Category Archives: Campaigns

RRDRUA 2018 Timetable Consultation Response Guidance Notes

For anyone who is completing the Timetable Consultation Response for the Redhill area here are our guidance notes for responding to the questions.

Of course, feel free to amend or adjust as you prefer. Importantly you don’t need to answer every question as reflected below.

The full timetable consultation information can be found on the Southern Railway website.

And the link to complete the response to southern’s Timetable consultation is https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/2018timetableconsultation

Question 14:

Do you support proposals to approach engineering works differently? Please select all options you support.

Reduced frequency on some routes after 2300 on Weekdays and Saturdays

Earlier last trains on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays on some routes

Later first trains on Sunday mornings on some routes

I don’t support proposals to change the current engineering works hours

Any further comments on this proposal?

RRDRUA supports the principle of setting specific times each week for maintenance. For Example, we would be happy if on Monday and Tuesday nights the 23:02 from Victoria was the last train to Redhill on Monday and Tuesday nights, provided that bus services would be provided for later passengers to return from London as shifts do not change just because the Railway is closed.

However, we would like this to reciprocated by additional late night services to Redhill Line. For example, later services to Reigate, Merstham, Earlswood and Salfords plus overnight London to Gatwick trains calling at Redhill right through the night on other days. Additionally, earlier morning services to Gatwick from Merstham, Redhill, Earlswood and Salfords arriving at Gatwick before 5am for shift workers.

Question 15:

Do you support the proposed frequency increase for Thameslink services at Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, Harpenden, St Albans City, Radlett, Elstree & Borehamwood, Mill Hill Broadway and West Hampstead Thameslink with the introduction of a new semi fast service?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not affect our services

Question 16:

Do you support the proposal for Thameslink services on the North Kent line serving Greenwich, Abbey Wood, Dartford and Medway Towns?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

We are concerned that we are constantly informed our services cannot be increased because of the need to avoid flat crossings at Stoats Nest and Tinsley Green, yet here is a proposal that will create another flat junction that will affect reliability of our trains.

It seems strange that an issue that affects us does not affect other rail users

Question 17:

Do you support the proposed increase in frequency of Thameslink services on the Catford Loop line?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not affect our services

Question 18:

Do you support the proposal for Thameslink Maidstone East services to operate via London Bridge instead of Elephant & Castle restoring train services previously withdrawn in 2009?

 Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services. We are though pleased that the number of trains between Thameslink core and London Bridge is remaining with the loss of Caterham/Tattenham trains.

Question 19:

On balance do you support the retention of Caterham and Tattenham Corner services as part of Southern South London Metro?  Proposed improvements for the Caterham and Tattenham Corner routes include longer 10 carriage trains and other off peak enhancements (full details in Southern South London Metro section). 

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not affect our services directly but it seems sensible for the passenger numbers and to relieve pressure between Windmill Junction and Thameslink.

Question 20:

Any other comments in relation to the expanded Thameslink network from 2018?

The principle of through trains form London is accepted as it increases the ability to create more services. We are disappointed that this proposal does not increase services through the Redhill Lines.

Comments 21 to 33

Specific comments can be made on individual services within each sub route in the survey.

TL1/2 – RRDRUA would support the overnight service between Bedford to Gatwick take on the stopping pattern of TL2 not TL1 south of London. That is to call at Norwood Junction, East Croydon, Purley, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill, Horley and Gatwick to provide a commuting train service for shift workers at Gatwick Airport. This is an important need which there is no public transport option currently.

TL2 & TL5 Stopping pattern between Gatwick and East Croydon. We appreciate the careful planning of the stopping sections of these trains. We would recommend this be swapped over.

That is TL2 should stop at East Croydon, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill and then Gatwick Airport. Then TL5 should stop at Norwood Junction, East Croydon, Purley, Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords, Horley and Gatwick Airport.

This would benefit Earlswood, Salfords and Horley customers who can get direct services to their local main town centre at Crawley via the Horsham trains which requires a change if the trains are the other way around. It also provides a Service from Norwood Junction and Purley to Crawley.

Question 28:

The proposed Thameslink service between Cambridge and Maidstone East is only able to serve either St Mary Cray or Swanley due to insufficient time to enable the train to arrive in time to start its return journey from Maidstone East. Please select which station you would prefer the train to call.

