff stock. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 18.59 Effingham Junction-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 21.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth advertised as axed due to no guard, but actually ran a few minutes late. 21.39 Waterloo-Southampton axed due to no guard.
Friday 14/10/05 Many morning arrivals at Waterloo a few minutes late despite the very slack timetable. 06.32 Haslemere-Waterloo and 07.53 Waterloo-Alton advertised as axed and then reinstated. 07.17 Southampton-Portsmouth 16 minutes late due to duff stock. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Staines and Waterloo axed for operational convenience. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 07.50 Teddington-Waterloo axed between Teddington and Wimbledon; 08.20 ran fast from Kingston to Wimbledon due to “unusually large passenger flow”! 12.01 Poole-Waterloo 28 minutes late due to duff stock. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 14.19 Portsmouth-Waterloo stopping service departed 34 minutes late due to no crew; all stops between Portsmouth Harbour and Waterloo axed for operational convenience, and lots of thin air arrived in London only 8 minutes late. 14.24 Basingstoke-Fareham 25 minutes late due to no crew; passengers thrown off at Eastleigh. 14.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 15.37 Haslemere-Waterloo 16 minutes late due to no crew; Clapham Junction stop axed for operational convenience. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock.
Saturday 15/10/05 AS ON THE PRECEDING SATURDAY, SERVICE FROM BEAULIEU ROAD SIMPLY EXTINGUISHED DUE TO ENGINEERING WORKS. 12.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 16.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 15 minutes late. 16.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed between Waterloo and Woking. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 9 minutes late. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 20 minutes late; 21.12 29 minutes late. Announced at 16.15 that the 23.08 Romsey-Southampton would be axed due to no driver.
Sunday 16/10/05 07.26 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no guard. 07.35 Woking-Waterloo axed. 08.07 Waterloo-Basingstoke 22 minutes due to duff stock. 08.15 Waterloo-Plymouth 28 minutes late due to no rolling stock. 08.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 08.49 Woking-Alton 20 minutes late due to duff stock. Passengers on the 09.15 Waterloo-Exeter thrown off at Basingstoke due to duff stock. 09.26 Salisbury-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 13.54 Waterloo-Bournemouth 25 minutes late due to duff stock. 14.00 Plymouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 15.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late due to duff stock. 15.24 Eastleigh-Portsmouth 20 minutes late due to duff stock. Fatality at Wimbledon. 15.25 Yeovil-Waterloo 52 minutes late. 15.49 Newton Abbot-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 16.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.02 Reading-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.07 Waterloo-Basingstoke 91 minutes late. 17.09 Shepperton-Waterloo 42 minutes late. 17.15 Waterloo-Paignton 88 minutes late. 17.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 17.24 Epsom-Waterloo 51 minutes late. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 82 minutes late. 17.34 Barnes-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Southampton 82 minutes late. 17.42 Chessington-Waterloo 37 minutes late. 17.42 Guildford-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 17.45 Alton/17.50 Basingstoke-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 58 minutes late. 18.02 Reading-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 18.15 Waterloo-Yeovil 82 minutes late. 18.15 Alton/18.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.25 Southampton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 18.44 Waterloo-Staines 21 minutes late. 18.46 Barnham/19.15 Waterloo-Exeter 27 minutes late. 18.56 Guildford-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 18.57 Waterloo-Hampton Court 16 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Guildford 16 minutes late. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 30 minutes late. 19.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 19.25 Southampton-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 19.37 Waterloo-Basingstoke 31 minutes late. 19.42 Guildford-Waterloo 53 minutes late. 19.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 20.00 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 20.07 Waterloo-Basingstoke 21 minutes late. 20.10 Waterloo-Guildford 38 minutes late. 20.15 Waterloo-Yeovil axed. 20.20 Staines-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.48 Waterloo-Shepperton 23 minutes late. 21.12 Chessington-Waterloo 21 minutes late.
Monday 17/10/05 05.20 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late due to no crew. 06.19 Woking-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 06.45 Southampton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo 42 minutes late due to broken down train. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 07.50 Teddington-Waterloo axed between Teddington and Wimbledon. 08.20 Teddington-Waterloo axed between Teddington and Wimbledon and reduced to 4 coaches. 08.46 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Many arrivals at Waterloo a few minutes late throughout the day. 15.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late.
Tuesday 18/10/05 07.50 Waterloo-Reading 14 minutes late due to duff stock; intermediate stops between Clapham Junction and Staines axed for operational convenience. Many afternoon trains a few minutes late arriving at Waterloo. 14.42 Reading-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 15.12 Reading-Waterloo 31 minutes late. Passengers on the 15.22 Waterloo-Weybridge thrown off at Feltham. 15.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Waterloo and Norbiton axed for operational convenience. 15.50 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late. 17.28 Waterloo-Windsor 29 minutes late. 17.30 Waterloo-Reading axed due to duff stock. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 17.41 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 17.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 18 minutes late. 17.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton reduced to 5 coaches. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 17.51 Windsor-Waterloo axed between Windsor and Staines. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 20 minutes late. 18.11 Waterloo-Basingstoke 19 minutes late. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton 16 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late. 19.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 19.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 34 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Twickenham axed for operational convenience. 19.28 Waterloo-Windsor 17 minutes late. 19.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Wokingham. 20.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 20.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 18 minutes late. 22.09 Waterloo-Dorking 9 minutes late due to duff stock. 22.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking due to no rolling stock.
Wednesday 19/10/05 Signalling problems in the Vauxhall area during the morning peak. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 05.49 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.19 Weymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. O6.42 Hilsea-Waterloo axed. 06.43 Cosham-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 07.04 Guildford-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 07.14 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.30 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 07.32 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.46 West Byfleet-Waterloo axed. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches and 28 minutes late. 08.00 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 08.04 Guildford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 08.20 Waterloo-Exeter 11 minutes late. 08.25 Exeter/08.52 Bristol-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 45 minutes late. 08.39 Waterloo-Southampton 27 minutes late. 08.43 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 08.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 27 minutes late. 08.53 Waterloo-Alton 35 minutes late. 08.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 09.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 19 minutes late. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 33 minutes late. 09.10 Chessington-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 09.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 15 minutes late. 09.23 Waterloo-Alton 10 minutes late. 09.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 11.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late. 16.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham due to duff stock. Many evening services up to around 8 minutes late into Waterloo despite the slack schedules. Big evening delays on the Windsor lines due to duff train at North Sheen. 20.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 20.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo axed. 21.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 21.12 Reading-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 21.23 Ascot-Guildford 28 minutes late due to no crew; all intermediate stops for operational convenience.21.52 Waterloo-Weybridge 30 minutes late due to no crew. 22.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed.
Thursday 20/10/05 16.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth severely overcrowded and called additionally at Woking which it left about 10 minutes late. 17.39 Wate5rloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 15 minutes late, despite having an additional performance cheating time between Southampton Airport and Southampton Central. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 12 minutes late. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo 21 minutes late.
