18-Apr-18 17:20 Waterloo to Exeter St Davids failed to stop at Whitchurch and Grateley, with passengers evicted at Basingstoke and Andover to wait for the next train. The cancellations happened after the train had left Waterloo. This represents a new low for SWR; gaming the timetable to avoid paying compensation by transferring small delays for everyone (bad enough) into unforgivable discrimination against those using rural stations (already suffering a reduced service).
If this is to be the new model for SWR fixing its terrible punctuality, expect a furious response from users of these stations. Do you recommend that passengers pull the emergency alarm every day to ensure the train stops according to the timetable?
I'm sorry for the disruption to your journey yesterday, which was caused by a fault with signalling systems. Missing out stations when trains are delayed is done to avoid knock-on delays to other trains, and get the service back on time as soon as possible. This is an industry wide practice during disruption, and was also done under the previous franchise. It is not something we are happy doing, but the alternative is that delays will spread across the network and gradually increase. More information on this can be found on the Forum here: https://forum.southwesternrailway.com/updates-and-news/b/blogs/posts/why-we-sometimes-miss-out-stations-to-help-trains-run-on-time
If you haven't already done so, you are also entitled to claim Delay Repay for this disruption.
The rationale above (and in the links you provided) does not apply in this case, reinforcing my view that this was a simple commercial decision to minimise compensation and manipulate statistics to avoid further criticism of the decline in punctuality since SWR took over the franchise.
There was no knock-on effect of the 17:20 service running late, it had already cleared the congested area and there were no queued trains behind (as witnessed by the evicted passengers at Andover who had to wait for the next service).
I am criticising SWR's extension of this 'industry-wide practice', which I would hope is only ever deployed in rare and exceptional circumstances, to a new context where it is completely unjustified. I am anxious that SWR will increase the use of this tactic and render rural stations unviable.
Please could you provide data for use of run-fast orders on the Salisbury line, comparing South West Trains to SWR.
Whilst there may not be any trains queued behind this service, later in it's journey it travels down a section of track that only has a single line. Trains going down this track have a time slot, and any delay getting there will also delay other services waiting to come the other way down that line. There are also other factors, such as a crew change at Salisbury, where the crew on the delayed service may be working on a return service from Salisbury that would also be delayed if the crew are late arriving.
A service that is cancelled, either in full or in part (by skipping stations) results in a fine to the train operator, just as it is if the service is late.
I'm afraid the data you ask for is not something I have available
Ok, please can you advise where I should direct a freedom of information request to get that data?
I asked some guards and staff at Waterloo about it, they seemed to agree that SWR are resorting to desperate measures because the stats are so much worse than South West Trains. We can't trust the government to hold franchisees to account, since they created this mess in the first place.
Hi, Freedom of information requests can only be made to public authorities or companies, which SWR is not. You can check out our performance page.
You can make a request to Network Rail but I'm not sure if they will have this information to provide.
I think you hit the nail on the head there; roll on nationalisation!