The ‘Sink Hole’ effect on the Redhill Route

Southern Sink Hole

Following the ‘Sink Hole’ Southern have introduced an emergency timetable on top of the existing emergency timetable for trains from London Bridge.

Chairperson Steve Trygg of the Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users Association has sent the following letter to Southern Rail.

A letter from RRDRUA Chairperson Steve Trygg to Southern Rail

Re Redhill Route : Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users’ Association

I am normally the first to back up Southern Rail in the difficult situation the Southern Rail service has found itself in over the last few years, but todays emergency timetable on an emergency timetable has made me very angry indeed, as well as being very disappointed.

The Emergency Timetable shows again the contempt that Southern Rail treats the Redhill route with and it is getting way beyond acceptable.

Firstly, at the station where Southern has already cut 55.5% of Peak London Bridge Services in 2015, that Southern then decides should not to have any peak or other service to London Bridge today. Yes, even our decimated peak services did not run. Whereas a large % of services from East Grinstead (which is peak only), Uckfield and Caterham/Tattenham trains ran.

Then off peak – where Southern has already cut in your emergency timetable all services to Victoria (meaning our 28 minute journey to Victoria is now 48-52 minutes depending on connections if any at East Croydon), that you then truncate/cancel our service to London Bridge meaning we have NO direct services to the main terminuses in London at all.

However Off-peak – East Grinstead, Uckfield, Caterham and Tattenham who have no off-peak cuts in services, all get a full normal off-peak service.

Why does the Redhill Route have to continually suffer from a lesser service than any other Southern Routes, especially in disruption?

Over the last few years Redhill Misery Route has been constantly Southerns worst performing route by a country mile! When are Southern going to create some focus on the Redhill Route to correct these problems and show fairness when cutting trains or are we to continue being the sacrificial lamb to all the other Southern Routes?

It is totally unacceptable the service reductions today even with the big problems you have. As I said Southern has treated Redhill Route customers with utter contempt in a very difficult period.

Best Regards

The Sink Hole impact (19 July 2016)

Ticket availability

Southern and Thameslink have confirmed passengers may use:

  • London Underground services between the London Terminals (including London Victoria, London Blackfriars, London St Pancras International, and London Bridge)
  • London Overground services in the South London area
  • London Buses in the South London areaSoutheastern services in Kent,
  • Tonbridge, and the South Coast. You can use your ticket between Lewisham and London Bridge
  • Gatwick Express between London Victoria and Gatwick Airport / Brighton
  • Tramlink services between Beckenham Junction and Wimbledon via East Croydon
  • South West Trains between Portsmouth / Southampton / Dorking and London Waterloo

London Bridge to Horsham trains are starting from East Croydon this afternoon. As you know all Victoria to Redhill trains are cancelled

For Merstham and Redhill (plus Reigate/Tonbridge) best bet is to go to Blackfriars for a through train to Redhill – it is slow through south London but direct and without change at ECR

Earlswood/Salfords and Horley customers may prefer to get first train to East Croydon and pick up Horsham service there

Train Running information

London Bridge

  • 16:29 London Bridge to Horsham due 17:44 – This train will be started from East Croydon.
  • 6:59 London Bridge to Horsham due 18:14 – This train will be started from East Croydon.
  • 17:32 London Bridge to Horsham due 18:50 – This train will be started from East Croydon.
  • 17:59 London Bridge to Horsham due 19:09 – Totally cancelled
  • 18:26 London Bridge to Horsham due 19:47 – This train will be started from East Croydon.
  • 18:55 London Bridge to Horsham due 20:14 -This train will be started from East Croydon.
  • 19:33 London Bridge to Horsham due 20:42 – This train will be started from East Croydon.

After 20:00

  • xx:08 LBG to Horsham trains will start from East Croydon
  • xx:38 LBG to Horsham trains will start from Victoria (not calling CLJ)


  • Trains to Redhill are xx:08 and xx:38 until 16:38 (all call at Merstham)
  • Then 17:20, 17:52, 18:30 & 19:08 – all Redhill only

On Southern and the introduction of guard less trains

700110 at London Blackfriars working 3T13 London Blackfriars to Three Bridges TL Up Depot

Thoughts for the day on Southern and the introduction of guard less trains.

