Category Archives: News

Open letter on behalf of passengers who use Southern & Thameslink services

The RRDRUA has sent and published the following open letter to the Prime Minister. A PDF copy is also available for download.


The Rt. Hon Theresa May
Prime Minister
10 Downing Street
London
United Kingdom

10 December 2016

Dear Prime Minister,

The Residents of Southern England are fed up with the continuing disruption to their daily lives cause by the problems at Southern and Thameslink Railway companies. The key fact in this disruption is the Industrial Dispute about Guards on trains and station staff. This dispute is leading to the breakdown of family life, health / stress issues and the reduced productivity for British Business lost waiting for trains that don’t run.

We have listened to your rhetoric about your government being for the ordinary people of this Country. We are Ordinary people and call on you to intervene directly in this dispute, to get it resolved quickly and swiftly for all our sakes.

It is no good stating this is a dispute between GTR and the Unions because that is not totally correct. Your Department for Transport is demanding modernisation which the Rail Company is trying to implement so your Government is a fully responsible party to this dispute.

As this is an open letter we also call on the leaders of ASLEF and the RMT to come back and negotiate swiftly on these issues with an open mind, whilst suspending all strikes and overtime bans. Entering the room and just saying no is inexcusable. It doesn’t help your members or the passengers they serve. Come into the room with proposals that will resolve the dispute and make Driver Operation work. The world has moved on and technology is improving safety and process throughout life and you and your members need to embrace this.

Here are some suggestions from us: –

  • Embrace Driver only door operation as it is safe within reason (nothing is 100% safe) but add conditions: –
    • Good Lighting at all stations where it operates
    • Dispatch staff at all large stations where crowding may occur such as Redhill
    • On Board Staff on all non-metro trains who are safety trained to evacuate trains in live rail situations.
  • During disruption to avoid cancelling trains where On-Board Staff are delayed, drivers able to take trains without on-board staff to avoid further disruption to passengers, with processes in place for on-board supervisors to be placed on train as soon as reasonably possible.
  • Extension of On Board Staff to Thameslink trains in non-metro area (for example South of East Croydon through Redhill)
  • In Metro Areas Guarantee of at least 2 stations staff with full trains safety training on all stations throughout day

In Conclusion, we ask Prime Minister, that you personally get around a negotiating table with the leaders of the RMT and ASLEF and create an agreement perhaps along the lines of our suggestions that can get Southern England back to work and resolve the issues once and for all.

When this is complete can you look to your Governments Infrastructure and Projects Authority to invest in much needed improvements to the Brighton Main Line, which includes for us Redhill Line passengers, a flyover at Stoats Nest Junction, Remodelling of Redhill Stations and Platform 3 at Reigate Station.

Thank You

For and on Behalf of the Reigate, Redhill and District Rail Users’ Association

 

Stephen Trigg
Chairperson

Southern Isn't Working

Redhill route disruption in December / January

Is there ever is such a thing as a ‘Normal December’ on the railways?

Through Southern, Thameslink, and event Great Western there is planned disruption that will impact the Redhill Route.

The table below will be updated as information evolves.

With strikes already planned from RMT, and further action possibly coming form ASLEF on top of planned engineering works from Network Rail which will even impact the Reigate – Redhill – Gatwick service on a few occasions.

Updated:

  • 28 November – Added ASLEF Driver strikes and extended timeline into January
  • 01 December – Moved RMT strike dates from 23/24 December to 19/20
Service Information Details
Thur, 1 Dec
Fri, 2 Dec
Sat, 3 Dec

Sun, 4 Dec

Engineering Works Busses replace trains between Purley and Redhill

Thameslink

On Saturday, trains from Bedford to Three Bridges will not call at: Coulsdon South, Merstham and Redhill. Customers should use Southern buses between Purley and Redhill.

Trains from Three Bridges to Bedford will run to an amended timetable. On Sunday, trains will run to an amended timetable.

Southern

All weekend, Buses replace trains between Purley and Redhill

Your train ticket will be valid on the replacement buses.

