HOGRIDER 112 : JANUARY - MID-FEBRUARY 2007
SOUTH HAMPSHIRE RAIL USERS' GROUP NEWSLETTER
SWT CONFESSES TO CORRUPTED POLL, AND PASSENGERS PANEL LOOKS IRRELEVANT AND RIDICULOUS, AFTER “HUGE MAJORITY” OF MINUS 34% VOTES FOR STAGECOACH
HUNDREDS PROTEST AGAINST SWT POLICY
IS OVERCROWDING ESSENTIAL TO STAGECOACH’S PROFITEERING?
DEPARTMENT FOR TRANSPORT IMPLICITLY POINTS THE FINGER OF BLAME AT STAGECOACH
“TRAIN STAFF FEEL THE STRAIN OF UNDESIRABLE DESIRO CARRIAGES”
SWT MOVES FROM “AS SOON AS WE KNOW, YOU’LL KNOW” TO “WE HAVEN’T A CLUE”
SWT’S AWFUL PERFORMANCE AND AWFUL SATISFACTION RATINGS
18 AND 24 JANUARY 2007: LACK OF CONTINGENCY PLANNING + LACK OF CREWS + LACK OF INFORMATION = CHAOS AND MISERY
UNION CALLS FOR SWT TO BE RENATIONALISED
GOVERNMENT UNDER ATTACK ON MANY FRONTS
* HUGE FARE RISES FOR RAIL USERS / CHEAP, POLLUTING AIR TRAVEL FOR THE AFFLUENT
* RAIL POLICY ABANDONED AFTER THE INDUSTRY SOAKS UP RESOURCES
EVENING STANDARD LAUNCHES PETITION
LETTER TO JOHN DENHAM MP
“SWT WOULD BE HAPPIER IF IT DIDN’T HAVE THE NUISANCE OF CUSTOMERS” - USER
“SWT, STOP PUNISHING YOUR CUSTOMERS AND GIVE SOMETHING BACK TO US INSTEAD” – USER
CANCER CHARITY CHIEF EXECUTIVE FINDS SWT CHALLENGING
SWT “CRAZY” – PASSENGER FOCUS
SWT “RIDICULOUS” – LEADING LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP
SWT “CAR PARKING CHARGES WILL HIT DISABLED THE HARDEST”– USER
SWT PASSENGER “FACED WITH OVER 2 HOURS OF DISCOMFORT AND INCONVENIENCE”
AS INHUMAN AS IT GETS: YOUNG MOTHER-AND-CHILD SWT PASSENGERS LEFT BEHIND IN EMPTY CAR PARK DESPITE AMPLE ROOM TO CARRY THEM
SWT PASSENGERS ABANDONED IN THE NIGHT AND LEFT TO PAY £180 TO GET HOME AS TRAIN CREW JUMP IN A TAXI; SYMPATHISER SAYS SWT NIGHT TRAINS “COMPLETELY INADEQUATE”
CONTEMPTIBLE TREATMENT OF EARLY MORNING PASSENGERS
SWT CAN’T EVEN COPE WITH TWICKENHAM
POPULAR ITV PRESENTER FRED DINENAGE TURNS AGAINST SWT: RAIL USER AGREES, SAYING IF YOU TRAVEL BY STAGECOACH YOU STILL STAND A GOOD CHANCE OF BEING ROBBED
SWT REOPENS WINCHESTER TRAVEL CENTRE AFTER CAUSING “CONSIDERABLE INCONVENIENCE”
SWT ACCUSED OF FAILING TO IMPROVE STATION SECURITY
TOTTON CAR PARK FIASCO
WINCHESTER RESIDENTS “LEFT IN LIMBO” WITH NO STAGECOACH BUSES ON BOXING DAY
APPENDIX 1 - DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER –10
APPENDIX 2 – REPORTS OF POOR PERFORMANCE, A MAJOR CAUSE OF OVERCROWDING ON SWT
APPENDIX 3 - MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
APPENDIX 4 - MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
In the Evening Standard’s report of 8/12/2005 that Stagecoach was likely to lose out on two franchises to be awarded in advance of SWT, Stagecoach chairman Brian Souter was quoted as saying, “IF THERE ARE TOO MANY HUNGRY PIGS IN THE TROUGH, THEN LET THEM GET FED FIRST”.
Now the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group’s ‘Megaplaint’ brief of May 2006 to MPs – which provided a huge body of evidence that operation of SWT by Stagecoach meant taking more and giving less – has proved pretty accurate. The two Stagecoach founders have taken their £100 million bonus and Stagecoach shares have risen by about 70%, but hundreds of commuters are complaining of rolling stock downgrades, unhealthy travelling conditions, and huge price rises at car parks as well as in fares. This is apparently because, with passengers predicted to increase by 50% over a decade, Stagecoach’s greed led it to overbid. It is difficult to draw any other conclusion, since the Department for Transport states “We do not specify premiums or indeed subsidy”.
The Department also states: “We’re not prepared to rescue a train operating company that can’t deliver the service it contracted to deliver at the price it contracted to”. (Quotes from ‘Rail’ no. 559). However, Stagecoach’s bid was backed by a huge PR campaign misrepresenting SWT as passenger-focused and strongly supported by passengers. PassengerFocus has since exploded this myth by confirming that SWT’s recent claim of a ‘huge majority’ that supports the re-franchising outcome is given the lie by SWT’s own poll. SO HAVE THE STAGECOACH PIGS GOT THEIR SNOUTS TOO DEEP IN THE TROUGH, AND WILL THEIR GREED CAUSE THEM TO CHOKE ON THEIR SWILL?
SWT CONFESSES TO CORRUPTED POLL, AND PASSENGERS PANEL LOOKS IRRELEVANT AND RIDICULOUS, AFTER “HUGE MAJORITY” OF MINUS 34% VOTES FOR STAGECOACH
We have already reported on the Autumn of Discontent as Stagecoach and some other bus operators sought to promote social isolation by restricting the pensioners’ concessionary bus fare scheme in Hampshire - Stagecoach directors appear oblivious to the misery the company’s ethically-limited greed generates. Possibly senior citizen, Stagecoach co-founder and multi-millionaire Ann Gloag doesn’t similarly risk social isolation in her two castles.
Now, however, we have to report on the Winter of Discontent as hundreds of South West Trains’ commuters revolt against hugely increased costs, inhuman overcrowding, contempt for passengers and raw incompetence.
Other train operators have attracted criticism, for example First Great Western. But at least First maintains a meaningful dialogue with passengers, will give a little in the face of criticism, and at times is prepared to take a softly, softly approach, as in the case of the fares revolt at Bath on 22 January. Unlike Stagecoach, it has not spent huge sums on deceptive and manipulative PR to create a myth about its passengers’ satisfaction.
SWT’s programme of deception was exposed last year in the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group’s “Megaplaint” briefing for MPS. The Group would love to have been proved wrong, as we would have been if Stagecoach had genuinely reformed. But event after event, sadly, prove that our criticisms were well founded.
SWT recently held a poll to see whether its passengers thought it should have won the South Western franchise. Its latest passenger magazine reports that 61% said "yes" and 39% said "no". In the same magazine its Passengers Panel – who are laughingly supposed to be the “independent voice” of SWT’s passengers - claimed that a "huge majority" of passengers were glad about the franchise outcome. What we don’t know is whether the Panel simply comprises Stagecoach sycophants, or whether SWT reports “their” views without consulting them.
At 16 December the poll showed that 70% of voters said "no" and 30% said "yes" and, by the beginning of this year just before the poll closed, 67% said "no" and "33% said "yes". So the "huge majority" in favour of SWT was about MINUS 34%! We referred this to the independent watchdog PassengerFocus who confirmed that SWT’s figures were lifted at 28 November 2006. The turnaround in the following fortnight was staggering, so doesn’t it look as though SWT’s figures were taken after biased parties had voted? The Passengers Panel? Directors and their aunties? Multi-millionaires from the comfort of their castles?
Imagine publishing the outcome of a general election half way through polling. There would in all probability be a constitutional crisis and long jail sentences. But when it comes to the deception of long-suffering rail passengers paying about the highest fares in Europe to stand or occupy back-breaking seats on crammed trains operating the slowest journeys since steam, it appears that nothing is too sleazy. But it is doubtful whether SWT could again achieve such a positive result as MINUS 34%. From the start of the New Year, passengers have been in open revolt. Unlike other companies, Stagecoach had heaped huge increases in car parking charges on top of huge increases in fares. Such naked profiteering left one Surbiton commuter complaining that he now paid more to park at his station than to ride into London.
Meanwhile rolling stock has been downgraded on most lines, which will remove the cost of Bournemouth depot; avoid the overdue interior refurbishment of the Wessex Electric trains; take advantage of alternative units which are cheap to hire through being surplus after SWT took them off lease as too unreliable; and no doubt provide more 9-figure bonuses for the Stagecoach founders.
It is all too familiar yet typical of the venomous contempt which has poisoned SWT’s relations with its commuters (for example, Souter’s comments about passengers with nothing better to do in their offices than write letters of complaint, and Cox’s comments about critics being fully paid-up members of the Hindsight Club).
Yet with Stagecoach heavily reliant on public funds, ongoing public hostility in a more marginal electoral situation could result in an act of political will which sees it off as the unacceptable face of capitalism. A clutch of seats in London’s commuter belt will be a key battleground at the next election – Who says? – Hazel Blears, Labour Party Chairman (Evening Standard 6/2/07). Stagecoach might do well to remember the lesson of dictatorship in Romania. If you turn your back on reality and start to believe your own derisory PR, you may delude yourself into believing people love you, whilst your appointment with the firing squad draws closer.
HUNDREDS PROTEST AGAINST SWT POLICY
SWT clearly doesn’t care about giving its passengers some sort of value in return for their huge outlays. Hundreds are voting in petitions to remove the awful suburban trains introduced on the Waterloo-Portsmouth line (www.no450.co.uk) and to keep the Wessex Electric trains on the Southampton main line (www.class442.co.uk). By the mid-February the first of these polls (repeatedly publicised in the Portsmouth ‘News’) had collected about 1,170 signatures and the second, which has had no comparable press exposure, about 150. Many signatories added comments to their votes and it was clear the very low regard and often outright contempt which Stagecoach attracts.
The outcry is symptomatic of the extent to which Stagecoach now ignores its passengers. When the class 458 units were in prospect, a mock-up of part of a carriage was placed on Waterloo station and customer comments noted. Who tested the Desiros – the Passengers Panel?
The class 444s might have been satisfactory for journeys up to about 90 minutes if they were not littered with stupid and unnecessary design faults.
Start with the seating. The seat cushions are tolerable but the back cushions are useless – after a few minutes you feel as if your back is pressed against a wooden bar. To get comfortable you need to slouch forward, but the very short armrests are then useless. So you need to slouch forward with your elbows forced backwards. Even Tube trains have more comfortable seating.
The air-conditioning is overactive and can induce running noses, shivers, and coughing and sneezing bouts. There are concerns too about possible damage to eye tissues. Some passengers try to mitigate the awful seat backs and air-conditioning by wearing their outer coats. The problems can therefore only increase in summer when people wear less.
There is simply not enough luggage space, especially when leisure travellers and airport users bring heavy items on to peak commuter services. These days you are ordered to keep your luggage with you, so passengers often have no option but to lift heavy items on to the luggage racks. This risks injury, and could be fatal if SWT suffered another of its recent derailments and heavy luggage flew off the rack on to someone’s head. In any case, a strong sideways movement is one of the most noticeable features of class 444 discomfort.
Either the software is pathetic or conductors don’t know how to operate it because so many announcements are wrong.
There are not enough tables for passengers who want to work on the train or for families with children. The pull-down trays on the seat backs in standard accommodation have awkward catches that make it almost impossible to use a lap-top. Was it really necessary for these small bits of plastic to be inferior in design to those in first class accommodation or on the displaced Wessex Electric trains, which avoid this problem?
We won’t go into people being trapped in the disabled toilets and the incident when a distressed passenger had to be rescued by the fire brigade smashing down a door.
Turning to the additional problems with the class 450s, what a good idea to cram long-distance passengers into narrow seats at a time when people are tending to get larger. No wonder arm rests were omitted. What a good idea to place heating conduits so that people sitting in window seats have to keep one foot on the other at busy times because the floor space is even less adequate than the seat width – probably good for deep vein thrombosis but not much else? And how on earth could people manage to have a drink in such terrible conditions? Already cups are tumbling over, spilling very hot liquid, on the tables of the rough-riding 444s.
It is interesting to note that the trains are built by Siemens, the company responsible for the shocking 6-week overrun of re-signalling work in the Portsmouth area. It is also instructive to reflect that, had the old BR southern region not been broken up, SWT passengers would now in all probability be enjoying the comparative luxury of the Electrostar trains used on Southern and Southeastern services.
Prologue to the Portsmouth Line Campaign
“The no450 campaign has been set up to challenge South West Trains on their decision to withdraw a number of White Class 444 Trains from the London Waterloo to Portsmouth Harbour route and replace them with the Blue Class 450 Trains. This decision, which is having a major impact on the passengers, was made without consultation and without any great consideration for the passengers. We demand that South West Trains return the service to the levels that we enjoyed in the summer of 2006.
The old British Rail adverts used to invite us to let the train take the strain. Now it seems the strain is all with the passengers. We Portsmouth line commuters have been angry for months now about the introduction of these cramped suburban trains on a mainline route. It stands to reason that you can’t simply squeeze in an extra seat per row and expect the passengers to travel in reasonable comfort.
We took Mr Stewart Palmer, Managing Director of South West Trains for a trip last month. To his credit he listened to our concerns, but shouldn’t he have been aware of the new trains’ shortcomings before his company brought them into service? At the end of the journey, Mr Palmer promised there would be a review of the trains and a study to look into the Health & Safety concerns. We have yet to hear from South West Trains on these issues.
We are being encouraged, and rightly so, to leave our cars at home and find other ways to get to work. SWT’s decision to downgrade the trains does not encourage faith in public transport. SWT is doing nothing to change the perception that large companies care more about profit margins than they do about customers.
SWT needs to stop the standard cut and paste responses from its customer relations department and speak to its passengers - and ask them what they’d like from their service before they impose changes like this.”
A tiny selection of comments from individual petitioners
“I would like to see the risk assessment which was carried out prior to introducing such hazardous seating on this route”; “On the longer trips I lose circulation in my legs because of the cramped conditions – this is a health issue”; “The seating is atrocious”; “Many of my employees are affected by the disgraceful and ill disguised attempt to save SWT money at customers expense in terms of both comfort and health & safety”; “On top of the price rises these uniquely uncomfortable trains are just about the final insult”; I am appalled at the decision by SWT to place uncomfortable suburban trains onto longer distance services”; “Shame on you SWT!! It is a disgrace and we will not be bullied any more by your propaganda”; “Excuses offered by SWT amount to bare-faced lies”; “I have written, e’mailed and rung SWT. I find their lack of customer interest staggering”; “As a monopoly provider, SWT have a duty to ensure their power is not abused. Currently this is certainly not the case”; “An astonishing, ill-thought and plain wrong decision. This is a cynical cost cutting exercise by SWT which entirely disregards the needs and comfort of its customers”; “Quite frankly this is disgusting and unacceptable”; “All the literature around the renewal of the franchise suggests that there are many improvements. Clearly at best this is misleading and in reality is fundamentally untrue”; “I object to the arrogance of SWT now they are safe for another spell with the franchise”; “Surely this is an abuse of power”; “It beggars belief that SWT have managed to introduce trains that have less room, are less comfortable and to run to slower schedules than the 45 year old stock they replaced”; “Can you argue against the charge of greedy incompetence?”; No one really believes this is anything other than forcing the passenger to improve shareholder value”; “Why should we be the only main line route in the UK where fast long-distance services are operated by suburban rolling stock?”; “From my experience, given the impractically small size of the seats, at least 50% of the middle seats usually remain unclaimed”; “Being 6ft 4in these trains go beyond uncomfortable. I ended up with cramp and my back required 30 minutes of stretching once home just to feel normal again”; “It is utterly shameful”; Why is SWT so determined to put customers second?”; “The journey time has increased by 20 minutes. The car park has increased from £1.80 to £4.30 per day, and now I have to sit in discomfort unable to read or work because SWT put profit from their monopoly before their customers”; “I totally agree. I’m 62 and find the 450s far too cramped”; “Pure greed is driving South West Trains”; Commuters are paying higher fares for smaller seats, while the fat cats line their pockets. Disgraceful!”; “Change has been brought about for the wrong reasons, very poorly handled and badly communicated”; “I am totally appalled by this decision. It shows nothing but contempt for customers”; “Any company that provided this type of seating would be reported to the HSE”; “I’ve recently started suffering lower back pain for the first time in my life”; “As a commuter from Havant I find it uncomfortable and unhealthy for such a long regular journey”; “Perhaps a class action for damage done to our backs by these new carriages – SWT is displaying contempt for its passengers”; “Why, as Britain’s wealth increases, should the decent folk that use the route have the quality of their commuting life reduced? This has a big impact on people’s lives”; “I moved to Southern as soon as we lost the 442s and the timetable rewrite”; “I have noted not only the significant decrease in comfort level but also the increased incidence of passengers becoming angry during their journeys”; “Overcrowding is not the issue. Standing typically only occurs when the timetable has been disrupted”; “I have been informed by my osteopath that train seats are one of the most common contributory factors to bad backs”; “To quote Lord Hunt, Work and Pensions Minister in June 2005, “Occupational ill health and injury account for 40 million working days lost, with back pain alone counting for 4.9 million. The effects on those businesses and individuals is almost incalculable… by taking simple, sensible precautions in work and at home we can collectively work to reduce the misery of back pain”; “Any overcrowding is the direct result of cutting back peak services in 2004 to meet performance targets”; “I am losing two hours of productive time each day”; “A disgrace and a public relations disaster”; “I think it is despicable how SWT are treating us”; “This decision is outrageous… I now suffer a bad back”; The use of the 450s on the Alton line was a factor in our decision last summer to move house to Liphook rather than Alton”; “It’s time for a revolution”; “The other morning the 450 was overcrowded and I offered my seat to a lady that was sitting on the floor. She refused my generosity as she said she was more comfortable where she was”; “SWT reasons for the change are utter bull, as usual”; “This is unbelievable. We cannot be treated like this”; “I travel from Guildford to Waterloo. The 06.55 to Waterloo has been reduced from 12 “slammer” coaches to 10 “444”, and now we have 8 “450”. No wonder there is gross overcrowding! SWT are both very arrogant and economic with the truth and do not have a grip on travelling reality, only their balance sheet”; “The cramped conditions are also contributing to friction between commuters”; “If there was any feasible alternative to this ghastly service I would take it”; “Not that I condone violence but it is not surprising SWT invest so much money on reminding us that any attack on their staff will be prosecuted”; “We are treated as second class citizens on the Portsmouth line”; “The 444s are only ever overcrowded when SWT incompetence leads to a cancellation of earlier services or a reduction in carriages”; What is next, a Tube train?”; “SWT stated in issue 3 of e’motion magazine that they were “reconfiguring” (stripping out 6,500 seats from) their suburban fleet because “Passengers told us they didn’t like sitting in the middle seat of the blocks of three. Now it seems this seating is good enough for 90-minute journeys on a route which once had inter-city status”; “This is disgusting behaviour from a supplier we have no choice but to use”; “Why do SWT not give a damn about their customers”; “I am disgusted that in this day and age of a so called civilized society we have to put up with the cattle truck treatment”; “The staff aren’t happier about this than the customers. We applaud our passengers’ stance – good luck”; “I am planning to leave this area rather than put up with this horrendous bunch of cowboys any longer”; “As a contractor for South West Trains – I can confirm that SWT management have no customer service experience, no interest in keeping people happy (including their staff) and no interest in customers outside of their defined “Metro” area, ie west of Woking and south of Guildford”; Southern’s Electrostars are a pleasure to travel on due to the quietness of their interiors and the comfort of their seats. The lighting is also vastly superior to the interrogation room lighting in all Desiros”; “100% agree that change of service pattern is the real cause of the alleged overcrowding”; “These trains are the most uncomfortable I have ever travelled on anywhere in the world”; The root cause of all this is the incompetence of Brian Souter and the SWT Board who foolishly overbid for their franchise”; “I was utterly dismayed to see on BBC South local news last night the arrogant attitude of the SWT spokesman who simply said this was their decision and that frankly the passengers can lump it. SWT has absolutely no idea of good customer relations and treats its passengers and the travelling public with contempt”; “Having commuted for 20 years now, this is probably the most angry I’ve been”; “I have had to suffer the 450 train while heavily pregnant (the first class upgrade only applies if you are a season ticket holder). The approach of the 450 to the platform makes one want to call in sick”; “I have to spend more than 24 hours a week using SWT services; what was already a taxing and stressful journey has now been raised to almost breaking point”; “The 450s have been on the service from Fareham to London for some time and are not comfortable – some passengers apparently take an earlier train from Fareham and change at Eastleigh, Winchester or Basingstoke, so as to have a more comfortable journey!”; “SWT has shown a disgraceful lack of interest in its customers”; “Portsmouth is a city and should have inter-city trains, not suburban cattle trucks”; “There are real health issues for those of us who travel daily”; “It is bad enough to pay a fortune for the ticket. But to be then forced into seats designed for children is unacceptable”; “SWT is providing a totally unsatisfactory service”; “To hear the customer service director say “that the complaint that the chairs are uncomfortable was a matter of opinion” astonishes me” After already several severe delays this week my back is killing me”; “bring back the old trains, even the slam door ones were better than this”; “The usual utter contempt of their passengers should be expected of SWT”; “For the customers it’s a lose, lose, lose and lose – crap trains, sore backs, higher fares and the trains still don’t run on time”; “I complained to SWT about the new rolling stock and got a wonderful reply which completely ignored my original comments”; “On one particular journey I took, the 450 train rocked very badly at speed – frighteningly so”; “Quote: “We are not taking our customers for granted” – Ian Dobbs. Try pulling the other one, Sir”; “Having travelled on the 450, I have never experienced such uncomfortable seating on any form of public transport”; “Cramped, pathetic trains”; “Get the 444s back before someone dies from a DVT”; When someone suffers DVT after one of these journeys on a 450, I hope all the directors face a corporate manslaughter charge”; “The only legroom for me is to be found in the disabled seats. According to the 450 trains my height must be classed as a disability”; “SWT will lose £4,500 a year, because I am returning my season ticket from Petersfield because of the 450 trains”; “When 444s were introduced there were problems at Portchester station as it was only long enough for 4 carriages, not the five on the 444s. At some expense the platforms were lengthened – now the 444s have been withdrawn. Any signs of joined-up thinking? I think not”; “Go up the Pompey direct to London with South West Trains next time? No thanks, I’ll save a bit and get a bit more comfortable with Southern”; “Even I as a petite female (5’1” tall and 7.5 stone) find the seats cramped and have a backache after every journey”; “The real reason behind the change is that CEO Stewart Palmer lives in Dorset”; “These trains shouldn’t have been bought at all for any line”; “SWT have a long track record of being economical with the truth to their passengers and indeed staff”; “I am seriously considering switching back to using the car”; “SWT have shown arrogance and complete disregard for their customers’ comfort and, more importantly, safety. They cannot be trusted with the franchise” “SWT tried to get Angel to reduce the leasing charges on the 442s by saying they didn’t want them any more, thinking that Angel would say “Go on, we’ll cut the price”. Instead, Angel called their bluff and said “When can we have them back?”; “These trains are causing real misery for passengers”; “450 carriages appear to be designed using an ergonomics manual from the 11th century. Are they mentioned in the doomsday book?”; “We have put up with years of poor service from SWT”; “The most appalling journey which I can only describe as similar to ‘Black Hole of Calcutta’ conditions more suited to animals rather than human beings”; “This is a complete joke but then what else should we expect from SWT?”; “I have been travelling the Petersfield to London route since 1985. I can honestly say that in that time and particularly under “SWT’s “management”, the service has moved from good in 1985 to utterly abysmal in 2007!”; “SWT are an absolute disgrace”; “The entire SWT service is a national disgrace. They couldn’t run a tap”; “I have been a first class commuter from Petersfield/Liphook for the last 19 years and without a shadow of a doubt the current rolling stock fails to deliver a first class service using any benchmark one might care to use”.