In 2008 the Department of Transport specified the Class 700 trains shortly to be introduced on Thameslink. It was intended that these trains take over many Southern routes (as they will our Horsham to London Bridge services – becoming Horsham – Peterborough). Many of the services they take over are currently worked by Driver and Guard. Thought – The DfT did not specify panels in the trains for the guards to close doors – they planned for DOO in 2008 (under a Labour Government)

As part of the Thameslink upgrade programme, Network Rail (on behalf of the DfT) planned many upgrades to the Core and the Bedford Main lines in preparation for the London Bridge Closure including the complete rebuild of Blackfriars station. I am not aware of a single upgrade along the Brighton Main Line to prepare for the London Bridge closure. Hence it fell apart when the work started and will not recover until 2018 when its finished

We blame Southern but I think they have been set up by the DfT Civil Servants in Whitehall – who I believe are more incompetent than malicious.

image By Alex Nevin-Tylee – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

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

Press Release: Southern Rail Isn’t Working

Today RRDRUA launched a demand for the RMT, the Department for Transport and Southern Rail (GTR) to get together, preferably in a locked room and sort out the disputes to the satisfaction of all so we can have our lives back.

Southern Rails Isn't Working.

At Redhill we have had 10 years of cuts, reduction in services and extending journey times. We have suffered unfairly with additional burdens of delays and skip stopping. Fares are much higher than other local routes as GTR passengers have been subsidising London passengers for many years.

Now with the constant industrial disputes between GTR Southern and its staff we want the Government who control the service under a management contract, GTR Southern and the RMT union orchestrating the dispute to all sit together in a room and sort it out urgently for all the thousands of Passengers who lives are being ruined by their actions


Stephen Trigg
Chairperson – Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users Association

A copy of this press release can be downloaded here (PDF 458KB).

An image of the advert is available here, and in PDF format here.

Southern Temporary Timetable and the Redhill Route

Southern Timetable Changes

This morning Southern have published an amended timetable in a bid to reduce the number of last minute cancelled trains across the network.

The full details are available directly on the Southern website here.

The changes are not good for daytime Victoria passengers who now have to change at East Croydon (also longer journey times as all trains will call at Merstham, Coulsdon & Purley).

There are now 4 instead of 6 off peak services from Redhill.

Also not good for Reigate and Tonbridge customers who lose direct service to London but still at least have shuttles to Redhill. Reigate still retains its morning peak service to London Bridge and Victoria.

Southern have said they will run longer trains and replacement bus services as well where possible.

“We will still provide 95 per cent of peak capacity to London Victoria in the morning peak and returning in the evening peak. For London Bridge, we will maintain 86 per cent of the capacity in the morning peak and 84 per cent in the evening peak.

Services between Reigate and Tonbridge to Redhill, London Victoria and London Bridge: These services will mainly operate between Reigate/Tonbridge and Redhill only. Certain peak trains will continue to operate to and from London.”

On Services between Redhill and London:

“There will be fewer services overall between London and Redhill. There will be no daytime direct service between Redhill and London Victoria. Please change at East Croydon at these times.”


The main areas affected by the timetable changes are:

  • A reduction in Southern West Coastway and East Coastway peak and off-peak services
  • A reduction in peak services between Hastings and Ashford International
  • A very limited service will operate between Brighton and Seaford at peak times only – rail replacement buses will operate between Lewes and Seaford
  • No Southern service between Redhill and London Victoria in the off-peak (peak services will run as normal, as will Thameslink services to and from London)
  • An amended Southern service between Reigate and Tonbridge via Redhill
  • No Southern service to and from Guildford (this is a peak only service and South West Trains will run as normal)
  • No Southern services via Wimbledon (Thameslink will run as normal)
  • No Southern services between London Bridge and Beckenham Junction
  • No Southern service between Milton Keynes Central and Clapham Junction
  • A reduced Gatwick Express service will operate between Brighton, Gatwick Airport and London Victoria

Redhill Route Timetable Specifics

  • The first clear point is that Off-Peak services from Tonbridge/Reigate to Victoria via Redhill will not run.
  • There will be an off-peak shuttle service from Reigate to Tonbridge to maintain services on those line
  • Off-peak daytime Redhill will continue to receive half hourly Thameslink services to Bedford via City Thameslink as well as half hourly Horsham to London Bridge trains
  • Peak Victoria services will run as normal