Friday 21/10/05 07.53 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 15.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 25 minutes late due to no crew.
Saturday 22/10/05 06.00 Southampton-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 08.58 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 10.12 Waterloo-Shepperton axed. 11.11 Shepperton axed. 13.22 Waterloo-Weybridge axed due to no driver. 15.03 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to no driver.
Sunday 23/10/05 Hours of chaos due to overrunning engineering work. For example, 09.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late; 09.48 Portsmouth-Waterloo 32 minutes late; 10.16 Basingstoke-Waterloo 34 minutes late; 10.56 Guildford-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 17.15 Waterloo-Paignton 25 minutes late due to duff stock. 22.05 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to no driver.
Monday 24/10/05 08.10 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 20 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 10 minutes late despite being allowed 12 minutes from Southampton Airport to Southampton Central. 17.58 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke, 23 minutes late, and some stops west of Southampton axed for operational convenience. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late.
Tuesday 25/10/05 05.16 from Portsmouth reached Southampton Central 7 minutes late at 06.21; SWT’s greatly reduced rolling stock order means that it should have been returning to Portsmouth at that time but it did not get away until 06.29, apparently due to duff doors. 07.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.22 Reading-Ascot axed. 18.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reached Teddington 14 minutes late; all intermediate stops back to Waterloo – including Kingston, Wimbledon and Clapham Junction – then axed for operational convenience.
Wednesday 26/10/05 05.16 from Portsmouth reached Southampton Central 12 minutes late at 06.26; the 06.26 connection for stations to Bournemouth and Weymouth departed as it braked; it returned to Portsmouth - 8 minutes late - at 06.29, just as it had done the day before. 07.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Richmond due to duff stock. 08.09 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to duff stock. 08.34 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 15.52 Bristol-Salisbury 16 minutes late. 16.15 Gillingham-Waterloo 15 minutes late due to duff stock. 19.07 Weybridge-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.42 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.51 Windsor-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 20.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 20.20 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late. Websites advertised big evening delays due to incidents at Feltham and Farnborough; information not obtainable due to live running information being unavailable for many stations.
Thursday 27/10/05 07.32 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth/Poole 25 minutes due to duff stock; Weymouth portion axed along with intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 23 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 16 minutes late. 19.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Waterloo and Kingston axed for operational convenience.
Friday 28/10/05 05.49 Weymouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 06.45 Southampton-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.40 Haslemere-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 23 minutes late. 07.58 Weymouth-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 minutes late. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 23 minutes late. 08.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 17 minutes late. 11.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 11.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 16.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Barnes due to duff stock. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 18.41 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 19.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 11 minutes late; all stops between Twickenham and Clapham Junction axed for operational convenience. 20.11 Shepperton-Waterloo diverted to Strawberry Hill due to duff train in front.
Saturday 29/10/05 Passengers observed that Southampton line trains were being reduced to 5-coach units, presumably with the Wessex Electrics left in Bournemouth depot for operational convenience during engineering works between Brockenhurst and Southampton Central. Some trains noted as having very generous recovery times.
Sunday 30/10/05 Major disruption owing to engineering works. 15.24 Reading-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 20.39 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 22.24 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver.
Monday 31/10/05 Morning services collapsed due to overrunning engineering works at Totton. No services between Brockenhurst and Southampton until around 09.00. 06.30 Waterloo-Southampton provided by a 4-coach outer-suburban Desiro unit. 07.12 Reading-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 07.15 Southampton-Waterloo axed. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 07.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 08.24 Waterloo-Dorking axed. 09.00 Southampton-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 09.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 15.50 Waterloo-Reading axed due to duff stock. 16.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 19 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 8 minutes late with choice of excuses (Waterloo version: “problems with the train at platform 10”; Southampton Central version: “late incoming train”). 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth 17 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 15 minutes late. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 19 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 13 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 17 minutes late. 20.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury 21 minutes late.
Tuesday 1/11/05 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 10 minutes late. 05.40 Basingstoke-Weymouth 26 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth 8 minutes late. 06.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 06.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. Stock for the 07.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke not expected until 08.00. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 32 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late.
Wednesday 2/11/05 Landslip at Crewkerne; West of England passengers arriving at Waterloo were told to go to Paddington. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo 57 minutes late. 07.20 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.32 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.54 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 08.20 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Salisbury. 08.20 Waterloo-Exeter 16 minutes late. 09.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 10.10 Exeter-Waterloo axed between Exeter and Yeovil. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo axed between Exeter and Yeovil. 12.12 Reading-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 12.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 12.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 12.51 Windsor-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 13.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 14.21 Windsor-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.15 Gillingham-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 16.20 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Salisbury. 16.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 7 minutes late; no explanation at Southampton Central, but room on the information screens to show that the Saints’ football match was cancelled. 17.51 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 18.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 18.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late. 21.35 Dorking-Waterloo 39 minutes late.
Thursday 3/11/05 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 35 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton Airport axed for operational convenience. 05.49 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. Stock for the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil had arrived by 06.00 but departed almost 8 minutes late. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed for operational convenience. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 06.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.25 Weymouth-Brockenhurst 17 minutes late. 07.36 Southampton-Waterloo 45 minutes late; stops at St Denys, Swaythling, Southampton Airport, Hook, Winchfield, Fleet, Brookwood and Surbiton axed for operational convenience. 07.38 Waterloo-Southampton 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Winchester axed for operational convenience. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 15.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo axed. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth reduced to 5 coaches; rear portion started from Southampton Central and 10 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth axed due to duff stock. 17.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 60 minutes late (National Rail website) or 56 minutes late (SWT website); passengers thrown off at Exeter St David’s. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.00 Romsey-Totton axed between Romsey and Southampton. 18.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 18.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.01 Totton-Romsey 10 minutes late.
Friday 4/11/05 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late by Totton. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 7 minutes late. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth 5 minutes late starting. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 12 minutes late and axed between Southampton Airport and Eastleigh. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 16 minutes late. 08.46 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches due to duff stock. 08.59 Brockenhurst-Lymington and 09.14 Lymington-Brockenhurst axed. 20.20 Waterloo-Exeter 16 minutes late. 21.05 Waterloo-Poole 12 minutes late. 22.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 22.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed.
Saturday 5/11/05 06.12 Cosham-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 17 minutes late. 09.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 14.12 Reading-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 15.32 Haslemere-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 18.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 19.12 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to no driver. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late. 20.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. Passengers on the 21.35 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo thrown off at Clapham Junction on the outward leg.
Sunday 6/11/05 07.14 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 07.16 Basingstoke/07.30 Farnham-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 07.52 Woking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.07 Basingstoke-Paignton 23 minutes late. 09.26 Guildford-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 09.48 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late due to duff stock. 09.56 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 10.40 Waterloo-Guildford 29 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Woking. 11.56 Guildford-Waterloo axed between Guildford and Woking.