Turning to the petition to bring back Wessex Electric class 442s to the Waterloo-Weymouth line…
“The replacements are ghastly”; “I think it a disgrace that SWT can justify withdrawing the most comfortable trains ever built without considering the options for life extension for the class. I for one will no longer be using SWT services for the foreseeable future”; “I suffer a stiff neck and shoulder on the Desiros”; “There is a desperate state of overcrowding developing on the SWT network and it makes absolutely no sense to get rid of any units whatsoever”; “What a scandalous waste of a real asset to the railway. More trips to London by car from now on for me”; “I’ve just travelled on a ‘444’ for the first time Waterloo-Bournemouth. They are rubbish. More like urban cattle trucks. Very poor service, South West Trains, profit before customers”; “The train operating company should be taken back into public ownership”; “Why not sound out your customers beforehand?”; Regular visitor to Dorset – I’ll be going by car in future”; “Withdrawal of the class 442 trains is a definite reduction in standards. These trains were withdrawn from the Portsmouth line on the basis that they were not suitable for this line, but were suitable for other long-distance services from London. The withdrawal of the 442 now means that rolling stock designed for the Portsmouth line is now used on other services and means that neither line has trains that are fit for purpose”; “I have had to give up writing letters as the ride is less smooth”; “The 444s are totally unsuitable for journeys of up to 3 hours. The seats and air-conditioning are uncomfortable, most seating is airline style which is unpopular with families, and there is inadequate room for luggage. A class 442 modified with two 8-seat standard compartments instead of 6-seat first class compartments would provide more seats. SWT is totally out of touch with their passengers”; “The replacement Desiros are austere and rough riding ”; “The new trains are dreadfully uncomfortable”; “For Christ’s sake why have we got these bloody Siemens trains? I never get peace and quiet when this loud, annoying ventilation noise is coming from the roof. Heating’s never on; air-conditioning always is”; “This would seem to be an extremely shortsighted move”; “Why do we always throw away the best we have?”; This ridiculous move is all so that SWT can supposedly save money by reintroducing the notoriously unreliable 458s on the Reading line. Madness!”; “The 444, and especially the 450, rolling stock is an insult to long-distance season ticket holders”; “If the class 442 goes for good then I will never use SWT again, I will go to Victoria via Southern”; “They are now riding roughshod over passengers in order to meet increasingly unrealistic targets and the punitive financial profile, which is a feature of its newly won South Western franchise. It is in danger of imploding like GNER and good riddance if it should do so”; “This is all about finance and customer comfort and satisfaction has gone out of the window. SWT should tell the truth about the financial issues behind the removal of the 442 trains and the plight of other rail users in Portsmouth who are also suffering the trains which are replacing the 444s stolen from the Portsmouth line. The Bournemouth line do not want the 444s and the Portsmouth line do not want the 450s. So once again SWT come clean and be honest about the whole issue. It will come out in the end!”; “Why are SWT disregarding public opinion and making these changes”; “Dire, awful, uncomfortable Desiro trains”; “Yet another perfectly good train being put into storage to rot away whilst some shiny-looking plastic, all singing, all dancing thing of far inferior comfort takes over. See sense SWT”; “SWT are awful”.
Webchat event 12 February
SWT Managing Director Stewart Palmer’s webchat event on 12 February raised an extraordinary 675 questions in 80 minutes, before the system collapsed under the strain. It appears there simply wasn't enough capacity to communicate the huge public discontent with SWT. Yet it is clear that, like e’motion magazine, this was used as a vehicle for handing out standard lines to take in justification of SWT’s position. In many cases, passengers were referred back to the answers to previous questions. With the slowest services since steam, about the highest fares in Europe, huge rises in car parking charges, and cramped, health-threatening, conditions on suburban stock on long distance services, Mr Palmer had very little more to offer except more revenue protection officers to hit people wanting to buy tickets on the train to avoid the often-long queues at his ticket offices. Isn’t it extraordinary that SWT is so keen to punish people who don’t buy their tickets in advance where booking offices are open, but shows little commitment to opening booking offices on time? Take Totton: Monday-Friday opening time 05.40, but frequently closed until well after 06.00. So passengers must buy tickets before boarding for SWT’s convenience, and booking office times are not honoured for SWT’s convenience.
IS OVERCROWDING ESSENTIAL TO STAGECOACH’S PROFITEERING?
When the Stagecoach chairman stated that “Ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed” nobody should have underestimated the significance of the statement. It’s very different from saying, for example, “We may be tempted to behave unethically sometimes”. In Souter’s statement some ethics are in the bin from the outset. So let’s explore SWT’s history in that context.
In the seventies, passengers using the routes from Waterloo were the most contented in Britain. Under Stagecoach they are now about the least contented. Where else are there dedicated on-line petitions against a single train operator? When railways were John Prescott’s responsibility, he stated that the interests of rail passengers were paramount. Huge sums have been invested, yet SWT passengers now stand or sit in cramped misery in their thousands, whilst the Stagecoach founders who started with nothing have amassed huge fortunes including two castles.
Despite hundreds of thousands spent by Stagecoach on manipulative PR, their own poll finds that only one in three customers believes they should have kept the franchise. That was largely before the present furore. When SWT Chairman Ian Dobbs saw the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group’s “Megaplaint” warning that a Stagecoach franchise meant taking more and giving less, he simply refuted it. Now all can see from the huge fare rises and rolling stock downgrades that he must have known that the contentions of Megaplaint were justified, and unsurprisingly so, because it was based on the evidence of scores of people from Ministers to day-trippers.
Doesn’t the award to Stagecoach suggest a failure of public policy and raise questions, which some commentators are already asking in the railway press, of whether the Department for Transport is fit for purpose? The House of Commons’ Transport Select Committee has accused the Government of repeated “failure” to meet a swathe of key targets, from boosting public transport to cutting congestion. Chairman, Labour MP Mrs Gwyneth Dunwoody, says, “This is a terrible picture of failure”. (Evening Standard 15/2/07)
Originally 785 Desiro carriages were ordered for SWT, which former SWT managing director Andrew Haines admitted was a like-for-like replacement outside the suburban area. Then 120 carriages disappeared off the scene because of short platforms in the suburban area. But didn’t that suit a vision of a highly profitable, highly uncomfortable railway? Such a vision would be unethical, but Stagecoach admits that ethics are in the bin.
The two-car electric trains which operate on Southern were originally ordered by BR for the lines from Waterloo, in order to maximize train lengths against platform lengths. Yet Stagecoach ordered only 4-car and 5-car units. Result: inflexibility. That leaves only selective door opening to counter the short platform issue; Southern and South Eastern ordered it for their new units but SWT didn’t for theirs.
Then take the Waterloo-Salisbury/Exeter diesel services. When BR introduced the class 159 units to that route in 1993, we were told these trains would be the principal service for Woking and Basingstoke commuters. So why do so many of them run in less than maximum formation, with at times 3 coaches on principal peak services (for example the 17.20 Waterloo -Exeter on Friday 9 February) because of duff rolling stock, whilst Portsmouth and Southampton trains are overcrowded with Basingstoke and Woking commuters?
But it gets worse. The Desiros are helping to increase overcrowding, because of the number of cancelled services and short formations due to duff units. Overall, there aren’t enough trains fit for service even at weekends. On Saturday 3 February SWT advertised before 06.00 that some trains throughout the day would run in short formation. The number of peak trains now being reduced to 4 coaches is shameful and getting worse (see our performance reports at Appendix 2). And what about Winchester, Eastleigh, Hedge End and Fareham? Winchester generally has alternate London services operated by class 444 and class 450 trains. So everyone will head for the class 444s, with more overcrowding. Eastleigh, Hedge End and Fareham residents will have class 450s on their very slow services, so people will drive to Southampton Airport Parkway, where there is already a parking crisis, and parking charges have soared. There will be even worse overcrowding on the 444s, which provide only 3 seats more per 5-car unit than the displaced class 442s; the latter could have the capacity advantage if a couple of 6-seat first class compartments were reconfigured as 8-seat standard class. So is there really an unavoidable overcrowding problem on SWT, or is it an avoidable of having Stagecoach run our trains?
Finally, let’s look even more widely. Whilst nobody should begrudge the proposed infrastructure improvements to allow an hourly service on the Waterloo-Exeter line, shouldn’t priority be given to improvements which will do most to relieve overcrowding? Suppose changes were made to Havant station, with track capacity increased over the short distance to Farlington Junction. With cessation of Gatwick Express, the London-Portsmouth service could switch to Southern’s Victoria-Horsham-Portsmouth route with timings similar to the current SWT service via Guildford, and passengers would enjoy Southern Comfort. The currently overcrowded Waterloo via Guildford services could switch to serving North Portsmouth (Cosham), Fareham and local stations to Southampton/Eastleigh through the fast-growing Solent residential corridor.
“TRAIN STAFF FEEL THE STRAIN OF UNDESIRABLE DESIRO CARRIAGES [The News, Portsmouth]
“Rail staff are too scared to face the public on new trains because of their anger about cramped conditions. Rather than face a barrage of complaints from irate commuters, staff are keeping out of the firing line, according to the man behind a campaign against the new trains. South West Trains is rolling out its blue Desiro 450 trains which were designed originally to operate between the capital and Guildford on the Portsmouth line. David Habershon, from Emsworth, who is leading the NO 450 campaign, said: 'The guards are too scared to come through the coaches now. Everyone is so irate, the staff would rather stay in their little booths than face the passengers. 'There will be a riot soon if things carry on like this.'
The catalogue of misery is mounting as commuters fight the introduction of new narrow seats on trains linking Portsmouth with London. More than 800 people – including South West Trains staff – have so far joined the NO 450 campaign. On the 12.54 from Fratton to London Waterloo travellers complained of bad backs, cramped legs and being unable to work properly on the new trains.
Kevin White, 47, from Worthing, West Sussex, was less than happy with the new trains. He said: 'It's all a bit more cramped, and the seats themselves are very tight. I am constantly having to squash myself into the space, giving me pains in my back. 'I'm paying more but getting less. My season ticket has gone up by £7 this year, but there have been lots of problems with the service. 'With all the disruption because of the works around Portsmouth and now the cramped carriages, I am getting fed up with the rail companies.'
Mark Summerfield, 54, of Beach Road, Hayling Island, regularly uses the trains to commute to offices in London. Attempting to work on his laptop, he said: 'I don't really have room for it here. There are no proper tables to use. This seat-back shelf is the only place I can put it and I'm in a funny cramped position as a result. 'I've just about got enough width at the moment, but it's a bit tight, however this carriage is empty so I can spread out. 'I'm sure it would be a much different story during rush hour.'
Robyn Skinner, 19, a student, of Telephone Road, Southsea, said: 'I do this journey a couple of times a week, and on the old trains I could always sit at a table and do my coursework. 'I could do with a bit more leg room. 'I'm fairly tall, and I just can't fit into the space they give you all that well, so I'm always trying to get comfortable.'
Mr Habershon said: 'Does South West Trains think Portsmouth is a third rate city? These trains are for the suburbs of London – Portsmouth is the only town on the coast which doesn't have proper, mainline trains anymore. I have even considered giving up my job in London because the commute is so bad now.' See David Habershon's video diary link at http://www.thenewscentre.co.uk/editorial/videodiary.mov Visit the campaign website at www.no450.co.uk
SWT MOVES FROM “AS SOON AS WE KNOW, YOU’LL KNOW” TO “WE HAVEN’T A CLUE”
What a difference winning a franchise makes! The SWT posters proclaiming “As soon as we know, you’ll know” have served their role in helping to boost Stagecoach’s claim to the new SWT franchise.
It’s all a bit different now. On 17 January, BBC news reported that the engineering work which had been causing 6 weeks of severe disruption for Portsmouth passengers was running seriously behind schedule. Trains would start serving the full route from February, but with the old signalling still in use. There would be another big shutdown to commission the new signalling. You might have expected SWT to be wracked with concern for their passengers, who were already commuting to London in suburban trains, paying the highest fares in Europe and enduring the slowest schedules since steam. The broadcast SWT statement? “We haven’t a clue what services we will be permitted to operate from February”.
It was eventually announced that the engineering works would overrun from 1 February to 18 March. So the overrun would be longer than the period scheduled for completion of the works. Is that a record which deserves one of SWT’s famous awards?
On Friday 12 January, early main line services from Southampton to Waterloo collapsed. The duty station manager at Southampton Central clearly didn’t care, and appeared irritated by passengers’ queries. Asked by an anxious passenger heading for Ashford International about the time that there might be a London train, he was heard by two other passengers to mutter, “I haven’t a clue”. Perhaps that should be SWT’s motto.
SWT’S AWFUL PERFORMANCE AND AWFUL SATISFACTION RATINGS
With a chronic crew shortage, and withdrawal of their most reliable electric trains in order to save a few pounds by closing Bournemouth depot at whatever cost to passengers, SWT has been underperforming in every area. It has just 4 performance targets, which the independent watchdog PassengerFocus has repeatedly demanded to have tightened in view of slowed schedules. These are mainline and suburban performance (punctuality) and mainline and suburban reliability (scheduled trains which actually operate). In the 4-week period to 6 January, SWT missed all 4 targets, and one sixth of mainline peak trains were significantly late. That’s after being awarded a franchise which commits the company to improved performance.
In the following 4-week period, the reliability targets were met (only just in one case) but both performance targets were missed again, with one in 6 mainline and one in 8 suburban peak trains running significantly late.
SWT’s Autumn 2006 passenger satisfaction figures are pretty terrible too. We are grateful to PassengerFocus for providing discrete ratings for SWT peak and off-peak travel.
* 23% of peak and 46% of off-peak passengers think their ticket is value for money.
* 34% of peak and 78% of off-peak passengers think there is sufficient space to stand/sit.
* 37% of peak and 49% of off-peak passengers think delays were dealt with satisfactorily.
* 41% of peak and 51% of off-peak passengers think the train toilet facilities adequate.
* 45% of peak and 52% of off-peak passengers are satisfied with train staff availability.
* 45% of peak and 54% of off-peak passengers are satisfied with luggage space.
* 45% of peak and 43% of off-peak passengers are satisfied with station parking facilities.
* 49% of peak and 61% of off-peak passengers are satisfied with station facilities.
These figures are truly dreadful. Given that the new 10 year franchise is likely to account for some 2,000,000,000 passenger journeys, astronomic numbers of journeys won’t give value for money. But these figures pre-date the huge downgrading of rolling stock on the main routes, thousands more seats being stripped from suburban trains, and substitution of less reliable stock on the Reading line (see the short peak-time formations recorded towards the end of our performance reports at Appendix 2 – the stock changes seem to have greatly exacerbated an already poor situation). Note too that passengers are not asked about station car park charges and that a Surbiton commuter complains of paying more to park than to travel into central London.
In justifying rail privatisation, Conservative Secretary of State Dr Brian Mawhinney stated “We want responsiveness to passengers’ wishes. We want, in the railways, all the characteristics of the best of British industry. The Sainsburys of this world respond rather well to their customers’ changing demands without any help from the state, thank you very much. We want that responsiveness for the railway too”.
The position on SWT is particularly shameful because the franchise has been in the hands of one operator longer than any other, and Stagecoach admits that subsidies hitherto have been extremely generous. In 1996, when David Chidgey, former MP for Eastleigh asked , “Bearing in mind the fact that the winners of the franchise for SWT have made it clear that they have no proposals to invest in new rolling stock, how does the Minister justify paying them a subsidy of £55m next year, particularly since when British Rail last ran the region as its operator two years ago it did so without subsidy and at substantial profit?” Transport Minister Steven Norris replied “I very much look forward to a massively enhanced quality of service on that line”. Eleven years on, Stagecoach hasn’t delivered.
18 AND 24 JANUARY 2007: LACK OF CONTINGENCY PLANNING + LACK OF CREWS + LACK OF INFORMATION = CHAOS AND MISERY
On 18 January, high winds caused trees to shed boughs on to railway lines. Many London commuters set off for home early to relieve the anticipated rush hour crush. During the afternoon, SWT’s website showed just a few obstructions and where they had occurred. The website then collapsed under the strain of enquiries, just when it was most needed.
People arriving at Waterloo found trains at many platforms but, with Stagecoach having too few crews at any time, the displacement of some incoming services meant that there were no drivers for departures. The 15.35 Waterloo-Weymouth was jammed solid with passengers. At around 16.00 they were all thrown off, including several elderly disabled passengers, and left to stand on the platform.
There were now never more than four departures advertised on the information screens, and most of these were suburban services, though the 3-car sardine can forming the 14.20 to Paignton did get away at about 16.30. A SWT manager informed passengers waiting around platforms 7 and 8, which had a 10-coach Desiro and 10-coach Wessex Electric parked next to them, that there were trains waiting for the Southampton line, but nobody was yet available to drive them, and he had no idea which trains would be used on which services (information which would have allowed passengers to spend their long waits in seats, and would have relieved the severe and potentially dangerous crush on the concourse). He intimated that there should be a Southampton line service soon. The operating problems were regularly announced as being between Aldershot and Alton, Staines and Windsor, and on the Cobham line.
The manager eventually changed his mind and told Southampton passengers to travel to Basingstoke on the train at platform 15. Passengers struggled through the now enormous crowds to find staff trying to shut the doors of the Basingstoke train on passengers jammed solid in the vestibules and, with typical contempt, bellowing at the new arrivals to stand clear.
At 17.30, it was announced that the stock of the 15.35 to Weymouth, which people had been thrown off and left to stand for one and a half hours, would now be the 17.35 to Weymouth. It duly departed at 17.50 with many left behind and many standing, crushed in the corridors, for another one and a quarter hours to Winchester. The guard announced the normal stops – first stop Winchester and train splitting at Southampton into fast Weymouth and slow Poole portions. Passengers for stations from Bournemouth to Poole inclusive were told to travel in the front portion and to travel in the rear portion (split personalities?).
Having left many behind at Waterloo, the train made an unscheduled stop to ‘pick up only’ at Woking, where a large number of passengers ran up and down the platform, making desperate but ultimately futile attempts to board. Having thus wasted more time, the train made a further additional stop at Basingstoke, where a handful of passengers alighted – presumably they were so desperate to get home that they had planned to double back from Winchester.
After the Weymouth portion had left Southampton, it was announced that the Poole portion would be delayed awaiting a guard! It eventually left at 19.50, 55 minutes late.
Huge numbers of trains were cancelled or seriously disrupted and some passengers complained of sensing that nobody seemed to care. We are reliably informed that so little time was given to passengers to board the 19.05 Waterloo-Poole, which departed at 19.10, that many were left behind. With services in meltdown, SWT’s website did struggle up to show the 17.45 Waterloo-Havant as running 87 minutes late from Effingham Junction, and the 19.54 Poole-Waterloo as axed between Poole and Southampton Central. Then there was a further information blackout.
On 24 January, there was a light snowfall in a few districts served by SWT. Services collapsed all day (see our rail performance report for the shameful chaos), and some commuters expressed disbelief to the press that rail companies were apparently unaware that such a phenomenon could occur in an English January. Fellow commuters tell us that the troubles started with a failed train at Clapham Junction – we have been unable to confirm which train, but note that the 05.15 Salisbury-Waterloo was advertised as 108 minutes late. The Evening Standard interviewed stressed and furious passengers whose day was disrupted by SWT, including a Thames Ditton nightshift worker struggling to get home, a businessman who had flown in from Ljubljana for a meeting in Winchfield; and a Beckenham woman going for a job interview in Wandsworth.
On 8 February, heavy snow was forecast, but was very light over most of the SWT area. Morning services collapsed anyway, due to numerous snow-unrelated reasons. Hilariously, the media were reporting that travel disruption generally had been caused by the “wrong sort of snow” – large snowflakes. A few years ago we were told that “wrong sort of snow” meant the fine, powdery sort which blows into trains’ motors! So pray for medium sized, travel-friendly snowflakes in future!
UNION CALLS FOR SWT TO BE RENATIONALISED
Calls for re-nationalisation of the railways are not unusual, but calls for one franchise to be re-nationalised because it is such a disaster for passengers are virtually unprecedented. Yet the RMT has focused on SWT as a target for re-nationalisation , with union bosses predicting even more misery for passengers. ‘Rail’ magazine (issue 559) reports: “The loss of class 442s and their replacement with class 458s, noted for their poor ride quality, noise, and poor corridor connections, has upset some elements of the train-going public. The use of class 450s, designed for outer-suburban duties, on long-distance services between London Waterloo and Portsmouth is another cause for concern…. RMT General Secretary Bob Crowe said: “SWT has already been ripping seats and toilets out to squeeze more passengers on their trains, and those lucky enough to get a seat are likely to be jammed five-abreast in suburban trains utterly unsuited to longer journeys”.”
GOVERNMENT UNDER ATTACK ON MANY FRONTS
* HUGE FARE RISES FOR RAIL USERS / CHEAP, POLLUTING AIR TRAVEL FOR THE AFFLUENT
Senior ministers are seeking to lead the international debate about global warming and convince the electorate that the environment is being taken seriously. Aviation is the most polluting form of transportation on earth, but cheap flights, globalization and the mounting cost of train travel have made it by far the fastest-growing source of carbon dioxide in the UK. Emissions have risen by about 70% since 1990. If Britons continue to fly as the Department for Transport forecasts, the number of passengers will increase from 228m today to 465m by 2030. By that time, aviation could count for up to a quarter of the UK’s contribution to global warming. By 2050 it could count for 50%.
The transport secretary, Douglas Alexander recently announced that he would allow airports to keep growing, infuriating local communities who fear increased noise, traffic, pollution and stress. The government’s insistence that cheap flights are democratizing air travel has been demolished by figures from the Civil Aviation Authority which show that the average income of UK leisure passengers at cheap flight hub Stansted is more than £50,000.
Whilst the government claims to be committed to cutting overall UK carbon dioxide emissions by 60% between 1990 and 2050, its own research states that this will be impossible if aviation is allowed to carry on expanding. Senior ministers are beginning to take a more aggressive stance against the air lines. Environment minister Ian Pearson warned that British Airways was “only just about playing ball” in the fight to reduce carbon emissions, branded Ryanair “the irresponsible face of capitalism” for trying to stymie an EU plan to include aircraft in an emissions trading scheme, and called the attitude of several major American airlines a “disgrace”.
