Should you cancel your annual season ticket?

This is a very ‘individual circumstances’ question, and one that you’re going to need to do a little research on based on when you purchased your ticket, and how much you will personally get back.

So some basics first.

A weekly/monthly/annual season ticket will give you saving over the cost of daily tickets but any refund will be calculated based on the ‘value used’. Essentially the discounted/saving bit of your season ticket comes at the end of the period.

To get a refund you need to have at least:

  • 3 days left – Weekly Season Ticket
  • 7 days left – Monthly Season Ticket
  • 3 months left – Annual Season Ticket.

If you have any less time that the above, you will get no refund on your ticket.

There is an admin fee to pay (which is £10 for paper season tickets and £5 for ‘Key’ season tickets).

You can apply for your season ticket refund at a station ticket office of the rail company you purchased it from, or with the Key Card you can do it online in your (Southern / Thameslink) website account. In all cases, the refund will go back onto the payment method you used.

Those with a Key Card can view the refund they will receive online before requesting it.

If you purchased your season ticket through a work scheme you will need to contact your scheme owner to determine what is possible. It’s likely that the season ticket may not have come from Southern/Thameslink but another train operator local to your company’s HQ and they would be the ones that would need to action any refund.

What else can you do?

If you have less than three months left on an annual season ticket, or will only receive a very small refund if cancelling it (after the fee) then there is another approach.

You are permitted to make a permanent change the journey that your season ticket is for, and if that journey is cheaper you receive a refund. There is no fee to pay.

For example, if you have an Annual Season ticket from Redhill to ‘London Terminals’ you could change that route to be from Redhill to Reigate instead, and the difference in the season ticket price will be refunded to you.

There is a suggestion that you can do it more than once with a season ticket (so move it back to our normal route after things return to normal).

This method might get you some money back. This is called a ‘Changeover’ and here’s the official guidance from National Rail.

“If you move house, change your place of work or wish to change the class of travel, you may apply to exchange any Season Ticket with at least 7 days remaining, for one with the same expiry date for your new journey or class. This is called a changeover.

A changeover may be applied for at the rail ticket office where the original ticket was issued or at any station relevant to the new journey. The new journey Season Ticket is a continuous renewal and it must start on the day following surrender of the original ticket. Any additional charge or refund will be based on the ticket prices when the original Season Ticket was bought, pro rata to the periods before and after the changeover.

No administration charge is made. Any ticket that has already been exchanged in this way may be accepted for further exchanges if necessary.”

Is any of this worth doing?

It hugely depends on the length of your season ticket, and when you purchased it. Everyone’s circumstances are different…

So some high-level things to consider before jumping for a refund:

Calculate how many days you would potentially be travelling between now and the end of your season ticket.

There’s a handy website here that helps you calculate the number of working days in a year…Set the ‘From’ date to today, and the to date as the end of your season ticket.

This will get you a calculation of working days (bank holidays and weekends removed) which for most is how many days you’d travel in that time.

Also, remove any planned annual leave that you would be taking in that period. Or if you normally would be working from home one day a week remove those too.

You can then research your ‘cost to travel’ if you cancel your season ticket, either by buying daily/using contactless/or getting a new season ticket.

Keep in mind that a new season ticket will be higher than the one you surrender. To help here look at the price of a journey on ‘Contactless/Oyster’ if applicable or a new season ticket.

The challenging part is working out how long you may be ‘working from home’. And there’s no clear view on how long this will take to pass. 4 Weeks, 12 Weeks, you’ll need to make your own view.

Important – This article does not contain any advice, and is simply here to explain what your options are, to help you make an informed decision.

Changes to Parking at Earlswood & Salfords Station

Earlswood Station

Rail passengers and local residents might not welcome this news, but GTR has advised us that parking charges are to introduced at both Earlswood and Salfrods Station.

The charges to be introduced at the end of March will apply Monday to Friday between the hours of 4 am and 5 pm. Evenings and weekends will remain free.