Morning Peak Trains from Redhill

For simplicity all services are timed from Redhill

  • Trains to Bedford : 05:04, 05:34, 06:26, 7:11, 8:11, 9:25
  • Trains to London Bridge : 06:34, 07:15, 07:40, 08:40 (only 06:43 cancelled)
  • Trains to Victoria : 05:16, 05:30, 05:48, 06:13, 06:46, 07:04, 07:23, 07:53, 08:02, 08:19, 08:31, 08:53, 09:15

There are no services to Victoria after 09:15 – change at East Croydon

Evening Peak trains to Redhill

PM Peak from Victoria and London Bridge (Thameslink operating a normal service)

  • From London Bridge: 16:29, 16:59, 17:32 (REI portion), 17:59, 18:26, 18:55, 19:23
  • From Victoria: 16:09 (not MHM, ELD or SAL but REI portion), 16:49, 17:21, 17:49, 18:19, 18:49

All call MHM, ELD and SAF unless stated

Reigate Specific Morning Peak trains

  • 07:27 to London Bridge
  • 07:40 to Vic
  • 07:52 to VIC (Extra Train – takes path of Tonbridge train to London – 08:02 from Redhill)

Compensation / Delay Repay

Southern have confirmed that the compensation available will be through the normal delay repay process.

If your journey is delayed by more than 30 minutes against the normal or revised timetable, you will be entitled to compensation.

The usual rules apply

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?


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!


For Daily Tickets our best understanding to date follows:

Redhill Route stations don’t generally have “return” tickets to Victoria or London Bridge but a London Terminals ticket instead. So it is normally better to buy a Gatwick Southern only ticket to just one terminal. If you need the flexibility of multiple stations then buy the standard Redhill ticket.

However there is one ticket the Redhill Route to Victoria Super off-peak return at £9.00 is very cheap but only allows travel to Victoria off-peak and is nit usable between 16:00 and 19:03 from Victoria (19:10 Horsham is first train it is allowed upon after peak).

Also use on Thameslink is tricky question, some say they are valid as Thameslink and Southern are the same train operators but some say not. I think it would be a very mean inspector that prosecutes considering our trains have turned Thameslink only in December.

Oyster has added to this complexity. Single fares to Victoria are cheaper than Redhill to London Terminals tickets and Gatwick tickets. So if you are going just to Victoria or London Bridge Oyster works and is cheaper. If you are going to add more travel like a tube and a bus you have to think carefully.

However once you The caps seem to be £29.80 Peak and £19.00 off peak. If you are travelling off-peak it seems best to buy a paper ticket at £16.00 All-Zone travelcard from Redhill Route stations (Salfords/Horley is £17.00, same as Gatwick), especially as all but the Victoria one mentioned above would allow you to travel from 16:00 to 19:00 whereas Oyster makes that Peak time. Oyster would cap your fares at £16.00 unless you travel on anything between 16:00 and 19:00 when it’ll cap at £29.80.

It appears that Oyster also has a higher cap than Contactless for off-peak

Oyster can save you if you do limited journeys and one of your journeys is off-peak.

Also you can cut fares by avoiding Zone 1 and touching the pink readers. However on a journey I planned I found that via Zone 1 was cheaper than using the pink readers at West Brompton for off-peak journeys only : so confusing

I think you need a degree in Maths and logic to really understand all this. So that’s my best explanation as I understand it all currently. I’m sure many will find cheaper hacks – please post them if you do so everyone can use them

Chairman’s Report on AGM 21 04 2016

Summary of AGM reports

As is usual as it takes a while for the minutes to be transposed and checked I thought I’d give my impressions from the AGM as a stopgap until the minutes are available later in the year.

We had a good turnout of Members at the AGM and they heard from Crispin Blunt – MP Reigate and Banstead, Alex Foulds – Passenger Services Director GTR Southern, Phil Hutchinson – Head of Strategic Planning GTR and Mike Smith – Route Enhancement Manager, Network Rail South East Route

Thanks to Gillian Ryan and Michael Fife for organising the evening and running membership, Elizabeth Warren for running round with the microphone and Robin Grant, Sara Pont and Stephen Rolph for generally helping.

