London Assembly grills Southeastern on service disruption

The London Assembly has written to Southeastern to ask them why they were so craven in response to the recent snowfall.

Transport Committee Chair Caroline Pidgeon pointed out that between January 6th-8th, while the troopers at Southern kept calm and carried on, commuters using St Johns and Ladywell were faced with a reduced service and no trains after 8pm. This is in spite of the fact that South East London was relatively unaffected and that on the 9th, a normal service was resumed despite no improvement in the weather. Freight trains ran as normal throughout.

Worse, on January 5th, before a flake had fallen, Southeastern took pre-emptive action, stopping all services early.

We await their response with interest.

Thanks to Svea for the link.

24 comments:

M said...

Glad to hear this hasn't passed by unnoticed. They really were taking the piss there.
No reduction in fares to go with the reduction in service either of course.

Anonymous said...

Good, won't do much as TOC contracts are pathetic.

Cheesed off said...

I second M's comments, it was just - pathetic the way that company reacted to the snow.

chrisgee said...

I have signed this petition to get them to give their subsidy back for those days. http://tinyurl.com/ye6te3j

Sophie said...

Don't hold your breath... at best they'll get a rap on the knuckles. No amount of grilling will solve the problem of poor management, and that's exactly what Southeastern suffers from.

I'm off to sign that petition, if only for a laugh. TOCs are contracted to pay back their subsidies anyway, this is what's making them keep manpower & associated expenses low in order to stay sufficiently in the black, which in turn contributes to their inability to sort out operational problems. Simply put, they don't have the manpower and/or what manpower they have aren't trained to the right standard or properly equiped to do a good job.

Beecroftian said...

Ever since Southeastern and First Capital Connect joined forces to run trains from Sevenoaks - Bedford / Luton etc. their performance has been shocking.

The last 2 weeks have been hell trying to get in and out of London! The last 2 days has seen trains terminating at City Thameslink instead of continuing north (admittedly due to forces which were probably out of their hands) but their communication stinks! Yesterday saw people on a train who thought they were going north told to get off at City Thameslink and make their own way to St.Pancras to continue their journey.

Whilst I don't hold a great deal of respect for their staff I feel for them because they're on the front line and they get some pretty unfair abuse thrown at them but what are customers supposed to do in the heat of the moment with blood boiling and home seeming such a long time away.

I must say that trains between London Bridge and Brockley have been the shining light for me in the last 2 weeks...

Anonymous said...

Oh so that's maybe explains why it's been quite so busy recently. People that usually other lines coming to join the fun!

Anonymous said...

Good - bah to SE trains. Some of us don't get their trains out of choice and would rather still cycle to work (both faster and much more fun), but are 6 months pregnant and not appreciating such shitty communications.

Grumble grumble (in an entirely un-helpful manner, sorry).

Paddyom said...

South Eastern are the worst train company in London from my experience.

It takes me 25 minutes to get from Paddington to Reading every day, a distance of 40 miles, which is the same amount of time it takes to get into London from Ladywell with South Eastern, a distance of 6 miles.

Friends of mine from Surbiton are at Waterloo quicker than I am, and others come in from Chafford in Essex quicker than I can. Yet they live more than double the distance from London than Brockley.

With South Eastern its as if inner suburban services are sacrificed to ensure those who live further out get a quicker service. I mean these new high speed services from Ashford to Kings x take 40 minutes to travel 60 miles yet the train from Crofton Park to Kings x takes 30 minutes to travel 7 miles.... And to add insult to injury our recent rail fare increases were needed according to SE Rail in order to pay for the new high speed infrastructure. So in effect we are subsidizing new shiny fast Ashford services while we are crammed onto our 'calcutta express' trains....

As you can see, I am not impressed ;)

Headhunter said...

Inner SE London trains have always been a joke, most likely for exactly the reason you mention - that private rail companies smake their revenuies from people buying annual gold card thingies to travel to work in London from out in Kent. When I lived in Catford way back on 00/01 time, Connex ran these routes and it was just as shocking back then. Nothing changes.

