How to check what the May 2018 Timetable changes mean for you

Southern Timetable Changes

You will have seen our commentary and submissions on the 2018 Timetable Consultation that has been run to deliver a new Timetable covering Southern, Gatwick Express, Great Northern, and Thameslink.

All of these changes are wrapped up in what’s called RailPlan20/20 and specially in our area many of our Southern Rail trains will be changed to Thameslink.

The new timetable has been published electronically (although some trains notable GWR which run from Reading to Gatwick via Reigate/Redhill) and a few Thameslink trains are missing).

Rail Plan 20/20

Every train in the timetable will have moved. Your usual train will NO LONGER be at the usual time and your journey duration will be different! 

To find out how your own personal journey will be impacted here’s what you can do to take a look right now.

1.  Head to your favourite online journey planner (this could be National Rail or Southern Rail or any of the Apps that provide train data.

2. Select your usual Journey (such as Earlswood to London Victoria) and the time of day that you would normally travel.

3. Update the date of your journey to be the 21 May 2018 (the first day of the new timetable being in place)

Note, if you put in a specific time of the train you would normally get you may want to wind back 30 mins at-least. Many trains will be running slightly earlier than they are currently timetabled.

For example:

The 06.42 from Earlswood to London Victoria calling at
– Redhill 06.46
– Merstham 06.50
– Coulsdon South 06.55
– Purley 06.59
– Easy Croydon 07.05
– Clapham Junction 07.17
– London Victoria 07.29

Giving a journey time of 47 min

Will become the the 06.30 Earlswood to London Victoria calling at
– Redhill 06.34
– Merstham 06.49
– Coulsdon South 06.54
– Purley 06.58
– East Croydon 07.04
– Clapham Junction 07.14
– London Victoria 07.22

Giving a ‘new an improved’ journey time of 52 min.

Would love to know what this means to YOUR journey and the impact it will have on your specific personal circumstances in the comments below. Not just earlier starts or longer journeys, but impacts on nursery, the school run, your working day, or onward travel when you arrive at hour destination in London or further south down the line.

 

Welcome to Redhill, here’s why you’ll still be stuck at the station this weekend (again)

You will likely have heard about the issues at Redhill Station on Sunday 25 February – when thousands of passengers were left stuck trying to complete their onward journey to Gatwick and the south coast by a lack of Rail Replacement busses.

If you saw that (and our response to it last weekend) and feel like you were missing out by not being involved your luck is in, as it looks like it will be a very similar story this weekend when the same engineering works take place.

As a local rail users association we wrote to Southern Rail in response to their plans before the issues happened, and we’ve been speaking to them again since in a bid to secure a better service over the next two weekends when the same line closure is happening.

The good news – they’ve been listening to us

The bad news – they’ve not really doing anything to solve the problem at Redhill on the trains although they’re going to give running busses a better go.

Our point of view

On the face of it this weekend they’ll be doing what they should have been doing last weekend on the bus front. However there simply won’t be enough trains.

Passengers at Merstham and Coulsdon South were unable to board services  last Sunday as they were full. The issue isn’t really being dealt with. All that’s been added to the Redhill route is the 4 extra coaches on the Victoria – Tonbridge (via Redhill) route.

The capacity issue is made worse as everyone from London Bridge will be turning up at East Croydon to board these services too – as the Thameslink trains south will not be running at all.

There should be more trains per hour provided to cope with the passenger demand in both directions.

Oh and not to mention Brighton at home against Arsenal this weekend.

So here’s the detail (and they have made some positive steps)

Travelling to Gatwick Airport or further south

If you need to get to Gatwick on Sunday 4 March you have several options, and most of them involve not using Redhill at all.

– An additional hourly service will run from Victoria to Horsham (via Dorking) meaning you can get to Gatwick on that – the train takes a big loop through Dorking down to Horsham, Three Bridges, and then Gatwick. It’ll be a 10 or 12 car train!
– You can also get one of the 2 trains per hour to East Grinstead from Victoria, and then transfer to a bus to Gatwick Airport.