GTR said that the money raised from parking charges will support the management and maintenance of the carpark and will help towards investing in parking on the network.

Initially, it was stated the charge to park for a day would be £9.10 at both Earlswood and Salfords. With payment being possible through an app, the ticket machine at the station, or by phone.

This figure was successfully challenged by the RRDRUA and subsequently reduced for Earlswood to £8.30. The price was benchmarked against Horley station – which seemed extremely peculiar given that Merstham/Redhill/Reigate are all significantly closer and also cheaper!

  • Redhill Station – All day = £7.15
  • Merstham Station – All day = £6.60
  • Reigate Station – All day = £5.30

Sadly there was no movement on pricing at Salfrods.

The news comes as both a positive and a negative for users of these stations.

The change from free to paid parking spaces will, of course, be a blow to passengers travelling from these stations who arrive by car. And will only increase the amount of rail travellers parking on local roads in Earlswood where there are no parking restrictions or charges. Around Salfrods residents actions have already resulted in streets near the station being covered in double yellow lines – preventing commuters parking but also residents from using on-street locations outside their homes.

Residents near both of these stations tend to leave cars in the station spaces – something you can spot on a cold winters morning as cars parked at the station have been there all night and are covered in frost. The introduction of parking charges will likely (assuming the parking is enforced) increase the chances of being able to get a parking space at the station.

If you have no choice but to drive to Earlswood or Salfords to park before catching a train – while prices have now been introduced the chances of finding a space will have increased.

Unfortunately, parking provisions for stations in our area are wholely inadequate and overpriced in general. Redhill station is now often full before the majority of peak services have run – and unless you buy one of the limited ‘premium’ parking season tickets, your space is not guaranteed.

If you have to drive to the station and park before catching a train, we don’t recommend parking in an official station carpark. And not to purchase a parking season ticket for the station – as you may end up paying twice – with no guarantee of a space.

The best option is Gloucester Road carpark. Charging is applicable between 8 am and 6 pm with all-day parking costing £6 (which is considerably cheaper than Redhill/Earlswood/Salfords station. At just a 7min walk from the station, it is the best option.

Fare Fares – A Redhill Hump update

It may come as little surprise to passengers who use stations from Merstham, Redhill, Reigate, Nutfield, Earlswood, Salfrods and Horley that there were no reductions to train ticket pricing during the annual inflation connected rail fares hike.

Why would we expect them to go down?

Well – as promised in parliament by then minister Jo Johnson the local phenomenon we know as the ‘Redhill Hump’ would be tackled before the end of GTRs current contract to run our railway in 2021.

The ‘Redhill Hump’ is a rail fare issue where the price of a train ticket into London rises sharply as you leave Coulsdon South before going down again at Gatwick and beyond. The same can be said for relative journeys from nearby stations into London – for many years, for example, our advice has been to purchase a ticket from Dorking to London rather than Reigate or Redhill as it was significantly cheaper.

At the end of 2018 we saw no changes to our rail fares and at the end of 2019 the same. This leaves just 12 months to fulfil on the promises made. Time is running out.

Through Crispin Blunt we have been seeking to revisit the issue with the DFT and the Rail Minister.

Crispin Blunt Met Chirs Heaton-Harris MP on the 11 February to raise the issue again, and there are signs that some progress may be made. His statement is below:

“After meeting with the Rail Minister, Chris Heaton-Harris MP, yesterday (11 February 2020), he instructed the Department for Transport to seek details from GTR about how they will deliver the removal of the Redhill Fares Hump. This is currently subject to a ministerial undertaking by the then Rail Minister made on 18th October 2018. This was to be completed by the end of the current franchise in 2021 but no progress was made towards it, with across the board fare rises at the start of 2020. That lack of progress led to the latest meeting with the rail minister.

I am delighted with the clarity with which the Rail Minister grasped the issue. The instruction to his officials to have GTR produce a plan to deliver an end to the unfair fares paid by Redhill and area rail users just outside the Zone 6 area is very welcome and reassured me that this promise will be delivered, and I hope earlier than by the end of the franchise.”