St Mary Cray or Swanley

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 34:

Do you support proposals to change Sunday services between London Victoria and the West Coastway, to enable faster journeys between London, Chichester and Portsmouth similar to weekdays?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 35:

Cooksbridge and Plumpton

Do you support retaining the current hourly service at Plumpton?

Do you support reducing the current hourly service at Plumpton to a two hourly to enable a two hourly service at Cooksbridge on Mondays to Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays?

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 36:

Please provide feedback on this proposal to improve the overall journey times between London, Eastbourne, Bexhill and Hastings

I support this proposal 

I don’t support this proposal 

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 37:

In relation to trains between Lewes and Seaford, which option do you prefer? 

Regular peak service between Brighton and Seaford with direct London to Seaford trains discontinued.

Continuation of direct London to Seaford peak trains with a gap of one hour between Brighton and Seaford.

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 38:

Do you support the proposal to operate Southern Mainline services between London Victoria and Hastings only?  If this proposal is supported these services would be replaced by an alternative Southeastern train from London Charing Cross which would be extended to and from Ore.

 Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Q Question 39: Proposals effecting Redhill Station

Do you support this proposal?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

We have taken representation extensively locally and cannot support a proposal that weakens the service from 2012.

For Redhill it means a 40% increase in Journey times to Victoria which is not acceptable. The market to Victoria and London Bridge/Thameslink is very different and we forecast very little change as a result of the Thameslink services being able to connect with Crossrail at Farringdon.

Passengers from Redhill use the Victoria services not only for Victoria and its connections to the West End but also to connect with South West Trains at Clapham Junction.

We have calculated that the journey time to Oxford Circus from Redhill currently 46 minutes but with the amendments suggested would be 57 minutes via Victoria or 55 via Farringdon & Crossrail both significantly longer than current.

Redhill has had a half-hourly service to Victoria taking 28 minutes in each direction since the 1990’s and it is an established travel pattern. GTR’s own figures of journeys from Redhill (top 6 destinations) indicate that over half of journeys from Redhill would use the Victoria service. Thus it is vital that Redhill has a Victoria service that takes only 28 minutes from Redhill to Victoria. Millions of journeys every year would be affected by this change.

Additionally, the loss of South Coast services has been severely felt in Redhill and the need for these to be replaced is very high. A key improvement expected in the 2018 timetable proposals is an all-day service from Redhill along the Brighton Line and that this has not been included is very disappointing. Especially with the loss of Arun Valley services.

The timetable is focussed on providing main line services to London without considering the many journeys that occur between intermediate stations and to the employment centres at Gatwick, Crawley, Haywards Heath and Brighton, plus the high level of leisure journeys to Brighton. Many potential customers are being forced into cars for the journeys adding to congestion where it is not needed.

We would suggest two alternatives: –

Alternative 1 – Extra half-hourly Train along Redhill Line

The Brighton to London Victoria Southern service should call at Redhill, providing a fast service from Redhill to London Victoria half-hourly daily including evenings (except Sundays where it becomes Hourly and the other half-hour would be provided by either Littlehampton or Portsmouth Services)

If this alternative is taken then all other services could remain as planned, except that we would swap calling patterns between Gatwick and London Bridge from the Peterborough trains and the Bedford trains from Gatwick for convenience of Earlswood to Horley passengers to get to Horsham as per response to Questions 21 to 33.

Alternative 2 – Maintain Calling pattern on Reigate/Tonbridge services between Redhill and East Croydon

This would mean that Merstham and Coulsdon South stops would need to be picked up by Thameslink services to London and the benefits of removing that is lost.

However, we believe strongly that the slower service should be the 4 trains per hour London Bridge/Thameslink services as the regular nature of the service brings benefit of less waiting times at stations so overall the effect is less. The Reigate/Tonbridge service should be the faster service from Redhill to London. Please see our views on this service in Question 43.

RRDRUA believes that Alternative 1 is the preferred solution as it solves all service provisions and also means the service will be improved from 2012, which the GTR proposals are not.

Q Question 40: Proposals affecting train services serving Merstham and Coulsdon South

Do you support this proposal?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This proposal has a neutral affect. Coulsdon South and Merstham customers are split pretty much 50/50 between wanting London Bridge/Thameslink or Victoria, so to swap from 4 trains per hour to London Bridge to 2 trains to London Bridge plus 2 to Victoria is going to please some and annoy others.