Ryanair chief Michael O’Leary accused the government of hypocrisy and called Mr Pearson an “idiot minister”, pointing out that recent train fare rises did more damage to the environment because they forced more people on to the roads. Mr Pearson was also accused of hypocrisy by a trade union for attacking budget airlines, while pricing passengers off the more environmentally friendly railways. The train operating companies have just been allowed to raise fares by up to 7.3% - twice the rate of inflation. Travel union general secretary Gerry Doherty said, “The Minister’s attack on Ryanair would carry much more weight if the Government had acted to curb rail fare increases which have made our railways the most expensive in Europe. They know that it is six times more environmentally friendly to travel by rail rather than air but their policies are pricing travellers off the railways and into the air. Here we have a Government talking tough on the environment but acting weakly”.
London’s cheapest single cash fare is now £4.00, over two and a half times that of Tokyo, the next most expensive city and almost three times the price of the European average of £1.37. In Lisbon and Madrid the equivalent is 67p and in Paris 96p. A Virgin Trains’ standard open return between London and Manchester now costs £219, the same price as a Heathrow to New York bargain air return covering 20 times the distance.
[Odium accrual by the government was widely boosted in the press when the Prime Minister- who flew 4,500 miles with his family for a short Christmas break – was accused of hypocrisy for saying that, despite concern about greenhouse gases, he saw no reason to have holidays closer to home. He seemed to gamble on the future emergence of new technology (and with the lives of millions in poorer countries – see “Media Reports on the Environment” of 8-1-07 in this issue) when he commented that “What we need to do is to look at how you make air travel more energy efficient, how you develop the new fuels that will allow us to burn less energy and emit less. He also claimed that Britain is responsible for only 2% of the world’s emissions, but failed to mention that Britain accounts for only 0.9% of the world’s population.”
People interviewed in London commented: “I would be prepared to help the environment but airports are going to get bigger so there is no point”; “It doesn’t make much difference what we think because it is all about money and not the environment”; and “Until airlines start doing their bit, I am not going to stop flying on short journeys to Europe”. Mr Blair then tried to restore his green credentials by saying that he would offset carbon emissions from his and his family’s holiday travel. Mike Child, Friends of the Earth’s climate campaigner said, “There are no technological fixes to dramatically reduce carbon dioxide emissions from flying. If Tony Blair is serious about climate change he needs to curb the rise in air travel”.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer joined the debate by arguing that politicians had to set a personal example in tackling climate change. He stated “---you’ve got to take people with you and therefore I think you’ve got to show by your actions that you are not only doing what you expect other people to do but you can actually make a difference by these actions”; he didn’t do much leisure travel by air and generally drove a smaller car. Mr Tim Yeo, the Conservative MP who chairs the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee said he wanted to see “virtually no” domestic flights taking off within a decade.]
* RAIL POLICY ABANDONED AFTER THE INDUSTRY SOAKS UP RESOURCES
In 2000, the DETR’s ambition was “A bigger and better railway with reduced journey times, higher standards of safety, service and comfort” [Source: “Transport 2010-The 10 year plan-Summary”]. Now the ambition has been largely swept aside and the DfT is content for operators like SWT, who have received millions from public funds, to lower their standards pretty well across the board.
Commuters suffering the worst train operators, such as Stagecoach, have always been perceived as paying the penalty for being a captive market. So it is ironic that 2007 opened with crises caused by overcrowding both in prisons and on trains. It seems that, despite warnings, for example through the media, railway press and the South Hampshire Rail Users’ Group ‘Megaplaint’ submission to MPs, there has been government failure to appreciate the huge undercurrent of commuter discontent.
The Mayor of London argues that the recent huge fare increases are justified by the big level of current investment and new rail links. That may be true in certain areas of London, but what about other routes like South West Trains, where co-founder Brian Souter considers that “ethics are not irrelevant but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed”? Here, big fare increases are rewarded by the slowest services since steam, the stripping out of seats to cram in more standing passengers and increase stress, cramped suburban seating and the risk of deep vein thrombosis on former inter-city routes like Waterloo-Portsmouth, and less reliable and more back-damaging trains on the Southampton main line. The position is the more shameful because of the £65,000,000 and £100,000,000 bonuses which the two Stagecoach founders have taken in recent times.
Passenger Focus, the official watchdog, at last seems to be getting wise to greed-driven, ethically-limited Stagecoach’s huge deficit of concern for passengers and failure to match the original government policy. It has condemned SWT for withdrawing 24 Wessex Electric units which break down once every 29,000 miles in favour of an equivalent fleet of class 458 units which break down once every 14,000 miles. Anthony Smith, chief executive of Passenger Focus, says, “It is crazy that these modern, popular and comfortable trains will be languishing in sidings getting rusty.” Leading Liberal Democrat MP Chris Huhne has similarly condemned the changes as “ridiculous”. Withdrawal of the neglected Wessex Electric trains will allow SWT to avoid the costs of internal refurbishment and dispose of jobs at Bournemouth depot, whilst the 458s are cheap to hire because Stagecoach itself condemned them to an uncertain future by returning them to the leasing company as too unreliable.
But Stagecoach doesn’t kick its passengers with one boot at a time. At the same time as fare increases have soared above inflation, prices at more than 100 station car parks, 98 of them on SWT, have risen by up to 21%. It now costs £11.40 to park all day at Richmond. A Surbiton commuter complains that his annual fare to Waterloo is now £1,640 and his car parking charge £2,040. A commuter who now pays £3.80 a day to park at Ewell West station, instead of £3.20, says: “SWT told me it’s to stop people parking there and then going shopping, but the nearest shops are a half a mile away so there’s no chance of that anyway”.
Rail passengers in Hampshire have reacted angrily to the car parks price hike. One said, “It’s not right and it’s not fair”. Another said, “Well, they have a captive market, don’t they?” Passenger Focus again criticised SWT, saying that if passengers pay more they should get more. SWT link manager Jocelyn Pearson said, “We have already seen fares going up above the rate of inflation and this is an additional charge at a time when we are trying to get people out of cars and off the road and onto trains. What are our passengers actually going to get out of this? What are they going to do about giving something back like extra security for the extra they are paying?”
The position at Totton exemplifies Stagecoach’s blindest greed. Parking charges and clamping threats were introduced before parking spaces or the boundary of railway land was marked out. One commuter got a SWT warning notice when parked fully in the public approach road.
Rail Director General Mike Mitchell, reportedly on a salary of £150,000 a year, has been condemned as “arrogant and out of touch” for his comment that it is unrealistic for London commuters to expect a seat for “short” journeys of about half an hour. Commuters noted that they were paying £5,000 a year to travel in “cattle-truck like” conditions. One asks “Is Mike Mitchell, Britain’s railways boss, completely stupid?” Others write: “Mitchell must be living on a different planet. The overcrowding on trains is so horrendous that people are close to either fainting or punching each other” and “It is ignorance and arrogance such as Mitchell’s that makes commuters resentful of any increase in fares. Apparently, we’re good enough to rip off in price rises but not good enough for a decent transport system”.
A Wokingham commuter complains, “If Dr Mike Mitchell at the Department for Transport believes second-class commuters standing for half an hour is “not unacceptable”, would he acknowledge standing for much longer is unacceptable? Perhaps he could join second-class South West Trains passengers on the 06.42 from Reading to Waterloo, many of whom stand for more than 50 minutes”. A Brentford commuter says, “The 18.52 Waterloo to Hounslow service is only 4 carriages long, As a result, it is mayhem when people try to get on at Vauxhall and Clapham Junction. Despite new carriages being delivered, South West Trains is saying that it is still deciding which services to improve. Perhaps the management should go for a ride”.
Secretary of State for Transport, Douglas Alexander, went to the Evening Standard to present a glossy picture of investment and improvements, claiming that “botched privatisation and years of under-investment are beginning to be behind us but I know we must stop there”. Funny about the reports of the Southern Western Franchise agreement with Stagecoach being cobbled together in the middle of the night and just hours before it was announced! And funny that hundreds of commuters who weren’t consulted by Stagecoach are now petitioning about the downgrading of their rolling stock, and consequent health risks!
Mr Alexander is new in post and deserves a chance, but he might like to reflect urgently on why fares in Britain’s second biggest rail commuter network (Glasgow) are relatively cheap, services much more customer-friendly, and investment in new routes and services high. Funny that SWT is run by a Scottish transport company and we have had successive Scottish transport secretaries and now a Scottish railways minister as well. Rail expert Christian Wolmar noted in the Evening Standard of 23 January: “The present situation simply cannot continue. The anger out there is palpable. I was on a phone-in programme on Radio 5 yesterday which was inundated with calls from all around the country….And the longer Douglas Alexander and Gordon Brown ignore that anger, the more savagely it will rebound on them as our commuter services reach crisis point”.
Mr Alexander might also like to reflect on the following combination of circumstances: (1) Stagecoach went into business with two buses; (2) the then Monopolies and Mergers Commission condemned Stagecoach’s business practices as predatory, deplorable and against the public interest; (3) Stagecoach has swallowed up huge sums of public money and has huge numbers of dissatisfied passengers; (4) the company has lost big sums abroad; (5) the wealth of the two founders reportedly peaked at about two thirds of a billion pounds; and (6) they have recently received 8- and 9-figure bonuses and one owns two castles. Any clue as to who has benefited most from government investment?
It seems that Stagecoach itself is being rattled by public revolt. SWT Customer Service Director Ian Johnston appeared on BBC TV on 22 January to say it was a matter of opinion whether the seating on the Portsmouth-Waterloo class 450 suburban trains was less comfortable than the wider seats on the trains which they replaced. Odd that SWT previously claimed they were reconfiguring (stripping out 6,500 seats from) their class 455 trains, because people didn’t like the cramped seating of the type which they have now brought back, for much longer journeys, in the class 450 units [doesn’t that ever so slightly indicate that they accept passengers’ opinion when it suits them and rejects it when it doesn’t?].
Perhaps most bizarrely, the Office of Rail Regulation told the Evening Standard: “Research in the late nineties…found that where there was a crowded or overcrowded train carriage there was no detrimental effect to people involved in crashes. In a lot of cases people were better off in train carriages where there was overcrowding”. This presumably means that passengers are less likely to be flung around if crammed together, and was perhaps inspired by last year’s series of low-speed derailments on South West Trains. But one of those accidents reportedly caused terror. What if passengers crammed like sardines are involved in an incident? Are we really to believe they will smile at each other and think, “Oh dear, we must stay calm”? Or might someone actually panic? And what of the few people cremated several years ago while trapped in a Paddington-bound high speed train carriage? Would they have survived if scores of others had been crammed in with them? The Office of Rail Regulation is supposed to be the guardian of our safety, but seems to belong to the school which thinks that if you keep a bottle of water, can of beans, and sticky tape for the windows and doors at hand, you will be fully prepared for a nuclear disaster.
MPs were stunned by ORR’s stance, particularly by seeming to defend overcrowding on the basis that it may protect passengers. Ed Vaizey, Conservative MP for Didcot, noted, “That’s got to be the most ludicrous thing I have ever heard. It’s like arguing you should pack a family saloon with 12 people as a road safety measure. People have got to stop passing the buck”. Shadow Transport Secretary Chris Grayling added, “Given the scale of the problem of overcrowding, it’s insensitive and crass to say the least to say people are better off in packed trains”. Newbury MP Richard Benyon said, “This blame-go-round can’t continue”.
Emeritus Professor John Adams of University College London writes: “When Labour came to power 10 years ago, John Prescott proclaimed: “I will have failed if in five years time there are not many more people using public transport and far fewer journeys by car”. He has failed. Since that proclamation, the number of motor vehicles has increased by 7.5m. At parking meter distances (264 cars a mile), these extra vehicles could be accommodated in a new car park stretching from London to Edinburgh 85 lanes wide. The owners of these vehicles expect somewhere to park not just at home, but also at the ends of their journeys, and roads on which to get there…. You note that motoring is now cheaper than it was 25 years ago. To discourage sprawl and increasing dependence on the car, motoring costs should be increased most in the areas where growth is fastest – the opposite of the congestion charging currently proposed”.
Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT union, writes: “The key to the success of any policy aimed at reducing emissions from road traffic is increasing public transport capacity. Research by Professor Phil Goodwin shows that because public transport use is only about 6% of all journeys, small increases in public transport’s “modal share” have a disproportionately large effect on the demand for it. If road-user charging generated an increase of only 3% in rail’s modal share, this would actually mean a 50% increase in demand, or extra 500 million passengers. As Britain does not have sufficient rail capacity to absorb the effects of a successful road pricing policy, this indicates that the forthcoming comprehensive spending review should signal a long term shift in transport policy, with motorway widening and airport expansion supplanted by increased investment in our railways. If road pricing goes ahead, all revenues should be ring-fenced for public transport investment”.
[Sources: Guardian 3/1/07; 5/1/07; 10/1/07; 12/1/07 and 12/2/07; Independent 3/1/07; Metro 9/1/07; 19/1/07; Southern Daily Echo 4.1.07, 13/1/07 and 23/1/07; Evening Standard 4/1/07; 5/1/07; 17/1/07; 19/1/07; 22/1/07; 23/1/07; 24/1/07 and 5/2/07; The London Paper 8/1/07; The London News 9/1/07; Private Eye 19/1/07]
EVENING STANDARD LAUNCHES PETITION
Two reports, one commissioned by the Government and another drawn up by Transport for London predict that train overcrowding will worsen in London and the South East. This will have massive implications for the region’s economy. The overcrowding could force more commuters to travel by car, adding to pollution and congestion, or to move away. The Government report by Sir Rod Eddington warns that overcrowding on key rail routes into the capital, providing access to deep, skilled labour markets, will become significantly worse. Many passengers would be required to stand for long periods in uncomfortable conditions and some would be left standing on platforms waiting for trains with standing room before being able to board. Overcrowding could hit the reliability and punctuality of trains and the report estimates the current cost to the economy at between £400m and £1bn, but that could rise as demand grows. The TfL report, called Transport 2025, looks at what will happen if only investment projects with definite funding up to 2010 are completed. In this case it predicts that overcrowding will increase by 45% by 2025 resulting in increased dwell times in stations.
In the light of this dire situation, the Evening Standard has started a “seat for every commuter” campaign. This has widespread support from MPs including, in the SWT area, Rob Wilson (Reading East), Ed Davey (Kingston and Surbiton), Stephen Hammond (Wimbledon) and Martin Salter (Reading West). By February 2, more than 1,000 passengers had signed online petitions on the Standard’s website calling for an end to intolerable conditions on trains during rush hours – see www.thisislondon.co.uk and http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/traincrowding. Rail companies contacted by the Standard outlined their own problems and initiatives, with the exception of South West Trains whose managing director Stewart Palmer did not respond. Shadow Transport secretary Chris Grayling has tabled an Early Day Motion calling on the government to conduct an early review of the railways. More than 100 MPs have signed it.
Andrew Pelling, MP for Croydon Central, has also tabled an Early Day Motion stating that commuters who are timetabled to travel for more than 20 minutes deserve a seat. Twenty one MPs have signed it. He said, “My constituents pay over £1,600 a year for their “Gold Card” season ticket only to be treated like animals. There’s huge support in my constituency for the Standard’s campaign”.
Transport 2000, which has broadcaster Michael Palin as its president, has backed the campaign. The organization is drawing attention to the problem of overcrowding by sending a man in a sardine outfit on some of Britain’s most crowded routes. On March 14 he will go on a nationwide tour, visiting some of the worst overcrowding hotspots in the country as well as depots where trains which could be used to relieve overcrowding are mothballed. He will keep a blog to record the appalling everyday experiences.
Meanwhile, statistics on people claiming incapacity benefit for mental health reasons have for the first time been divided according to their disorders. The results are a snapshot of how Londoners are cracking up under the strain of modern life. Cases of reaction to severe stress have risen by 249% over the past decade, from 1,600 in 1997 to 5,580 last year. The number of people unable to work because of depressive episodes rose from 33,500 in 1997 to 63,740 last year. Overall, the total number of people off work for mental health reasons has gone up in every year since 1997, from 89,700 to a high of 136,461 last year.
A study by the Evening Standard found that cattle truck conditions on commuter trains could be putting passengers’ long-term health at risk. Three commuters recorded their pulse rates. A healthy resting heart rate should be between 70 and 80 beats a minute. During these commuters’ journeys, their average heart rates were 87, 94 and 92 beats per minute and highest rates 102, 118 and 131 beats per minute. Dr Mark Hamer, an expert in the biological effects of stress from University College London, said: “If your heart rate is up to that level while you’re at rest that’s not good news. You release hormones that can damage your heart and blood vessels if they are not utilized”.
Most SWT passengers are aware of cases of severe delay on trains because of people being taken ill. What’s the betting that these delays do not count against the company for statistical purposes? And is it a good idea then to omit stops and curtail services short of destination, when this is likely to increase further the stress of the remaining passengers?
(Source: Evening Standard 23/01/2007; 24/01/2007; 26/01/07; 02/02/2007; 07/02/07; 12/02/07 and 14/02/07)
LETTER TO JOHN DENHAM MP
14th February 2007
Dear John Denham MP,
I’m one of your constituents and I’m writing to you in your capacity of being my MP regarding South West Trains. I’ve been commuting for virtually ten years now between Southampton and Waterloo for my gainful employment and I’ve become very concerned with how SWT have managed to persistently hood-wink parliament and all those concerned with the railways over the years. I am not alone in being dismayed at their franchise renewal; it was no surprise that within days of being awarded the franchise they threw all hands to the pump to maximise their profit, retiring trains that aren’t at the end of their life because they cost more to lease, re-introducing stock even they themselves admitted as being too unreliable, a timetable which has been slowed by 15% in as many years, being placed onto the slow line because other services are in danger of breaching the charter refund limit, all this and we’re now paying more for our tickets for this privilege! There are many concerned commuters but it isn’t easy to shake oneself into activity, e.g. writing letters to MPs. I could produce a very dry and factual letter for your perusal but others have been there before me; I would like to write about my concerns in general, and provide some links to reference material.
SWT and Stagecoach do not change their personnel much over time. Conversely, government representation has frequently changed faces, with different rail regulators, the SRA, transport ministers and so forth. It strikes me that these people look at SWT, draw in their breath and say “Well, you must do better you know” and SWT say “Yes, you are right, we will”. Sadly, a fresh set of faces two years later will have forgotten the original questions posed by their predecessors, or SWT will have re-written the history surrounding the questions or indeed altogether fresh questions are posed, SWT will smirk to itself and say “Yes, you are right we must do better”. The commuter is the only one that has a good “corporate” memory of SWT and their history of disinterest. Privatisation is supposed to generate competition but this isn’t the case on the railways. The commuter is held hostage to complete indifference and the TOC will generally only do what it considers to be just enough to make sure it isn’t stripped of its easy money, and with the milk teeth of a toddler the rail regulator is letting SWT get away with it. Now that the TOC has to pay money to the government over its 10 year franchise (reportedly £1.2 billion) one can’t help just wonder what else SWT is going to get away with considering the revenue that is to be raised for the treasury. It’s virtually a licence to act with impunity.
Typical of this scenario is when they trumpeted the timetable changes of December 2004. This was all done in partnership with Rail User Groups as an exercise to serve the commuter better. No doubt this sounds good to the rail regulator, except this is a fiction; SWT didn’t consult Rail User Groups (Denis Fryer of the South Hampshire Rail Users Group can tell you all about that). Their real motivation was to slacken the timetable enough so they weren’t caught in their 5% discount trap any longer. The sad part is that the rail regulator bought this snake oil pill, and failed to instigate a tighter punishment scheme based on the slackened timetable. Result – SWT even if they arrive on time take longer to get somewhere and even if your late the service has to be really rather late for them to be forced to hand any money back. The 7:30 now arrives at 8:48 (when we are lucky) where as pre-Hatfield it was very punctual; 7:32 departure arriving at 8:46. SWT quote that there are more trains in and out of London Waterloo and I am not suggesting that if there is demand that it shouldn’t be accommodated – however SWT implying that the timetable is longer because of train carriages only having 4 doors to embark and disembark is ludicrous – the Wessex stock has had plug doors these past 20 years and the new stock accelerates more quickly, compensating for slightly longer station stop times regarding the slam-door replacement stock. Just why has the timetable been allowed to slacken out just so much? If we go back further to when I first started commuting, the 7:32 arrived at 8:42 and previous to that it used to do the run in just 66 minutes – perhaps you recall Network Rail’s slogan of 77 miles in 66 minutes, Southampton to Waterloo.
Another bone of contention is one which also affects you personally and that is the unnecessary change to the rolling stock. The class 442 Wessex Electric were first manufactured in 1988-1989 and the units are now approaching 20 years old. However SWT have not spent any money on them for a number of years. They’ve had worn hazard tape on the compartment joints, failed to fix the air conditioning year-in year-out in favour of handing out bottled water, broken seats and innumerable problems with loose screws and nuts in the compartment joints. Rumour has it that SWT has had to refurbish these trains back to the same standard that they were leased in as part of their lease terms with the ROSCO Angel Trains. Shame about us commuters eh? A SWT manager told me that these trains where going to be refurbished and the buffet area stripped out to accommodate more standard class seating. This programme was cancelled when SWT were awarded the franchise. Something they must have conscientiously made up their mind to do a long time before. There would have been greater seating capacity than a 444 and the Portsmouth line could have kept that stock instead of having the 450 stock thrust upon them, and in turn the highly unreliable 458 stock reintroduced onto the railway. This is purely a commercial concern as the 442 costs more to lease, according to the same SWT manager a 5-car Wessex cost £1,075 a day to lease and a 5-car 444 is around half of that. There has been no consultation with us the season ticket holding commuter – and it’s not like we’re now paying half for our season ticket to reflect this rolling stock change.
The 444 train that replaces it has a total of 4 extra seats per 5 car unit. The first class count comes down from 45 seats to 30 seats – meaning that many first class passengers are now being offered cash discounts on a per-trip basis (when they should be offered a refund on their season ticket in my opinion), that is when the guard turns up to check and issue a refund. Only now are SWT taking the enforcement of staff not using first class seats seriously. (I’m a standard class annual ticket holder for the record). The catering facilities are woeful - SWT say that if a train is delayed for an hour or more you are entitled to a free hot drink – more lip service, they won’t have the stock to serve one carriage. The trains are also considerably more unstable in the horizontal as they lack the suspension of the 442. The seats are very uncomfortable and have often caused numbness in my legs because they are now just bits of plastic with some felt around them rather than proper deep filled seats. I’ve been told by an employee of SWT that the Siemens 444 train is the cheapest train that they have ever built, cheaper than even their domestic tram stock. SWT now admit to problems with the climate control in the 444 units – on Friday the 9th the 7:30 from Southampton Central had no heating, and on Monday my GP diagnosed me as suffering from bronchitis, no doubt brought on by these conditions. No compensation was offered regarding hot refreshments.
I could go on indefinitely about SWT, such as car parking charges, misinformation (such as the amount spent refurbishing Southampton Central) and the general lassitude one has come to expect from SWT towards the very people that make them their money.