Anonymous said...

The impact of the ELL on the rail service has already been felt with the loss of the direct Charing X service. Given Southern's lack of regard of it's inner zone customers, as it is, we have to fight and continue to fight to be heard and considered. The ELL is not a like for like service. Tube trains are slower than rail and the ELL doesn't go where myself and many others need to go most mornings.

Matt-Z said...

Perhaps the answer is for London Overground to take over all the inner suburban services (as was Ken Livingstone's vision), and leave the long distance routes to the franchises.

Boriss said...

We can't go on like this

Kate said...

I wouldn't hold your breath - I wrote to our esteemed Mayor to demand answers from the train companies as to their dismal service and to the powers that be as to why Charing Cross was closed early last week. One of his minions replied basically saying Boris wasn't going to itervene - ie couldn't be bothered to do anything about it. If that's his attitude then what hope do we have? He is supposed to be fighting our corner - I thought he was elected to represent Londoners. Obviously not....

Headhunter said...

Bozo was elected by west London to serve Chelsea tractor drivers. Get it right.

Emma said...

You think Southeastern are the worst? Have you tried going via the Catford/Thameslink route recently? Trains cancelled right left and centre, no communication, website telling you one thing and text updates/actual departure boards telling you another, ad hoc timetables...I can't believe there hasn't been more about this on Brockley Central given that it covers Crofton Park.

Any p*ssed off Crofton Parkers are urged to vent off here and go and sign the petition:

http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#/group.php?gid=2239285772

Lou Baker said...

@emma

The Crofton Park trains are run by South Eastern this side of the river, even though some of them now have First Capital Connect branding.

The service they're providing is a joke. From Nunhead a proper timetable has hardly run at all until since before Christmas.

Please everyone write to South Eastern's boss Charles Horton: charles.horton@southeasternrailway.co.uk to tell him exactly what we think of his efforts.

Tressilliana said...

I used to travel to work from Crofton Park but gave up before Christmas because the service has deteriorated so badly in the last few months. I now use the 484 and sometimes walk there or back (I'm fortunate to live near enough to do that). It takes a lot longer but it gives me extra reading itme and the 484 managed a lot better in the recent cold snap than the trains. It's also cheaper.

It's a great shame, as the Crofton Park service used to be pretty good.

Brockley Nick said...

@Emma - if you want to send me an email with a brief article or an explanation of the problems, I'll create a thread for it.

Marc said...

I stopped using SE the day I saw people fall out of a packed train when it stopped at Lewisham. I'm all for reducing my carbon footprint but I cant do that without the support of my local government.

BrockleyBiker said...

Sod the carbon footprint. When it was too icey to go in by motorcycle I had to switch to public transport. To get to work took three trains, a bus and twice as long. It was also crowded, stressful and inconveniant.

Kinglard said...

The following Charlton/Greenwich based blog has a response from Lord Adonis to Boris Johnson:
http://853blog.wordpress.com

patrick1971 said...

"With South Eastern its as if inner suburban services are sacrificed to ensure those who live further out get a quicker service."

This is exactly right. Services from New Cross and Deptford are generally Cannon Street only, and someone else has already mentioned the slow speeds. I think London Overground really does need to take over all the Metro routes and leave SouthEastern to concentrate on the long distance services.

The communication from SouthEastern has been terrible. At Ladywell on that week the display boards were switched off every day. The National Rail iPhone app showed trains as coming on time but which just didn't appear. Letting freight trains through is truly amazing (bet there'll be something in the contract that means SouthEastern has to compensate the freight customers if it doesn't get through!), as is the shutting of Charing Cross after 8pm.

I guess I wouldn't have minded all that if they had actually even been able to run the reduced service, which they weren't.

Tyrwhitt Jo said...

As soon as I saw the 'apology' sign I went straight for the DLR - which ran perfectly throughout all the snow

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