Monday 7/11/05 15.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no rolling stock. 15.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no rolling stock. 15.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no rolling stock. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth reduced to 5 coaches with bad overcrowding; no announcement about whether a substitute service would be provided for the Southampton-Poole portion until the train reached the Southampton area. 18.35 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. Passengers on the 21.09 Waterloo-Dorking thrown off at Epsom due to driver. 22.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed between Dorking and Epsom.
Tuesday 8/11/05 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 5 minutes late. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth 4 minutes late. Passengers on the 17.50 Waterloo-Yeovil thrown off at Salisbury due to no guard. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 17 minutes late and axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke due to duff stock. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 8 coaches. 18.50 Waterloo-Salisbury axed due to duff stock. 19.06 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 19.10 Paignton-Basingstoke 29 minutes late. 20.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 21.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 16 minutes late due to duff stock.
Wednesday 9/11/05 06.07 Totton-Yeovil axed; too much bother to do anything for Totton passengers, so they were stranded until 06.46. 06.32 Haslemere-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 06.44 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 07.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.34 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 07.40 Haslemere-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.46 Effingham Junction-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 08.10 Chessington-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 08.25 Exeter/08.52 Bristol-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 09.19 Portsmouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 09.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late; all stops after Bournemouth – except Southampton Central – axed for operational convenience. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.53 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 18.57 Brighton-Reading 18 minutes late. Passengers on the 21.20 Waterloo-Yeovil thrown off at Salisbury due to no driver.
Thursday 10/11/05 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 07.54 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. As soon as the 05.45 from Poole arrived at Waterloo, a “Do not remove” notice was attached. Passengers on the 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Fratton due to duff stock. 18.48 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to duff stock. 20.20 Waterloo-Exeter 15 minutes late. 20.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock.
Friday 11/11/05 07.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 14.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 40 minutes late. 14.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 14.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 18.54 Poole-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 11 minutes late by Totton. 19.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late. Passengers on the 21.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo thrown off at Clapham Journey on the outward leg due to duff stock. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 20.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late.
Saturday 12/11/05 07.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Woking. 07.58 Guildford-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 08.05 Dorking-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 08.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 08.39 Waterloo-Southampton 18 minutes late due to duff stock. 08.51 Windsor-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 08.58 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 09.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Berrylands axed for operational convenience. 10.22 Waterloo-Weybridge axed due to no driver. 10.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 11.58 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 12.03 Weybridge-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 13.05 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 13.28 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 14.51 Windsor-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 15.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 15.51 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. Passengers on the 16.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo thrown off at Clapham Junction on the outward leg due to duff stock. 16.44 Poole-Waterloo 68 minutes late. 17.01 Poole-Waterloo 71 minutes late. 17.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 17.44 Poole-Waterloo 45 minutes late. 17.55 Southampton-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 18.01 Poole-Waterloo 55 minutes late. 19.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 19.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 19.44 Poole-Waterloo 61 minutes late. 20.54 Poole-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 20.15 Waterloo-Haslemere axed.
Sunday 13/11/05 14.15 Waterloo-Yeovil 43 minutes late due to duff stock.
Monday 14/11/05 Main line morning peak arrivals into Waterloo, like the 05.45 from Poole, generally around 5 minutes late despite the slack scheduling. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.52 Bristol-Salisbury axed due to no guard. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late due to duff doors. 19.52 Waterloo-Weybridge axed.
Tuesday 15/11/05 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed for operational convenience. Delayed 08.02 Woking-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Surbiton. 16.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock.
Wednesday 16/11/05 05.58 Guildford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 06.04 Guildford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.32 Woking-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 06.32 Dorking-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 07.09 Waterloo-Epsom omitted all intermediate stops for operational convenience. 06.40 Chessington-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Hounslow and Barnes axed for operational convenience. 07.16 Waterloo-Chessington omitted stops at Vauxhall and Earlsfield for operational convenience. 07.54 Poole-Waterloo 41 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops after Southampton Central axed for operational convenience. 08.37 Waterloo-Reading 44 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Ascot for operational convenience. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo delayed due to duff stock. 09.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 10.12 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot. 12.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches due to duff stock. 12.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 12.33 Weybridge-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 12.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 13.03 Weybridge-Waterloo axed. 14.50 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 15.28 Guildford-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 16.42 Reading-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 18.57 Brighton-Reading 18 minutes late.
Thursday 17/11/05 06.07 Totton-Yeovil axed between Totton and Southampton. 06.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 28 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed for operational convenience. 07.50 Brighton-Basingstoke axed due to duff stock. 10.05 Fareham-Basingstoke axed due to duff stock. 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 16.57 Waterloo-Strawberry Hill axed. 18.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 18.35 Alton-Waterloo 11 minutes late.
Friday 18/11/05 Only a skeleton morning peak service owing to a signalling cable fire at Waterloo. Terrible conditions in freezing weather, and some commuters went home. A whole trainload of passengers from the Portsmouth line thrown off their train at Surbiton; some managed to squeeze aboard the dreadfully overcrowded 05.45 from Poole, which did better than many other trains and was only 55 minutes late into London. Severe disruption continued for most of the day. By late afternoon, things were virtually normal: 14.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 15.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 15.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed. 16.03 Woking-Waterloo axed. 16.05 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 18.55 Southampton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 21.50 Waterloo-Reading axed due to no driver. 22.53 Waterloo-Alton axed due to no guard. 23.01 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no guard.
Saturday 19/11/05 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot axed due to no guard. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 07.10 Waterloo-Paignton 34 minutes late. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.25 Exeter-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 08.39 Haslemere-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 09.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to duff stock. 10.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 11.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 13.05 Waterloo-Poole axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 15.52 Bristol-Salisbury axed due to duff stock.
Sunday 20/11/05 09.05 Woking-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 13.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 20 minutes late. 09.14 Basingstoke-Reading axed. 09.54 Reading-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 09.56 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke. 16.14 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.40 Waterloo-Guildford 18 minutes late. Hampton Court services suspended in the evening due to no drivers.
Monday 21/11/05 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late; intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed for operational convenience.
Tuesday 22/11/05 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 05.41 Salisbury-Totton 17 minutes late. Second coach of the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo freezing cold; guard promised free hot drinks but trolley stewardess had no hot water. 05.47 Southampton-Eastleigh 35 minutes late. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 68 minutes late. 06.41 Exeter-Waterloo axed. 06.45 Southampton-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 15.50 Waterloo-Gillingham axed Waterloo-Salisbury due to duff stock. Passengers on the 16.23 Waterloo-Alton thrown off at Farnham due to duff stock. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 9 coaches. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 6 coaches. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 26 minutes late.
Wednesday 23/11/05 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 20 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed for operational convenience. Morning delays due to emergency track work at Ashford. 14.12 Reading-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 15.36 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 16.15 Gillingham-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late.