We opened the meeting with the normal official business, approving the committee and accepting the treasures and membership reports. I missed ratification of new Association Terms of Reference which will be passed by email now.

In my Chairman’s address I highlighted the following: –

  • The lack of positives along the Redhill Route for Passengers
  • 10 Years of Pain for the Redhill route passenger service
    • 2006/7 – loss of regular Brighton trains
    • 2007/8 – loss of fast trains to London Bridge
    • 2012 – loss of first peak train to London Bridge
    • 2014 – loss of 5 peak services to London Bridge
    • 2015 – loss of half of direct services to London Bridge o 2015 – Loss of half of Crawley services
    • 2015 – Loss of most South Coast trains – Arun Valley
  • GTR taking over Southern as existing company running Thameslink – all our train services under a single train company run from Whitehall by the Department for Transport
  • RRDRUA took a petition with over 3,000 signatures asking for Fair Fares for Redhill route. The Under-Secretary of State (Claire Perry) actually complemented our proposal in a Parliamentary Debate
  • Despite positive comments from the Under-Secretary the final response from the DfT was disappointing – saying we wouldn’t be considered until all similar stations are looked at then extending Oyster Zones to Dartford, Hertfordshire, Brentwood and Swanley.
  • It is important to remember that DfT are the decision makers for our route not GTR Southern/Thameslink. DfT did not respond to request to attend our meeting
  • Current level of services is abysmal
    •  Lack of on-time arrival of peak services
    • Regular cuts by skip stopping
    • PPM much worse along Redhill Route
  • It is clear that the Redhill Route is the MISERY route of Southern
  • We have asked for an action plan for the Redhill Route but we are still lost in Brighton line strategies
  • Platform 0
    • Project has been cut back from 4 through platforms to just 3 due to budget reductions
    • In our opinion bad decision to make platform 1 a bay platform for GWR services
    • Concern about risk when there are last-minute platform changes with 500 plus passengers having a last-minute swap of platforms through the subway. Not really enough space

Fairs Fare – Crispin Blunt MP

Our local MP Crispin Blunt stood up to update us on the Fares Fair campaign

  • Assisted with submission of Petition
  • Used a debate in Parliament to discuss the Redhill Route prices
  • Continuing to put pressure on Department for Transport

Crispin is also a regular rail user and added personal views on how bad the service is.

Communications – Alex Foulds

I’d hoped this section would give an opportunity for GTR Southern to talk about improving communications and what they have done but very little new information was forthcoming.

Platform 0 Redhill, Platform 3 Reigate and SOLUM regeneration – Mike Smith

At RRDRUA we have been very disappointed that budget restrictions on signalling has meant this scheme has been massively reduced with Platform 1 being made a bay platform to allow Platform 0.

This means that platform 0 will become the main Northbound platform but will be just a plain platform with no facilities – no toilets, customer points or coffee shop so a major downgrade for passengers waiting.

For us the bigger concern will be when peak trains are swapped platforms between 0 and 2 which as we know happens a lot. The average train in the morning peak gets around 500 passengers so that number would have to leave one platform and go through the subway which we feel is potentially dangerous overcrowding.

Network Rail said they didn’t make any allowances and that it would not happen very often.

The potential for a third platform at Reigate was discussed. In 2018 there will be no through services to London Bridge as the new 12 car trains cannot fit in the station (nor at Tonbridge) by taking some of the car park a third platform can be added and trains to London Bridge restarted.

Network Rail have funding for feasibility stage only and they hope to have more funding to be able to build the platform in 2022.

We were also informed that Stoats Nest is unlikely to get a flyover again due to Budget cuts and thus Redhill trains will be forced along the slow lines meaning that more delays and slower journeys are our prospect.

The regeneration of Redhill station is still due to go ahead but awaits agreement between Solum and GTR about platform facilities and car parking. GTR have not agreed with Solum’s proposals.

Reliability – Alex Foulds

As usual this was an animated discussion where the emotions were very high. However, no real progress was made or promised.