The turn up and go aspect of the four trains per hour to London Bridge (and now Thameslink) will be lost and this will probably be missed by many passengers. However, this is offset by having a Reigate service which will be useful for college students and a Victoria service for off-peak passengers who prefer Victoria.

We slightly prefer 4 trains per hour to London Bridge/Thameslink supplemented by a regular Peak service to Victoria including some shoulder peak trains (e.g. at least two trains after off-peak fares start)

Q Question 41: Proposals affecting train services serving Horley, Salfords and Earlswood

Do you support this proposal?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

We agree with this proposal but it counteracts against our disagreement with the proposals for Redhill to Victoria trains.

Our view is that London Bridge trains should call at Merstham and Coulsdon South.

We do though believe that there is a strong traffic between Earlswood, Salfords and Horley towards Three Bridges, Crawley and Horsham and to disconnect them would not be in the best interests of passengers. Thus, RRDRUA proposes that the Peterborough to Horsham service should call at Earlswood, Salfords and Horley and the Bedford to Gatwick Airport service should run fast. It would be sensible to swap the stopping patterns north of Redhill too.

We appreciate that both sets of trains call at Earlswood, Salfords and Horley during the peak.

We think it is also important that Earlswood and Salfords have a service to Victoria during the day and we have proposed this in the Reigate service provision in Question 42.

Q Question 42: Proposals affecting train services at Purley

Do you support this proposal?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

We oppose the new fast service from Purley to Victoria as it means our fast service to Victoria needs to call at Purley which has a disastrous consequence on Journey times from Redhill.

We support the idea but not the application.

Q Question 43:

Do you have any specific comments in relation to services between Redhill and Tonbridge?

Redhill to Tonbridge services are poorly used in general and mostly only between Redhill and Tonbridge. We don’t see any need to provide additional services here and considerations should be given for Network Rail to build a platform 4 at Redhill saving the need for Tonbridge services terminating at Redhill crossing the main lines.

Q Question 44: Reigate

Which option do you support?

Regular shuttle (up to six trains per hour when combined with Great Western Railway) connecting with regular Thameslink and Southern trains to and from London

Direct peak services to London Victoria at half hourly intervals joining with other carriages at Redhill (passengers for London Bridge would be required to change at Redhill or East Croydon)

Any further comments on this proposal?

Reigate station is poorly served by London Trains. Since 2008 when an hourly service was added to London Bridge the usage has since doubled.

RRDRUA has surveyed its members who live in Reigate and found just over 50% living in Reigate drive to Redhill/Earlswood or Merstham because of the unreliability of service at Reigate. If a better service could be provided at Reigate around 65% of those driving would walk to Reigate station and catch the train from there.

We have also surveyed the shuttle idea, the problem with existing Shuttles is that they get cancelled and all services to Reigate end up being lost. RRDRUA thus totally opposes the use of additional shuttle services.

RRDRUA also believes the service from Reigate to London should be half-hourly throughout the day including evenings and hourly on Sundays. This we believe from our research would increase passenger numbers at Reigate by almost 100% and remove traffic from the roads around Redhill and Reigate plus reduce demand for parking at Redhill station.

This can be achieved by using splitting of trains from Victoria at Redhill station. As stated before the Victoria to Redhill train should call only at Clapham Junction and East Croydon before Redhill. Once at Redhill it should split, each Half hour the front portion should go to Reigate providing a half hourly service to Reigate from London. In the first half hour, the rear portion should extend to Tonbridge maintaining the existing service, in the second half hour the rear portion should extend to Gatwick, calling at Earlswood, Salfords and Horley providing a new hourly fast service from these stations to Victoria all day every day.

On Sundays, this service should reduce to Hourly providing a Tonbridge/Reigate to Victoria service only.

This proposal is an actual improvement to services from the Redhill Line, meaning Reigate gets the half-hourly all day service it deserves for the passenger numbers (much smaller stations get better services) and Earlswood/Salfords get a fast service to Victoria 6 days a week.

This proposal also reduces a significant problem at East Croydon and Redhill where a 4 coach train arrives from Reigate and is not sufficient for the passengers waiting, by taking up this proposal all services will be 8 coaches and mean that passengers are more likely to be able to get on the service.

There are additional comments regarding the provision of Platform 3 at Reigate in our general addendum.