Thursday 24/11/05 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 10 minutes late. Stock for the 06.07 Totton-Yeovil arrived late; the train reached Southampton Central at 06.21 and, as people alighted, the 06.21 connection to Portsmouth departed from the other side of the platform. 07.36 Waterloo-Weymouth axed between Waterloo and Southampton due to no rolling stock. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth crowded and reservations not honoured due to the late arrival of the incoming train.
Friday 25/11/05 SIGNALLING FAILURE FOLLOWED BY FATALITY AT SURBITON; AT 17.00 ONLY 5 DEPARTURES ADVERTISED AT WATERLOO – ALL ON THE WINDSOR LINES 04.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 32 minutes late; Surbiton, Clapham Junction and Vauxhall stops axed for operational convenience. 05.45 Salisbury-Waterloo reduced to 3 coaches. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 06.31 Kingston-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 06.54 Weymouth-Waterloo 53 minutes late. 07.15 Southampton-Waterloo 106 minutes late. 07.20 Poole-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 07.38 Waterloo-Southampton 100 minutes late. 07.50 Waterloo-Salisbury reduced to 3 coaches. 07.54 Poole-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 07.58 Weymouth-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 89 minutes late. 08.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 42 minutes late. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 96 minutes late. 08.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 09.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 54 minutes late. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 75 minutes late. 09.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 48 minutes late. 09.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 10.20 Waterloo-Woking axed due to duff stock. 10.23 Waterloo-Farnham axed. 10.53 Ascot-Guildford axed. 11.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 11.01 Poole-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 11.33 Woking-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 11.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 11.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 12.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 12.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 12.44 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. Passengers on the 12.57 Brighton-Reading thrown off at Basingstoke. 13.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 13.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 13.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 13.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 13.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Worthing. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 14.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 14.55 Southampton-Waterloo 49 minutes late. 15.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to no crew. 15.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 40 minutes late. 15.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 15.35 Guildford-Waterloo 146 minutes late. 15.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 15.52 Bristol/16.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 15.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 41 minutes late. 15.54 Hampton-Court-Waterloo 153 minutes late. 15.55 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke. 15.55 Southampton-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 16.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole 25 minutes late. 16.05 Guildford-Waterloo 113 minutes late. 16.12 Reading-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 16.12 Reading-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 16.14 Woking-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 16.15 Guildford-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 16.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 98 minutes late. 16.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 16.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 132 minutes late. 16.35 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 16.41 Alton-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 76 minutes late. 16.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 16.55 Southampton-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 17.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 17.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 17.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 58 minutes late. 17.14 Alton-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 17.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 17.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 60 minutes late. 17.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 17.33 Woking-Waterloo 55 minutes late. 17.34 Guildford-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 74 minutes late. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth 69 minutes late. 17.44 Alton-Waterloo 72 minutes late. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 42 minutes late. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton 38 minutes late. 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 67 minutes late. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo 37 minutes late. 18.03 Woking-Waterloo 69 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 62 minutes late. 18.14 Alton-Waterloo 40 minutes late. 18.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 18.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 41 minutes late. 18.35 Alton-Waterloo 61 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 37 minutes late. 18.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 18.51 Windsor-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 18.53 Waterloo-Alton 110 minutes late. 18.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 19.03 Woking-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 19.05 Alton-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 50 minutes late. 19.10 Chessington-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 19.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 19.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 19.33 Woking-Waterloo 38 minutes late. 19.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.40 Chessington-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 19.43 Guildford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.50 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late. 19.51 Windsor-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late, 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 20.03 Woking-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 26 minutes late. 20.10 Chessington-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 20.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 20.12 Reading-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 20.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 20.39 Waterloo-Southampton 65 minutes late. 20.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed due to no crew. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 20.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 20.51 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 21.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 21.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 21.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 21.10 Weymouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 21.30 Southampton-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 21.36 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 21.39 Waterloo-Southampton 26 minutes late. 21.40 Chessington-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 21.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 21.44 Alton-Waterloo 39 minutes late.
Saturday 26/11/05 FAMOUS STAGECOACH DRIVER SHORTAGE BECOMES APPARENT AT THE APPROACH OF CHRISTMAS. 07.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 20 minutes late. Passengers on the 08.05 Portsmouth-Reading thrown off at Basingstoke. 08.25 Exeter/08.52 Bristol-Waterloo 30 minutes late; Woking and Clapham Junction stops axed for operational convenience. 09.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 09.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 45 minutes late due to duff stock; all intermediate stops between Guildford and Haslemere axed for operational convenience. 09.57 Brighton-Paignton 17 minutes late. 10.04 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke. Passengers on the 12.57 Brighton-Reading thrown off at Basingstoke. 13.53 Waterloo-Alton delayed 16 minutes between Clapham Junction and Wimbledon due to duff; westbound mainline services collapsed. Passengers on the 14.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Clapham Junction. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 25 minutes late due to duff stock. 14.20 Waterloo-Exeter 13 minutes late. 14.23 Waterloo-Alton 23 minutes late. 14.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 26 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Portsmouth & Southsea for operational convenience. 14.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 34 minutes late. 14.39 Waterloo-Southampton 31 minutes late. 14.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 16 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Fulwell for operational convenience. 14.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 31 minutes late. 14.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 28 minutes late. 14.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 26 minutes late. 15.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 30 minutes late. 15.05 Waterloo-Poole 16 minutes late. 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 27 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Portsmouth & Southsea for operational convenience. 15.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 25 minutes late. 15.20 Waterloo-Reading 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines axed for operational convenience. 15.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late. 15.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed between Shepperton and Teddington. 15.44 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 16.01 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver. 16.04 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke. 16.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Havant. 16.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Guildford axed for operational convenience. 16.44 Alton-Waterloo 15 minutes late; West Byfleet stop axed for operational convenience. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea. 17.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed due to no driver. 17.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed between Waterloo and Woking. 17.23 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 17.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 17.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth Harbour and Portsmouth & Southsea. 17.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 18.31 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver. 18.53 Waterloo-Alton 23 minutes late due to crew shortage. 19.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 19.23 Waterloo-Alton axed due to no driver. 19.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 20.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed due to no driver. 21.14 Alton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 22.01 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver. 22.21 Windsor-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 22.22 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 22.28 Waterloo-Windsor axed due to no driver. 22.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed due to no driver. 23.23 Ascot-Aldershot axed due to no driver.
Sunday 27/11/05 07.10 Salisbury-Exeter axed between Salisbury and Yeovil. 13.10 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Worthing. Passengers on the 16.10 Brighton-Reading thrown off at Basingstoke. 17.15 Alton-Woking axed. 18.56 Reading-Brighton axed between Reading and Basingstoke.
