This weekend (24 & 25 February) saw line closes on the Brighton mainline and through Redhill to allow Network Rail to carry out necessary track improvement works.
Having seen the advance notice provided by Southern Rail of the shutdown and that on Sunday – specifically all Gatwick and South Cost bound passengers from London would be terminating at Redhill to transfer to busses – we wrote to Southern/Gatwick Express/Network Rail to warn that Redhill station couldn’t cope with the number of passengers arriving or that there would be enough trains for onward travel for those returning to London.
Sadly, despite replying to our emails they didn’t listen or take any further action. And seeing what has happened this weekend – especially today at Redhill Station – Our Chairman Stephen Trigg has written again asking that they listen and take action.
Stephen’s note is below in full:
From: Stephen Trigg
Subject: ABSOLUTE FAILURE TO PLAN AHEAD [REDHILL 25/02/2018]
Date: 25 February 2018 at 18:28:27 GMT
To: Angie Doll, Stuart Cheshire
Cc: Tracy Hall Scott Brightwell , Halsall John, Crispin Blunt, Jo Johnson, Linda McCord , Tim Bellenger, Tim Leighton
Dear Angie and Stuart,
As Passenger Directors of GTR Southern and GTR Thameslink I direct this email at you.
We tried as a Rail Users organisation to ask for better provision of services around the major closure between Gatwick and Redhill this Sunday (25/02) as we foresaw your plans were inadequate. We wrote to you and your teams several times concerned about the lack of service but only received replies from junior members of your team who didn’t seem to understand the problem. This is something you and your senior teams should have been on top of.
Today (Sunday) we have sadly been proved right. The situation at Redhill is extremely dangerous, not helped by the inadequate subway at the station that needs replacing anyway, inadequate space for buses to turn round and there are hundreds of passengers running all over Redhill Town centre trying desperately to get to their destinations by taxi or whatever other means they can find.
There is obviously not enough trains to get passengers to London nor are there enough buses to get people to Gatwick or the South Coast.
I have just driven past the station and there are people running across the main road with heavy cases. The situation is not just at the station but right into the town. I can see the police have been called to assist with the chaos your Company has created.
After the problems at Finsbury Park with overrunning engineering work in Christmas 2016, and at London Bridge the first day of the service cuts, we would have thought you would have tools to measure what is required for adequate provision of service. It sadly seems not.
I trust that you and Network Rail will cancel the next two weekends line closures until a point where you can work together to find a proper and safe solution.
We look forward to finding out how you will be doing this in future and happy to discuss if it will help.
Stephen R Trigg | Chairperson | Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users’ Association