Question 45 and 46: New Cross Gate removal

These proposals would remove the direct Monday to Saturday off peak journey opportunities from Gatwick Airport, Horley, Salfords, Earlswood, Redhill, Merstham, Coulsdon South and Purley to and from New Cross Gate. Passengers wishing to travel between the affected stations and New Cross Gate would be required to change trains at Norwood Junction.

Which station do you travel from?

How often do you travel between your station and New Cross Gate?

Never Daily Weekly Monthly Couple of times a year

What is your ultimate destination?

Any further comments on this proposal?

Generally, the removal of this connection from Redhill Line services is not supported. The connection at New Cross Gate provides a good connection to London Overground services up to Canary Wharf.

The connection to these services at Norwood Junction is not as good. There is less than half the London Overground services at Norwood Junction compared to New Cross Gate so onward connection is weaker, plus there are 5 intermediate stations that would not have to be passed through from Norwood Junction. Thus, Norwood Junction stops are significantly less useful than the New Cross Gate stops.

We would suggest that the Caterham/Tattenham to London Bridge services call at Norwood Junction and the Bedford to Gatwick services call at New Cross Gate.

Question 47:

Which option do you support?

Revising evening and Sunday services to be consistent with the proposed Monday to Saturday daytime frequency which would include direct trains between London Victoria, Reigate and Tonbridge

Retain the current evening and Sunday train frequency with direct trains to Bognor Regis (evenings and Sundays) and Brighton on Sundays only. Trains to Reigate and Tonbridge would be provided as shuttle trains starting from and terminating at Redhill

Any further comments on this proposal  

We agree with the principle that the Monday to Friday daytime service is repeated in the evenings, in particular to Victoria from Reigate and Tonbridge. Our view is that during the evenings and on Saturdays that Reigate needs a half hourly service to London allowing the residents of Reigate to return home easily after theatre in the evenings or days out. On Sundays, we believe this service could be reduced to hourly and interspersed with a through Brighton Service very half hour.

The Sunday fast service to Victoria could be provided half hourly by a train from Reigate/Tonbridge alternating with one from Brighton.

There is a lot of leisure travel to Brighton from Redhill Line on a Sunday and loss of direct services would not be welcome.

Question 48:

Do you have any specific comments in relation to services on Coastway West routes?

Comments

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 49: Proposals for increased train services between Brighton and Lewes

Do you support this proposal?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 50: Proposals affecting train services between Brighton and Seaford

Do you support this proposal?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 51: Proposals for faster journeys between Brighton, Lewes, Eastbourne, Hastings and Ore

Do you support this proposal?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 52:

Which option do you support?

Operate longer electric trains between Brighton and Eastbourne with connections to and from a two carriage diesel train between Eastbourne and Ashford International.

Operate longer electric trains between Brighton and Hastings with connections to and from a two carriage diesel train between Hastings and Ashford International

Continue to operate through trains between Brighton and Ashford International with the understanding that current capacity issues on the route are unlikely to be addressed in the short and medium term.

Any further comments on this proposal

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 53:

Do you have any specific comments in relation to services on Oxted routes?

This question does not directly affect our services.

We do though have concern about the East Grinstead services going to Victoria as it means 12 coach trains crossing Windmill Bridge over several flat crossings. Consideration should be given to East Grinstead trains diverting to London Bridge to avoid these conflicts.

Question 54:

We propose to introduce a new all day direct train service between Epsom, Sutton, West Croydon and London Bridge, increase the train frequency between Sutton and Epsom Downs (from 1tph to 2tph all day) and continue four trains per hour between Sutton, West Croydon, Norbury and London Victoria? To enable this we will need to remove the current direct train services between Sutton, West Croydon, Crystal Palace and Streatham Hill to enable these improvements. Do you support this?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 55:

Do you support the proposal to improve overall performance of the network by reducing the number of Monday to Friday and Saturday daytime trains between London Victoria and Selhurst via Norbury from 6tph (every 10 minutes) to 4tph (every 15 minutes)?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 56 and 57 – please answer as part of question 45 and 46 (repeated):

These proposals would remove the direct Monday to Saturday off peak journey opportunities from Gatwick Airport, Horley, Salfords, Earlswood, Redhill, Merstham, Coulsdon South and Purley to and from New Cross Gate. Passengers wishing to travel between the affected stations and New Cross Gate would be required to change trains at Norwood Junction.