Instead I will leave you with a number of web sites that you may care to visit which have addressed the concerns more succinctly than I. Personally I hope you take on board that I’m a frustrated commuter, and that with a dozen or so peak trains per day a season ticket community or approx 7,000 which travel on the South West Main Line a website which can garner more than 1,000 signatures is a significant amount of the populace. We’re all very fed up with having to pay more for less. All we want is a service which is punctual, comfortable and represents value for our ticket.
South Hampshire Rail Users Group
The No 450 campaign group
Petition to keep the 442 stock
Finally, South West Trains – check out the Q&A forum of some nearly 700 odd questions posed by commuters – the answers to many of which go to show the disregard they have for us commuters by demonstrating that they haven’t sought our opinions to begin with -
“SWT WOULD BE HAPPIER IF IT DIDN’T HAVE THE NUISANCE OF CUSTOMERS” - USER
“South West Trains is now employing four people on every gate to block access to platforms 60 seconds before trains leave. I missed my train last week through this and was told I was “unlucky that my train was on time”. It would appear that SWT would be happier if it didn’t have the nuisance of customers. – Ian Llew” [Evening Standard, 9/1/07]
“SWT, STOP PUNISHING YOUR CUSTOMERS AND GIVE SOMETHING BACK TO US INSTEAD” – USER
“I am appalled at the way in which South West Trains has increased car parking charges at Southampton Central station. The weak justification states the money will be invested in further spaces etc. The same thing was said last year but no improvements have been made. During the last 12 months there has been no increase in the number of spaces or the security enhanced at the car parks. I park there daily and the lighting hasn’t worked for the last six months at the entrance to the car park near Overline House. Car windows are regularly smashed. Although I’ve reported the lighting several times to staff, nothing is done.
South West Trains, stop punishing your customers and give something back to us instead. The new franchise has come at a cost to the poor commuter, yet again! There is no justification to charge £6.60 a day on top of the increased costs of travel. It will soon be cheaper to drive to work than use a train.” [Correspondent in Southern Daily Echo 10/1/07]
CANCER CHARITY CHIEF EXECUTIVE FINDS SWT CHALLENGING
(Southern Daily Echo 31/1/2007)
“As part of my work I need to be in London on average once a week. That proves to be a challenge every time. I live in the outskirts of Southampton so prefer to take the train from the airport station but unless I am there before 07.30 it is impossible to park. I try to book all meetings from 11.00 onwards to avoid the peak commuter rate of about £56 return including Tube. Taking a later train, after 10.00, with a network railcard only costs about £20. That is a huge difference when I have to use charity funds wisely. However, if I take a later train, there is no place to park and I end up driving all through the airport area looking for space and then on to Winchester where if I am lucky I can find parking.
Only twice in the past 6 months have I been able to park at the airport and twice I have had to pay the excessive rate of £13 plus to park at the airport multi-storey. What is the government going to do about this? They want to encourage us to use public transport but how do we get there? If we drive, we can’t park. I already have to allow at least an hour prior to departure to find a place to park. The government is discussing taxing us on each mile driven in the next few years, but what are they going to do about supporting the use of public transport? The train is too far from my house to ride a push bike and while a motorcycle would be fun, it is not really practical when in dress clothes for business meetings – Connie Carroll, chief executive, Sail 4 Cancer”.
Response from a reader (Southern Daily Echo 15/2/07)
“I was interested to read the letter regarding the difficulty of parking at Southampton Parkway railway station after 7.30am. I recently wrote to South West Trains to complain about the massive increase in the cost of parking there. It was bad enough at £6.90 per day but from January 1 it was increased to £8.30 (20 per cent increase!). They wrote back and said basically it was because they were investing in more car parking spaces and wanted to discourage non-rail users. On January 2, I had to attend a London clinic for a blood test early in the morning. I was only in London for an hour and the trip cost £58 on the train and £8.30 to park. It would have been cheaper to drive and cheaper to pay the congestion charge! Public transport is supposed to encourage us out of our cars, not the other way round.” - Suzanne Brooks, Bursledon.
SWT “CRAZY” – PASSENGER FOCUS
“Trains scrapped to pack in more passengers - Ben Webster Transport Correspondent
(The Times 4-1-07)
* 120 carriages to be stored in sidings
* Company to use cheaper models
Britain’s biggest train company is scrapping its most reliable trains more than a decade earlier than scheduled, and introducing cheaper trains that break down twice as often. South West Trains (SWT) will send 120 Class 442 carriages into storage in sidings next week despite protests by Passenger Focus, the national rail passenger watchdog. The electric trains, which operate between London Waterloo and Weymouth, were built in 1988 and 1989, and could have remained in service until at least 2020.
They develop faults on average once every 29,000 miles, compared with one breakdown every 14,000 miles for the Class 458s being introduced by SWT. The company will save £1.5 million a year by cutting more than 50 jobs at the Bournemouth depot where the Class 442s are maintained.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of Passenger Focus, said: “It is crazy when there’s a desperate need for more trains that these modern, popular and comfortable trains will be languishing in sidings getting rusty. What this shows is that the structure of the train leasing and franchising system makes it extremely difficult to organise the sensible movement of trains to where they are most needed.”
The move means that commuters on the Portsmouth line will have to travel on trains with five seats across the carriage instead of four. The new trains were designed for short trips to the suburbs of London. SWT says that it is providing thousands more seats on the overcrowded line, but largely by using narrower seats. The company has come under fire for packing in more passengers on routes in London by removing seats and toilets.
The operator is under pressure to cut costs to meet the terms of the franchise contract it signed last year. It has agreed to pay the Government £1.2 billion over ten years, more than any other train company. Roger Ford, technical editor of Modern Railways magazine, said that SWT’s 450,000 passengers each day were to pay higher fares for an increasingly overcrowded service.
The company already has the worst overcrowding on the network, with almost a third of passengers having to stand in the peak morning period on some trains arriving at Waterloo. SWT expects numbers to grow by 50 per cent in the next decade but has abandoned plans to lengthen platforms for longer trains. Mr Ford said: “There will be no significant investment to support the growth, with passengers getting little in return for the huge sums to be paid to the Government.”
Network Rail published proposals last year for extending platforms at Waterloo and building a new concourse. But the £1 billion scheme is unlikely to start until after the 2012 London Olympics and would not be completed until 2017.
An SWT spokeswoman said that passengers on Weymouth services would get much newer trains, which were becoming increasingly reliable. Chris Grayling, the Shadow Transport Secretary, said that the Government had failed to produce a plan for coping with worsening overcrowding and was focusing on reducing the £5 billion annual subsidy paid to the industry. “Train companies are under pressure to bid as high as they possibly can to hold on to their franchises. The highest bidder tends to be the company which aims to push up fares the highest and to squeeze the most passengers on to its busiest trains.” [In other words, the least passenger-focused company]
SWT “RIDICULOUS” – LEADING LIBERAL DEMOCRAT MP
The Southern Daily Echo of 23 January reported that “Eastleigh MP Chris Huhne criticised the decision to replace the class 442 units, which he said could have remained in service until 2020. “It is ridiculous, given the desperate need for more trains in this country, that these efficient, popular trains will be left getting rusty in the sidings”.
SWT PARKING CHARGES “WILL HIT DISABLED THE HARDEST” – USER
Let the train take the strain! South West Trains now seem to want to reverse this slogan by putting the strain on the pockets of commuters. A vast increase in charges for car parking is to be imposed on those who leave their cars in railway car parks in order to travel by train. Even travellers at smaller stations are to be penalized. At Totton, for instance, regular commuters currently park in the area around Totton station, where there are even a few spaces for disabled travellers.
With the new charges of £2.40 a day (including disabled bays) drivers will inevitably be filling car parks at nearby local supermarkets, causing problems for shoppers. Disabled drivers, however, unable to walk for any distance, will have great problems, for if they drive to Southampton to catch a train they will find very few disabled bays which, not being monitored, are usually occupied by able-bodied passengers. It should be remembered that for a physically disabled person their car is a lifeline to work and taking part in life.”
[Southern Daily Echo 12-1-07]
SWT PASSENGER “FACED WITH OVER 2 HOURS OF DISCOMFORT AND INCONVENIENCE”
“Last Sunday evening I arrived at Waterloo station having travelled rapidly in the comfort and convenience of Eurostar at times at a speed of 150mph. I hoped to promptly catch a train to Micheldever Station. I was then faced with over two hours of discomfort and inconvenience as follows.
1. The display screen at Waterloo gave no information whatsoever about train services beyond Woking, except that services to Southampton appeared to be diverted via Guildford.
2. I picked up a timetable and saw that a train was due to leave shortly.
3. There was no information at the entrance to the platform or on the screens on the platform as to what would happen to passengers who wished to travel to stations between Woking and Winchester.
4. I ascertained from the information stand that coaches would transport passengers from Woking.
5. On arrival at Woking there were no specific signs for passengers to Basingstoke and beyond, so we followed the signs indicating coaches to the left. After crossing the bridge we were told that the coaches were on the other side.
6. On returning across the bridge we found a sign had been placed at the top of the stairs from the platform directing passengers to the right hand side of the station.
M Radford [Hampshire Chronicle 14-12-06]
AS INHUMAN AS IT GETS: YOUNG MOTHER-AND-CHILD SWT PASSENGERS LEFT BEHIND IN EMPTY CAR PARK
DESPITE AMPLE ROOM TO CARRY THEM
‘Modern Railways’ columnist Alan Williams, who seemed briefly inclined to embrace Stagecoach at the time SWT commemorated his career with a plaque on Effingham Junction station, has seemingly returned to reality.
In the February edition, he writes:
“One weekend last October, notices appeared at SWT stations advising passengers ‘not to travel in the London area at all’. Had terrorists struck again? Had there been an outbreak of some terrible, highly contagious disease? No. It was simply that Network Rail had closed all lines between Queenstown Road and Byfleet & New Haw, and therefore also the branches to Hampton Court, Kingston, Shepperton, Chessington, Epsom and Effingham. In short, the entire South Western suburban service was being replaced by buses.
A shuttle service was operated between Effingham and Guildford. Out of interest, I toddled down to the station to see what was going on. The place was deserted. When the shuttle from Guildford arrived, the very few passengers – far fewer than one would normally expect – were advised by the conductor to make their way to the car park for the bus. This requires the negotiation of two flights of stairs and a fairly lengthy walk – certainly far enough to get thoroughly soaked in bad weather.
One of the very few passengers was a young woman with a child and pushchair, who had not been warned at Guildford of the road replacement service. The driver of the bus was not the least interested in checking or selling tickets. But despite the bus being virtually empty, he adamantly refused to let the young woman on board with her pushchair. When, somewhat distressed, she asked what she might do, he curtly suggested she should summon a taxi. And with that he departed with his almost empty bus, leaving her standing in the middle of an empty car park.
Now Effingham is a pretty quiet place on a wet Sunday afternoon even when trains are running. A public telephone it has. A taxi rank it has not. But why should passengers be left to summon taxis for themselves in any case? If you buy a rail ticket to a destination, you should not then have to fork out again for a taxi to complete your journey. For her, a replacement service this most definitely was not. In the event, having determined that this performance was likely to be repeated all over again on her return journey later, the young woman decided to abandon her trip and caught the next, equally empty, shuttle train back to Guildford. I hope she claimed a full refund for her ticket – she was certainly entitled to it”.
[SWT Customer Service Director Ian Johnston was oddly quiet about the treatment of passengers using substitute bus services – or indeed about station gates being left open after 22.00 - when he wrote in the Evening Standard of 23 January that, “South West Trains takes passenger safety and security very seriously”!]
SWT PASSENGERS ABANDONED IN THE NIGHT AND LEFT TO PAY £180 TO GET HOME AS TRAIN CREW JUMP IN A TAXI
SYMPATHISER SAYS SWT NIGHT TRAINS “COMPLETELY INADEQUATE”
(From article by Marcus Leroux in The Times. Also reported for example in the Southern Daily Echo, The News (Portsmouth), The Metro (London) and on BBC TV)
“When a rail company’s replacement bus service broke down in the middle of the night, miles from its destination, the passengers thought that the journey could not get any worse. They didn’t count on the possibility that the train’s staff would hop into a taxi and disappear into the frosty night, leaving them stranded in the snow for several hours. This was the South West Trains service from Waterloo to the middle of nowhere, via Woking.
The coach driver assured the five incredulous passengers that a second taxi was on its way for them. But after waiting for more than an hour they came to the conclusion that it would never arrive. They phoned their own taxi. Two hours and £180 later the last passenger, Adrian Yalland, arrived home in Southampton at 5.40am, four and a half hours after he had left London.
Mr Yalland told how he and his fellow passengers looked at each other in disbelief as the train driver and the guard got off the coach and sped off in a taxi about 2.30am, only 15 minutes after the coach had broken down at a roundabout near Woking. “We had to do a double take and ask each other if it had really happened,” he said. “There was no heating on the bus and it was freezing. One man was only wearing a shirt so I had to give him my jacket because he was so cold.” To make matters worse, the taxi had five empty seats and was going to Basingstoke, the destination of three of the passengers. Alex Waite, an actuary from Winchester, was also on the broken down bus. “I was staring out of the window thinking that it couldn’t get worse,” he said. “Then it started to snow.”
South West Trains admitted that it was embarrassed by the blunder. The company said that the guard and driver needed to go as quickly as possible for another job, and that the first taxi could not have taken passengers because they may have been diverted at any time on its way to Basingstoke. A spokesman said: “The guard and the driver of the train had to get to their next location, but this doesn’t make up for leaving passengers stranded in the middle of the night. South West Trains will now be contacting the bus company to try to find out why another bus was not provided.
“We will do all we can to make sure that this embarrassing incident doesn’t happen again. I can understand why the passengers would be upset — once you get to the end of the night you just want to get home.” Mr Yalland, who runs a travel company, will be reimbursed for the taxi ride, but is far from satisfied. “It was just incredibly rude and illustrates the attitude they have towards customers,” he said. “They treated us with absolute contempt.”
[Suppose the passengers had been disabled, or young people without a topped-up mobile phone or £180?]
Letter in Southern Daily Echo of 30 January 2007
“I sympathise with Adrian Yalland who was left stranded on a train journey from London when the bus he was transferred to broke down. My work means I often catch the 23.39, 00.05 or 01.05 services during the week from Waterloo to Southampton. As well as no catering on board, it is completely unpredictable as to how far the trains will get before passengers are transferred to a bus. Mr Yalland points out they are cold and in my opinion completely inadequate. South West Trains will argue that these services are subject to late night engineering work.
While I realize maintenance must be carried out, I feel with communication and good management and planning between Network Rail and SWT the work could be scheduled before timetables are published, particularly as extra work or upgrade work has resulted in line closures, such as Portsmouth-Havant over new year and this Easter in the Basingstoke area. This would also avoid ambiguous footnotes in timetables curtailing trains. I hope this isn’t another case of poor communication by SWT. Daniel Butler, Southampton.”
Shameful start for new SWT franchise
We suggest Mr Butler doesn’t hold his breath. Within 3 hours of the start of the new South Western franchise on 4 February, passengers on the 01.05 from Waterloo were to be thrown on to a bus at Basingstoke due to Stagecoach’s chronic train crew shortage.
CONTEMPTIBLE TREATMENT OF EARLY MORNING PASSENGERS
When the 06.06 from Totton is cancelled, the booking clerk will arrange an additional stop by the slackly scheduled 05.45 Poole-Waterloo for London commuters. Pity therefore that the station is generally unstaffed until around 06.30 rather than at the appointed booking office opening time of 05.40. Monday 12 February was a wet and windy morning. With late opening yet again, the waiting room was locked. The 06.06 was shown as running on time, up to its departure time when the information screen changed to show it as cancelled and the next train the 06.46 to London, meaning a 40 minute wait in wretched conditions for intending passengers. Isn’t it amazing that, when trains are running late, stops are routinely omitted, contrary to the practice of other operators, but when passengers are to be stranded for 40 minutes, simple available remedies are ignored? How can any train operator be so inhuman? Small wonder that the High Court declined to ban the World in Action programme ‘Cowboy Country’ about Stagecoach?
On Thursday 15 February, passengers arrived at Totton to find the 05.48 to Waterloo advertised as delayed but the 06.06 to Yeovil as running on time. 06.06 came and went but no Yeovil train. A passenger tried the helppoint and it bleeped for 5 minutes before anyone bothered to answer. At about 06.15 the booking office opened (35 minutes late). The Yeovil train, which was now shown as due to depart at 06.12, disappeared from the screen and the 05.48 was shown as expected to leave at 06.22. For the greater disadvantage of Eastleigh passengers who had no 06.06, the 05.48 had its Eastleigh and Winchester stops axed for operational convenience. With Stagecoach running your trains, it’s as well to remember that old joke, “Someone told me: “Cheer up, things could be worse”. So I cheered up and they were!”
The following day, the 05.48 was only 20 minutes late, but its Eastleigh and Winchester stops were again axed.
On 13 February, the 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth failed at Southampton Airport because Stagecoach has replaced class 442 units with less reliable class 444 units. The following 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton was 28 minutes late; the guard reported that the preceding train had failed twice and that another train had been attached to move it. Passengers were thrown off the 18.35 at Southampton Central, where they had to cross the bridge for the 20.05 Waterloo-Poole, which was 28 minutes late. The screens showed that passengers for stations with short platforms should join the front 5 coaches of the 20.05, as normal. Unfortunately, the guard of the 20.05 refused them access to the front 5 coaches, saying he had received instructions that everyone was to travel in the rear five coaches. When a New Milton woman asked how passengers would alight at the short-platform stations he got quite tetchy. After the train departed, he announced that he had been given wrong advice, and people for the short platform stations would need to move through the train.
On 14 February, it was the turn of the 20.05 to be axed throughout, due to duff Desiro stock. Meanwhile, short train formations are now endemic, as recorded in our performance reports. The Reading line is always overcrowded in the peaks, so what a pity that, also on 14 February, the 17.35, 17.50, and 18.20 Waterloo-Reading services were all reduced to 4 coaches. Short formations, with thousands of peak seats lost, were appalling throughout the week. (See our Performance Reports at Appendix 2)
SWT CAN’T EVEN COPE WITH TWICKENHAM
“Your coverage about train overcrowding not only relates to commuter trains, but also services to Twickenham on Rugby match days. Last November, I waited for more than an hour for a train to get to a game. The first arrived late and was so full that passengers stumbled out of the carriages on to the platform. The second was worse. On proceeding to the ticket office to find out what was happening, I discovered that it was closed. With the Six Nations tournament due to start this weekend, does a tragedy have to take place before anything is done? – David Rayner, Egham” (Evening Standard 24/01/07)
“I spent an hour and a half at Clapham Junction on Saturday trying to get a train to Windsor, before giving up totally frustrated. As always when there is a match at Twickenham, the crowds made it impossible to get on any train going via Twickenham or Richmond. If the rail services cannot cope with the rugby crowds. I cannot imagine how they will manage to deal with the Olympics – David Bulbeck.” (Evening Standard 14/02/07)
POPULAR ITV PRESENTER FRED DINENAGE TURNS AGAINST SWT: RAIL USER AGREES, SAYING IF YOU TRAVEL BY STAGECOACH YOU STILL STAND A GOOD CHANCE OF BEING ROBBED
A few months ago, popular veteran ITV presenter Fred Dinenage used his column in the Southern Daily Echo’s Saturday magazine to heap praise on SWT. By 20 January, his further comments were in a slightly different vein: “What exactly are South West Trains playing at? They’re making millions every year yet they’ve just announced inflation-busting fare rises. They’ve revealed that passengers who use station car parks will have to pay 20 per cent more and they’ve admitted that money-saving cuts could affect hundreds of jobs. Under particular threat are managers right across the south, and engineers in Dorset. I repeat, what exactly are South West Trains up to and what are the Government up to allowing them to do it?”
An unnamed correspondent in the Echo of 25 January writes: “I totally agree with Fred Dinenage regarding the fare rises imposed by South West Trains. I wrote to SWT to ask how they could justify the increase. The reply tried to pass the onus onto the government by stating that it was the government who said that any increase should be based on inflation last July, which was 3.2%, plus a further 1%. By my reckoning this equals 4.2% but my fare increased by 7.03%. Over the last 4 years I have seen my fare increase by more than 22%. Who’s taking who for a ride? In the past when you travelled by stagecoach you stood a good chance of being robbed and the same still seems to be the case!”
SWT REOPENS WINCHESTER TRAVEL CENTRE AFTER CAUSING “CONSIDERABLE INCONVENIENCE”
“I would like to congratulate the management of SWT on their decision to reopen the Travel Information office at Winchester station. For intrepid travellers who wish to proceed beyond Southampton Central, or require something less run-of-the-mill than a day return to Waterloo, the inconvenience of having to discuss, debate and then purchase their tickets from the ticket offices inside the station is considerable. Winchester is a busy station; so it is almost impossible to find a quiet time to plan and to purchase tickets for long distance travel without adding to the workload of the already hard-pressed ticket clerks, or having to endure the often ill-disguised annoyance and resentment of other intending passengers in an ever-lengthening queue…Dr Sean Cameron”
[Hampshire Chronicle 14/12/06]
SWT ACCUSED OF FAILING TO IMPROVE STATION SECURITY
The Evening Standard has been monitoring the effects of its ‘Safer Stations’ campaign, a year after the murder of Tom ap Rhys Pryce as he left unstaffed Kensal Green station. For just £4m, London stations could be properly lit, manned and supervised during operational hours. Silverlink and One are commended for introducing improvements, but elsewhere the picture is disappointing.
No improvements in manning were identified on SWT, which lacks staff or security guards even at Earlsfield, where 22 crimes were reported in 2006. Rattled Customer Service Director Ian Johnston responded that “The total number of “violence-on-the-person” incidents and robberies recorded at Earlsfield by the British Transport Police in 2006 was 13, six of which happened on trains rather than the station”. He also claimed that Earlsfield is staffed from 06.00 until 20.48, but does not state whether those times are aspirational. As regular Totton passengers well know, advertised staffing times are meaningless on SWT.
Elsewhere, Brentford station is now unmanned from 14.00 instead of from 17.55, and our Group has witnessed many examples over the year of gates left open in late evening at stations which have been awarded “secure station” status.
SWT likes to trumpet its handful of Travelsafe officers. One was apparently in charge of Weymouth station at 17.40 on the quiet Sunday evening of 14 January. Presumably in order not to look like a waste of space, he was stopping passengers, asking where they were going, and directing them to the train, even though the information was for once readily available on the platform departure screens. We don’t blame him, because most people are likely to choose Weymouth over Brentford or Earlsfield for a Sunday outing (no disrespect to those places, but they probably wouldn’t claim to be tourist magnets), but it’s difficult to see how he was promoting security.
Meanwhile another security issue has arisen on the Waterloo-Reading line. Lack of access between the once-dumped class 458 units means that only half the coaches of 8-car trains are accessible by the guard.
TOTTON CAR PARK FIASCO
(received from the internet during January)
“SWT guide to car parking at Totton
For handy use if the ticket office is (as regularly occurs) closed during opening hours
1. Work out that this is a pay and display car park by observing the single unlit notice next to the closed ticket office door.
2. By a process of psychic communication, determine which parking spaces are included in the car park as the boundary of the car park is not marked.
3. Shove off if you want to purchase a weekly, monthly or annual car parking ticket as these are only available from the ticket office (opening times 0545 - 1230 Monday to Saturday, if we can be bothered to staff it).