2018 Timetable – Phil Hutchinson

As Chairman of RRDRUA I am very interested in the Dec 2018 timetable as it is the next major change to our services and will set the basis for the next 20 years. Thus it is important we engage with GTR and the DfT to ensure our best interests are covered.

At RRDRUA we have developed a service pattern we intend to fight for in the negotiation of this timetable: –

  • 8 trains an hour from the Redhill route
  • 2 fast & 2 slow to Victoria and 2 fast & 2 slow to London Bridge/Thameslink
  • The Fasts to London Bridge/Thameslink would be the Horsham to Peterboroug services that call at Horley, Salfords, Earlswood and Redhill then fast to East Croydon and London Bridge.
  • The Fasts to Victoria would pick up at Horley in one half hour and Coulsdon South in the other half hour and extend south of Gatwick to Brighton, enabling a half hourly express service from Redhill route to the South Coast. (these are an extension of our current Horsham to London Bridge services)
  • The Slows to London Bridge would be the existing Three Bridges to Bedford services and would call at Redhill, Merstham, Coulsdon South, Purley, East Croydon, Norwood Junction and on to London Bridge/Thameslink.
  • The Slows to Victoria would start at Tonbridge or Reigate and call at Redhill, Merstham, Coulsdon South, Purley, East Croydon, Clapham Junction and Victoria.
  • We will campaign for the Victoria slows to split at Redhill, every half hour going to Reigate (doubling the number of Southern trains at Reigate) and then alternate half hours to Tonbridge or Gatwick Airport. The Three Bridges portion allowing hourly services from Earlswood, Salfords and Horley to Victoria which they only currently get during the peaks.

Phil spoke and he stated we would only get 6 trains per hour and the missing service would be the fast to Victoria which he said could not be timetabled. Thus the fast train to London will no longer be to Victoria but to London Bridge. Also the reward of faster trains to London for Reigate customers because they lost their London Bridge service has been very short lived.

He did say they are looking at the 2 trains per hour to Reigate as per our suggestion but wouldn’t promise.

GTR Customer Disputes – Alex Foulds

There has been a lot said about this the ticket office program and the Conductor dispute. Alex explained the plans from GTR and why they are proposing the changes. A lot has been written in the press about this topic and there is little to add.

Thank you to those that attended the meeting and I hope my impressions of the meeting are of interest. Full minutes will be distributed as soon as they are available.

Agenda for AGM at 7:30 Thursday 21st April 2016

Part 1 – Official (7:30-7:45)

  1. Minutes of Previous AGM (distributed prior to meeting)
  2. Election of Committee
    • Stephen Trigg (Chairman)
    • Gillian Ryan (Treasurer)
    • Michael Fife (Committee Secretary)
    • Robin Grant (Horley)
    • Martin Emery (Merstham/Nutfield)
    • Christopher Daniels (Website/Off-Track)
    • Elizabeth Warren (Reigate)
    • Sara Pont (Media)
    • Stephen Rolph (Salfords)
    • Hannah Walsh (Redhill)
  3. Treasurer’s Report
  4. Ratification of Association Terms of Reference
  5. Chairman’s Address

Part 2 – Fares (7:45-8:00)

  1. President’s Address and Fair Fares Update – Crispin Blunt MP
  2. Questions and Answers on Fares

Part 3 – GTR (8:00-8:15)

  1. Southern/Thameslink – Communications to Passengers – Alex Foulds
  2. Questions and Answers – Communications

Part 4 – Network Rail (8:15-8:35)

  1. Network Rail – Platform 0 (Redhill) / Platform 3 (Reigate) / Redhill rebuild (SOLEM) – Mike Smith
  2. Questions and Answers – Infrastructure

Part 5 – GTR (8:35-8:50)

  1. Southern/Thameslink – Reliability – Alex Foulds / Mike Smith
  2. Questions and Answers – Reliability

Part 6 – GTR (8:50-9:10)

  1. Southern/Thameslink – Dec 2018 timetable improvements – Phil Hutchison
  2. Questions and Answers – Timetable 2018

Part 7 – GTR/Transport Focus/LTW (9:10-9:25)

  1. Ticket Office Plan and Conductors on trains Plan – Alex Foulds /
  2. Questions and Answers – Customer Service

Part 8

  1. General Questions and Answers