Ideally what we would like to see is stations down to Gatwick (including Reigate and Nutfield) included within the London Travel Zone system.

We will through Crispin Blunt MP and his ongoing support continue to push this issue for local railway passengers.

Reigate platform 3 – Mythbusting

Network Rail has launched a consultation about adding a 3rd platform to Reigate Station.

While the consultation doesn’t open until the 24th February, they have started promoting it through leaflets, posters, and listing several public meetings where you can meet Network Rail staff, see the plans, and ask questions.

There were some comments on a local parent network Facebook group about the impact of Platform 3 at Reigate and while we posted there also we wanted to post the comments here for a broader audience to see them.

So first off some facts.

At the moment it is just a consultation by Network Rail and opens for feedback on the 24th February. In all reality, if it goes ahead, this new platform won’t likely appear for 2-3 years at the very earliest!

In May 2018 Reigate lost it’s direct trains to London Bridge and instead, a frustrating solution of joining 2x four coach trains at Redhill replaced it. Most Reigate passengers (based on passenger data at the time) want to go to London Bridge so have to change.

The Earlswood/Salfords Victoria train service was significantly slowed down as it has to sit at Redhill for about 10mins to wait for the Reigate half and the attachment. Inevitably things go wrong:

– One portion of the train could go missing (fault/driver not available/issue somewhere on the line)

– The connection (or separation) might not work.

– When things go wrong four coach trains run into London which is normally full by Coulsdon South!

– In the off-peak, these services are timetabled to run as a four coach train between Reigate and Victoria only.

So what’s proposed here.

The 3rd platform at Reigate to allow a Thameslink train to pull into Reigate, terminate and then go back. It is returning a London Bridge Service for Reigate and ads resilience to the network. When issues occur on the network, it gives GTR somewhere to turn back trains off the Brighton Mainline if there’s a problem further down the line.

It will likely mean that Reigate will lose it’s Victoria Service. But you will be one station away from a change at Redhill that will be much more reliable.

What does it mean for Earlswood and Salfords?

No timetable changes have been drawn up yet as an impact of this new platform as it’s only in the consultation stage.

GTR has said that there will be NO changes to the PEAK – So trains to London Bridge and Victoria as they are now. The morning trains into London will still run, and you’ll get back again in the evening. During the day it’s likely that the service will be a Victoria Service.

It also means that it’s highly likely that more trains will be available to these stations as there will no longer be a short four coach Victoria train trundling through and waiting at Redhill blocking a platform. So Longer trains coming up and potentially more destinations. Suggestions for getting Horsham Trains back through Merstham/Redhill/Earlswood/Salfords etc. giving local access to stations south (perhaps not surprisingly commuters don’t all go to London!)

A rumour suggests Earlswood will only get 1 train per hour

There has been no comment from GTR about reducing Thameslink trains to 1 per hour in the peak at Earlswood/Salfrods. 

There is no timetable for what the train services will look like after Regiate platform three has been developed – and any activity would likely go through a consultation with stakeholders and rail passengers.

The RRDRUA has had direct conversations with the timetable team who told us at the meeting ‘no peak changes’ at Earlswood!)

We fully support Reigate Platform 3 as it will serve to benefit rail users from all of our local stations.

Rebuilding the station at Gatwick

As a side note while work is carried out at Gatwick Station to rebuild the platforms and the concourse – changes in the May 2020 timetable suggest that Earlswood and Salfrods will only be served by one train per hour on Sundays.

At the RRDRUA we’re challenging this with GTR – with our view that the service level at this station should not reduce while the works take place.

Government Minister Lied in Parliament about Fare Reductions for Redhill Route Passengers

Jo Johnson then Minster for Transport stood up in Parliament on 18th October 2018 and promised to Redhill Passengers and Crispin Blunt the local MP “Today, I can make a commitment that we will see this issue [Redhill Hump] resolved by the end of the current franchise in 2021, with a reduction in fares coming into effect from this coming January.”