In summary all your options are:

– 3 trains per hour Redhill – Victoria
– 1 train per hour Tonbridge – Victoria via Redhill
– 1 train per hour Gatwick Airport – Victoria via Horsham/Three Bridges
– 2 trains per hour East Grinstead – Victoria (with a bus link to Gatwick Airport)
– Buses between Gatwick Airport – East Grinstead
– Buses between Redhill – Gatwick Airport – Three Bridges

The Tonbridge train will now be 8 coaches instead of the 4 that it was last weekend. The Victoria to Redhill trains will be 12 coaches again.

Southern also tell us that they have extra standby busses to support the demand if needed, and some of the busses will run direct from Redhill to Gatwick Airport without pulling into all the other stations.

They also tell us that an ’emergency train’ will be sitting at Victoria in case it’s needed (why they don’t run it we don’t know).

At Redhill they tell us they’ll be doing a better job of making sure people and busses are managed effectively. There will be extra staff and bus controllers. The carpark at Redhill will be used to marshal people onto the busses with clear options for each destination.

 

The sneaky way Southern Rail avoid paying Delay Repay (UPDATED)

Delay Repay

Now other Train Operating Companies take note – this sneaky tactic by Southern Rail is one you should be copying. Here’s one simple move you can use against your paying commuters to remove all responsibility to get them to where they paid to be taken to – and avoid Delay Repay or the need to put on replacement busses.

This shocking tactic by Southern Rail is simple:

It all starts with some careful planning and the intention to not run  a train that is in the timetable. Simply don’t send the train…leaving the passengers standing on the platform or struggling to get home – but you have to do it in advance.

By doing it in advance you have the sneaky sneaky option of deleting the train from the timetable. Don’t report it as delayed or cancelled. Just delete it like it was never meant to be there.

This is brilliant, because people turn up at the time they would expect the train to run – you know because we plan ahead like the station announcements always tell us to do – some of the non season ticket holding customers even buy a ticket at the station. But when they turn up at the platform, the information board is simply blank. When they check their handy train time application – the train doesn’t appear to be showing in the timetable.

What’s more – you don’t have to provide any rail replacement busses, because the train was never in the timetable for the day.

And finally – when those angry commuters fill in the delay repay forms to claim compensation for the lack of train and the disruption of their journey – you can reject them – because you never timetabled it.

If you want to see this tactic in operation first hand – head to Reigate station in Surrey. Southern do it here quite a lot!

UPDATE

Southern Rail via Twitter now say that despite these trains being deleted from the timetable you can claim Delay Repay so we’re really like to hear from commuters who have tried and if you’ve been successful. Please let us know in the comments below.

However it’s still apparent that deleting the train from the timetable removes their responsibility to put on Rail Replacement busses.

Redhill chaos: And there’s 2 more weekends like this to come!

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.

Best Regards
Stephen

Stephen R Trigg | Chairperson | Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users’ Association
E Chairperson@rrdrua.org.uk

Finally some good news for rail commuters

Crispin Blunt MP is delighted that the Rail Minister has responded to local rail users’ prolonged campaign for fairer fares, with a series of ticketing measures announced today.

Firstly, customers with (or purchasing before 1st January) Southern Only season tickets will have their ticket upgraded so they can use all Thameslink services (all services except Gatwick Express).

Secondly, regulated fares for customers travelling from Redhill, Reigate and other local stations* will be frozen. The average increase of 3.6% will not apply to these local stations, in recognition of the relatively higher prices rail users have been paying on this part of the network.

Thirdly, the Rail Minister, Paul Maynard MP, has initiated work that will look at options to rectify the injustice of higher fares at Redhill and local stations – known as the ‘Redhill Hump’ – with a view to implementing changes before the end of the life of the current Govia Thameslink franchise in 2021. This should also enable the new fare structure to take advantage of future ‘smart ticketing’ arrangements.

Fourthly, they are looking again at the May 2018 timetable to see if it can further improved for Redhill commuters, but all parties recognise the difficulty.

These undertakings were made at a meeting with the Rail Minister and his key officials on Wednesday. The Minister and his team acknowledged both the strength of the Reigate, Redhill & District Rail Users’ (RRDRUA) campaign and that they have a good case.

Crispin Blunt commented:

“After a prolonged campaign for fairer fares, I’m delighted that Redhill and Reigate rail users have been given a Christmas present in the form of this fares freeze and a Ministerial commitment to try to address the historic anomaly of higher fares for passengers using Redhill, Reigate and other local stations.