Which station do you travel from?

How often do you travel between your station and New Cross Gate?

Never Daily Weekly Monthly Couple of times a year

What is your ultimate destination?

Any further comments on this proposal?

See answer to Question 45/6.

Question 58:

Are you in favour of Monday to Friday and Saturday daytime trains between Streatham Hill, Crystal Palace and Norwood Junction serving East Croydon, Purley and Coulsdon Town instead of West Croydon?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 59:

Are you in favour of introducing a faster all day service between Caterham and London Bridge instead of a stopping service via Sydenham?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This would be a positive move to encourage usage of the Caterham branch which has a large local population..

Question 60:

Do you support the diversion of stopping trains between New Cross Gate and Norwood Junction via Sydenham from East Croydon to West Croydon instead?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 61:

Do you support the diversion of stopping trains between London Bridge and Selhurst via Peckham Rye, Tulse Hill and Norbury from West Croydon to East Croydon, Purley and Caterham instead?

Yes or No

Any further comments on this proposal?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 62:

Do you have any other specific comments in relation to South London Metro services?

This question does not directly affect our services.

Question 63:

Which proposal do you support?

Extend services to or from Purley or Coulsdon Town

No longer operate beyond Selhurst

The proposed change does not affect me

Any further comments on this proposal?

Whilst not recommending it we wonder if instead of Coulsdon Town extension to Reigate or Gatwick via Redhill might resolve other issues.

Question 64:

Do you have any specific comments in relation to West London Line services?

This question does not directly affect our services.

RRDRUA 2018 Timetable Consultation Response

The Redhill line has over the last 10 years had services cut, journey times extended, regular cancellations and immense overcrowding. We had hopes of an improvement in our services and in fact was promised improvements in 2014 when our peak services were slashed and journeys made longer. Unfortunately, this revised timetable proposes less services again and even more journey times extended.

It is unacceptable that it is proposed that it will take only 11 minutes longer to get from Brighton to London Victoria than it will from Redhill.

It is unacceptable that it should be proposed that the Redhill line is cut off from the Brighton Main line and no longer has through services to the Coast.

It is unacceptable that a town the size of Reigate so close to London does not have a regular service to London every day of the week and that service is such that it usable on a turn up and go basis.

We would like to see two fundamental modifications to the timetable: –

  • A London to Brighton service to call at Redhill – all day, 7 days a week
  • Reigate to be served half-hourly from London – all day, 7 days a week
  • 8 trains per hour base service to Redhill – extending across the other stations on the route

We would also like to ensure service levels are retained at Merstham and Nutfield, as well as keeping Victoria trains at Earlswood, Salfords and Horley.

We would draw your minds back to the Public meetings held over the severe cuts to the Redhill route services in 2014, where it was promised in return for accepting the cuts we would be guaranteed an improvement against the then current services. This proposal with slower trains and significant destinations removed from the direct services is not an improvement. GOVIA owned the Franchise in 2014 and do so today and they should stick to their promises.

This proposed Timetable is significantly inferior to the service in 2012, which should be the baseline as Redhill services were significantly altered to create a workable timetable for the rebuilding of London Bridge

Capacity in also an issue with already overloaded trains remaining at 6 trains per hour will not be sufficient to provide adequate customer coverage, with large housing developments in the area, increasing employment development and new leisure destinations this is not the time to be complacent with a similar to existing services but to improve the service to 8 trains per hour

It is not time for a future promise this opportunity to rewrite the whole timetable should be used to ensure that the Redhill Line finally gets the jam tomorrow it has been promised for years.

IT IS REDHILL’S TURN FOR AN IMPROVEMENT IN SERVICES – we have waited too long

Situation

Redhill Line generates a significant percentage of journeys South of Purley on the Brighton Main line (our estimates are between 17-20%) but will only receive 12% of services that leave Victoria which is not enough for passenger loads.

The table below shows a comparison of passenger numbers and train services for station South of Purley on the Brighton Main line: –

screen-shot-2016-12-02-at-06-29-56

The middle group of stations are the key stations along the line and it is immediately obvious that Redhill is underserved compared to similar stations. To London, Haywards Heath and Three Bridges have 8 trains per hour and Purley 10 compared to just 6 from Redhill, but also despite being on the Brighton Main line, no through services to Brighton are proposed in the 2018 timetable.