4. Try to locate the ticket machine to buy your 1, 2 or 3-day car parking ticket (as advised on the unlit notice next to the closed ticket office door).
5. Fail to locate a car parking ticket machine in a traditional location, ie in or within sight of the car park.
6. Move to the platform to await your train. On the off-chance, look at the automatic ticket machine on platform 1 to see if car park tickets are listed on the machine.
7. Observe that the main page lists tickets to local destinations, but does not list any car parking tickets.
8. Try to be clever and select the "Any destination" button. Enter "TOT" to see if the car parking tickets are listed under "Totton". Note with interest the opportunity to purchase tickets to Totnes, Tottenham Hale and Tottenham Hale Underground stations, but fail to see anything listed for Totton itself.
9. Return to the main page on the automatic ticket machine and in frustration just select options at random until you manage to select the least likely place for local car parking tickets to be listed, ie the "More Popular Destinations" section.
10. Step back in amazement (taking care not to fall off the platform) at the mindset of the SWT design team that decided to put local car parking tickets in such a ludicrous location on the automatic ticket machine screens.
11. Return to step 3 (Shove off etc.) if you wish to buy 2 or 3-day tickets as these are not listed on the ticket machine, despite being advertised as being available on the notice next to the closed ticket office door.
12. Pay for your 1-day car parking ticket and return to your car. Note that buying the car parking ticket has taken so long that your intended train has just left the station (which, if it’s travelling to Romsey, is likely in any case to have occurred before its scheduled departure time).
13. Curse loudly and mutter in highly pejorative terms about the SWT management responsible for this totally fouled-up implementation of car parking charges.”
We are informed that the parking spaces were supposed to be marked out during the weekend of 13-14 January, but this did not happen because responsibility for Totton station transferred from Southampton area to Bournemouth area, and the Southampton team refused to do the work. Absence of marked parking spaces or of some indication of the boundary of railway land did not stop Stagecoach from putting up notices to warn of clamping and two-hour timescales for clamped vehicles to be released. One commuter had already received a warning notice when parked well away from railway land. Following SHRUG’s complaint to PassengerFocus, the parking spaces were marked on 29 January, just 4 weeks after charges were introduced. Some shambles!
The disabled parking bay remains, as do the wheelchair loading ramps on each platform. Of course, they are useless because the down platform is inaccessible to wheelchair users. Indeed, SWT’s website tells passengers to travel from Ashurst instead. However, we know from the Ashurst parish magazine that SWT refuses point blank to bother with disabled passengers at Ashurst, and a wheelchair user who requested to travel from Ashurst to Southampton was forced to suffer the awkward arrangement and concomitant delay at Brockenhurst.
WINCHESTER RESIDENTS “LEFT IN LIMBO” WITH NO STAGECOACH BUSES ON BOXING DAY
Boxing Day – the first day of the post-Christmas sales, yet Stagecoach have no bus service on that day. Those people in the Winchester Estates and villages without cars are left in limbo. This cannot give much satisfaction to the hard-hit retail sector and its representatives. More important, those people who work on Boxing Day serving the community – the carers, shop assistants and others – have no buses to take them to work.
Winchester should be one of the main centres of communication in the county, yet the vital bus service which links up with other transport services was absent. The county council claims to have a “quality partnership” with Stagecoach but surely, there should be some third parties in this relationship. It should include the public, the most important of all. County council members, and officials, with their cars, generous travel allowances and private park-and-ride car park seem insulated from the needs of a wide section of the public. Yet the public, as taxpayers, pay their salaries and allowances and don’t expect to have their needs ignored. Surely it is not beyond the realms of possibility for the county council to have joined-up thinking to act strategically instead of leaving it to individual departments to do their own thing? – A.G.Weeks” [Hampshire Chronicle 4/1/07]
APPENDIX 1 - DIARY OF A TOTTON-WATERLOO COMMUTER –10
27/12/06-Friday 29/12/06 Did not travel but while renewing my season ticket (before the 4.3% DfT-approved price increase) noted that no arrangements have been made to mark out the parking bays subject to the new station car park charges at Totton- particularly relevant for this station as it is not clear where the boundary between public on-street parking and station car parking is drawn. Ticket office staff explained that car parking tickets could not be bought this week as the prices would not be downloaded to the ticket machine until 1 January (when the ticket office is closed anyway). Noted that it is now the practice of the station staff to leave the external door to the ticket office closed, due to the cold air coming through the doorway, and only give access to the ticket office from the station platform.
02/01/07 Having just missed the 06.06 from Totton, I drove to Southampton Central to find the car parking charge outside the platform 4 entrance has risen from a previously extortionate £6.90 to a frankly ludicrous £8.30 (a 20% increase). Returned to Totton and parked in one of the bays on the mini-roundabout which may, or may not, be part of the station car park (ticket office staff giving a week's grace on car park tickets anyway due to the obvious lack of preparation for the introduction of the charges). The notice about the car parking charges (outside the now unused ticket office door) says that 1, 2 or 3-day tickets can be bought from the self-service ticket machine. There isn't one in the car park, so presumably it is intended to refer to the ticket machine on the station platform, but station staff report that they cannot find how to buy a car park ticket without buying a rail ticket as well (I think they are mistaken, but unsurprisingly so, as the car parking ticket is listed under "More Popular Destinations", a most unlikely place to look for car parking. However, even then, only a single day ticket is listed, not the 2- or 3- day tickets as advertised on the notice). The 06.31 departure from Totton to Weymouth (a class 450 Blue Desiro unsuitable for the length of the journey) was announced as running 6 minutes late shortly before arriving at the station just 2 minutes late. Still no satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. 18.05 from Waterloo was 7 minutes late at Totton but the guard gave no reason for the delay, despite making other announcements. A fellow commuter told me that, on the 06.46 from Totton this morning, the guard was giving out letters to staff pass-holders in First Class which asked them to consider not travelling on that train, due to the restricted seating in the new stock being introduced shortly.
03/01/07 Staff at the platform 4 entrance to Southampton Central seemed to be more interested in chatting to colleagues than paying attention to passengers. 07.00 from Southampton Central arrived at Waterloo 8 minutes late with no reason given. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. 18.05 from Waterloo left a few minutes late for no announced reason, but was 15 minutes late by Winchester due to "speed restrictions between Woking and Basingstoke at various locations". Slow running later in the journey, without any reason being given, meant we were running 23 minutes late by Totton. Is it my imagination or has the "as soon as we know, you'll know" claim all but disappeared now that SWT has secured the franchise?
04/01/07 The Totton car parking farce continues with unticketed cars in the main area of the car park (but not those parked in the bays on the mini-roundabout) having warning notices stuck on them yesterday - including the car of the permanent staff member whose permit covered Southampton only! This was despite passengers having been told that there would be no enforcement for the first week and also the fact that the bays included in the car park have not yet been properly marked, which is supposedly happening sometime over the next two weekends. Apparently 6 season tickets of varying lengths have already been sold for the 9 or 11 spaces (no-one quite knows which number until the car park is marked out). On the 06.46 from Totton a group of passengers vigorously moaned about the imminent introduction of the (Un)Desiro stock - less comfortable, less reliable, less space, few tables and unbelievably bad design of the fold-down chairback shelves. At Southampton Central the 06.53 to Fareham was shown as running 5 minutes late, then 7 minutes late and then actually left 10 minutes late. The 06.46 from Totton left Southampton Central 5 minutes late due to "signalling problems between Totton and Redbridge" and was 5 minutes late at Waterloo. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. When the 18.35 from Waterloo was splitting at Southampton Central, I overheard fellow passengers saying that SWT should number the carriages so passengers could tell if they were in the ones referred to by guards in their announcements.
05/01/07 The staff member at Totton has now found how car parking tickets can be bought using the station ticket machine, but he had to ring someone up to find out, so what hope can ordinary passengers have? Apparently Totton station is moving areas and will shortly come under the Bournemouth area, rather than the Southampton area. There is now (finally!) a definition of where the boundary of the station is, and it runs from the bottom of the left-most stairs leading to the footbridge (as seen when standing with your back to the mini-roundabout) directly bisecting the mini-roundabout to the end of the wall alongside the Station Road North pavement. Intriguingly, it therefore appears to exclude one of the two parking bays on the mini roundabout that have been claimed to be part of the station car park, so it will be interesting to see how the parking bays are actually marked which is now reportedly to happen on the weekend of the 13-14 January (car parking charges having been introduced two weeks previously of course). It also means that the commuter who got a parking ticket when parked on the pavement around the mini-roundabout was actually on private land! The 07.07 from Totton to Romsey left before its scheduled departure time. The departure screen at Millbrook is incredibly still blank, now two months since this was first noted. The 07.30 from Southampton Central was shown on the platform indicators as having only 5 carriages, but it is made up of 10 carriages when it leaves the station. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. A special Friday evening present from SWT for passengers on the 18.23 to Basingstoke as it was made up of only 5 carriages. On the 18.35 from Waterloo, one seat collapsed under a passenger and a nearby seat had a spike protruding from the front edge of the seat. 5 minutes late at Totton with no reason given.
08/01/07 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.05 and the 06.06 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left before its scheduled departure time. At Southampton Central, the non-premium car parking charges have gone up from £5.50 to £6.60 (20% increase) matching the increase in the premium car park charges. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The announcements on the 18.05 from Waterloo were too loud in the 2nd carriage (especially the bit when the guard was shouting about the quiet zone carriage). 5 minutes late at Southampton Central but no reason given.
09/01/07 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.40. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. 18.05 from Waterloo was 4 minutes late at Southampton Central with no reason given. The guard did however apologise for the delay after we left Southampton Central and were stationary at Millbrook, saying that she did not know the reason but would tell us when she did. We were eventually passed by a Virgin train, but despite promising to update passengers, the guard did not make any further announcement about the delay - 16 minutes late at Totton.
10/01/07 Did not travel.
11/01/07 Totton ticket office was open this morning (for a change). As happens regularly, the 06.06 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left before its scheduled departure time. At Millbrook the departure screen is working again (after being blank since the start of November!). At Southampton Central, the departure indicator on the platform we arrived at showed "This train is not scheduled to stop at this station". Despite there having been no on-train announcement, the train was then shown on the Southampton Central departure screens as cancelled due to crew shortage. The 06.30 from Southampton Central (now UnDesiro stock) stopped outside Basingstoke with the guard reporting that we had "stopped at a red light" and the "driver is talking to the signaller". This was then updated to the report that that there was “a rather large tree on the line in front of the train ahead of us" and "that driver has requested isolation and is trying to remove it". Fortunately it wasn't that big a tree (or the driver of the train ahead of us had 3 Shredded Wheat this morning) as we were moving again after about 10 minutes. 12 minutes late at Waterloo. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line.
12/01/07 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.05 (it apparently opened at 06.25). A fellow passenger reported some questions asked at the "Meet the managers" session yesterday - "how can you justify a 20% increase in Southampton Central car parking when the leaf fall has not been cleaned up from November in the main downside car park leaving the surface dangerously slippery and the markings obscured" and "how can you introduce car par charges at Totton when you haven't even marked the car park boundary" (the inadequate response was they were "waiting for the first dry Sunday", but why introduce the charges before they have completed the necessary preparations?). At Southampton Central this morning, the 05.55 had not run and the 06.30 was issued with additional stop orders for the stations it should have served. One passenger commented that on Wednesday the 05.55 had a train fault at Southampton Central which delayed the service which was then run non-stop from Winchester - so if a train is delayed they omit the stops but if it is cancelled the stops are added to the following service? Another passenger complained that he had bought a ticket to Ashford International for £130 and not only was he delayed by the cancellation of the 05.55 but he would now be further delayed as the 06.30 made additional stops which would mean he would even miss his next available connection to Ashford - in response to this complaint a SWT staff member responded in an aggressive tone, giving the lie to SWT "improving customer service". The 06.30 from Southampton Central then left 9 minutes late due to an "earlier failed train at Pokesdown", passengers then being treated to incorrect automatic announcements about the stopping pattern followed by the guard making a corrective announcement. Passengers at Winchester were not told this train had extra stops until after an alternative train had left. After leaving Winchester (about 15 minutes late) the automated announcement from the passenger (dis)information system was not corrected by the guard for some time. The guard then apologised for the slow progress "due to a train in front of us impeding progress". Running 29 minutes late at Woking. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. On the 19.05 from Waterloo, there was no announcement about needing to be in the front 5 carriages as we approached Totton.
15/01/07 No car park markings have yet appeared to define the boundary of the Totton station car park but 3 extra notices have appeared threatening motorists with wheel clamping, a £50 fine and a 2 hour delay if they park in the undefined car park. The departure indicator on the up platform at Totton was not working and appeared to have been deliberately switched off. On the 06.48 from Totton, a family with 4 suitcases had to use the space for wheelchair users for their luggage as the lack of storage on the UnDesiro stock (unlike the Wessex Electric stock it is replacing) just gives the choice of doing this or abandoning suitcases by the doorway, in direct contradiction of the security advice that is given to keep your luggage with you at all times. 5 minutes late at Waterloo – waiting outside the station for a platform to become available. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line.
16/01/07 The 07.42 to Fareham was shown as cancelled at Southampton Central. On the 07.16 from Totton the full stopping pattern was announced after we left Southampton Central "calling at ….Sway, Brockenhurst, Totton, ..."! No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. A good joke by SWT on Portsmouth line passengers this evening - having forced the grossly inappropriate Class 450 stock onto the poor commuters on this line under the guise of increasing capacity, the 18.00 to Fratton was shown as running short-formed.
17/01/07 Apparently the marking-out of the Totton station car park did not happen at the weekend because it is now down to a different crew to do as Totton has moved from being managed from Southampton to being managed from Bournemouth – and there is no alternative date known for the marking to be carried out. When the 06.46 from Totton reached Southampton Airport Parkway, the platform was totally dark due to a power cut. We stood outside Waterloo again (as on Monday) with the guard reporting that we were "waiting for signalman clearance" - 10 minutes late at Waterloo. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The 21.05 from Waterloo came to a halt outside Eastleigh – the guard apologised for the situation "much the same as yesterday", subsequently apologising for the 6 minutes delay due to "waiting for a platform to become available" before announcing "Thank you for being such a pleasure to work with tonight".
18/01/07 The 06.46 from Totton ran on time despite adverse weather reports. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The 15.35 from Waterloo was fully loaded and vastly overcrowded when it was cancelled at 16.00 due to “adverse weather conditions and crew displacement”. There was then no other service to Southampton for another 110 minutes, when exactly the same stock ran as the delayed 17.35 and left Waterloo at 17.50, 90 minutes of which had involved passengers standing on the platform next to the stock we had been thrown off. Slow progress down the line and further delay at Southampton when the rear 5 carriages were “awaiting a guard”. 55 minutes late leaving Southampton Central, almost 3 hours behind the schedule for the original 15.35 service.
19/01/07 Ticket office was closed at 06.05 and the 06.06 to Yeovil Junction left before its scheduled departure time. At Southampton Central, the 06.21 to Fratton was cancelled due to “shortage of train crew”. A number of passengers commented that the SWT website failed yesterday when people really needed to use it. The 06.30 from Southampton Central was short-formed with 9 carriages due to “stock displacement”, so must be a Blue Desiro as the rear 4 carriages attached to the White Desiro in front. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line.
22/01/07 Radio Solent reported the 05.47 to Eastleigh (and the return working) had been cancelled due to overrunning engineering works at Southampton. Still no car park markings to define the boundary of the Totton station car park. The 06.06 to Yeovil Junction left just before its scheduled departure time. At Southampton Central, the platform 4 departure indicators read “Welcome to Southampton Central” with no train information displayed and the 06.26 to Weymouth was shown as running 8 minute late. The 06.21 to Fratton was shown as running 23 minutes late before being shown as running on time with a platform change – it eventually left 5 minutes late. The 06.30 from Southampton Central was shown incorrectly on the platform indicators as being made up of 5 coaches and turned out to be Class 442 Wessex Electric stock receiving comments that these trains are “so much more comfortable than the new ones”. At Southampton Airport Parkway, the downside platform indicators just read “Welcome to Southampton Apt Parkway”. No satellite signal on the ramp to the Waterloo & City line - three screens appeared on the wall next to this ramp as part of the refurbishment which involved the extended closure of the Waterloo & City line last year but have hardly worked since. The 18.35 from Waterloo stopped before New Malden, then ran slowly through the station, then stopped again and then ran slowly again before the automated announcement was made “can the guard please contact the driver” followed by an announcement from the guard that there was a "power failure in the Woking area affecting most of the signals in this area". After an extended period and two more announcements of "can the guard please contact the driver" we got the update that we were in a "long queue going from signal to signal". After another extended period, there was another "can the guard please contact the driver". Nothing more was heard from the guard until he announced that we were arriving at Winchester 52 minutes late. Location of the power problems was variously reported as Woking (guard on the 18.35), Surbiton (platform announcement at Southampton Central) and Esher (guard on the rear half of the 18.35 after it had split at Southampton Central). Another "can the guard please contact the driver" announcement was heard (making 5 in total during the journey) before we reached Totton 55 minutes late, where the 19.05 from Waterloo was shown as running 1 hour 3 minutes late.
23/01/07-26/01/07 Did not travel
29/01/07 Noted that the Totton station car park has still not been marked out, now almost a month since SWT started charging for parking - and the ticket office staff member does know when it will be done. The 07.07 to Romsey left before its scheduled departure time - this happens so regularly now that it is now a matter for comment when trains on this service do bother to wait for the departure time listed in the published timetable. 07.16 from Totton ran slowly approaching Woking and was 6 minutes late at Waterloo. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. On the 18.05 from Waterloo (class 444 White Desiro stock) something rather strange started happening - while I was sleeping, my head lolled to one side and hit the side of the carriage, waking me up. Then it happened again. On the third time of happening, I just had to force myself to stay awake as my head was starting to hurt!
30/01/07 Much to the station staff's surprise, as he obviously hadn't been told about it yesterday (Monday), Totton station car park has now been marked out. A fellow passenger remarked therefore that at the recent “Meet the Manager” session they had been inaccurately told that SWT were waiting for “the first dry Sunday” as the reason for starting charging for parking before defining where the car park actually was. Surprise too at how the car park spaces had been marked - just one bay on the mini-roundabout marked out as part of the station car park but with the unofficial parking space next to the station office wall (used for many years with staff agreement) now marked as an official space - also non-parking areas within the car park boundary are marked with a double yellow line, but a section of the mini-roundabout reported to be on station land is not marked at all. The 06.30 from Southampton Central is class 442 Wessex Electric stock, with the guard reporting that the heating was working too well in the 5th carriage - 6 minutes late at Waterloo. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. 18.35 from Waterloo arrived at Totton just in time to see the 20.01 from Totton to Romsey leave the station 30 seconds early.
31/01/07 Totton ticket office was closed at 05.50, with the ticket machine initially blank (although it burst into life shortly afterwards). 06.06 from Totton to Yeovil had an odd formation, 3 class 158 coaches in SWT livery followed by 2 class 158 coaches in First Group Transpennine livery (the first coach of which had no lights in the carriage, but the second was in use by passengers). 06.30 from Southampton Central is class 442 Wessex Electric stock again, with the guard apologising that the carriages are very cold and there is no trolley service in the front half of the train - perhaps SWT are putting unmaintained class 442 stock into service to try an make their (Un)Desiro trains look better. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. On the 18.35 from Waterloo, I suffered the head banging episode again - a possible theory is that the inability to place both feet squarely on the floor when sitting in a window seat on the class 444 stock leaves you unbalanced when sleeping.
01/02/07 Totton ticket office was open at 06.30 where I overhead someone complaining to station staff that rail replacement buses are not running to Hamble station, but are picking up and dropping passengers off half a mile away reportedly due to the difficulty in turning at the station - the complainant noting however that there was ample turning space if the buses actually went further down the road into Hamble village. The ticket machine at Totton was flashing a red light, presumably requiring operator attention. The 06.46 from Totton passed slowly through Vauxhall, where the departure indicator on the next platform showed the next departure as the 00.46 to Strawberry Hill followed by a service at 01.06! No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The 18.05 from Waterloo arrived at Southampton Central 4 minutes early!
02/02/07 Totton ticket office was open at 06.30 - staff had indeed been surprised when car park marking team arrived at 09.30 on Monday. It sounds like they knew the numbers of bays they had to mark but not the locations, which is why the second bay on the roundabout was replaced by the unofficial bay by the ticket office door. The car park appears to be only half used, with 5 or 6 spaces permanently free. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The 18.39 from Waterloo to Southampton Central was class 442 Wessex Electric stock, possibly its last commuter sighting.
05/02/07 Just missed the 06.06 from Totton to Yeovil Junction but, with a brisk walk down from a temporary parking location in Freemantle, managed to catch the connecting 06.30 from Southampton Central. A fellow passenger commented that the section of the (class 444) train where there are 9 seats but no overhead storage (and very limited storage behind some seats) was simply not appropriate for long-distance travel.
06/02/07 Did not travel.
07/02/07 Just caught the 06.46 from Totton. For some reason, I am finding the announcement "This is a passenger announcement. You must buy a ticket before you get on one of our trains. If you do not show a valid ticket when you are asked, you may have to pay a penalty fare. Thank you.", which has often been heard recently, particularly annoying. Uncomfortably hot leg from the floor level heaters on this class 444 stock. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. On the 18.05 from Waterloo, the guard announced that we would be making a "special stop at Basingstoke". The annoying "must buy a ticket" announcement was heard twice.
08/02/07 The 07.00 from Southampton Central was described on the platform indicators as having 5 coaches when it runs with 10 coaches from Southampton Central. Annoying announcement again. The 07.00 stopped outside Waterloo "waiting to be located at a platform" and the guard also noted delay due to "congestion between Waterloo and Clapham Junction" due to the weather conditions. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The 18.35 from Waterloo was 8 minutes late at Totton and, while there was no announcement about the delay after Southampton Central, we had heard the annoying announcement during the journey.
09/02/07 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.00 where the 06.06 from Totton to Yeovil Junction was described on the platform indicator as "PLEASE STAND CLEAR The next train is not scheduled to call at this station" and left before its scheduled departure time. The guard advised that if we wanted heating we should move to the middle coach of the 3-coach train! At Southampton Central, the service was also described on the platform indicators as "PLEASE STAND CLEAR etc". Also at Southampton Central, the 06.21 to Fratton was shown as a platform change from 2A to 4 (presumably because the stock for the 06.43 to Waterloo was overlapping from platform 2B well onto platform 2A). The annoying announcements were heard on the 06.30 from Southampton Central to Waterloo and the 18.35 from Waterloo.
10/02/07 (Saturday!) Caught the 06.23 from Totton (the 06.30 from Southampton Central which stops at Totton on Saturdays only!). Still heard that annoying announcement plus "don't put your feet on the seats". The Waterloo & City line was just opening at 08.00 - there was no satellite signal on the screens by the ramp.
