Can someone explain why there are constant delays? I can’t remember catching a train which was on time since southwestern took over. South west ran the samecservive but infinitely better. Why are there delays and cancellations every single day?
I am sorry you feel this way. We are investing into the network to improve the service we can offer. Please see here for our plan for the future - www.southwesternrailway.com/.../our-plan
That doesn't answer the question, though, does it- which is why there are delays, cancellations and late running trains so often. I turned up at Waterloo on afternoon last week - 17.35 Reading train cancelled. No apology, no explanation and that wasn't the first time this has happened. Why is the service noticeably worse since you took over the franchise?
Hello Sarah, there have been multiple issues with the infrastructure since First Group took over the franchise - this is why SWR are working with Network Rail to improve this, which in turn would help reduce delays. Unfortunately where so many trains run on old infrastructure, parts are prone to break. Each time this happens, services will become majorly delayed as a result.
Of course this isn't the sole reason for delays, but it is the usual suspect for why trains are delayed and/or cancelled. A lot of work goes into recovering the service after an incident occurs (signalling issues, broken down trains etc.), and it requires a lot of co-operation from control, guards, drivers and platform staff (to name a few) to get information out in a timely manner. Here is a link to a useful video that might provide a better understanding of exactly why services are so badly affected by issues on the network: https://bit.ly/2gFoBIO.
In addition to this, I would like to apologise for the cancellation of your service. I'm sorry that the information was not made available to you in this instance. Please claim Delay Repay whenever you're eligible: https://bit.ly/2iVGozW
There are two good examples there, that reinforce Sarah's point.
1) Under SWT we didn't have to claim delay / repay - it was applied automaticlaly to season ticket holders.
2) When you do have to "recover" the network, the communication with platform staff and customers is abysmal. far worse than under SWT.
When there is a fault, you seem to close down all lines from Waterloo now. Previously a fault on Wimbledon branch wouldn't affect Shepperton branch unduly for example.
We had an evening in August where people were being told to go from one platform to another for over an hour because none of the staff at Waterloo had a clue what was happening.
There needs to be a serious look at the way incidents are managed, and the way that communications are handled. It isn;t acceptable just to leave trains on the board then announce they are delayed or cancelled. If you don't know what is happening, tell us that. When you DO know what is happening, communicate it clearly.
We understand that it is complicated. We don't accept that you cannot manage events more effectively.
But we still haven't been told why in the last year the performance has deteriorated so noticeably. Your predecessor South West Trains wasn't perfect, but it was running on the same infrastructure as you use, so why has this infrastructure suddenly apparently gone rogue in the last year to cause all these problems? It's reached the stage now where commuting from Waterloo without a problem has become the exception rather than the norm.
OK, a view from someone formerly on the inside .....
No doubt you have heard of "Control" who oversee the strategic operation and incident recovery of the railway network.
In the 1990's the regional control office covering Kent, Sussex and Wessex was split to TOC's and Railtrack, later Network Rail and ended up with six different control offices. After a few years this was thought to be a "bad thing" separating train running and infrastructure / other operators, so Integrated Control Offices were created with much management self congratulation and bovine manure. The one at Waterloo covered Wessex.
About 3 years ago in the spirit of changing something which works, it was decided that Wessex Control would be moved to the new Route Operating Centre at Basingstoke. This was completed about a year ago and many of the experienced controllers decided to take retirement or other jobs, often on other routes as it was too far to commute to Basingrad. So many posts had to be filled with less experienced staff. ( Sussex route suffered a similar problem a year before moving their control from East Croydon to Three Bridges.)
It's not the whole answer, but experience in a pressurised job like that of a controller takes many years to gain on top of experience as a signaller, roster clerk, timetable compiler, rolling stock engineer or any other "front line" role.
To take your eye off the ball and survive you really need to know which way the ball will roll next in any given circumstance.