I understand you're trying to catch up, but it just seems so unfair to ALWAYS cancel the Farnborough stop, especially when the train you've cancelled comes crawling past the platform. The 9.30 from Farnborough is due to get to Waterloo 8mins late, would it really be the end of the world of it stopped and let us on?
Hi Penny, usually this is to move it from the slow line which stops at all stations and on to the fast line, where trains can't call at stations.
On the slow line trains stop frequently and it's very easy to get caught behind a stopping service which would delay your train immensely. By putting the service on to the fast line it misses this congestion.
I know it can sometimes seem personal but we do try everything we can to avoid altering train services.
This morning the cancelled 9.30 came through Farnborough at 9.38 on the slow line next to the platform, going about as fast as a brisk walk. I'm sure it's often the case that they change line and run at full speed, that didn't happen today and frequently doesn't happen. It would have taken two mins to pick up the hundred or so people waiting.
The much more aggressive approach to cancelling stops has been noticeable since the franchise changed. The attitude seems to be to be to hit performance targets at all costs, rather than do everything you can to EVERY passenger to their destination as close to on time as possible.
Same goes for stations between Surbiton & Waterloo (Inc Wimbledon, a station that has many interchanges with other transport) getting missed out frequently on the Cobham line . Rather than miss out stops that have only a handful of passengers using them and that have the both Epsom & Cobham (GLD to WAT) they miss out stops with the most passengers.
How can the train which runs every 30 minutes be late by a few minutes nearly every day by the time it reaches Surbiton as it only has just joined the mainline from Hinchley wood?
How about sorting out the staircases at Wimbledon in the evenings as you have someone "babysitting" in the mornings from 7am (no one in the evening except when you have revenue teams) and stopping people from running across the platforms maybe as the trains stops so far down on platform 5 (at least 2 whole carriages of space - doesn't occur on platform 8 in the other direction) then perhaps the trains could be more punctual, you wouldn't have to miss stops and we wouldn't get nearly knocked over every evening disembarking from trains!
I work in the Control Room alongside the Train Service Management Team, and can assure you that every decision they make is made with great care. The challenges we face on our network are the same as those currently faced by all rail operators in the UK. Britain's railways are now seeing a large and ongoing increase in usage, and passengers numbers are at their highest since the 1940s (when nearly everyone travelled by rail).
We are restricted by the scope of the existing track infrastructure, and can only carry a certain number of trains on it at any one time. Our network is the largest in the UK and it carries the most passengers.There are more than 230 million passenger journeys on the railway to and from London Waterloo every year – an increase of over 100 per cent in 20 years. London Waterloo is Britain’s busiest station, and a vital part of one of the most heavily used railways in the country. In the coming decades, Network Rail forecasts that demand will increase again by 40% (2014 – 2043).
During peak periods we have to operate to our maximum capacity in respect of rolling stock, as passengers numbers during both morning and evening peak periods are at their highest. This means that the timing gap between trains is extremely small, sufficient to maintain appropriate safety of the track, but leaving us little to no time in which to recover from any significant delays created by incidents.
In the event an incident or incidents occur, difficult decisions need to be made. In such a situation, even one single stop to pick up a few passengers can cause an already delayed train to reach a critical level in respect of overall delay, and cause knock on delays to other services to a degree that will be difficult to recover from (as these services become trapped behind on the same line of route). In such a situation, and precisely because our primary focus is passenger need, we generally have to choose to run that train fast to clear the line. This reduces knock on delays to other trains, and prevents the whole of the peak period from becoming delayed. The understandable priority is to prevent every passenger in peak from becoming delayed.
When we choose stations to miss out, to ensure the impact on those passengers not picked up by an affected train is mitigated, we look at when the next service to call will be and try to select stations where there will only be a small delay before the next service calls.
I can assure you that our performance targets take into full account the need to get passengers to their destination right time. This is a natural part of our performance criteria given that our trains carry passengers.
To improve capacity and reduce timetable pressures, we are investing in new and longer trains, refurbished trains with more accommodation and have also recently concluded a timetable consultation (for the latter, the results of which will be announced soon). More innovation and investment will then follow through our franchise. You can find out more here: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/other/about-us/our-plan
Whilst we fully appreciate that our customers want to see positive changes made as quickly as possible, we hope that they will appreciate that we are still in the very early stages of our new franchise, and that it does take a little time for the results of positive investment and changes to be felt. By 2020, and the completion of our first phase of our investment, our customers should see substantial positive impacts in respect of service quality, comfort and reliability.
Hopefully this answer has helped to clarify things and address your understandable frustrations
However when it suits SWR add additional stops thus delaying a service such as yesterday evening on the 17.07 Guildford to Waterloo via Cobham stopping additionally at New Malden and Raynes Park. (no idea why) However the 16.58 Guildford to Waterloo also stops at Raynes park so this service would have picked up passengers there towards London and in fact there was my train and another arriving towards Waterloo at the same time thus my train would have delayed that one as we left first. I do not see the logic.
Also when there are major delays such as trackside fires etc you decide to concentrate on running fast trains calling at Clapham Junction/Waterloo only from places like Woking. You leave many passengers for other intermediate "surburban" stations stranded at your mercy (there are no other alternatives ways, like other rail companies or TfL buses.) and in one case it was 40+ minutes in the freezing cold waiting and hoping for a train to go anywhere from Woking other than to Clapham Junction. Of which the fast trains were mostly empty!
You can't possibly run one train in all of those with additional stops such as Weybridge/Surbiton/Wimbledon in these cases so at least London bound evening commuters can get home or get closer to home? If you could do it yesterday for other intermediate "surburban" stations then its possible to do it.