12/02/07 Totton ticket office was closed at 06.05. The 06.06 from Totton to Yeovil Junction was cancelled with no station announcement, replacement taxis or replacement stop on the 06.30 from Southampton Central, leaving passengers with a 40 minute wait on the wintry platform (and anyone at Redbridge or Millbrook facing an hour’s delay). Fortunately I was being dropped off at the station and could therefore offer a lift to two fellow passengers to Southampton Central, where the Yeovil Junction service was found to be listed as running 27 minutes late. However stock for the service pulled into the station shortly afterwards from the Eastleigh direction, the service was updated on the departure screens as running just 3 minutes late and eventually left 5 minutes late - with not one word of explanation for the omitted Totton, Redbridge and Millbrook stops or for the delayed departure. At Southampton Central a notice explained that the gents toilet was closed due to vandalism – perhaps surprising on a station with “secure station” accreditation, but maybe the perpetrators waited until after 10pm when the “secure” barriers are left open for all and sundry to wander at will around the place On the 06.30 from Southampton Central, the annoying announcement that "you must buy a ticket to get on one of our trains" led to some discussion as to how the beggar who regularly harasses passengers on trains at Waterloo manages to get onto SWT trains without a ticket – a fellow passenger noted that he was becoming menacing on the 16.35 on Friday. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. This evening, I observed 3 “train despatch and customer assistance” operatives at Waterloo standing side by side to block access to the 18.09 Cosham via Eastleigh service - obviously they regard the description on their jackets as specifying their duties in priority order!
13/02/07 The 06.06 from Totton to Yeovil Junction left just before its scheduled departure time. At Southampton Central the 06.21 to Fratton was shown as running 19 minutes late - it appears that they have given up trying to squeeze the train onto platform 2A (next to the 06.43 to Waterloo which overlaps from platform 2B due to the length of the class 450 stock) as the advertised departure from platform 4 was not shown as a platform alteration - however, the poor passengers for this service were kept on their toes by a further platform alteration to platform 3. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The 19.35 from Waterloo was just 5 coaches long, with the guard asking that due to "heavy passenger volumes" passengers should not take up available seats with luggage. At Southampton Airport Parkway the driver announced "can the guard contact the driver", shortly followed by the guard announcing that "there is a train defect which the driver is checking". After a while he reported that it "seems like we have rectified the problem and we should be on the move in the next 2 to 3 minutes". After a further five minutes, he then said that he was "sorry to advise that the problem hasn't been rectified" with "the driver just carrying out one mechanical test" and then "we cannot rectify the fault on the service and unfortunately we have to terminate the service." He also said "if you don't mind staying on board" he would get information regarding the following service from Waterloo. Instead of staying on board, however, I cut my losses and arranged to get picked up from Parkway by car. When leaving the train, I noticed that the departure indicators were already showing that Bournemouth and Southampton Central services were queued behind the failed train (and as the station does not have 2-way working - unlike Totton for example - there was simply no way past the failed train). I was picked up almost 40 minutes after the train's scheduled departure from Parkway and the train was still stuck at the station, with empty stock pulled up behind it presumably intended to push it down the line (and with services for Bournemouth, Southampton Central, Poole and Totton having been delayed due to the train failure).
14/02/07 Totton ticket office was open at 07.10. While the staff member was not aware of Monday's 06.06 cancellation, he had seen details of the 19.35 failure last night, apparently due to "compressor failure". The 07.16 from Totton was 8 minutes late into Waterloo due to "congestion on the line between Clapham Junction and Waterloo". No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. On the 22.05 from Waterloo, we were treated to the "you must buy a ticket to get on one of our trains" announcement twice.
15/02/07 Confusion at Southampton Central this morning with overrunning emergency engineering works at Beaulieu Road delaying services, omitted stops (again!) on the Totton to Yeovil Junction service and empty stock blocking platform 4 - not that it seemed to affect about 5 staff by the platform 4 entrance who were busy having a chat with each other rather than manning the ticket gates. On platform 1, the departure indicator said "PLEASE STAND CLEAR. The next train is not scheduled to call at this station" before the stock for the 06.06 from Totton to Yeovil Junction arrived at the platform, starting at Southampton Central for the second time in a week (a fellow passenger telling me later that it was shown on the departure indicator at Totton as running 6 minutes late before simply disappearing from the board with no announcement or explanation) - as on Monday, the service left 5 minutes late from Southampton Central with not one word of explanation regarding the omitted stops or the delayed departure. The platform 1 departure indicator then showed the next service as the "delayed" 06.15 Edinburgh service, but confusingly the service next to arrive actually was the 05.55 service to Waterloo running 35 minutes late - announced as omitting its scheduled stops at Eastleigh and Winchester. On the 05.55 the guard "apologised profusely" for the delay due to "overrunning emergency engineering works between Brockenhurst and Totton" and declined to give an estimated arrival time at Waterloo until we were further up the line. Arrived at Waterloo approximately 30 minutes late. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line.
16/02/07 07.07 from Totton to Romsey cancelled - the third cancellation of a service on this line in a 5 days - apparently due to "shortage of train crew". On the 06.46 from Totton, we had the annoying "you must buy a ticket to get on one of our trains" announcement twice. No satellite signal on the screens by the ramp to the Waterloo & City line. The 19.05 from Waterloo had a broken window by the disabled toilet held together with tape. 6 minutes before departure there was an announcement "the next station is London Waterloo" and "all change please". 5 minutes late at Totton with no explanation for the delay.
APPENDIX 2 – REPORTS OF POOR PERFORMANCE, A MAJOR CAUSE OF OVERCROWDING ON SWT
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.
Special note: Some services are shown as running to and from Portsmouth during the 6 weeks that the line was closed south of Fratton. This is “as advertised” or “as announced” where information provided to passengers omitted to mention the actual “start” or “finish” stations.
Monday 01/01/07 14.06 Plymouth-Waterloo 46 minutes late. 14.35 Waterloo-Weymouth axed between Waterloo and Bournemouth DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.03 Waterloo-Guildford 15 minutes late and axed between Waterloo and Wimbledon DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.12 Chessington-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 20.48 Weymouth-Bournemouth 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.20 Exeter-Salisbury 30 minutes late.
Tuesday 02/01/07 04.30 Portsmouth-Waterloo 35 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Haslemere axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 07.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.41 Shepperton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 18 minutes late. 09.57 Brighton-Reading axed between Brighton and Hove. 10.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 10.59 Wareham-Brockenhurst 27 minutes late. 11.01 Poole-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 14.50 Fratton-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 15.05 Waterloo-Poole 12 minutes late. 15.20 Waterloo-Yeovil 11 minutes late. 15.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 16.05 Waterloo-Poole 16 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.20 Waterloo-Reading 9 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 13 minutes late. 16.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK and all intermediate stops after Haslemere axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 13 minutes late. 18.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 19.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 15 minutes late. 19.01 Reading-Brighton 11 minutes late.
Wednesday 03/01/07 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 05.15 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Salisbury and reduced to 3 coaches. 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 06.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.10 Chessington-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 37 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late. 13.01 Reading-Brighton 12 minutes late. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 14.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Hove DUE TO NO CREW. 16.00 Romsey-Totton 42 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 minutes late. 17.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 25 minutes late; Woking stop axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.48 Plymouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 17.57 Brighton-Basingstoke 11 minutes late. 18.05 Waterloo-Poole 24 minutes late. 18.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 18.30 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 17 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 19.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 20 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 20.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late. Passengers on the 23.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Southampton DUE TO NO CREW.
Thursday 04/01/07 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo axed between Exeter and Salisbury, and reduced to half length. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 07.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo axed. 12.20 Waterloo-Plymouth 38 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 15.23 Ascot-Guildford thrown off at Camberley. 16.01 Honiton-Exeter axed. Passengers on the 16.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.30 Guildford-Ascot axed between Guildford and Aldershot. 17.09 Waterloo-Effingham Junction axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.23 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot. 18.39 Waterloo-Southampton reduced to 4 coaches. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 32 minutes late.
Friday 05/01/07 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 06.21 Southampton-Fratton started 8 minutes late, apparently due to substitution of the normal 4-coach unit with a 5-coach unit which didn’t fit the space between the 06.43 stopping service to London and the end of the platform. After the 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth left Winchester the guard cheerfully asked passengers to listen carefully to his announcement as the screens “had misled you all”. 18.05 Waterloo-Aldershot 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 8 coaches. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 5 coaches. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches and passengers thrown off at Havant. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 22.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed.
Saturday 06/01/07 Passengers on the 00.40 Woking-Alton thrown off at Farnham DUE TO NO CREW. 12.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 14.36 Portsmouth-Southampton thrown off at Fareham DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 25 minutes late.
Sunday 07/01/07 Class 450 Desiro train noted on the Lymington branch, presumably because both slam-door trains which usually operate the route were clapped out again. 11.40 Romsey-Totton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 12.40 Romsey-Totton thrown off at Southampton Central DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 12.55 Totton-Romsey axed between Totton and Southampton Central DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 13.55 Totton-Romsey axed between Totton and Southampton Central DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.27 Paignton-Waterloo 33 minutes late.
Monday 08/01/07 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 07.50 Waterloo-Guildford axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.46 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.58 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.08 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth 7 minutes late. 17.40 Havant-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 18.54 Fratton-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 19.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 43 minutes late. 19.54 Poole-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Tuesday 09/01/07 07.24 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Bracknell. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 17.40 Havant-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 21.40 Fratton-Southampton 10 minutes late. 21.42 Reading-Waterloo 25 minutes late.
Wednesday 10/01/07 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 27 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Southampton Central, except Woking, axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late; axed between Portsmouth and Cosham DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.20 Honiton-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.40 Salisbury-Bristol 20 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 06.50 Havant-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 07.22 Fratton-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 07.38 Waterloo-Southampton reduced to 4 coaches. 07.39 Farnham-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches and 13 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Surbiton axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 31 minutes late. 08.20 Yeovil-Waterloo axed between Yeovil and Templecombe. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 26 minutes late. 08.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 11 minutes late. 08.39 Waterloo-Southampton 21 minutes late. Passengers on the 08.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Haslemere. 08.53 Waterloo-Alton 30 minutes late. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 14 minutes late. 09.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 15 minutes late. 09.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed between Shepperton and Teddington. 10.02 Haslemere-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 10.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 14.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 17 minutes late. 15.12 Waterloo-Shepperton axed between Waterloo and Kingston. 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth 13 minutes late. 15.52 Bristol-Salisbury 17 minutes late. 16.04 Reading-Brighton 17 minutes late. 16.15 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 19.01 Reading-Brighton 9 minutes late.
Thursday 11/01/07 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.03 Cosham-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 06.06 Totton-Yeovil shown on the departure screen as running only to Millbrook. The Totton booking clerk made enquiries and confirmed that it should go as far as Southampton Central. The screen then showed it running to Yeovil as scheduled. The train moved off 40 seconds early and had a long compensatory wait at Redbridge. No sight of the conductor and no announcement. The screen at Millbrook showed “cancelled” so presumably intending passengers had gone to await the first bus into Southampton at around 06.25. At Southampton the screen announced “stand away; this train is not in public service”. Eventually there was an announcement that the service to Yeovil was cancelled and the train went off empty towards Salisbury. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 07.06 Basingstoke-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 07.09 Haslemere-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late; stops at Fleet, Farnborough and Clapham Junction axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Haslemere. 07.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 27 minutes late. 07.52 Portsmouth-Waterloo 21 minutes late; stops at Farnborough and Woking axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 20 minutes late; stops at Woking and Farnborough axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.39 Waterloo-Southampton 29 minutes late. 12.10 Exeter-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 15.05 Dorking-Waterloo axed between Dorking and Wimbledon. 15.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 15.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Wokingham. 15.45 Salisbury-Waterloo diverted via Southampton. 16.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Guildford and Waterloo axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 17.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 16 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Staines and Clapham Junction axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.48 Plymouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 13 minutes late; stops at St Margarets, North Sheen and Mortlake axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter 8 minutes late. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 9 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.36 Shepperton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.57 Brighton-Reading 11 minutes late. 19.23 Ascot-Guildford axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Friday 12/01/07 05.00 Poole-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 06.50 Havant-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 07.00 Haslemere-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 08.05 Waterloo-Poole 17 minutes late. 18.01 Totton-Romsey 13 minutes late. 18.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 6 coaches. 19.01 Reading-Brighton 15 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.50 Waterloo-Salisbury 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches.
Saturday 13/01/07 05.35 Epsom-Waterloo 97 minutes late. 06.38 Guildford-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 06.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 06.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 07.12 Waterloo-Shepperton 18 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Fulwell. 07.42 Waterloo-Shepperton omitted all intermediate stops before Norbiton DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.11 Shepperton-Waterloo axed between Shepperton and Teddington. 13.05 Waterloo-Poole 15 minutes late. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 9 minutes late. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 26 minutes late. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 20.08 Weymouth-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury 11 minutes late.
Sunday 14/01/07 08.39 Bournemouth-Weymouth 27 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.24 Reading-Waterloo 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 15/01/07 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. Fury on the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo when some first class ticket holders had to stand DUE TO REDUCED SEATING. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.37 Twickenham-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 07.52 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo axed between Weymouth and Bournemouth DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 16.01 Honiton-Waterloo axed. 17.40 Havant-Waterloo 16 minutes late. Some evening services axed between Lymington Town and Lymington Pier. 18.10 Exeter-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 20.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE.
Tuesday 16/01/07 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 06.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 10 minutes late; stops at Clapham Junction, Earlsfield and Wimbledon axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 7 minutes late; grossly overcrowded with even first class ticket holders standing to Winchester. 19.07 Alton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 19.38 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.40 Chessington-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 19.42 Shepperton-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.46 Guildford-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 19.54 Hampton Court-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 20.10 Chessington-Waterloo 17 minutes late.
Wednesday 17/01/07 04.55 Southampton-Waterloo 28 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 05.50 Yeovil-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 06.30 Aldershot-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 06.42 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo 11 minutes late; Longcross and stops between Staines and Clapham Junction axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.02 Dorking-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 07.20 Teddington-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 07.22 Epsom-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 07.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches and 9 minutes late. 07.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 07.46 Effingham Junction-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 07.54 Waterloo-Dorking 18 minutes late. 07.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 08.02 Woking-Waterloo 12 minutes late; West Byfleet stop axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.02 Dorking-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 08.07 Twickenham-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 08.10 Chessington-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 08.12 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.23 Windsor-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 08.40 Chessington-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 08.40 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 14 minutes late; stops at North Sheen and Mortlake axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 25 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Fulwell DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.48 Effingham Junction-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 09.11 Shepperton-Waterloo 20 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Kingston DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 09.20 Waterloo-Reading thrown off at Ascot. 09.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 09.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed between Shepperton and Fulwell. 09.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot and 19 minutes late. Passengers on the 09.50 Waterloo-Reading thrown off at Ascot. 10.12 Waterloo-Shepperton axed between Waterloo and Kingston. 10.12 Reading-Waterloo axed. 10.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot. Passengers on the 10.50 Waterloo-Reading thrown off at Ascot. 11.12 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot. 11.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Ascot. 13.05 Waterloo-Poole 10 minutes late. 13.09 Waterloo-Fratton 7 minutes late. 15.56 Havant-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 20.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth FAILED at Godalming. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo FAILED at Fratton. 23.23 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Thursday 18/01/07 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 10 minutes late. 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 06.11 Havant-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth 6 minutes late. 06.56 Reading-Brighton axed. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 09.57 Brighton-Reading axed. Services collapsed during the afternoon and evening owing to high winds which blew some pieces of trees on to tracks. Familiar homebound hell for thousands of commuters (see separate item about crew and information meltdown).
Friday 19/01/07 05.45 Poole-Waterloo reduced to 9 coaches, with suburban Desiro unit at the rear. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth axed DUE TO NO CREW. 07.04 Bournemouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 07.20 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 07.3- Aldershot-Waterloo axed. 07.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches. 07.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo axed. 09.12 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton reduced to 3 coaches. 16.06 Waterloo-Hampton Court reduced to 4 coaches. 17.02 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 17.16 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 17.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late; stops at Liss, Liphook, Godalming, Farncombe, Worplesdon and Clapham Junction axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.39 Waterloo-Effingham Junction reduced to 4 coaches. 17.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 18.36 Shepperton-Waterloo 14 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Kingston axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 19.37 Weybridge-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke 16 minutes late. 20.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 20.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.53 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 21.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 22.50 Waterloo-Woking 10 minutes late. 23.00 Guildford-Ascot axed DUE TO NO CREW. 23.23 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 23.30 Waterloo-Reading 15 minutes late. Passengers on the 23.39 Waterloo-Southampton thrown off at Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW.
Saturday 20/01/07 06.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 09.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 16 minutes late. 17.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed. 18.53 Ascot-Guildford axed. Passengers on the 19.23 Ascot-Guildford thrown off at Aldershot. 19.23 Waterloo-Alton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 20.30 Guildford-Aldershot axed. 21.15 Alton-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 18.02 Haslemere-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 21.00 Guildford-Ascot axed DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 21.10 Weymouth-Waterloo thrown off at Bournemouth DUE TO NO CREW. 22.23 Ascot-Guildford axed DUE TO NO CREW. 23.30 Guildford-Farnham axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Sunday 21/01/07 Longer distance SWT services in meltdown all day due to engineering work. Portsmouth Harbour, Portsmouth & Southsea, Southampton Central, Bitterne, Swaythling, St Denys, Millbrook, Redbridge, Totton, Ashurst and Beaulieu Road stations closed. Many West of England trains axed between Yeovil and Exeter because diverted Great Western services were using the route. 12.45 Guildford-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Surbiton axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.54 Reading-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 15.56 Reading-Brighton 15 minutes late. 17.02 Fratton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. Passengers on the 17.35 Waterloo-Southampton Airport thrown off at Basingstoke DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.54 Epsom-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops except Wimbledon, DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.40 Southampton Airport-Waterloo axed between Southampton Airport and Eastleigh. 20.02 Waterloo-Epsom axed DUE TO NO CREW. 20.30 Waterloo-Fratton formed of a 4-coach suburban Desiro. 20.35 Waterloo-Southampton Airport formed of a 4-coach suburban Desiro. 20.52 Woking-Waterloo 34 minutes late. 20.54 Epsom-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Monday 22/01/07 04.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed between Southampton and Eastleigh. 05.47 Southampton-Eastleigh axed. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 07.39 Farnham-Waterloo 14 minutes late; stops at West Byfleet, Byfleet and Weybridge axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 10 coaches. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Bracknell. 17.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 17.53 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 10 coaches. 18.05 Waterloo-Aldershot axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.40 Havant-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 18.48 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 18.54 Fratton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. Signalling problems at Woking: 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 40 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 76 minutes late. 19.08 Guildford-Waterloo 37 minutes late. 19.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 25 minutes late; Weybridge, Walton-on-Thames and Surbiton stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 60 minutes late. 19.38 Guildford-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 19.39 Haslemere-Waterloo 39 minutes late. 19.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed. 19.46 Guildford-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 20.20 Waterloo-Woking axed. 20.23 Waterloo-Alton 35 minutes late. 20.20 Fratton-Waterloo 53 minutes late. 20.40 Havant-Waterloo 57 minutes late. 20.44 Alton-Waterloo 45 minutes late. 20.54 Fratton-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 21.28 Fratton-Waterloo 44 minutes late. 21.30 Southampton-Waterloo 25 minutes late and axed between Southampton and Eastleigh. 21.33 Woking-Waterloo axed. 21.39 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 21.42 Southampton-Portsmouth axed. 21.44 Alton-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 21.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 22.00 Waterloo-Fratton 31 minutes late; all intermediate stops except Guildford axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 22.15 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham.
Tuesday 23/01/07 05.30 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Brockenhurst and Bournemouth axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 6 minutes late. 06.34 Bournemouth-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 06.50 Southampton Airport-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.20 Waterloo-Reading axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 08.07 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 08.14 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole reduced to 5 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.12 Reading-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 20 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 5 minutes late. 15.42 Waterloo-Shepperton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.12 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 16.41 Shepperton-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 10 coaches. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 17.53 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 10 coaches. 17.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 18.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late and reduced to 5 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.58 Waterloo-Windsor axed DUE TO NO CREW. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 23 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 16 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 21.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late.
Wednesday 24/01/07 Localised light overnight snowfall in parts of the SWT area: services collapsed. 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 13 minutes late. 05.15 Salisbury-Waterloo 108 minutes late. 05.28 Fratton-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 05.45 Waterloo-Poole 14 minutes late. 06.00 Haslemere-Waterloo 58 minutes late; axed between Haslemere and Guildford, and omitted all intermediate stops DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo one hour late. 06.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 23 minutes late. 06.24 Fratton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 06.28 Guildford-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 06.31 Kingston-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 06.32 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 06.39 Waterloo-Effingham Junction omitted all intermediate stops before Epsom DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.40 Chessington-Waterloo 31 minutes late. 06.44 Alton-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 06.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 06.48 Hounslow-Waterloo 47 minutes late. 06.53 Ascot-Guildford axed. 06.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 06.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 06.58 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 07.00 Shepperton-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 07.02 Dorking-Waterloo 24 minutes late. 07.07 Guildford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.14 Lymington-Brockenhurst axed. 07.16 Waterloo-Chessington 13 minutes late. 07.17 Guildford-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 07.20 Teddington-Waterloo axed. 07.22 Epsom-Waterloo axed between Epsom and Raynes Park. 07.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed between Windsor and Staines. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo 33 minutes late. 07.29 Brockenhurst-Lymington axed. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo axed. 07.36 Waterloo-Hampton Court axed. 07.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 07.50 Waterloo-Guildford omitted all intermediate stops before Woking DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.50 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Worthing and 22 minutes late. 07.54 Poole-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 08.06 Hilsea-Waterloo 17 minutes late. Passengers on the 08.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Woking DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.24 Hampton-Court-Waterloo axed. 08.05 Portsmouth-Reading axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.22 Epsom-Waterloo axed. 08.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed. Passengers on the 08.42 Waterloo-Basingstoke thrown off at Surbiton DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.48 Effingham Junction-Waterloo axed. 08.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Norbiton DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 09.05 Waterloo-Poole 67 minutes late. 09.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed. 09.09 Waterloo-Fratton 58 minutes late. 09.23 Waterloo-Alton omitted all intermediate stops before Farnham DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 09.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 14 minutes late. At 09.30 scheduled arrivals into Waterloo were generally cancelled or running about 15-30 minutes late. 09.30 Waterloo-Fratton 40 minutes late. 09.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 34 minutes late. 09.39 Waterloo-Southampton 31 minutes late. 09.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 09.41 Shepperton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 09.54 Fratton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 09.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops after Richmond DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.00 Waterloo-Fratton 42 minutes late. 10.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 10.05 Waterloo-Poole 21 minutes late. 10.08 Guildford-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 10.09 Waterloo-Fratton 15 minutes late. 10.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke omitted all intermediate stops before Woking DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.15 Waterloo-Haslemere axed between Waterloo and Guildford. 10.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 22 minutes late. Passengers on the 10.24 Waterloo-Dorking thrown off at Leatherhead DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Norbiton DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.33 Woking-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 10.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 22 minutes late. 10.37 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops after Hounslow DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.38 Guildford-Waterloo axed. 10.39 Haslemere-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Guildford DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.39 Waterloo-Southampton 14 minutes late. 10.44 Alton-Waterloo axed between Alton and Farnham. 10.52 Waterloo-Weybridge omitted all intermediate stops before Hounslow DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 10.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 11.05 Waterloo-Poole 27 minutes late. 11.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Woking and all intermediate stops after Haslemere axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 11.24 Basingstoke-Brighton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 11.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed. 11.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed between Dorking and Ashtead. 11.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed south of Havant. 11.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 29 minutes late. 11.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed between Brighton and Hove. 12.01 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth. 13.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Woking. 15.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.54 Fratton-Waterloo 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Haslemere and Guildford axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed south of Havant and reduced to 4 coaches. 16.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 16.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 17.13 Waterloo-Strawberry Hill reduced to 4 coaches. 17.20 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches. 17.32 Waterloo-Guildford reduced to 4 coaches. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 18.15 Waterloo-Fratton reduced to 9 coaches. 18.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 20.46 Guildford-Waterloo 20 minutes late. Passengers on the 23.00 Guildford-Ascot thrown off at Aldershot DUE TO NO CREW.