This has proven to be a lie when London Terminals Fares from Redhill, Reigate, Nutfield and Earlswood on the Redhill route have risen by 3% in line with all the other Fare Increases across the country.

A few hardly used fares have gone down for Horley and Salfords passengers, but their most regularly used London Terminals fare has gone up.

This follows last January where there was a 14% Stealth Fare Increase in January 2017 as services were swapped from cheaper Southern trains to more expensive Thameslink ones.

The Department for Transport set their Minister up to lie in parliament to avoid embarrassment about the continuing of the unfair Redhill Hump – where fares raise as you cross the M25 leaving London before going down at Gatwick.

What is worse it is our understanding that the DfT revised their instructions to GTR after Jo Johnson left the department which we can only suspect was to remove many of the fare reductions planned.

This follows a series of let downs by the DfT towards Redhill route passengers:

  • Unreliable Thameslink Timetable
  • Removal of South Coast Trains
  • Extended journeys to Victoria (40% longer)
  • Badly designed station rebuild at Redhill that has failed passengers

After 5 years of constant lies and spin over the Redhill Route, RRDRUA is today calling for the senior managers in the Department for Transport to be removed from office and the department split up with transport being managed regionally, with a focus that puts Rail users and have their interests at the heart.

Antony Simm, Chairman of the RRDRUA said

For years now Redhill route passengers have been promised improvements only for them to be taken away when major projects like London Bridge and the May Timetable actually deliver. The service being delivered, the communication to passengers, and the routes on offer fall significantly short on value based on the price of travel. Topped now with the Transport Minister and the department for transport telling lies about fare reductions. Something has to change

Important information for 2019 Season Ticket pricing

Season Ticket Prices 2019

Some very important information for season ticket pricing on the Redhill Route.

If you have the ability to renew your season ticket before the 2019 Pricing comes into place we strongly recommend you do. With the exception of one set of fares everything has gone up for 2019 on the 2 January.

Passengers travelling from Horley who would purchase an annual season ticket to ‘London Thameslink (no tube)’ or ‘London Zones 1-6 (any permitted) will see a reduction in their fare. It may no longer be cheaper to buy your annual ticket from Gatwick so please check.

From various stations if your ticket includes a London underground travel card it may have stayed the  same.

Southern /Thameslink / Gatwick have produced posters and leaflets that are available in ticket offices – These include weekly, monthly, and annual prices for 2019. We also have digital copies below.

We haven’t been provided with a version of the above for Nutfield of Godstone. You can check your own personal journey and season ticket on the National Rail Enquiries website.

The promised reductions in fairs to tackle the Redhill Hump appear not to be present, and we are not letting it go either. We’ll have more on that shortly.

An update from Parliament

Essentially there are 4 key issues currently impacting travel on the trains in our area currently:

  • Our ‘unfair’ fares that create the ‘Redhill Hump’ and lack of availability of Oyster/Contactless at Reigate.
  • Issues with infrastructure (Regiate’s platform can’t take the Thameslink Trains, and Stoates Nest Junction restricts the number of trains that can cross it.
  • No ‘industry compensation’ for Reigate/Nutfield
  • Trains missing form the May 2018 timetable (still)

While it hasn’t all been in the public domain we’ve been working with Crispin Blunt our local MP and RRDRUA President on many of the issues above for some time. Frustratingly when the RRDRUA makes progress with a transport minister their inevitably loose their job and it all starts again.

Continually promised action in meetings with ministers and the DFT (many of which RRDRUA committee members have attended over the years) Crispin has like us reached the limits of his frustration. Acting on this he secured an adjournment debate in the House of Commons raise our issues.

Jo Johnson then had to address the issues raised by Crispin, which are a matter of record in the house.

The full transcript of the debate can be read here.
And you can watch the snippet from the House of Commons here.