This poor service is also applied to Reigate, which although not directly on the Brighton Main line has been included in the table for comparison. The one train per hour to London does not run evenings or Sunday meaning unlike most others listed here so the service to Reigate is even poorer than it appears.

Currently many services from the Redhill line are beyond capacity and leaving passengers at the station is not as uncommon as it should be. The new trains being introduced in 2016 will assist loading on the London Bridge although it is very disappointing that many seats are being replaced by standing space. Capacity will still be a problem especially on the Victoria route.

New Housing in Redhill, Salfords and Horley means higher demand for services. Around 1,400 new homes are already planned near Redhill, from which will bring around 40% of them with commuters. This interprets as around 5-600 extra commuters daily at Redhill. This is already overshadowed by another planning proposal for 4,500 homes locally and additional houses in the local plan. At Meath Green near Salfords building has already started on 600 plus new homes with opportunities for more to be added.

Capacity is thus a significant issue and suggest that Redhill will need 8 trains per hour as a base service by 2018 or shortly thereafter, thus this timetable is the correct time to put that facility firmly in place.

The Redhill line is also a destination for commuters and school traffic (especially at Reigate for the college based there) and the lack of consistent service (regular all day service) from the South in recent years since Brighton trains were removed, have meant that local businesses have struggled to find employees and the local commuter base suffers in that the entire commuter service is biased towards London plus travelling off-peak journeys can involve two changes.

Changes requested on the new timetable for Redhill

Even including the arrival of Crossrail, the London Bridge/Thameslink route is not a viable alternative for London Victoria passengers. London is so large these are very much different destinations and depending on required destination in London, passengers will select the most appropriate terminal. The fact that on average it is a 50/50 split between each at most stations means the requirement should be for a 50/50 split in train service.

The proposal to extend normal Journey time from Redhill to Victoria by over 40% is not acceptable. Redhill has been less than 30 minutes to Victoria since whenever most of us can recall. The reliability of two trains per hour to Victoria taking less than 30 minutes is an accepted fact for Redhill passengers. To extend these to almost 40 minutes is totally negative. It is not only the 2 million plus Victoria journeys that are affected every year but also those to Clapham Junction for Waterloo, other South West Destinations and to Shepard’s Bush on the London Overground.

We thus request that this is returned to main line trains taking 28 minutes from Victoria.

This can be done two ways: –

Either:

a) Make a current Victoria to Brighton train call additionally at Redhill

b) Reigate/Tonbridge services to run fast from Redhill to East Croydon as currently

The Reigate Conundrum

The proposal to run shuttles to Reigate is considered by our members consulted to be unacceptable. The key reason is the unreliability of the Shuttles previously provided, often in the evening the entire shuttles go missing if a driver is ill or delayed. Same goes for complete loss of peak morning services leaving passengers scrambling around for buses or other to get to Redhill.

We agree with GTR’s statements in public meetings that the best answer is Platform 3 at Reigate and then the Bedford to Gatwick services becomes a Bedford to Reigate service running 7 days per week. This would provide a half-hourly service to Reigate from London stopping at Merstham, Coulsdon South and Purley for school traffic.

However, the current situation is that platform 3 is not programmed yet by Network Rail so we must look to alternatives.

We strongly believe that Reigate needs two trains per hour. Passenger usage at Reigate Station has doubled in last 10 years from 800k journeys to over 1.7M journeys. However, it is constrained by the short platform

Reigate is a station where there is significant latent usage due to the unreliability and lack of direct trains during much of the day, many passengers drive to Redhill or Merstham to catch the more regular direct service and avoid getting trapped at Redhill station when returning from London. Redhill has a shortage of car parking spaces with a waiting list often over a year long and Merstham has parking problems around the town caused by commuters parking.

Reigate also has a growing business community including a major Insurer plus a major college where students come and go throughout the day. We have surveyed our community and from almost 200 responses we discovered that around 50% of Reigate residents travel to Redhill or Merstham for train services. Around 65% would walk to Reigate if a regular train service was provided. This means passenger numbers will double very quickly if the regular service all day is introduced.