Thursday 25/01/07 00.27 Ascot-Aldershot axed DUE TO NO CREW. 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 13.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late. 13.50 Gillingham-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton 8 minutes late. 15.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo 6 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. 17.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 18.11 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 4 coaches. 18.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 18.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 9 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 22.23 Ascot-Guildford thrown off at Aldershot DUE TO NO CREW. 23.30 Guildford-Farnham axed DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 23.30 Waterloo-Reading thrown off at Wokingham.
Friday 26/01/07 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 35 minutes late from Southampton; Southampton Airport and Winchester stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.11 Poole-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 07.24 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 08.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 15.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 22 minutes late; Farnborough stop axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth 20 minutes late. 15.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 24 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Rear portion of 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late from Southampton DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers alighting at Totton from the front of the fourth carriage had to give the door a hefty kick when it tried to shut on them almost immediately after opening (a clearly dangerous defect, or SWT staff wouldn’t bellow at passengers to stand clear when they shut doors in their faces). 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 17.57 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 11 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 32 minutes late. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.45 Salisbury-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.54 Fratton-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 19.01 Reading-Brighton 22 minutes late. 19.05 Waterloo-Poole 16 minutes late. 19.07 Alton-Waterloo 12 minutes late. 19.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 16 minutes late. 19.12 Waterloo-Eastleigh 15 minutes late. 19.33 Dorking-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 5 coaches. 20.20 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late.
Saturday 27/01/07 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo 17 minutes late. 05.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Eastleigh. 06.00 Southampton-Waterloo 25 minutes late. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 14.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Sunday 28/01/07 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 24 minutes late. 20.25 Yeovil Junction-Waterloo 34 minutes late.
Monday 29/01/07 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 07.10 Havant-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 08.11 Shepperton-Waterloo omitted Raynes Park stop DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth advertised as 2 minutes late departing; stops at Woking, Haslemere and Petersfield axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.47 Woking-Waterloo 10 minutes late; omitted intermediate stops before Weybridge DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.05 Waterloo-Poole 26 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; New Milton, Christchurch and Pokesdown stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.20 Waterloo-Reading 24 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops before Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.23 Waterloo-Alton 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Tuesday 30/01/07 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.14 Alton-Waterloo axed. 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.32 Dorking-Waterloo axed. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 08.33 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 20.42 Reading-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 22.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 25 minutes late: DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Strawberry Hill axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 22.28 Fratton-Waterloo thrown off at Clapham Junction DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Wednesday 31/01/07 07.12 Waterloo-Brighton 21 minutes late. 07.13 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Cosham. 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.36 Waterloo-Hampton-Court 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 10 coaches. 07.50 Waterloo-Reading 12 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Ascot axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.52 Epsom-Waterloo axed. 07.52 Portsmouth-Waterloo 19 minutes late and axed between Portsmouth and Cosham. 08.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 20 minutes late. 08.42 Southampton-Portsmouth 22 minutes late. 16.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo 12 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Woking axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 10 coaches. 17.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 27 minutes late. 17.39 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 9 coaches. Passengers on the 17.45 Waterloo-Havant thrown off at Petersfield DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.53 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 10 coaches. 18.35 Waterloo-Reading 13 minutes late. 19.50 Waterloo-Reading axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 20.12 Reading-Waterloo thrown off at Staines. 21.42 Reading-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 23.45 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Haslemere.
Thursday 01/02/07 Broken seat on the 06.06 Totton-Yeovil, which departed 20 seconds early. 07.36 Southampton-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.05 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 8 coaches. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Friday 02/02/07 07.36 Southampton-Waterloo axed between Southampton and Eastleigh and 17 minutes late DUE TO NO CREW. 17.09 Waterloo-Effingham Junction reduced to 4 coaches. 18.20 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 4 coaches. 18.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 8 coaches. Passengers on the 19.00 Guildford-Ascot thrown off at Aldershot. 20.23 Ascot-Guildford axed between Ascot and Aldershot. 21.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 17 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Staines axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 9 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Saturday 03/02/07 06.14 Hampton Court-Waterloo 14 minutes late DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK IN PLACE. 06.15 Waterloo-Haslemere 7 minutes late DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK IN PLACE. 06.39 Waterloo-Guildford 12 minutes late DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK IN PLACE. 06.40 Chessington-Waterloo 11 minutes late DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK IN PLACE. 06.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.38 Guildford-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Surbiton axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 08.20 Petersfield-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 08.50 Waterloo-Woking 18 minutes late. 09.39 Waterloo-Southampton reduced to a 4 coach suburban Desiro. 11.55 Southampton-Waterloo reduced to a 4 coach suburban Desiro. A little good news when the 12.05 and 13.05 Waterloo-Poole trains and return services were formed of Wessex Electric stock, supposedly now only on standby duty. 14.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches. 16.20 Waterloo-Exeter 15 minutes late. 18.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 18.20 Yeovil-Waterloo 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.24 Basingstoke-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 19.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 14 minutes late. Passengers on the 19.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo thrown off at Syon Lane DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.48 Petersfield-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 19.51 Portsmouth-Waterloo 8 minutes late from Eastleigh DUE TO NO CREW. Emergency engineering works on top of the advertised turmoil: passengers on the 21.23 Windsor-Waterloo, 21.27 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo, 21.33 Weybridge-Waterloo, 21.53 Windsor-Waterloo and 22.15 Alton-Waterloo thrown off at Clapham Junction. 21.20 Waterloo-Reading 22 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops after Ascot axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 21.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 20 minutes late. 23.03 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 23.44 Waterloo-Staines 21 minutes late.
Sunday 04/02/07 Passengers on the 01.05 Waterloo-Southampton thrown off at Basingstoke DUE TO NO CREW. 06.55 Woking-Waterloo 36 minutes late. 07.09 Waterloo-Reading axed between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 08.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth 12 minutes late. 08.40 Romsey-Totton 35 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.40 Romsey-Totton 22 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.55 Totton-Romsey 13 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.18 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo 21 minutes late.
Monday 05/02/07 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton 11 minutes late. 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 9 minutes late. 07.29 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo delayed DUE TO DUFF STOCK; stops at Sunningdale, Virginia Water, Egham, Staines, Ashford, Feltham and Whitton axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.52 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 08.20 Waterloo-Reading axed between Waterloo and Staines DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo 35 minutes late. 15.24 Basingstoke-Brighton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter 24 minutes late. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 17.57 Brighton-Basingstoke axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.01 Reading-Brighton 23 minutes late. 20.20 Waterloo-Exeter 21 minutes late. 21.00 Exeter-Salisbury 10 minutes late. 21.39 Waterloo-Guildford 8 minutes late. 21.42 Waterloo-Portsmouth 8 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.42 Waterloo-Shepperton 10 minutes late. 22.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Tuesday 06/02/07 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. Rear unit of the 05.45 Poole-Waterloo the wrong way round so that first class accommodation was at either end of the train. Winchester passengers who couldn’t get a seat in the front carriage therefore had to walk through 10 carriages; the guard said she had asked for announcements to be made on stations, but this had clearly been too much bother. Nice welcome for passengers wanting the 06.06 Totton-Yeovil: the screens at both Totton and Southampton Central told passengers to stand clear as it was not in public service (many will think Stagecoach never has been). At 07.50 a number of mainline trains into Waterloo, including the 05.45 from Poole were about 5 minutes late despite the very slack Stagecoach schedules. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. Passengers on the 15.15 Waterloo-Portsmouth thrown off at Guildford DUE TO NO CREW. Passengers on the 15.24 Basingstoke-Brighton thrown off at Eastleigh DUE TO NO CREW. 17.48 Waterloo-Southampton reduced to a 4-coach suburban train. 18.05 Waterloo-Aldershot axed DUE TO NO CREW. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking 19 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Epsom axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 19.01 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 20.28 Waterloo-Windsor 15 minutes late DUE TO CREW. 20.55 Southampton-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Wednesday 07/02/07 Stock for the 07.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo not expected until 07.50. 07.46 Waterloo-Chessington axed. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 08.20 Waterloo-Woking axed. 08.40 Chessington-Waterloo axed. 13.50 Yeovil-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 14.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo 17 minutes late. Stock for 16.25 Waterloo-Alton not expected until departure time. Stock for 16.33 to Guildford not expected until 16.40. 16.57 Southampton-Weymouth 14 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 17.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Fratton. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading 32 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; passengers thrown off at Wokingham DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.45 Waterloo-Havant reduced to 9 coaches. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading 11 minutes late DUE TO NO ROLLING STOCK IN PLACE. 18.28 Waterloo-Windsor 13 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 18.43 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 18.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 19.12 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Bracknell. 19.20 Waterloo-Honiton 21 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 23.43 Waterloo-Staines 25 minutes late.
Thursday 08/02/07 SWT thoughtfully advertised the forecast overnight snow – the fall was light in most areas, but the morning service was pretty awful anyway. Too much trouble to sweep snow off the platforms at Southampton Airport station. 05.16 Portsmouth-Southampton axed. 05.40 Basingstoke-Weymouth delayed about 20 minutes by points failure at Winchester. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo 28 minutes late. 05.50 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 30 minutes late. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth axed. 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo 29 minutes late; Woking stop axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.30 Aldershot-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.24 Waterloo-Dorking omitted all intermediate stops to Epsom DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 07.30 Aldershot-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.39 Waterloo-Guildford axed. 07.53 Windsor-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.07 Waterloo-Reading axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.12 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.08 Guildford-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.42 Reading-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.09 Waterloo-Portsmouth 10 minutes late. 18.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 10 minutes late. 19.42 Shepperton-Waterloo 18 minutes late. 20.23 Ascot-Guildford axed.
Friday 09/02/07 06.23 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.55 Portsmouth-Waterloo 22 minutes late. 07.00 Aldershot-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.12 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.24 Hampton Court-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.53 Windsor-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.07 Waterloo-Reading axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 10.12 Waterloo-Basingstoke 15 minutes late; all intermediate stops before Woking axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 10.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Woking. Passengers on the 10.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo thrown off at Guildford. Passengers on the 10.33 Weybridge-Waterloo thrown off at Clapham Junction. Passengers on the 10.45 Salisbury-Waterloo thrown off at Basingstoke. 12.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo axed between Waterloo and Clapham Junction. 12.15 Waterloo-Haslemere axed between Waterloo and Woking. 12.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth axed between Waterloo and Guildford. 12.35 Paignton-Waterloo axed between Paignton and Exeter. 12.50 Waterloo-Salisbury axed between Waterloo and Basingstoke. 14.10 Exeter-Waterloo 45 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Exeter Central and Honiton axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 15.42 Reading-Waterloo 10 minutes late. 16.09 Waterloo-Guildford reduced the 4 coaches. 16.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 17.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 5 coaches. 17.20 Waterloo-Exeter reduced to 3 coaches. 17.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 8 coaches. 18.23 Waterloo-Basingstoke reduced to 8 coaches. 18.46 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 18.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. Passengers on the 20.41 Shepperton-Waterloo thrown off at Wimbledon DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 21.17 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW.
Saturday 10/02/07 07.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 24 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 07.14 Poole-Southampton axed between Poole and Bournemouth. 09.24 Waterloo-Dorking axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 10.35 Dorking-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 11.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 14 minutes late. 14.22 Waterloo-Weybridge 18 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK; all intermediate stops between Clapham Junction and Feltham axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.02 Haslemere-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.30 Waterloo-Portsmouth 21 minutes late; Petersfield stop axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.28 Waterloo-Windsor 13 minutes late. Evening SWT services axed between Wokingham and Reading due to electrical supply problems. 20.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 49 minutes late. 20.45 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo 21 minutes late. 21.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 14 minutes late.
Sunday 11/02/07 17.05 Hampton Court-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Monday 12/02/07 05.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Fratton. 06.06 Totton-Yeovil axed between Totton and Southampton. 06.15 Portsmouth-Waterloo 7 minutes late. 07.57 Waterloo-Strawberry Hill reduced to 4 coaches. 12.53 Windsor-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Twickenham axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 13.03 Weybridge-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Hounslow axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 14.00 Weymouth-Waterloo 10 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.01 Poole-Waterloo 25 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 17.05 Waterloo-Weymouth reduced to 5 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK; horrific overcrowding between Waterloo and Southampton where passengers for intermediate stops to Bournemouth thrown off and left in the cold until a substitute train arrived. 18.07 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.22 Waterloo-Weybridge reduced to 4 coaches. 18.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 18.52 Reading-Ascot axed. 19.55 Southampton-Waterloo 30 minutes late; all intermediate stops after Basingstoke axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. Passengers on the 23.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Southampton.
Tuesday 13/02/07 Passengers on the 00.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth thrown off at Southampton. 05.18 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Hilsea. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo axed between Hilsea and Guildford. 07.24 Portsmouth-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 12.24 Basingstoke-Brighton 12 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 18.57 Brighton-Reading 8 minutes late. 19.35 Waterloo-Weymouth about 40 minutes late and passengers thrown off at Southampton Central DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 19.39 Waterloo-Southampton 28 minutes late. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole 28 minutes late. 21.00 Romsey-Totton 14 minutes late. 21.40 Brighton-Salisbury 14 minutes late. 21.30 Southampton-Waterloo 13 minutes late.
Wednesday 14/02/07 Passengers on the 00.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth thrown off at Southampton. 04.40 Havant-Portsmouth axed. 05.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed between Portsmouth and Hilsea. Passengers on the 06.20 Waterloo-Reading thrown off at Virginia Water DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 06.23 Portsmouth-Southampton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 06.42 Hilsea-Waterloo 8 minutes late; Godalming and Farncombe stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 06.50 Waterloo-Reading 23 minutes late. 08.07 Waterloo-Reading delayed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.12 Reading-Waterloo axed between Reading and Staines DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 09.09 Cosham-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 13.05 Waterloo-Poole 7 minutes late. 14.35 Waterloo-Weymouth 12 minutes late. 15.01 Poole-Waterloo 15 minutes late. 15.05 Waterloo-Poole 41 minutes late; passengers thrown off at Bournemouth. 16.28 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 16.57 Southampton-Weymouth 18 minutes late. 16.58 Waterloo-Windsor axed. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 17.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 17.54 Poole-Waterloo axed between Poole and Bournemouth. 18.20 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 18.23 Windsor-Waterloo axed. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. 18.40 Havant-Waterloo 11 minutes late. 20.05 Waterloo-Poole axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 23.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Southampton.
Thursday 15/02/07 Passengers on the 00.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth thrown off at Southampton. Passengers on the 00.09 Waterloo-Guildford thrown off At Woking. 04.00 Guildford-Waterloo axed between Guildford and Woking. 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 36 minutes late and ninth coach freezing cold; Eastleigh and Winchester stops axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.45 Poole-Waterloo 19 minutes late. 06.06 Totton-Yeovil axed between Totton and Southampton. 07.06 Basingstoke-Waterloo 8 minutes late. 07.38 Waterloo-Southampton 21 minutes late. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.44 Alton-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 08.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 12 minutes late. 08.05 Salisbury-Yeovil axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.33 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.33 Weybridge-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 15.37 Haslemere-Waterloo axed between Haslemere and Guildford. 16.03 Waterloo-Guildford omitted all intermediate stops before Surbiton DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 16.35 Waterloo-Weymouth reduced to 5 coaches. 16.35 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. 16.55 Waterloo-Alton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.20 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 17.31 Waterloo-Kingston-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.42 Reading-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops after Staines DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 17.58 Guildford-Waterloo omitted all intermediate stops before Effingham Junction DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth reduced to 4 coaches. 18.05 Waterloo-Aldershot reduced to 4 coaches. 18.07 Weybridge-Waterloo 20 minutes late; all intermediate stops between Hounslow and Putney axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 18.24 Waterloo-Dorking reduced to 4 coaches. 18.35 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 20.52 Waterloo-Weybridge axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. Passengers on the 23.05 Waterloo-Poole thrown off at Southampton
Friday 16/02/07 Passengers on the 00.05 Waterloo-Bournemouth thrown off at Southampton. Passengers on the 00.09 Waterloo-Guildford thrown off at Woking. 04.00 Guildford-Waterloo axed between Guildford and Woking. 05.00 Poole-Waterloo 20 minutes late; Eastleigh and Winchester stops again axed DUE TO OPERATIONAL CONVENIENCE. 05.10 Exeter-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 05.41 Salisbury-Totton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 06.06 Totton-Yeovil 6 minutes late. 06.21 Southampton-Portsmouth 6 minutes late. 07.07 Totton-Romsey axed DUE TO NO CREW. 07.33 Weybridge-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.38 Waterloo-Southampton 7 minutes late. 07.42 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 07.47 Woking-Waterloo reduced to 8 coaches. 07.57 Romsey-Totton axed DUE TO NO CREW. 07.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 08.00 Shepperton-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 08.12 Reading-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.33 Weybridge-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 08.37 Guildford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 09.01 Totton-Romsey axed DUE TO NO CREW. 14.20 Waterloo-Paignton reduced to 3 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 14.47 Plymouth-Waterloo reduced to 3 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 15.42 Waterloo-Shepperton delayed DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 16.00 Waterloo-Portsmouth 7 minutes late DUE TO DUFF TRAIN. 16.50 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 16.57 Southampton-Weymouth 21 minutes late. 17.15 Waterloo-Brentford-Waterloo reduced to 4 coaches. 17.35 Waterloo-Reading reduced to 4 coaches. 17.42 Waterloo-Shepperton reduced to 4 coaches. 17.58 Waterloo-Windsor reduced to 4 coaches. 18.02 Waterloo-Woking reduced to 8 coaches. 18.16 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches. 18.52 Waterloo-Weybridge reduced to 4 coaches. 18.57 Brighton-Reading 41 minutes late DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 20.45 Portsmouth-Waterloo axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK. 22.45 Waterloo-Fratton axed DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
Saturday 17/02/07 12.05 Waterloo-Poole axed between Waterloo and Woking DUE TO NO CREW. 13.08 Guildford-Waterloo 15 minutes late; train axed between Surbiton and Waterloo DUE TO PASSENGERS TRANSFERRING BETWEEN TRAINS!!!!! – GOOD TO KNOW THE CURTAILMENT WAS THE PASSENGERS’ FAULT. 13.54 Basingstoke-Waterloo axed DUE TO NO CREW. 16.16 Waterloo-Chessington reduced to 4 coaches DUE TO DUFF STOCK.