Monday 28/11/05 Points failure at Totton sidings all day; Romsey-Totton services ran only between Romsey and Southampton Central. The 06.07 Totton-Yeovil was similarly affected; passengers arriving at Totton saw it advertised as cancelled and could not get help because, as so often happens now, the station was left unstaffed. At 06.02 the 10 coach train which previously formed the 05.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo, but now carries thin air between Bournemouth and Southampton, ran through non-stop. Angry London commuters then raced for their cars to get to Southampton Central, where they were told a Totton stop had been arranged for the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo reduced to 3 coaches. 08.12 Reading-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 08.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed due to duff stock. 14.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 14.57 Brighton-Basingstoke 64 minutes late. 15.53 Ascot-Guildford axed due to no driver. 15.57 Brighton-Reading 21 minutes late. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 17.12 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 18 minutes late due to duff stock. 19.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed due to no driver. 20.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 20.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed due to no driver. 23.01 Guildford-Ascot axed due to no driver.
Tuesday 29/11/05 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot axed due to no driver. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 5 minutes late again. 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. Second coach of the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo freezing cold again. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo omitted 9 stops for operational convenience. 06.07 Totton-Yeovil started about 15 seconds early with only about 3 passengers on board, presumably because people were making different arrangements following the shambles of the previous morning. Customer information screens at Millbrook out of use. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo omitted 9 stops for operational convenience. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. Brockenhurst-Lymington service withdrawn from mid-evening due to duff stock. 20.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late.
Wednesday 30/11/05 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. Most main line trains due at Waterloo around 08.00 were 5-10 minutes late. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed due to duff stock. 07.30 Portsmouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed for operational convenience. 14.39 Wareham-Southampton 38 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Bournemouth and Brockenhurst axed for operational convenience. 15.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Southampton Central axed for operational convenience. 17.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 18.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 18.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo only 6 minutes late, but Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames stops axed for operational convenience. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 20.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 32 minutes late due to duff stock; stops at Weybridge and Walton-on-Thames axed for operational convenience. Passengers on the 22.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Bournemouth due to no guard.
MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Wednesday 12/10/05 UN WARNS OF 50 MILLION ENVIRONMENTAL REFUGEES BY END OF THE DECADE. Rising seas, desertification and shrinking freshwater supplies will create up to 50m environmental refugees by the end of the decade. Janos Bogardi, Director of the Institute for Environment and Human Security at the UN University in Bonn, said creeping environmental deterioration already displaced up to 10m people a year and the situation would get worse. There is a need for better anticipation of the support needs of this new category of refugee. The Red Cross says environmental disasters already displace more people than wars. Such people are currently not recognised as refugees under international agreements, so are denied access to the assistance received by victims of violence or political persecution. (Guardian)
Wednesday 2/11/05 SHIFT OVER CLIMATE CHANGE. The Prime Minister appeared to be undermining more than 15 years of climate change negotiations when he signalled a shift away from a target-based approach to cutting greenhouse emissions. Speaking at the summit in London of environment and energy ministers, he said that legally binding targets to produce pollution made people “very nervous and very worried”. When the Kyoto protocol expired in 2012, the world would require a more sensitive framework for tackling global warming. People fear some external force is going to impose some internal target on you to restrict your economic growth. The US has refused to sign up to Kyoto and George Bush objects to big developing countries like India and China being exempt. Environmental campaigners called on Mr Blair to clarify his position. Tony Juniper, Director of Friends of the Earth, said Mr Blair was the only world leader who was pushing climate change as an issue, so his position was pivotal. Phil Thornhill from the Campaign against Climate Change said the idea of dealing with such a massive problem on a voluntary basis is wishful thinking; if you have mandatory limits, there will be investment in new technology. Norman Baker, the Liberal Democrat environment spokesman, called for robust, measurable targets – not just vague aspirations. The US and EU have had discussions with India and China on using clean technology to bring down carbon emissions. Central to this is the idea that carbon pollution could be stored underground. This could reduce emissions by 90% without restricting fossil fuel use, but experts say a viable large-scale system could be decades away. (Guardian)
Thursday 10/11/05 UK LOSING AUTHORITY ON GLOBAL WARMING. Bob May, President of the Royal Society, warns that the UK risks losing its international authority on climate change because UK emissions of carbon dioxide have risen for the last two years. Emissions by the United States have actually declined over the past two years, although they are still 20% above 1990 levels. Figures from Defra show that UK greenhouse gas emissions are 12.6% below 1990 levels Under Kyoto, Britain has to reduce them by 12.5% by 2012, but this obligation would be missed if current trends continue. Part of the problem is that electricity generators are switching to coal because of rising gas prices. Climate change is warming the oceans, provoking more intense tropical storms. The estimated damaged caused by hurricane Katrina was equivalent to 1.7% of US GDP. (Guardian)