“Our campaign has been going since 2014 and I am grateful that we have a Rail Minister who is finally demanding regular updates on how the system can address the unfairness to local commuters.

“Paul Maynard has listened to the concerns that the Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users’ Association and I have raised with him and has given this issue his personal attention. I want to thank him for his openness, responsiveness and commitment to rectifying the ‘Redhill Hump’. I am obviously very pleased that we have been given a fares freeze as a first step. It’s a nice note on which to go into the Christmas season and I would like to thank all the rail users who have given their active support to this campaign.”

Stephen Trigg, Chair of the RRDRUA commented:

“I’m delighted our hard work at RRDRUA (being assisted in Parliament by Crispin) is finally being recognised by the Department for Transport, and that the passengers along the Redhill Route are finally starting to get the treatment they deserve. Thank You Paul Maynard for taking the bull by the horns and getting us a small start along the route to fair fares and we look forward to helping the Department with further improvements in 2018.”

Notes:

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR)/Department for Transport (DfT) announcement:

My train has changed from a Southern service to a Thameslink service and I hold a “Southern only ticket”. Is my ticket still valid?

If your ticket says ‘Not Gatwick Express’ or ‘Any Permitted’ then you can continue to travel as usual. If you have a ‘Southern only’ ticket, this will be valid for travel up until 31st January 2018 on the new Thameslink trains. After this time, you will need to change your ticket for a ticket that says ‘Not Gatwick Express’ or ‘Any Permitted’. Please speak to the staff in the ticket office on how to do this. If you hold a season ticket with an expiry date after 31st January, please visit the station to change your ticket free of charge as soon as possible.

*GTR and the DfT have reviewed fares on the Brighton Main Line and we’re pleased to announce that this has resulted in a fares freeze for certain season ticket prices at the following stations:
•    Gatwick Airport
•    Horley
•    Earlswood
•    Salfords
•    Redhill
•    Reigate

This will result in a simplified fares structure for customers in line with timetable changes being made in relation to the Thameslink programme.

Response to GTR Phase 3 Consultation (May 2018 Weekend & Evenings)

Introduction

We would first like to take this opportunity to thank GTR for their time and effort in consulting upon this major timetable change. Although we feel it is still short of what we would like to see for our Rail Users, thanks to the consultative approach it is far better than the initial proposals to our rail users benefit and thus GTR’s consultative approach has been appreciated.

The Redhill line generates around 10,000 journeys a day and this is around 10% of the total journeys from the Brighton Main Line (which when you consider Gatwick and Brighton – two major centres – are on the route this is a very large portion of other journeys).

We believe there would be far more journeys if the service was improved because of the high level of car usage from the greater Redhill area into London every day due to three reasons: –

  • Slow and overcrowded trains from Redhill to London
  • Expensive and full parking facilities at Redhill Station
  • Relative proximity of Redhill area to London

RRDRUA represents Rail Users from the Redhill route including stations listed above and are very active with our membership of almost 2,000 daily commuters (around a fifth of total daily commuters)

The loss of fast services from Redhill to Victoria will be keenly felt and they will affect several thousand daily passengers. We are also concerned about capacity to Victoria having previously been 3 trains per hour in the high peak hour to just two now. This is the most difficult to accept in the general reduction of services at Redhill compared to the 2012 timetable (which is the last stable timetable to compare to). We still strongly feel that this half hourly all day fast service from Redhill to Victoria should be reinstated as a matter of urgency.

Phase 3 – Main Concerns and highlights

Key positives: –

  • Reinstatement of after midnight service from Victoria (00:08)
  • Sunday services to Reigate
  • Saturday service mirroring off-peak weekday is excellent

Our key concerns with the current proposals for weekends and overnight services are: –

  • Last trains from London to some parts of the Redhill Route
  • Uneven service on Sundays to some stations
  • Provision of Overnight Services to the Redhill route
  • Journeys to Brighton

The Key changes we would like to see: –

  • Services to Redhill route from Crossrail at Farringdon & Blackfriars continuing in the late evening at least 30 minute frequency seven days a week until at least 00:30 to match up with the new frequent all day service to these destinations
  • Last service from Victoria at 00:08 to call additionally at Earlswood and Salfords
  • Additional late night shuttle service to/from Reigate to connect off the 23:36 from Victoria at 00:20 and last Tonbridge service delayed to also connect with this train.
  • Merstham on Sundays – better balancing of timetable hopefully with third train calling to break up long gap
  • Overnight services at all stations on the Redhill route

Last Trains to Redhill Route from London

This best done on a station by station basis and then conclusions at the end. Obviously if our proposal for overnight services is accepted and implemented this section would change drastically but the thoughts below assume this is not the case.