APPENDIX 3 - MEDIA REPORTS ON THE ENVIRONMENT
Wednesday 03/01/07 – COUNCILS IGNORE THREAT OF CLIMATE CHANGE A Guardian survey suggests that hundreds of local councils across the UK are ignoring the threat of climate change and taking no action to address the rising carbon emissions of their residents. Only a handful of the councils polled said they were taking significant steps to tackle greenhouse gas pollution, with half admitting they had no plans to encourage more environmentally behaviour. The survey results come just weeks after Ian Pearson, climate change minister, claimed local authorities were at the forefront of the country’s efforts to combat climate change. A spokesman for Eden District Council said that, as a district council, they had only limited resources available; they were doing some minor things but had no overall policy. They would develop an action plan in 2007. Some councils have bucked the trend. Five in North East England have jointly pledged to cut carbon dioxide emissions by 1.25% each year until 2010. Woking has reduced emissions from its council buildings and shopping centre by 77% in the last 15 years by constructing a series of mini power stations. Kensington and Chelsea is planning regulations to force drivers of the most polluting cars to pay more for residential parking permits with those owning more fuel efficient cars getting a discount. Camden is considering similar action. This follows the move by Richmond to charge the drivers of gas-guzzling cars up to £450 a year to park outside their houses. (Guardian)
Monday 08/01/07 – BRITONS FRITTER YEAR’S CARBON ALLOCATION BY FEBRUARY Eight days into the New Year, the average UK citizen will be responsible for the production of 0.21 tonnes of carbon dioxide – the same amount as the annual tally for a person in countries such as Zambia. This startling statement is revealed in a report by the World Development Movement which says that while the least developed countries do not contribute to global warming, the millions who live there are most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change. The poorest countries in the world, with 738m people, make no contribution to climate change but 16,000 are already dying every year through climate-change related diseases and billions will face drought, floods, starvation and disease. About 70% of Africa’s population depend on agriculture for their livelihood, but droughts over the past 4 years led to food shortages for 10 million people. The report says that to prevent rising temperatures, each person can emit only 1.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. The average Briton will have broken this target by 10 February. (Guardian)
Thursday 11/01/07 – EU WARNS OF GLOBAL CLIMATE CHAOS The European Commission has stepped up the EU’s campaign to lead the fight against climate change by warning that global warming was so catastrophic that it could trigger regional conflicts, poverty, famine and migration. In the wake of last year’s Stern Report in the UK, the commission forecast severe impacts on certain ecosystems, with some species and habitats disappearing, and a decline in global food production, with the spread of infectious diseases such as malaria and dengue fever. Calling for international agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 30% by 2020, it said water scarcity and quality would become problems for many regions, while sea levels would rise and some low-lying islands such as the Maldives and coastal regions such as the Bangladesh delta could drown. Weather impacts are likely to include higher temperatures, heatwaves and increased dryness with the risk of drought and fires, and elsewhere increased rainfall, storms and floods. Southern Europe, including Italy and Spain, would be the region most affected. The commission concludes that if urgent action is not taken, billions of pounds worth of damage will be caused. It aims to steer the world towards keeping the rise in temperature to no more than 2C above pre-industrial levels. The commission said that if temperatures rise by 2.2C, an extra 11,000 people will die within a decade and from 20.71 there would be 29,000 extra deaths a year in southern Europe alone. Only slightly fewer – 27,000 – would die in northern Europe. It said there was a 50% chance that global temperatures would rise this century by more than 5C. Current EU energy policies were unsustainable and would increase Europe’s emissions by 5% by 2030. (Guardian)
Friday 12/01/07 – CAR PRICES MAY RISE AS EU ENFORCES LOWER EMISSIONS The price of every new car sold in Britain could soar by more than £1,600 under new laws to be proposed by the European commission to tackle climate change. Stavros Dimas, the European environment commissioner, has announced plans for compulsory limits on carbon dioxide emissions from vehicles, blaming motor manufacturers for failing to comply with a voluntary pledge to improve fuel efficiency. The plans, to be announced on 24 January, will require car companies to produce vehicles that emit less than 120 grams of carbon dioxide a kilometre by 2012. The cap will apply as an average across a maker’s range of vehicles – a manufacturer could still sell gas-guzzling 4x4s if it also produced smaller, cleaner vehicles. Carbon dioxide emissions from road transport have risen by 22% in Europe since 1990 and now make up more than 20% of total emissions. EC figures suggest that the increased cost per car could be 577 euros, but a report by a team of Dutch transport consultants in October put it closer to 2,450 euros (£1,624). (Guardian)
Friday 19/01/07 – MYSTERY SURGE IN CARBON LEVEL Carbon dioxide is accumulating in the atmosphere much faster than scientists expected, raising fears that there may be less time to tackle climate change than previously thought. New figures from dozens of measuring stations across the world reveal that concentrations of CO2, the main greenhouse gas, rose at record levels in 2006, the fourth year in the last five to show a sharp increase. Experts are puzzled because the spike, which follows decades of more modest annual rises, does not appear to match the pattern of steady increases in human emissions. At its most far-reaching, the finding could indicate that global temperatures are making forests, soils and oceans less able to absorb carbon dioxide. Such a shift would worsen even the gloomy predictions of the Stern Review which warned that we had little over a decade to tackle rising emissions to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Peter Cox, a climate change expert at Exeter university, says that an increase in forest fires, heatwaves across Europe and the Amazon drought of 2005 could have helped to drive up carbon dioxide levels. Figures presented to a recent UN climate change conference in Nairobi showed that carbon dioxide emissions produced by the worldwide burning of fossil fuels increased by 3.2% from 2000 to 2005. From 1990 to 1999 the emissions increase was 0.8%. (Guardian)
Friday 19/01/07 – CLEARING UP AFTER A KILLER STORM London is clearing up today after a killer storm caused damage expected to bring insurance claims of £1 billion. Commuters struggled through the aftermath of what was described as an “explosive” Atlantic depression which caused conditions similar to a tropical cyclone. At least 14 people died as gale-force winds brought chaos from the Isle of Wight to the Scottish borders. Damage was widespread across London with thousands of properties suffering structural damage and many cars destroyed or written off after being hit by falling trees or debris. Roads monitor Trafficlink said it was the worst night it had recorded. At the height of the rush hour there were 66 overturned vehicles and 25 major motorway diversions or closures. Lord’s cricket ground, and Kings Cross and London Bridge stations, all had part of their roofs torn off. (Evening Standard)
Tuesday 23/01/07 – ARCTIC MELT COULD SINK OUR CITIES Arctic melt may be unstoppable, raising sea levels by more than 6m and sinking cities including London, Liverpool, Southampton, Brighton and Bristol. The Greenland ice sheet, a mass the size of continental Europe, is disappearing faster than anticipated. Scientists fear so much carbon dioxide has been dumped into the atmosphere we are at ‘tipping point’, where the ice will melt regardless of whether we stop producing greenhouse gases. A melt of 80 cubic kilometres was predicted for 2006, but the latest figures show 287 have disappeared. The Greenland ice sheet has a volume of 2,830,000 cubic kms and each cubic km contains 1 billion tonnes of fresh water. If we lose all the ice in Greenland, the sea level goes up 6.5 metres and 80% of our global cities will go underwater. Environment Secretary David Miliband said it was critical to set targets for stabilising climate change this year. (Metro)
Thursday 25/01/07 – EMISSIONS TARGETS AT RISK The UK faces a real challenge to meet targets set for carbon dioxide emissions from new cars under a voluntary agreement between the European Commission and the car makers, according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT). Yesterday the SMMT, which represents the UK automotive industry, published figures showing that the average amount of carbon dioxide emitted by new cars in the UK last year was 167.2 grammes a kilometre – down 1.3% on the previous year but still some way off the agreed target of 140 grammes by 2008. Britain lags behind other countries such as France, where new car carbon dioxide emission levels last year were 149 grammes. Mr Barroso, desperate for consensus in his 27-strong Commission, said proposals for binding legislation to enforce a 120-gramme target by 2012 would be presented very soon. (Guardian)
Friday 26/01/07 – TRAFFIC FUMES DAMAGE LUNGS New research suggests that Traffic fumes from motorways can seriously impair the lung development of children. A large-scale study in California found that 10-year-olds who lived within 500 metres of a motorway suffered a "substantial" loss of lung function by the age of 18. The scientists carried out annual lung function tests on 3,677 Californian children for eight years. Those living at least 1,500 metres from a major road were used as a baseline. Compared with them, children living closer to motorways had less "puff" at the age of 18, with individual children having deficits of up to 10%. The scientists said their findings pointed to diesel pollution as being a prime culprit. (Press Association)
Wednesday 31/01/07 – STANSTED OWNER CONFIRMS PLANS FOR NEW RUNWAY BAA has launched the first significant test of the Government’s aviation policy by announcing plans for a second runway at Stansted Airport. The plans are backed by the Department for Transport but have been criticised by environmental groups who say airline and airport growth must be curbed as part of the battle against global warming. Stephen Nelson CAA Chief Executive urged the aviation industry to form a united front over global warming. Ryanair admitted this week that it had published misleading information in a press release rebutting claims that aviation was a growing threat to the environment. Paul Rowen, the Liberal Democrat transport spokesman said the proposal for a second runway was “absolute folly” in the context of the Stern Report about climate change. (Guardian)
Wednesday 31/01/07 – BUSH ADMINISTRATION ACCUSED OF DOCTORING SCIENTISTS’ REPORTS ON CLIMATE CHANGE At a hearing of Congress, scientists and advocacy groups described a campaign by the White House to remove references to global warming from scientific reports and limit public mention of the topic to avoid pressure on an administration opposed to mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions. Such pressure extended even to the use of the words “global warming” or “climate change”, said a report released yesterday by the Union of Concerned Scientists and the Government Accountability Project. The report said nearly a half of climate scientists at government agencies had been advised against using those terms. In the survey of 1,600 government scientists by the Union of Concerned Scientists, 46% had been warned against using terms like global warming in speech or in their report. 43% of respondents said their published work had been revised in ways that altered the meaning of scientific findings. Some 38% said they had direct knowledge of cases where scientific information on climate was stripped from websites and printed reports. (Guardian)
Thursday 01/02/07 – AIRCRAFT POLLUTION DOUBLES IN 15 YEARS Emissions from aviation fuel more than doubled between 1990 and 2005 according to new figures from the Department for the Environment, and they continue to rise. Between 2004 and 2005 greenhouse gases caused by domestic flights increased by 7.1%, while emissions from international flights rose by 5.7%. But the environment secretary said there had been an encouraging reduction in pollution from homes. The country has already cut greenhouse gas emissions by 15.3% on 1990 levels – ahead of the Kyoto target of 12.5%. Meanwhile, this year has seen the second hottest January on record; the legality of the extra air passenger tax from the beginning of February is in dispute because it was not sanctioned by Parliament; and a US study involving 66,000 women shows that polluted city air can dramatically raise the risk of heart disease. (Metro)
Friday 02/02/07 – SCIENTISTS OFFERED CASH TO DISPUTE CLIMATE STUDY Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world’s largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today. Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered. The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment. The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Climate scientists described the moves yesterday as an attempt to cast doubt over the “overwhelming scientific evidence” on global warming. The contents of the IPCC report have been an open secret since the Bush administration posted its draft copy on the internet in April. It says there is a 90% chance that human activity is warming the planet, and that global average temperatures will rise by another 1.5 to 5.8C this century, depending on emissions. (Guardian)
Friday 02/02/07 – UN ISSUES GRAVEST WARNING YET ON THREAT FROM CLIMATE CHANGE The world’s top scientists today issued their most dire warnings yet about the threat from climate change. After six years of research by 2,500 scientists, the UN International Panel on Climate Change report predicted the average world temperature will rise by about three degrees by the end of the century. There is a greater than 90% chance that mankind is to blame. The Institute Director said the report shows in stark terms that time is running out to cut greenhouse gas emissions and to help vulnerable communities prepare for the impacts ahead, some of which are already unavoidable. The scientific and moral arguments for action are now over. It is up to political and business leaders, as well as citizens around the world, to seize this challenge and work together to tackle the biggest challenge that humanity has ever faced. Later parts of the report will set out more detail on possible remedies. (Evening Standard)
Tuesday 13/02/07 – BRITAIN TRIES TO BLOCK EUROPEAN TARGETS FOR RENEWABLE ENERGY Britain is trying to block new European rules that would set binding targets on renewable energy generation to tackle climate change, according to leaked papers. The European commission wants to force member states to generate 20% of their energy by 2020 from green sources such as wind power and wood chip boilers. But Britain has argued against such a binding goal, saying countries need the “flexibility” to set their own targets. An industry source said Department of Trade and Industry officials had admitted at a meeting last month that current policies would see 4%-5% of UK energy produced from renewable sources by 2020. The proposed new EC directive comes as Tony Blair is pushing for a new international agreement to cut emissions based on binding targets. It would cover all energy used in transport, heating and electricity generation. Britain currently sets much looser domestic targets on renewable electricity generation and transport fuels only. (Guardian)
APPENDIX 4 - MEDIA REPORTS ON TRANSPORT
Friday 05/01/07 – PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA Network Rail is boasting that it made profits of £724m in the first six months of the current year. Since it received an extra £975m in public grant, this cannot have been difficult for its overpaid executives to achieve. Retiring chief executive John Armitt and his deputy and successor Ian Coucher will be getting about £1m each including bonuses.
When transport secretary Douglas Alexander announced the end of GNER’s new franchise, he explained, “Rail operators that fall into financial difficulty should expect to surrender the franchise and not receive financial support. To do otherwise could set the precedent that we are willing to bail out operators at extra cost to the taxpayer”. Two days earlier his Department announced Virgin Train’s West Coast franchise had been renegotiated with enormous unplanned subsidy. Virgin will pocket about £300m per annum from taxpayers when the franchise agreement says it should be paying over £150m (at 1997 prices) per annum to taxpayers. To avoid admitting it had renegotiated, the government said it had “reinstated” a franchise suspended during the West Coast modernisation programme. It blamed Railtrack for that botched upgrade, overlooking that Virgin and Railtrack devised between them an upgrade they couldn’t deliver. After £8.6bn of infrastructure work, Britain’s busiest main line has a top speed of just 125mph. How come Richard Branson’s team got to renegotiate the franchise behind closed doors, and how does the government know it’s not being taken for a ride when nobody else has been asked to show how they would run the franchise? Transport Minister Tom Harris assured the public he’d struck a better-value deal for taxpayers. Strange: the National Audit Office reckons taxpayers “paid £590m more in subsidy to Virgin West Coast in 2002-06 than envisaged in its franchise agreement”. Virgin’s subsidy under the “better-value” deal will be nearly £1.3bn over five years. [Virgin Trains is 49% Stagecoach owned – isn’t it interesting that, as we said in our contribution to the Government’s “Big Conversation”, the playing field never seems level when ethically-limited Stagecoach is involved?
Passengers are seeing more evidence of the Department for Transport’s incompetence on the new Great Western franchise. It postponed consultation on the timetable until after the franchise was awarded. First held a major consultation and made major changes, but some idiocies slipped through. Timetables could change again in 2007, but something may be done even earlier. [Isn’t it interesting that First consulted people and introduced improvements after getting Great Western whilst ethically-limited Stagecoach consulted nobody after it was awarded the South Western franchise and immediately set about fuelling its greed with huge downgrades for passengers?]
Saturday 06/01/07 – ‘CANGO’ DOES GO Hampshire County Council has been accused of being “high-handed and short-sighted” by users over its plans to scrap the Sway to New Milton Cango passenger responsive bus service from 3 February. Passengers reported that the service was well-used and Council chiefs were left red-faced when their own data on passenger numbers were proved to be inaccurate. (Lymington Times)
Thursday 18/01/07 – ‘DOG’S BREAKFAST’ OF A RAIL SERVICE Southampton resident complains of unreliability and overcrowding on First Great Western services from Bristol. The operator had the nerve to suggest that “people would sooner board an overcrowded service than wait for the next”. He hopes the conductors on the Southampton-Bristol route will be rewarded for holding this ‘dog’s breakfast’ of a service together. (Southern Daily Echo)
Thursday 18/01/07 – ‘RAIL FARES WOULD SOAR IF FLIGHT BAN IMPOSED’ Southampton resident takes issue with MP Tim Yeo who wants to ban domestic flights, on the basis that if the railways had a monopoly fares would soar even more. (Southern Daily Echo)
Friday 19/01/07 – PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA The chaos on First Great Western arises from the Government’s having specified the franchise itself, so the government will not now censure the company. This ultra-leniency is bad news for passengers. Letting dire performance go unpunished gives train companies even more leeway to fatten profits by cutting costs, knowing their franchise is safe whatever happens. The former Wessex Trains was an average section of the network but is one of the worst within the new FGW franchise. Two railways in Cornwall had their trains suspended last week as the service floundered with shortage of serviceable trains.
Tuesday 23/01/07 – GREAT WESTERN COMMUTERS IN REVOLT An unusual band of rebels – business people, civil servants and office clerks – risked a fine or jail yesterday by refusing to pay for their commuter journeys. Claiming that the service in the Bristol and Bath area was so poor that it was not worth paying for, scores of passengers boarded their usual trains brandishing spoof tickets. The rebels were waved through by First Great Western at both ends of their journey. The company claims the shortage of rolling stock is due to temporary carriage maintenance problems. (Guardian)
Wednesday 24/01/07 – GREAT WESTERN APOLOGISES FGW admitted that it had failed to meet the standards expected by passengers and pledged swift improvements. However, the Government refused to hold a mini-summit to sort out the shambles. Ed Vaizey, Tory MP for Wantage, said FGW had been fatally damaged by this chaos, and the government had washed its hands, obviously taking the view that the situation is so toxic they can’t even be seen to take any public role. (Evening Standard)
Thursday 01/02/07 – OYSTER CARDS TO BE OPENED UP BY RAIL OPERATORS Rail companies serving London have agreed to install Oyster pay-as-you-go, it was revealed yesterday. They will accept Ken Livingstone’s offer of £20m to install the system. The move will mean cdhjeaper fares for passengers travelling to and around the capital. (Metro)
Friday 02/02/07 – PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA Network Rail’s explanation last week that “extreme weather” inevitably plunges Britain’s railways into chaos would have struck the citizens of Canada, Russia and most other countries as quaint. Britain has one of the most temperate climates of any country, but already this year our railways have been disrupted by wind, snow and rain. Over the last 12 months, warm summer weather, autumn leaves and even pollen have affected trains. The dusting of snow that fell on Tuesday night caught Network Rail by surprise, but then who would expect snow in January? Even when NR is prepared for snow, there’s still no guarantee that trains will run properly. On Thursday morning last week the snowfall was lighter than forecast, but many south-east commuters were disrupted for a second morning.
How gullible does Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander think people are? Explaining the rail network’s deficiencies on the ‘Today’ programme, he said: “We inherited a situation where we had the botched privatisation of the railways, so we needed to get stability in the rail industry”. Perhaps he was thinking of Scotland; he’s Scottish, has a Scottish seat and is Scottish secretary. Scotland’s rail franchise hasn’t had boundaries changed by officials desperate to justify their jobs. First ScotRail’s subsidy increases each year, and overcrowding hasn’t been exacerbated by dumping carriages in sidings. The main causes of instability when Labour took office were short-term franchises and Railtrack plc. By the time Labour created Network Rail, the infrastructure was so neglected that billions of pounds were needed for repair. NR as it now stands is far from stable; its growing £20bn debt is unsustainable and its failure to expand rail capacity will causes problems as demand for travel continues to grow. Labour has preserved the Tories’ botch of rail franchising. New franchises are so unstable that the contest for GNER in 2005 for a 10-year franchise is already being repeated. That franchise simply covered an established group of services. Changing franchise boundaries risks other disruption as with the absorption of Wessex Trains into the First Great Western franchise. The Transport secretary still hasn’t learned the value of stability and his mandarins take a sadistic delight in messing passengers around. Central Trains will be disbanded and train and station leases and staff transferred at huge administrative cost to other franchises, some of which don’t yet exist. The transport department is also meddling with cross-country timetables, despite the public clamour for stability.
Rail Minister Tom Harris, another Scot, must also think the English are stupid. After his chief rail official Mike Mitchell said it was acceptable for commuters with £5,000 season tickets to stand, he explained that overcrowding problems were only temporary. “I would much rather… we have the capacity for every passenger to get a seat, but that would not be realistic in the short term”, he said. “Until we get the new rolling stock on the lines, people affected by this will have to be patient”. The only parts of England where this is in prospect is Kent where the new premium-fare commuter trains will start in 2009 on the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, and North London rail routes which are moving over to Transport for London. Hundreds of usable carriages have been dumped and 120 more are going from the new South West Trains franchise.
Tuesday 06/02/07 – TRAINS LEASE FIASCO MEANS NO EXTRA SEATS BEFORE 2010 Commuters were warned today not to expect any more carriages on their overcrowded trains for at least 3 years. The threatened Competition Commission inquiry into the three rolling stock leasing companies has already scuppered the deal to have 2 extra carriages in each of Virgin’s Pendolino trains by early 2009. The leasing companies’ fears about an inquiry mean it is unlikely any deals for new carriages will be signed with train operators for two years even if the money is available. (Evening Standard)
Wednesday 14/02/07 – NO 10 PONDERS HOW TO REPLY TO 2 MILLION ROAD PRICING PROTESTERS Downing Street will reply to a surge of support for a petition on its website condemning its road pricing plans, which could reach 2 million signatures in week commencing 18 February. With the Transport Secretary resisting concessions, No 10 sources acknowledged they had to deliver some kind of gesture to the protesters. That could take the form of an extended statement or replies to individual petitioners but may not go as far as a Commons debate in government time. The Transport Secretary is furious that his attempts to introduce trials for the pay-as-you-go scheme have been hijacked by the petition. Stephen Glaister, an adviser to the Government-commissioned Eddington transport study which recommended road pricing, said the Government could not blame the public for its angry reaction. He said there was little understanding of what was being opposed. Andrew Davis, director of the Environmental Transport Association said “There will no longer be any fuel duty or vehicle excise duty [when road pricing is introduced]. Most roads most of the time have no congestion. Most people will either pay the same or pay less”. (Guardian)
[The Metro of 12/2/07 quotes the Transport Secretary as saying, “Unless motorists and families can see the benefits of bringing in a national road pricing system then it won’t happen]
Friday 16/02/07 – RAILWAYS ARE THE BUSIEST FOR 60 YEARS The number of passengers using the railways has risen to 1.147 billion in a year – the highest level for 60 years. In the past 6 months alone journeys have risen by 10% and are still rising, a report by the Association of Train Operating Companies concludes. Amazingly the network is now only half the size it was in 1946. George Muir, ATOC Director General, says ministers must now provide the funding required to build new routes and expand others. (Evening Standard)
Friday 16/02/07 – GO-AHEAD LEAPS TO £51 MILLION AFTER FARE RISE Go-Ahead, the group behind SouthEastern and Southern railways has bagged soaring profits and promised huge shareholder payouts just weeks after slapping commuters with a double-inflation hike in train fares. The group, which is also set to be the main beneficiary from running extra buses in the western extension of the London congestion charging zone, today reported that in the 6 months to 30 December its pre-tax profits leapt to £51. Yet within days of the end of that financial period, its railways businesses were hitting passengers with fare rises of up to 6.3% on SouthEastern and 4.3% - still well ahead of inflation – on Southern. Chief Executive Keith Ludeman said he empathised with passengers on the significant rise in fares, but the Government wanted to get back some of the £5.2 billion that it had spent on the high-speed Channel Tunnel Rail Link. Shareholders, who have enjoyed a 45% surge in the stock in the past six months, are set to get further windfalls with a 28% increase in the interim dividend to 23p. (Evening Standard)
Friday 16/02/07 – PRIVATE EYE MISCELLANEA The rail industry, like the NHS, is managed around statistics, but at least the targets for waiting lists and operations relate to people using the NHS. The railways’ task is to deliver trains, not passengers, on time. Official statistics reflect punctuality at the end of each journey. Passengers on a train from Norwich had to alight at Ipswich because the service was 15 minutes late and the remaining stops to Liverpool Street were to be omitted. They waited 45 minutes for another train while the original train would have been counted as on time by its journey’s end. Another time, a local train was 18 minutes late by Colchester, where it was scheduled to join another train for the run to London. The other train had left on time, four carriages short. The local train did not run beyond Colchester and passengers were again left to wait for the next service. Delayed Aberystwyth-Birmingham trains are reportedly cancelled at Wolverhampton so that they can run back to Aberystwyth on time. The trains are then on time but the passengers have to wait two hours for the next service. South West Trains’ statistics have improved with padded timetables, trains leaving early and stops skipped. SWT unashamedly defended dumping passengers on a snowy January night so that the train crew could use the taxi they provided to avoid another service running late. The traditional way to run a punctual railway is with enough trains, drivers and guards to cover for many of the delays, but that’s less and less likely as shareholders demand fatter profits. Fewer train delays mean lower fines. In the hard-nosed business world of privatised rail, looking after passengers is a sentimental indulgence.
First Great Western has been economical with the truth when explaining poor performance since its new timetable started in December. It repeatedly attributed the shortage of carriages to inherited maintenance problems even though the trains were the same ones as used before December. FGW boss Alison Forster has now admitted in Railnews that the company transferred maintenance of local trains from Cardiff to Bristol before the new facility was ready. She has since played down FGW’s culpability, referring vaguely to “difficulties with fleet availability”. On 3 February a FGW train caught fire at Didcot; hundreds of passengers were evacuated and other trains delayed or cancelled. On 25 January a FGW train caught fire at Neath, causing severe delays.
The Government’s request for a competition inquiry into rolling stock leasing companies has brought an early result. The companies won’t fund extra carriages for the West Coast Main Line because of the uncertainty. The Government thinks the companies are poor value for money but won’t buy new trains itself because that would show up in the Chancellor’s books. The current impasse is perfect because leasing charges won’t rise to cover extra carriages … and overcrowding can be an excuse for yet more fare rises.
As always, thanks to everyone who has been kind enough to contact us. Without your support and input, this newsletter would not be possible.
Particular thanks to David Wallis for drawing attention to the Welsh Assembly’s decision to extend the pensioner’s concessionary bus fare scheme to the Llanelli-Craven Arms and Llandudno Junction- Blaenau Ffestiniog railway lines. The Brockenhurst-Lymington line would be an obvious candidate for similar treatment on SWT, but with Stagecoach already trying to sabotage the county-wide bus scheme in Hampshire, that would presumably depend on the franchise being transferred.
Thanks to the Commons Transport Committee for sending us a copy of the Government response to their latest Passenger Rail Franchising Report. The Department for Transport is predictably defensive of its position, but with every week that passes that position seems to become less tenable.
Thanks to Hampshire County Council for the opportunity to help with their survey of 13 February into passenger usage of the Reading/Basingstoke-Brighton direct trains, which are not part of the new timetable from December 2007. This was a very thorough exercise with excellent team spirit, and it achieved good rapport with the vast majority of passengers who were approached.