We thus propose that this can be achieved by using splitting of trains from Victoria at Redhill station. Once at Redhill the half hourly Victoria service should split, in each Half hour the front portion should go to Reigate providing a half hourly service to Reigate from London. In the first half hour, the rear portion should extend to Tonbridge maintaining the existing service, in the second half hour the rear portion should extend to Gatwick, calling at Earlswood, Salfords and Horley providing a new hourly fast service from these stations to Victoria all day every day.

This pattern would benefit not only Reigate with a Half hourly London Service but also mean that Earlswood and Salfords are reconnected with Victoria in off peak times which was lost in 2014 for evening services and 2008 for day time services.

This services pattern should repeat from Monday to Saturday all day from start of service to late evening (last service not before midnight) and on Sundays either continue or become hourly as a Victoria to Reigate/Tonbridge service.

The calling pattern from Redhill to London is dependent on the ability to route a Brighton service via Redhill. We believe this can be done and thus this Reigate to Victoria could act as a local service between East Croydon and Redhill. An additional advantage of this proposal will guarantee 8 coaches at all times from Redhill to Victoria which will be a big improvement from East Croydon to Victoria than the current four coach services.

The Brighton Train

In 2008 there was a half-hourly train service between Brighton and Redhill which went onwards via London Bridge to Bedford – a regular Thameslink service. This was swapped out in a reorganisation of the Brighton Main line but the Redhill route received trains from the Arun Valley instead. In 2016 these were diverted to go fast along the Quarry line meaning a 5-minute reduction in journey time for Arun Valley customers to Victoria. However, the far more numerous Redhill Line customers now face an 11-minute increase in journey time to Victoria.

Currently on Sunday there is an hourly service to Brighton all day (alternating with a Bognor service) but both will be removed by the proposed 2018 timetable meaning the last regular service from Redhill to the coast is withdrawn.

Why does Redhill need a service to/from Brighton?

  • There are key employment centres at Gatwick/Three Bridges, Haywards heath, Burgess Hill and Brighton that there is a need to commute to from Redhill line stations
  • Redhill and Reigate are key employment areas and staff need to be able to access the area directly by train. If there was a Brighton train, then Redhill would have direct connection and Reigate with one change

The proposed situation means that a commuter from Redhill District/Reigate to Brighton is effectively forced onto cars to get to work. It also will make it difficult for Reigate and Redhill businesses to attract labour from the South which would be beneficial for these businesses

With planning restrictions on car parking spaces at offices being enforced businesses are increasingly looking to get people to come to work by train. Not having direct services will make Redhill and Reigate less attractive to businesses and to commuters.

More than this it means more cars on the roads as the idea of commuting either way by train is not straightforward forcing this commuting traffic onto our crowded local roads.

Additionally, there is a strong leisure traffic both to Brighton and local business in Redhill are trying to attract from the line. This traffic as well is significantly put off by changing at Gatwick Station. Gatwick is a nightmare station to change at and the new proposals are solely aimed at Airport traffic meaning it will remain so.

Currently Brighton is proposed to be served by 8 trains per hour from London, 4 from Victoria and 4 from Thameslink. Two of the trains from Victoria are express trains taking less than an hour, operated by Gatwick Express and the other two are also relatively fast trains stopping at only 4 stations on the rout to Brighton, two of those in London itself.

We believe the second set of fast trains from London is unnecessary and could be diverted via Redhill to provide a better service. Also by rejigging the stops you could make one of the Thameslink trains faster meaning London Bridge and Thameslink can be got to faster from Brighton.

Local Stations

The proposal to remove all Victoria trains from Earlswood and Salfords is not acceptable. We want GTR to ensure that there is a Victoria service in the Peak and preferably for most of the day. Our proposal for the Reigate service does do this by providing an Earlswood/Salfords to Victoria service all day.

Overall Brighton Main line service

We have looked at the Brighton Main line services heading south from Purley (we have excluded Milton Keynes and Southern Metro Stopping Services.

Govia Thameslink Timetable – Proposed

Govia Thameslink Timetable – RRDRUA Preferred

Govia Thameslink Timetable – RRDRUA Alternative

When looking at this in terms of a Brighton services from London there are 8 per hour. The services from Victoria are Gatwick expresses which only stop at Gatwick and a fast service calling at CLJ, ECR, GTW and one other station. However the Thameslink services whilst only stopping at ECR before Gatwick then take either 4 or 5 stops before Brighton, meaning services from Brighton to Thameslink are much slower.