Realistically we think last trains should be after 23:30 to allow time to get from entertainment events with 23:00 curfews (relatively common in London)

Redhill

Redhill is the core of the service along our route and what affects Redhill will also affect much else.

From London: –

  • Victoria
    • Sun Night to Thur Night 23:36 & 00:08
    • Fri/Sat Night 23:36, 00:08 then 01:08
  • London Bridge
    • Mon Night to Fri Night 23:30
    • Sat Night 23:30
    • Sunday 23:19 & 23:45
  • Blackfriars (Thameslink)
    • Mon Night to Fri Night 23:24
    • Sat Night 23:24, then 00:31 & 01:01 Add calls at Redhill
    • Sunday 23:35, then 00:32 & 01:02 Add calls at Redhill

We are pleased to see the reinstatement of last train from Victoria at 00:08. We would like to see two minor changes to the Victoria proposals.

  • 23:36 to run 3 minutes later at 23:39 to match the all day times to the Redhill route from Victoria (Reigate services leave at xx:09 & xx:39 all day – xx:36 is Arun Valley service time)
  • 00:08 to Gatwick to run 1 minute later throughout – also so the xx:09 is constant all day

Blackfriars is a very odd situation with late night services some nights but not others. There is likely to be a change in pattern for our rail users returning from some of London late night, especially when Crossrail opens connecting both the West End and Stratford/East London to Thameslink. This will move some passengers away from the Victoria services and onto Thameslink services.

As this is encouraged during the day we believe there should be regular services into the late evening for returning passengers. Thus, we would like to see regular trains up until after Midnight from Thameslink to the Redhill route to provide the continuity from the all-day services, especially with Farringdon becoming a major interchange. Up to the point of that train, direct services to Redhill should have not more than a half hour gap. The hour plus gap on Sat/Sun nights is too long.

Half hourly until the 00:31 would be ideal every night.

Reigate

Reigate has a much-improved service but has always suffered from lack of late night connection. We think this timetable is better but there are still some issues

From London: –

  • Victoria
    • Mon- Sat night 23:09
    • Sun night 21:05
  • Blackfriars/London Bridge – last connection
    • Mon- Sat night 22:59/23:05 Change ECR
    • Sun night 20:50/20:56 Change RDH

Monday to Saturday, these are all too early. We appreciate that it may not be possible to run direct services after these times but would ask whether the last Reigate train could operate a later shuttle to connect with the 23:36 from Victoria to Horsham at Redhill (although we’d prefer this to operate from Victoria at 23:39).

We also don’t have late night GWR services which could provide this late connection. Currently however their last train operates from Redhill at 23:34 which would be too early to provide such a connection. There are however several later trains from Reading stopping at Reigate.

Tonbridge Line

Last train on weekdays from Redhill is the 23:59 all stations which connects with 23:09 from Victoria and 23:14 from Blackfriars.

On Saturday oddly, this departs 4 minutes earlier at 23:55 and doesn’t call at all stations. We would like to see the same last service on a Saturday as the rest of the week.

On Sunday the last train is 23:07 which seems to early and we would like to see a similar 23:59 service.

For all of these services we would like to see them put back until 00:25 to connect off the 23:36 from Victoria making a much better connection from London events than the 23:55 does.

Merstham

Every day the last calling train is the 00:08 from Victoria – this seems appropriate and provides a suitable level of service from this station.

Earlswood/Salfords

The last calling train most nights is the 23:14 Blackfriars & 23:20 London Bridge service (22:05 from Bedford).

We think the 00:08 from Victoria could easily call at these stations as it terminates at Gatwick.

