Open letter on behalf of passengers who use Southern & Thameslink services

The RRDRUA has sent and published the following open letter to the Prime Minister. A PDF copy is also available for download.

The Rt. Hon Theresa May
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
United Kingdom

10 December 2016

Dear Prime Minister,

The Residents of Southern England are fed up with the continuing disruption to their daily lives cause by the problems at Southern and Thameslink Railway companies. The key fact in this disruption is the Industrial Dispute about Guards on trains and station staff. This dispute is leading to the breakdown of family life, health / stress issues and the reduced productivity for British Business lost waiting for trains that don’t run.

We have listened to your rhetoric about your government being for the ordinary people of this Country. We are Ordinary people and call on you to intervene directly in this dispute, to get it resolved quickly and swiftly for all our sakes.

It is no good stating this is a dispute between GTR and the Unions because that is not totally correct. Your Department for Transport is demanding modernisation which the Rail Company is trying to implement so your Government is a fully responsible party to this dispute.

As this is an open letter we also call on the leaders of ASLEF and the RMT to come back and negotiate swiftly on these issues with an open mind, whilst suspending all strikes and overtime bans. Entering the room and just saying no is inexcusable. It doesn’t help your members or the passengers they serve. Come into the room with proposals that will resolve the dispute and make Driver Operation work. The world has moved on and technology is improving safety and process throughout life and you and your members need to embrace this.

Here are some suggestions from us: –

  • Embrace Driver only door operation as it is safe within reason (nothing is 100% safe) but add conditions: –
    • Good Lighting at all stations where it operates
    • Dispatch staff at all large stations where crowding may occur such as Redhill
    • On Board Staff on all non-metro trains who are safety trained to evacuate trains in live rail situations.
  • During disruption to avoid cancelling trains where On-Board Staff are delayed, drivers able to take trains without on-board staff to avoid further disruption to passengers, with processes in place for on-board supervisors to be placed on train as soon as reasonably possible.
  • Extension of On Board Staff to Thameslink trains in non-metro area (for example South of East Croydon through Redhill)
  • In Metro Areas Guarantee of at least 2 stations staff with full trains safety training on all stations throughout day

In Conclusion, we ask Prime Minister, that you personally get around a negotiating table with the leaders of the RMT and ASLEF and create an agreement perhaps along the lines of our suggestions that can get Southern England back to work and resolve the issues once and for all.

When this is complete can you look to your Governments Infrastructure and Projects Authority to invest in much needed improvements to the Brighton Main Line, which includes for us Redhill Line passengers, a flyover at Stoats Nest Junction, Remodelling of Redhill Stations and Platform 3 at Reigate Station.

Thank You

For and on Behalf of the Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users’ Association


Stephen Trigg

Southern Isn't Working

4 Replies to “Open letter on behalf of passengers who use Southern & Thameslink services”

  1. For what it’s worth I recently wrote to Tom Tugendhat as follows:

    Dear Mr. Tugendhat,
    I note that Southern drivers are now advocating more strikes.
    All the discussions between Southern (Govia) and the Unions take place behind closed doors. We the public suffer as both sides refuse to compromise.
    Can I ask you to suggest that the next round of discussions be held in public?
    I suspect that the embarrassment on both sides would hasten an end to these strikes that cause the traveling public so much inconvenience.
    Kind regards. Stephen

    He thought it a good idea and has now written to Paul Maynard, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, asking him to “investigate the possibility of holding the talks in public” and seeking his support.

    Kind regards – Stephen

  2. This isn’t good enough Stephen. An utterly pointless suggestion given that a political settlement needs to be reached. Stop grandstanding and represent us properly.

  3. I ceased using Southern Railway a while ago and I propose that all southern passengers do the same. Refuse to buy season tickets, refuse to buy cheap day returns etc. In short, refuse to travel by this organisation which is riddled with union interference. No other TOC has this problem, but then no other TOC is trying to undo what has always been standard practice.
    There are other ways of reaching London. Chartering a train might work, but the railway signallers who are also union oriented, will get in on this and will put all the signals to red.
    Use National Express Coaches, taxi share (which may actually prove to be cheaper), car share, or drive to a convenient town and take the London Underground into the city. Or make use of bordering networks. SWT and Southeastern Railways for those living nearby.
    The Southern Railways passengers need to play the unions at their own game. Hit this fiasco where it hurts—deprive the income!

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