In brief summary:

  • Fares – Whilst not suggesting Oyster zones would happen, and instead suggesting modern ticketing with pay as your go or smart card payment is the future – he did confirm that the ‘Redhill Hump’ would be addressed before the end of the current GTR contract. And this would start in January. We have no further detail of this yet – but it’s a big win. Either by reduction or fare freezing our fares will be brought in line with those around us.
  • Reigate Platform 3 – This has been included in the scope of the project or the Brighton Mainline upgrade. Whilst it won’t happen over night, it’s on the books for consideration – a new longer platform at Reigate would allow the return of direct London Bridge services via Thameslink.
  • Industry Compensation – No movement on this what so ever. Reigate/Tonbridge line passengers. Or those that purchased Dorking tickets are excluded, and are still excluded.
  • The May 2018 Timetable – Jo Johnson said that in December 18 more trains will be added to our services through Redhill/Merstham. And we assume some of these will also stop at stations south of Redhill too. Conveniently there are 18 trains currently missing form our weekday timetable. Weekends are of course still very much missing in action.

We’ve made some big progress today with big thanks to Crispin Blunt MP for securing the debate and representing our issues.

If you have any comments or questions please let us know.

Finally apologies if you made it to Westminster for the debate at 5pm. Whilst Parliament has a set start time – all business follows the last business. And an earlier debate was short a number of speakers which brought us forwards – we had little notice this would happen.

Crispin Blunt to challenge Chris Grayling in Parliament 18/10/2018

Following repeated correspondence over the summer with Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for Transport Crispin Blunt had a meeting with the Rail Minister earlier this week to address a series of issues particular to the Reigate and Redhill District rail users, in addition to the wider issues of the generally appalling service standards on the line.

These included timetabling, fares, compensation, platform investment, and access to Oyster, among others. Some of these issues have been being discussed in detail with previous Rail Ministers for over 4 years to no avail. This meeting produced nothing that could be reported to rail users except that the DfT remained resolute that no compensation would be available to Reigate station users following the 2018 summer timetable debacle. The irony that it was the removal of the London Bridge service from Reigate in those timetable changes that forced Reigate users to use the failing Thameslink services from Redhill, and yet are ineligible for compensation, appeared to be entirely lost on the Minister and his officials.

In response to this, Crispin Blunt has successfully applied for a short debate in the House of Commons Chamber next Thursday 18th October at 5pm. This will enable him to publicly make the case for at least some resolution of the issues particular to our area. In reply the Rail Minister will have the opportunity to publicly explain whether he has been able to find any amelioration or even a real prospect of improvement in the local service, from which his department receives all the fare income.

The minister’s reply on behalf of the Transport Secretary will condition whether Crispin as both MP for Reigate and President of the Rail Users Association will be able to continue to express confidence Chris Grayling management of the Department for Transport.

All RRDRUA members are invited and indeed encouraged to be present in the viewing gallery, House of Commons, to support Crispin in his efforts to make our voice heard and to meet together afterwards in Westminster Hall to have a brief post debate discussion on what we have heard from the DfT. Please allow 30 mins to get through HoC security – no need for a ticket, just some identity, for the gallery. Crispin would be pleased to see the passengers he is working for and account directly to them on Thursday.

Details on how to attend

Instructions for those coming to see Crispin in the House of Commons on Thursday 10 October 2018.

The debate is currently scheduled for 5pm but please arrive in plenty of time to clear security.

Please can RRDRUA attendees to enter through the Cromwell Green entrance (see attached map) and make their way to Central Lobby via the main Visitor’s entrance, allowing at least 30 minutes to clear security.

Then, they should ask to be directed to the Admission Order Office where you gain entry to the public gallery. The office is located just off Central Lobby behind the statue of William Gladstone.

Gareth Owen will be in the gallery to arrange the meeting with Crispin in Westminster hall afterwards.

You do not always need it, but it may be useful to take a driving license or other picture ID.

After an Abysmal first week Thameslink completely collapses on Saturday

We knew there was going to be teething issues in the first few weeks, but last week was terrible for regular commuters in our area:

  • Over crowded trains they weren’t able to board (both in the morning and evening peak). Including running only 8 car trains through London Bridge at 17:21 and 17:51 which were already full by the time they got to London Bridge.
  • Trains terminating at East Croydon and being emptied of passengers as the driver hadn’t been trained on the route.