However, we appreciate that the train is operated by Southern and would be one of only a few Southern services calling here. If this is a problem, we have also asked for later half hourly services from Farringdon/Blackfriars to Redhill route and some of these could call at these stations.

Horley

Similar to Earlswood and Salfords although the 00:08 does call. Horley has had overnight trains for many years so we are not sure why the new proposal removes this. However, our overnight proposals would reinstate this service.

Sundays: Uneven Services to Some stations

Sundays seems to be a bit of a temporary measure to get through a period until services can be ramped up some more on Sundays.

The regular half hourly service between Bedford and Gatwick provides a good service to Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords and Horley. However, there is an hour gap between the 21:07 from Bedford leaving central London and the first of the services from London Bridge at 23:19.

There are three options to fil this void: –

  • A train from London Bridge at 22:45
  • An additional train at 21:37 from Bedford
  • The 21:28 from Cambridge to Three Bridges adding calls at Earlswood, Salfords and Horley

For Coulsdon South and Merstham there is an odd pattern during the day where the Thameslink Peterborough to Horsham and Southern’s Reigate to Victoria trains depart 10 minutes apart at these stations and then there is no train for 50 minutes.

This seems to happen because the alternate Cambridge train (to the Peterborough one) runs non-stop from Purley to Redhill. We think this needs to call at Merstham and Coulsdon South – however this will create a tight turn round time at Gatwick but something needs to be done to stop this very poor services at these two stations.

We are delighted to see Reigate get a Sunday service even if only hourly and hope in time this can be half-hourly like the rest of the week.

We are concerned by last train times both at Reigate and Tonbridge and have covered this above.

Train Services to Brighton

We are naturally disappointed to be losing our Direct service to Brighton on Sundays. However this has been offset weekdays by good connections at Gatwick.

This does not seem to be the case on Sundays but as we can’t see the GWR services this may be an error. Journey times to Brighton should not exceed 50 minutes and we hope this is the case.

Provision of Overnight Services

We have considered the overnight service from Bedford to Three Bridges and would like to see this call at Purley, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords and Horley. This has been a long term aim of many rail users along the route and the May 2018 timetable change is a good time to implement this.

To achieve this would need an extra train and train crew be utilised on overnight services and would mean a slower journey from Central London to Gatwick Airport.

We believe the improvements for staff working and living locally at Gatwick Airport plus the improvements for many rail users locally wanting overnight services from London would more than justify this change in service pattern.

We understand that Network Rail will need access to the line for overnight maintenance and hence we have proposed that two nights per week a bus service regularly replaces the overnight trains between Purley and Horley to enable this maintenance to take place. This will provide passengers with certainty through the week.

We have set out a more detailed proposal below:

Proposal for overnight services between London and Gatwick to call at local stations

Stations along the Redhill route do not have any overnight service from London, but London is both an entertainment and employment centre for the residents of East Surrey. When working late nights in London it is often hard to get home and often last trains leave before events finish.

Gatwick Airport is a major employer in the Surrey region and staff often have to make their way to the airport for shifts that start at 4am or finish at 2am. It would be appropriate to have a service through the night between Redhill route and the Airport.

Currently there is a bus service (100) to part of the area from Gatwick but nothing at all from London to the Redhill Area.

There is proposed from May 2018 that there will be an overnight service from Bedford, through central London and East Croydon and then fast to Gatwick Airport running every 30 minutes.

Our proposal is that it simply stops at Purley, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords and Horley on its way to/from Gatwick Airport. We estimate this will add 14 minutes each way to the journey time.

Benefits

Journeys made available between Redhill route stations and the airport will benefit both the employees at the airport who know they can always get a train to work and the customers of the airport can get there for early flights or return home by train on late flights.

The knowledge that there is a train every 30 minutes makes this a good choice for passengers when a train is delayed.

Journeys made from London to Redhill route stations will run through the night and will not only benefit residents of the area that there will be an all-night service when enjoying entertainment in London but also for London workers in the restaurant and entertainment industries as they can be sure of getting home after work.

Costs

The extra journey time on the proposed services will mean that an additional train set would be required to be used for overnight trains as the timings at Three Bridges change. Similarly, at least one extra driver and on-board manager would be required every night to cover these services.