Monday 14/11/05 PLANS TO ENFORCE SPEED LIMITS TO CUT EMISSIONS. 15 million motorists currently exceed the 70 mph speed limit on motorways. Enforcing the limit would significantly reduce carbon emissions because energy efficiency falls quickly at higher speeds. Existing policies set out in 2000 to cut emissions are falling well short of target. A restricted Government review document suggests that about 75% more needs to be done in half the time. The review lists 58 measures to save an extra 11m-14m tons of carbon pollution each year. One option, a new obligation to mix renewable biofuels into petrol for vehicles was announced last week. Stricter enforcement of the speed limit would save 890,000 tons of carbon a year. Other options include mechanisms to increase electricity generation from offshore wind turbines and combined heat and power systems; stricter enforcement of building regulations; and linking winter fuel payments for pensioners to energy efficiency measures. “Politically difficult” options include road-user charging; changes to speed limits; high-speed rail links; and reintroducing double British summertime (clocks go forward two hours in the Spring). Annual carbon saving in million tonnes carbon would be: impose pollution capping and domestic carbon trading on UK business and public sector (0.3); extend UK participation in EU carbon trading scheme (4.2); make households more energy efficient (0.3); enforce central government and NHS emission targets (0.1); build new gas pipelines to reach homes (0.1); introduce new requirements for regional and local government to act on climate change (0.4); link winter fuel payments to energy efficiency measures (0.07); introduce ways to store carbon pollution underground (0.5-2.5); force energy suppliers to use more offshore wind turbines (up to 1); better enforcement of building regulations (0.1); change road speed limits (1.7); replace inefficient boilers (0-0.5); increase car sharing (0-0.5). (Guardian)
MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
Monday 3/10/05 MTR TO BID FOR SWT FRANCHISE. The MTR Corporation, which runs the Hong Kong Metro with 99% punctuality, will bid with an as yet unnamed partner for the 10-year South West Trains franchise from February 2007. MTR is already bidding for South Eastern Trains in partnership with GNER. Initial bids for SWT have to be made by early November. (Evening Standard)
Monday 3/10/05 VILLAGERS IN SHOCK AS AXE FALLS ON VITAL RURAL BUS SERVICES. Villagers in the Winchester area are shocked and dismayed by the withdrawal of more than a dozen bus services following subsidy cuts by the Conservative-controlled Hampshire County Council. A South Wonston family complained that they had spent more than £400 on bus passes in the expectation of the existing timetable, and Stagecoach had now slashed the service. (Southern Daily Echo)
Monday 3/10/05 IS IT ANY WONDER CARS TAKE THE STRAIN? A Hampshire student describes the problems of attending school in London, observing that, “The Government and Network Rail have already failed so many times to provide as good a quality service as they should to rail passengers. All they are interested in is that the government’s transport chiefs and Network Rail directors increase their salaries and profits every year. I have to travel from Southampton to London on Monday mornings to go to school. If I go to London at or before 9am, I have to pay about £39 for my rush-hour train ticket. To avoid this expensive fare, I have to go on Sunday night and come back on the Monday night after 7pm. Even when I travelled on Sunday night, I was delayed 30 minutes waiting for my train to London because the announcement said there was a delay in Bournemouth. As usual it didn’t explain how and why my train was delayed…. One minute the government is saying there are too many cars on the road, and on the other hand government transport chiefs and Network Rail want to reduce train services. How can we trust their word? I wonder whether this so-called rail utilisation study has anything to do with improving efficiency on the network. No wonder every morning rush hour and after work the motorways have so many cars packed on them”. (Southern Daily Echo)
Thursday 6/10/05 and Monday 10/10/05 EWS WANTS TO RUN CONTAINER TRAINS FROM SOUTHAMPTON DOCKS. EWS, Britain’s biggest rail freight operator, is looking to run freightliner trains from the Southampton area. It is in discussion with Associated British Ports about a facility in the Western Docks (rival Freightliner’s existing operation does not have spare capacity to accommodate its needs). However, costs may force EWS to transport containers from Southampton to Eastleigh by lorry, and establish a container train base on the Alstom site. Alstom is to close its operations in Eastleigh from the end of the year with the loss of 550 jobs. (Southern Daily Echo)
Thursday 6/10/05 and Monday 10/10/05 SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAPID TRANSPORT. Transport planners are getting increasingly frustrated by the Government’s delay in making a decision on the proposed Portsmouth-Gosport-Fareham tramway, which would take 3 million cars a year off the County’s roads. The Council is now considering alternative options like guided buses or reopening of the Fareham-Gosport rail line. Individual councillors have expressed concerns that a guided busway wouldn’t be rapid enough, and a rail link would not cover the full route of the tramway scheme. Gosport is one of the largest towns in Europe without its own rail station. (Southern Daily Echo)
Friday 7/10/05 NATIONAL EXPRESS MAY CREATE EUROPE’S BIGGEST BUS AND COACH OPERATOR. NE is seeking to buy Spanish rival Alsa for about £250m. Alsa has a fleet of 1,400 vehicles. The companies want to create a transport giant capable of competing across the EU. Alsa operates in Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Morocco, Chile and China. National Express has partners in Germany and France, and operates 8 British rail franchises. (Metro)
Friday 7/10/05 TOTTON’S RAIL SERVICES. Senior railcard holder draws attention to senior citizens who use Totton station regularly and how their lives would be spoiled if the trains were withdrawn. (Southern Daily Echo)
Tuesday 11/10/05 STATION REFURBISMENT. Network Rail is taking forward a £4bn scheme to revitalise Euston, Victoria and Waterloo, 50 regional stations and hundreds of smaller stations. Stations would be Offered to developers on long-term leases. One idea is to build on top of Euston station, an area comparable with Canary Wharf. Critics say rail bosses are selling the family silver whilst motorists fear loss of car parks at stations where it is already difficult to park. (Metro)
Tuesday 11/10/05 BIRMINGHAM’S BRUM DEAL ON LOCAL RAIL SERVICES. West Midlands could be the guinea pig for forcing people from rail to road. Rail now accounts for 20% of commuting to Birmingham city centre, with more people using public transport than car. The principal rail corridor from Redditch to Lichfield won a grant for frequencies to increase from 4 to 6 trains per hour from 2002. This was to run until the end of the Central Trains franchise in 2006. The franchise has been extended for 2 years and the Department for Transport has now asked Central Trains to quote for continuing to run the increased frequency. Central Trains is likely to seize the opportunity to increase its profits and be turned down by the Department with the risk of the service returning to its former level. The Department also considers that a substantial proportion of West Midlands rolling stock is really only needed for a few short-distance weekday journeys (like all motorised commuter transport, including cars used by Whitehall civil servants). Although the region loses £2.5bn a year through road congestion, Northampton-Birmingham local services have been halved, Walsall-Wolverhampton services axed completely, and temporary service reductions on the Birmingham-Shrewsbury line made permanent. Rail subsidy per passenger in the West Midlands was 62p per passenger in 2003-04, significantly less than in any of the other six city regions covered by transport executives. This bodes ill for those other areas. The corresponding subsidy per passenger on Richard Branson’s West Coast farce was £22.28. The implication is that the Government does not want motorists to escape fuel tax and congestion charges by switching to rail. (Private Eye) [The Guardian of 10/10/05 noted that London’s rate of economic growth was slowing and that there seemed to be a rebalancing in favour of the regions. It therefore seems illogical to look at cutting regional commuter services.]