RRDRUA suggest a calling pattern that still allows a fast service from Victoria to Brighton which is the Gatwick Express, but the second service calls additionally at Redhill, Three Bridges (for Crawley) and Burgess Hill, which would take between 9 and 11 minutes longer than currently. However, 2 of the 4 Thameslink services could lose stops at Three Bridges saving 3 minutes on journey time to Brighton. Haywards Heath could be swapped for Three Bridges.

This proposal also shows changes to the stopping pattern of Thameslink Slows, so that one of the half hourly trains calls at all stations and the second is fast. We think this would provide a better balance and mean the Horsham longer distance service saves considerable time on its journey into London making it more attractive.

We have also shown our proposal for the Victoria to Reigate half hourly services with extensions to Gatwick and Tonbridge alternate half hours.

Lastly a less preferred option of a fast service from Reigate (with half hourly splits to Tonbridge and Gatwick) without the extra Brighton service that we would like to see instigated. The Thameslink services would fill the gaps with both half-hourly services calling at Merstham, Coulsdon South and Purley as they do now but with the extension of journey times. This is better than the Victoria service calling at these stations as it means the more regular service picks up the extra stops but there is less waiting at the London Stations for the service to make journey times even.

Conclusion

There are two major planks to our preferred solutions.

As there is a fast service provided from London Victoria to Brighton by Gatwick Express that is not a premium service, the second train each half hour from Victoria provided by Southern should call at more stations including Redhill.

Reigate needs two trains per hour to London all day every day and not connecting shuttles or GWR services, this is best provided by splitting the trains every half hour at Redhill, with one half hour maintaining the existing Tonbridge service and the second creating an additional stopping services between Redhill and Gatwick.

We have also included a response to each of the questions in the survey.

RRDRUA and all the passengers at Redhill Line stations urge GTR to honour its promises to them when devastating our local services for the London Bridge works and provide an improved service against the 2012 baseline including reinstating services to Brighton.

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

Southern Rail Isn’t Working.

A message to the leader of the RMT, the Department for Transport and Southern Rail

We, your passengers, have had enough. Enough of the daily cancellations, enough of the ubiquitous delays, enough of the unofficial strikes and enough of your inaction. All of us are suffering uncertainty and stress on a daily basis, and some of us have even lost our jobs because of your imploding ‘service’. Only you can stop this, so we are asking you to get around the table now, immediately, today, and work out a deal. Don’t leave the room until you have one. We can see sense, it’s about time you did too.

From the Reigate, Redhill & District Rail Users’ Association, on behalf of all Southern Rail passengers.

Southern Rails Isn't Working. A message to the leader of the RMT, the Department for Transport and Southern Rail

A PDF of this advert can be downloaded here (1.7MB)

As featured in the Times newspaper on 6 July 2016.

Times Advert clipping

Commuter Media Opportunity: Sky News & Panorma

Sky news

I’ve been contacted by Sky News who are interested in covering our struggles of how to get to work this coming Tuesday when the strike is on.

They have stressed that, whilst they are keen to feature something other than the EU referendum, they obviously don’t know what the news agenda will be that morning, so our featuring is NOT guaranteed (as with any news feature). But they would like to speak to people who will have no choice but to travel to work on Tuesday, who need to get the train and have a personal story to tell, such as whether this has affected your job, your health, home life etc. They’re not looking for aimless rants, if that makes sense! If you would be happy to take part based on the details above, please can you message me on here with your details and a small bit of background, as well as specifying that it’s Sky News you want to help with?

Panorma

A producer at Panorama has contacted me about helping with a programme they’re making about the railways in the UK. They’re in early stages of development at the mo, and are trying to research what their angle will be.

I have explained our situation and background and they’re keen to involve us and our situation. They’d like to speak to people who have a story to tell – work issues/childcare problems/moving house/health problems directly resulting from train troubles. They’d also like to use footage from particularly bad services/situations on trains or at stations if people would be happy to film and share with them. However for this to be usable it MUST be filmed in LANDSCAPE rather than PORTRAIT on your phone.

If you would be interested in speaking to the producer then please message me on here with your details, background and that its Panorama you’re interested in etc and we’ll go from there. Let’s show the DfT and relevant ministers/sec of state that we won’t take this anymore and get involved.


I’m acting as Single point of contact so they aren’t overwhelmed. Thanks all – let’s put some pressure on the government and DfT!