Not to mention plenty of late trains and drivers and onboard supervisors advising that the train is held at a red signal as the line ahead is congested.

The Peak evening Thameslink service (looking at trains between 16:30 and 19:01) ran with a 30% cancellation rate!

If you add to this the number of trains later than 15 mins (which are eligible for Delay Repay) the number of disrupted trains climbs to 57%.

Complete collapse of service on Saturday

There’s so much more we could say about the first week, but we need to turn our attention to Saturday, and the complete collapse of Thameslink south of London with no communication from Thameslink to passengers what so ever.

At time of publishing 100% of Thameslink trains that would call in the Redhill area have been cancelled.

  • Horley, Salfords, Earlswood have had no trains to London.
  • Redhill has diverted South Eastern services running though to Charing Cross.
  • Reigate, Redhill, Merstham have a short Victoria service (4 coaches only).
  • The Horsham to London Bridge service is running only between Horsham and Redhill it appears.

And according to the Association of British Commuters on twitter it was known it was going to happen. As railway workers were advised as early as 13:01 on Friday afternoon.

This is completely unacceptable. The weekday commute is not the only use of the railway. Many people also work on the weekends, or at the Weekends travel for leisure, and everyone with an annual season ticket is entitled to.

As a rail users association we’ve asked Thameslink what has happened and why there has been no communication to customers. We have yet to see a response.

Over on twitter (at time of publication) there is no information as to why this is the case. When asked they replied with:

“Hi, these are unfortunately cancelled with the short term timetable amendments. My apologies for this. I’d recommend a difference[sic] route (i.e. Metrobus to Gatwick)”

The complete lack of communication is completely unacceptable! 

Note – Information on train running and punctuality checked on

Temporary changes to the first few weeks of the new Timetable

May Timetable Changes

They’ve had months to get ready, but it’s such an enormous logistical challenge not everything will be ready on day one. And it’s understandable, with the largest ever timetable change, with trains and crew running new routes. Not everything will be where it needs to be on Monday morning.

So to help you navigate what’s not going to be there we’ve compiled the list of Thameslink trains below that will be missing.

Note ALL trains running to London Bridge will be ‘Thameslink’.

New Timetable day 1 (Mon 21 May)

06:00 & 06:30 From London Bridge.

These also are our early morning Gatwick services at 06:37 and 07:07 from Redhill (also Call at Merstham, Earlswood, Salfords and Horley)

For the former from Merstham you will need to catch 06:11 Reigate (instead of 06:32 – much earlier) and Change at Redhill where a bus will leave at 6:25 and another bus will leave at 06:55 calling all stations to Gatwick.

This is for first day only to get stock in right place from Day 2 these trains will run as normal.

Week 1 (starting 21 May running Mon – Fri)

Some Horsham to Peterborough and back trains will not run.

  • 05:51 Horley, 05:59 Redhill, 06:03 Merstham
  • 09:21 Horley, 09:29 Redhill, 09:33 Merstham
  • Additionally (time departing Redhill)  11:59, 15:29, 17:59, 21:29

From London back to our area (times based on a departure from London Bridge) calling at Merstham, Redhill, Horley

  • 07:30, 10:00, 13:30, 16:00, 19:30, 22:00

Week 2 (starting 28 May running Mon – Fri)

Some Horsham to Peterborough and back trains will not run.

  • 09:21 Horley, 09:29 Redhill, 09:33 Merstham
  • Then (Redhill time) 15:29, 21:29

From London back to our area (times based on a departure from London Bridge) calling at Merstham, Redhill, Horley

  • 07:30, 13:30, 19:30

The above may change and we hope that they’re able to start running them soon. As always the planners will be up to date with which trains will and won’t be present. You can check this in your favourite app, at the Southern or Thameslink website, or via