Wednesday 19/10/05 CROSS COUNTRY FRANCHISE TO BE RE-TENDERED IN 2007. The Cross-Country franchise, currently run by Virgin Trains, but with Stagecoach having a 49% interest, is to be re-tendered in 2007. The franchise area will be extended to include several inter-regional services out of Nottingham, as well as the Birmingham-Stansted Airport service. Richard Branson intends to reapply. (Guardian)
Monday 24/10/05 PRESSURE FOR £53M RAIL UPGRADE FOR CONTAINER TRAINS. Associated British Ports, Freightliner and Southampton Container Terminals are jointly producing a document making a strong case for gauge enhancement, from Coventry to Southampton Docks, to take 9’6” containers. Forty four structures would require modification. Currently 29% of Southampton’s current throughput of 928,000 containers is of this size, but by 2011 the proportion will be almost half of 1.3m containers. Without the changes, freight could go to Rotterdam or Antwerp instead, and they are seen as having national strategic importance. (Southern Daily Echo)
Tuesday 25/10/05 GRAND CENTRAL WOULD GIVE REFUNDS TO STANDING PASSENGERS. The company which wants to introduce train services from Kings Cross to Bradford and Sunderland would refund 50% of fares to passengers who had to stand for any part of their journey. They would offer tickets at less than one third of current “open returns” (available on all trains). The company plans to attract another 400,000 passengers a year to rail if its proposals go ahead. The proposals are supported by the Rail Passengers Council. (Times)
Tuesday 25/10/05 RAIL FINANCES. Network Rail recently needed £21bn which would have been easy, and with low interest rates, if it had been a truly public body. However, its contrived structure means it had to turn to the City to arrange its “debt issuance programme”. American giant, Citibank, was paid £6.5m without having to compete for the work because the Department for Transport considered it had an “unparalleled understanding of the issues”. Nine other firms were paid “commercially confidential” commissions (likely to be in tens of millions) for placing the first £5bn of debt with lenders. Others were paid to help Network Rail sell its bonds under the programme. When the programme is fully up and running, it will cost rail users hundreds of millions of pounds, but at least it makes the government accounts look a bit better. Alistair Darling and the Transport for London commissioner Bob Kiley would like to see Alstom stripped of the London Underground PFI deal. But Alstom stands to make hundreds of millions of pounds from the remainder of the deal and will not go quietly. Tubelines, the consortium owned by Bechtel and Amey, which runs the PPP which runs the PFI, made £57m from the deal last year despite a highly critical report of its performance from Transport for London. (Private Eye)
Monday 31/10/05 THREAT OF SCANNERS. Rail passengers will soon be forced through airport-style X-ray machines and body scanners as an anti-terror measure. Heathrow Express passengers passing through Paddington will be hit first. They may face long delays as bags are x-rayed, and shoes may be scanned for explosives. Alistair Darling would like to start enforcing security checks at stations. Transport for London sensibly pointed out that measures have to be practicable. Heathrow handles 67.1m passengers a year. The Tube alone handles 976m. Body scanners would not be an option. There’s no room for them at Tube stations and the delays can easily be imagined. (Metro)
Tuesday 1/11/05 OPPOSITION TO PROPOSAL TO BAN DRINKING ON PUBLIC TRANSPORT. Widespread opposition to Home Office’s suggestion of banning people from having a drink on trains whilst allowing public houses to open 24 hours with the inevitable consequence of more people joining trains when already under the influence of alcohol. Desmond Swayne MP noted that a ban would hit law-abiding commuters without having much impact. Mark Oaten MP was similarly critical. Even SWT was against the ban. Only the British Transport Police favoured the idea, a representative stating that “We would consider any [sic] proposals that may help alleviate antisocial behaviour”. (Southern Daily Echo)
Tuesday 1/11/05 STAGECOACH UNVEILS NO-FRILLS MEGATRAIN SERVICE. Stagecoach plans to charge as little as £1 for rail fares on its routes from Portsmouth and Southampton to Waterloo from 14 November. More than 3,000 seats will be made available on Mondays to Fridays from 14 November. (City AM) [Sounds like a re-franchising PR stunt. How would it mesh with proposals to spread peak commuter loads through differential season ticket pricing?]
Thursday 3/11/05 SUPERLINK. John Prideaux, Chairman of Superlink, which wants the Crossrail scheme modified to take longer-distance trains through Central London, states that the existing Crossrail proposal would give a 2% increase in capacity for a 30% increase of subsidy, and would cost up to £15bn. Superlink would deliver a 10% increase in capacity for only half as much subsidy. This is significant given that Tube and rail journeys into London could increase by 24% by 2016. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 3/11/05 and Friday 4/11/05 PLANS FOR WATERLOO. Network Rail has put forward 27 options for easing capacity at Waterloo, where some 73,000 people arrive between 07.00 and 10.00, half of them between 08.00 and 09.00. Eurostar platforms seem likely to be used for internal services after 2007. There could be a lower fare for commuters arriving before 08.00, or higher fare for those arriving between 08.00 and 09.00 (according to which paper you read). There could be more trains between 07.00 and 08.00 and between 09.00 and 10.00. Other ideas include extensive track changes to allow more trains to be run, and hourly services to and from Exeter. (Evening Standard / Metro)
Tuesday 8/11/05 GREATER WESTERN FRANCHISE / VIRGIN CROSS COUNTRY. Public consultation on the Greater Western franchise was pointless because it was launched the day after the deadline for final bids, and the specification then couldn’t be changed because of provisions in the Freedom of Information Act. The incumbent bidder, First Group, runs the least punctual London commuter services, and the performance of its Inter City services has slumped to 75%. This company is making more than £100m a year from its UK bus operations, but is failing to maintain its buses adequately (two public inquiries in Edinburgh in less than a year). Passengers were trapped for more than 5 hours on a duff Virgin Cross Country train near Edinburgh on 28 October; for 7 hours on a train near Oxford in July; and for up to 5 hours at Stockport in April. Virgin claims such incidents are “extremely rare”. (Private Eye) [According to Rail magazine, Virgin Trains’ day-to-day operation is increasingly in the hands of Virgin’s partner Stagecoach. That leaves National Express as the only feasible bidder for Greater Western]
Tuesday 8/11/05 SECURITY CHECKS. Letter from Alistair Darling making clear that airport-style security checks on rail and Underground stations are “totally impractical”. The Paddington trials are to test new techniques to see whether these could be used on a targeted basis (Evening Standard)
Tuesday 8/11/05 TRANSPORT COMPANIES’ FINANCES. Broker Merrill Lynch has just published a review of the passenger transport sector. It’s been an uphill struggle for transport companies this year, but that presents investors with a buying opportunity. Go-Ahead, First Group and National Express are seen as buys. Stagecoach is seen as lacking catalysts for further improvement, and suffers from a degree of risk in relation to rail re-franchising. Arriva is best placed to benefit from the opening-up of the German public transport system but this is already reflected in the share price and, like Stagecoach, is seen as a sell. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 10/11/05 INVEST OR FACE CONSEQUENCES. (Letter from the regional policy manager for London and South East Freight Transport Association) Those responsible for the movement of goods are happy to use rail provided it is economic and efficient, meets the need and arrives on time. Besides the fact that the majority of freight movement is not suitable for rail, congestion is not restricted to the road network. A research project by the Freight Transport Association and Rail Freight Group has found that, unless there is substantial investment in the key rail bottlenecks during the next 10 years, the potential to transfer freight from road to rail will be frustrated. The UK has the fourth largest economy in the world, but our ability to grow will be greatly inhibited if we fail to provide a road and rail network good enough to meet our needs. (Southern Daily Echo)
Tuesday 15/11/05 HOW TO TRAVEL TO LONDON FOR £1.50. Stagecoach’s Megatrain service from Southampton Central launched by Stagecoach’s soon-to-retire Graham Eccles. He said “All our costs are absorbed into the normal train services” and the launch is reportedly the start of a new era of low-cost train travel. (Southern Daily Echo) [We wonder what will happen when the Waterloo-Southampton trains are extended to Bournemouth as proposed by the Transport Department. Will the Megatrain carriage carry a lot of thin air Between Bournemouth and Southampton?]