Non folding bicycles are not allowed on rail replacement bus services at any time. Folding bicycles are allowed if fully folded. For more information, please see here

Mon, 5 Dec
Tues, 6 Dec RMT Guard Strike London Underground strike by drivers if you manage to get into London will impact the Piccadilly and Hammersmith & City line
Wed, 7 Dec RMT Guard Strike  London Underground strike by drivers if you manage to get into London will impact the Piccadilly and Hammersmith & City line
Thur, 8 Dec RMT Guard Strike
Fri, 9 Dec
Sat, 10 Dec
Sun, 11 Dec Engineering Works Engineering work is taking place between Purley / Reigate and Earlswood, closing some lines.

Great Western Railway trains between Reading and Gatwick Airport will run between Reading and Reigate only. Buses will run between Reigate and Gatwick Airport (taking 20 minutes), and between Reigate and Redhill (taking 10 minutes). Please depart Gatwick Airport and Redhill 15 minutes earlier than normal to ensure you meet your train connection at Reigate.

Southern trains will be diverted between Purley and Horley, and will be unable to call at Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill and Earlswood. Buses will run between Purley and Horley to provide connections for customers going to and from the stations without a train service.

Thameslink will have an amended service, more details here.

Your train ticket will be valid on the replacement buses. Non folding bicycles are not allowed on rail replacement bus services at any time. Folding bicycles are allowed if fully folded. For more information, please see here

Mon, 12 Dec
Tues, 13 Dec ASLEF Driver Strike
Wed, 14 Dec ASLEF Driver Strike
Thur, 15 Dec
Fri, 16 Dec ASLEF Driver Strike
Sat, 17 Dec
Sun, 18 Dec
Mon, 19 Dec  RMT Guard Strike
Tues, 20 Dec  RMT Guard Strike
Wed, 21 Dec
Thur, 22 Dec
Fri, 23 Dec
Sat, 24 Dec Festive Period: Planned Services (subject to strike adjustments)

A normal Saturday service will run through the day. Trains will stop running for the day at 23:00

Sun, 25 Dec Festive Period: No services
Mon, 26 Dec Festive Period: Planned Services

An hourly service will run between London Victoria and Brighton. A half hourly service will run between London Victoria and Sutton and also between London Victoria and East Croydon

Tues, 27 Dec Festive Period: Planned Services

A Saturday service will run

Wed, 28 Dec Festive Period: Planned Services

A Saturday service will run with additional trains running at peak times

Thur, 29 Dec Festive Period: Planned Services

A Saturday service will run with additional trains running at peak times

Fri, 30 Dec Festive Period: Planned Services

A Saturday service will run with additional trains running at peak times

Sat, 31 Dec RMT Guard Strike Festive Period: Planned Services

A normal service will run. Additional early morning New Years Eve special services will run from 01:07 to 05:07 between London Victoria and East Croydon calling at all stations

Sun, 1 Jan RMT Guard Strike Festive Period: Planned Services

A normal service will run with minor alterations to late evening services

Mon, 2 Jan RMT Guard Strike Festive Period: Planned Services

A Saturday service will run with minor alterations to some late evening services

Tues, 3 Jan
Wed, 4 Jan
Thur, 5 Jan
Fri, 6 Jan
Sat, 7 Jan
Sun, 8 Jan
Mon, 9 Jan ASLEF Driver Strike
Tues, 10 Jan ASLEF Driver Strike
Wed, 11 Jan ASLEF Driver Strike
Thurs, 12 Jan ASLEF Driver Strike
Fri, 13 Jan ASLEF Driver Strike
Sat, 14 Jan ASLEF Driver Strike
Sun, 15 Jan

Southern isn’t working, RMT contempt for East Surrey Commuters

RRDRUA is very disappointed that the RMT and GTR Southern have been unable to resolve their differences and that Rail Users are again going to find total failure again in trying to go about their daily lives.