It is unlikely to affect existing passengers to Gatwick, as at that time of night the service existing is more important than the speed of the service. A 15 minute extra journey time is unlikely to cause much inconvenience for airport passengers.

It would be expected that CDS/MHM/ERD/SAF & HOR would be unmanned at this time of night but there would anyway be minimal manning at Purley and Redhill all night.

As the railway is already there, signalman are operating it and the stock purchased, it is just the extra cost of running a single unit that makes this service possible.

Complication for Maintenance

Network Rail need to maintain the line between Purley and Earlswood through the Merstham tunnels and need clear working time to do this. So a compromise is needed to provide this time.

We expect they could do the maintenance with two nights of 4/5 hours clear every week with regular planned maintenance. It may also mean they can reduce weekend work on the line as well.

To do this we propose that the Purley to Redhill/Earlswood section is closed after the 23:09 Victoria to Reigate and 22:05 from Bedford (23:21 LBG) which both connect for last train to Tonbridge. This would be set to happen every Monday and Tuesday night to allow Network Rail regular access and can get the appropriate equipment into the area for two consecutive nights per week.

If the line is closed after this then the route will be available to Network Rail for just under 5 hours from midnight to 5am to close the line and work intensely (probably means around 3-4 hours actual work as setting up and clearing takes time). First train in the morning leaves Purley at 05:10 and Redhill at 4:49 although this could be part of the overnight buses. The gap is similar to that left by the Victoria closure so we would expect it would be good for Network Rail to do their work.

It would affect GWR services as well. Their current final service from Gatwick passes Redhill around the same time as the Reigate train. The last train from Reading may need truncating some nights depending on the work required at Redhill station itself each night but as GWR trains are diesel they don’t need power and thus some nights may be able to pass by without affecting the works.

To replace the trains, a bus service will need to run from Purley. The timings of the bus should leave Purley every 30 minutes to connect with the trains. Each train should get initially a single bus calling all stations to Gatwick and return. We estimate it would take two hours to cycle the buses and thus with a driver’s break probably needs 5 buses to run.

Even though the trains can still call at Horley, it is better that the passengers are taken straight to Gatwick to avoid the difficulties of timing the bus to a train – the two services (train and bus) can work independently at the Gatwick end.

When Network Rail have access GTR would be able to run the service with one less unit of stock.

2017 AGM Meeting invitation to Transport Secretary Chris Grayling

The provisional date for the 2017 Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users Association AGM has been set for the Thursday 30 March, 19.30 in the Harlequin Theatre, Redhill.

Our annual AGM is more than just a formal meeting of members of the rail user group. We also invite representatives of the Rail Operating companies to share news, updates, and answer questions. And we’ve already had confirmation that Angie Doll, Passenger Services Director for Southern will be attending.

Entry to the AGM is for full members only. If you’re interested in attending membership is just £5 and you can find our more on our membership page.

Yesterday the RRDRUA President Crispin Blunt MP has written to Chris Grayling asking for his attendance too.

Chris Grayling letter

A copy of the letter can also be downloaded in PDF.

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
London
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
Chairperson

Southern Isn't Working

2018 Timetable Consultation Meeting

Venue Paul Rispoli Theatre,
Reigate College,
Castlefield Road,
Reigate,
RH2 0SD
Date and Time Wednesday 16th November 2016 at 7pm – 9pm
Free and open to all

In association with Surrey County Council and Reigate and Banstead Council we’ve arranged for Govia Thameslink Railway to come and present their proposals for the 2018 Southern and Thameslink Timetable.

Govia Thameslink Railway’s Director Phil Hutchison will explain their proposals and RRDRUA will respond at a free public meeting to be held in Reigate College on 16th November 2016 

The Next 20 Years for Services on the Redhill line are being decided in the next few months – make sure your view is heard. It affects our lives, businesses and commutes.

Southern/Thameslink have proposed for 2018 Redhill Line Timetable

  • Cutting Victoria Services from Earlswood and Salfords
  • Removing London trains from Reigate – shuttle to Redhill only
  • Increasing journey times to Victoria by over 40%
  • Removing weekend & Evening services to Brighton and South Coast

The consultation can be viewed here http://www.southernrailway.com/2018consultation

Timetable Consultation meeting