Thursday 17/11/05 TRANSPORT FOR LONDON’S PLAN TO WIPE OUT RAIL BOTTLENECKS. TfL has a wish list to extend platforms to take longer trains and remove 30 bottlenecks. They want 1,500 extra carriages with at least 100 extra seats in each. Bottlenecks might be eradicated by building flyovers and re-signalling. London’s population is set to grow by 800,000 in ten years, to nearly 7.9m, but there is already severe overcrowding on peak mainline trains. (Evening Standard)
Friday 18/11/05 STAGECOACH’S FURTHER CONTRACTION. Stagecoach is selling off its bus and ferry routes in New Zealand. (Evening Standard)
Friday 18/11/05 RAIL CHAOS AFTER CLAPHAM JUNCTION CABLE FIRE. Trackside fire at Clapham Junction destroyed four 750-volt cables, causing chaos to all services to and from Waterloo, which are used by 200,000 people a day. All signals in the area went down and turned to red. There was also some disruption to Victoria services. At one point, 9 of the station’s 17 platforms were closed. Thousands of commuters affected by massive disruption on the way to work, and further disruption was expected in the evening peak. (Evening
Friday 18/11/05 MAYOR OF LONDON ATTACKS RAIL FIRMS OVER OYSTER CARDS. Ken Livingstone has accused rail companies of contempt for passengers for refusing to accept Oyster cards. The Mayor spoke out after failing for two years to get train firms to fit Oyster readers to their ticket barriers. This denies one million rail passengers the ability to use the Tube and buses with the “smart” card. The operators were offered a £25m loan to fit the readers, but the Association of Train Operating Companies said it would mean overhauling their fares structure in the London area. (Evening Standard)
Monday 21/11/05 19,000 TRAVEL IN CARRIAGES ALREADY CLASSED AS FULL. Commuters are being forced to endure worse cattle truck conditions on London’s mainline peak trains. 19,270 of the 471,829 people crammed into carriages during the average weekday morning peak period are on trains already classed as full. Trains are 4.3% over capacity in the morning and 1.5% over capacity in the evening. The daily excess morning/evening passengers are on Southern (5,833/1,040); SWT (5,607/710); SET (2,830/383); One (1,690/1,629); Silverlink (1,080/265); Thameslink (651/650); C2C (610/249); WAGN (537/685); FGWL (275/147) and Chiltern (157/0). A field operations manager said his service from Waterloo to Reading was always overcrowded. “You wouldn’t transport animals in the conditions that I’ve had to endure,” he said. (Evening Standard)
Tuesday 22/11/05 MISCELLANEOUS ISSUES. Jim Steer was managing director of transport consultants Steer Davies Gleave (SDG) until March 2002. The following month he resurfaced as the SRA’s manager of strategic planning. Three years later the SRA wound up and he became a director of SDG. SDG then revealed that he had never left them and had only been on secondment. In 2001 and 2002 the SRA didn’t give SDG a single consultancy contract. In 2002 it paid them £219,000 for three contracts including modelling and strategic review of rail industry”. In 2003, 12 contracts followed, worth £1.184m of public money. Before his secondment, Steer helped put together the modernisation plan for the West Coast Main Line which proved such a disaster. A new 200 mph line could have been cheaper. Now he’s back in SDG, he plans to take a personal interest in the development of high speed rail lines in Britain. // Network Rail says passing loops on the Waterloo-Exeter line to allow an hourly service would cost £10m to £25m and that benefits outweigh costs. The Department for Transport accepted the benefits but said “third party” cash would be needed. That would mean borrowing money and increased subsidy to pay it back. The Department would then block the scheme on grounds of rising costs, exactly what happened in the case of the Leeds Supertram scheme. The latter was blocked on the grounds of a 37% increase in costs whilst the Temple Sowerby bypass in Cumbria is to go ahead despite a 70% cost increase. // In October Mr Justice Mackay said Balfour Beatty’s involvement in the Hatfield rail accident was “one of the worst examples of sustained industrial negligence in a high risk industry” which he had ever seen. Edinburgh’s bus passengers that even a mile-long “busway” with a top speed of 30 mph appears to challenge the company. Last week the busway closed for emergency repairs for the second time in 5 months. Some undulations remained because they had failed to bring some areas within the required specification. (Private Eye)
Wednesday 23/11/05 COMMUTERS PAYING RIP-OFF FARES. The all-party parliamentary transport committee is holding an inquiry into fares. Brian Cooke, Chairman of London TravelWatch, has drawn their attention to the huge variety of fares being charged over similar distances by different rail companies. Tube users are paying much less than other rail travellers. A single from Watford to Euston by Silverlink costs £6.40. Watford to Euston Square via the Metropolitan Line costs £4.20. On commuter routes, the cost of a journey of about 40 miles varies from 21p a mile to almost 29p. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 24/11/05 NETWORK RAIL HAS £17 BILLION DEBT. Network Rail has fallen deeper into the red as it struggles to pay interest on its soaring £17bn debt mountain. Its losses have grown by 1,200% since it took over from Railtrack three years ago. Its debts are set to peak at £20bn by 2009. This is after selling off some state-owned rail property over the past year. The company will be getting more from taxpayers than from the train operating companies. This is likely to fuel the row about the cost of the railways. At the end of September 85.1% of trains were arriving on time, compared with 81.8% a year ago. Train delays caused by Network Rail, rather than by the train operators, are down 12%. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 24/11/05 DE-ICING. Network Rail has a new hi-tech de-icing mix which doesn’t evaporate and sticks to rails and points once the ice has melted. Twenty specially adapted trains will spray thousands of gallons of the fluid on to tracks. Trains will run all night to warm tracks and spray a mixture of sand and glue to aid wheel grip. Thousands of gas and electric points heaters are in place and there is 24-hour liaison with the Met Office. (Evening Standard)
Monday 28/11/05 CBI DEMANDS TRANSPORT BOOST. Confederation of British Industry Chief, Sir Digby Jones, told the organisation’s annual conference that £600 billion needs to be spent over the next decade to improve the transport. (Evening Standard)
Monday 28/11/05 HUNDREDS MORE COMMUTING TRAINS NEEDED TO EASE OVERCROWDING. With an expected 810,000 rise in London’s population, and 600,000 new jobs forecast in the next decade, mainly in the City and East End, Network Rail is expecting a 30% increase in commuting. It has launched a consultation on orbital routes and pinch-points. In its plan called ‘Keep London Thriving’, one option is a peak service from Stratford to Clapham Junction via the North London and West London lines. Evening Standard)
Wednesday 30/11/05 £10 MILLION FOR NOTHING. The scrapped Portsmouth-Gosport-Fareham tram scheme has cost taxpayers about £10 million. It was designed to remove 3 million cars a year from the congested M27 and A32, but costs rose from £100m to £270m, as insurance charges spiralled in the wake of September 11 2001. (Southern Daily Echo)
Wednesday 30/11/05 BIG RISE IN COMMUTER FARES. The Government has awarded the South Eastern Trains franchise to Govia. Part of the agreement is that fares will rise 1% above inflation this coming January, and 3% above inflation for each of the next five years. This is to pay for promised improvements, including high speed trains from Ashford to St Pancras from 2009. However, there will be a 15% supplement for using these trains. (Evening Standard)