The members of the RMT have guaranteed Jobs, a good salary and a reasonable work/life balance. Whereas, the long suffering commuters are under threat of losing jobs, losing salary, losing holiday and being unable to get home to their families. The RMT leadership shows utter contempt to the Rail users by ruining their daily lives for the honour of pushing a button to close train doors.

Along the Redhill route, the 10,000 daily East Surrey commuters find their daily commute which has already heavily suffered cuts since 2012 is now even worse. Today:-

  • Earlswood & Salfords stations are closed;
  • The Entire Tonbridge line is closed;
  • Coulsdon South, Merstham & Horley have a limited off-peak only service so virtually closed for the majority of users.
  • Services to London from Reigate are not running at all, leaving a limited connecting service
  • Trains from Redhill are one-third of the normal level (a 60% cut in a service that has been cut consistently since 2012).

Last trains this week to Redhill are around 7pm, meaning that commuters and visitors alike have little choice but to cut their day short in London. GTR Southern and Thameslink will still be running 8 trains per hour to Gatwick straight through Redhill but are unable to plan a service to stop at Redhill.

All in all another heavy slap in the face for the poor, tired and frustrated commuters in East Surrey. The Government needs to step and make sure Redhill route commuters get a better normal service and some respect from themselves and the Rail Companies.

Strike week travel information for commuters from Redhill

With the strike going ahead as planned, here’s our understanding of the options available for travel into London for Redhill route passengers.

Planned Strike Week Running information

REDHILL – Trains running – PEAK to London

  • To London Bridge 06:34 …………………and that’s it
  • To Blackfriars 05:04, 05:34, 06:26, 07:11, 08:11, 09:25
  • To Victoria 07:21, 07:51, 08:21, 08:50, 09:21

REDHILL – Trains Running – Off Peak

  • To Blackfriars from 11:17 – xx:17 and xx:47 – last train 17:19 (although there is one at 00:48??)
  • To London Victoria – all daytime – xx:21 & xx:51 to 16:51, then 17:28, 17:57, 18:26 & 18:51
  • LAST TRAIN TO LONDON 18:51

REDHILL – Trains Running – return from London

  • Blackfriars from 10:08 – xx:08 & xx:38 until 16:38
  • Evening Peak 17:20, 17:52, 18:30 & 19:08
  • Victoria from 07:09 – xx:09 & xx:39 – to 16:09
    EVENING PEAK 16:36, 17:03, 17:35, 18:04, 18:35 and that’s it
  • No Service from London Bridge

Other stations:

  • Merstham – NO PEAK SERVICES
  • EARLSWOOD/SALFORDS – CLOSED
  • NUTFIELD / GODSTONE and TONBRIDGE BRANCH CLOSED
  • Horley – NO PEAK SERVICES

Southern have suggested they hope to run an evening service from Victoria to Redhill (leaving Victoria at xx:09 & xx:39 to 23:39). They cannot confirm they can because it depends on numbers of Drivers/Guards turning up – they will not know if they can until late Monday Morning – they will publicise if it does happen.

Alternative Travel

DORKING (All services running as normal)

  • Southern will run DOO services to/from Victoria roughly every half hour – they take about an hour as they stop at most stations via Sutton
  • SWT run trains every half hour to Waterloo (via Clapham Junction) and they take about 55 minutes

ALTERNATIVE KINGSWOOD (or Chipstead)

  • A little known station on the Tattenham Corner branch which is just over the other side of the M25 – about 10 mins drive from Reigate/Redhill.
  • All services are DOO so will be running as normal
  • Trains run to LONDON BRIDGE approx. every half hour and take 55 minutes in peak and 50 minutes off peak.
  • There are also a few Victoria trains in the peak

EVENING ALTERNATIVE

  • Go Via GATWICK AIRPORT after Redhill services finish and catch
    Thameslink 00:39 to Redhill or
  • GWR service from Gatwick to Redhill and Reigate
    Depart Gatwick at 20:03, 21:03, 22:22 & 23:18
  • Don’t forget 100 bus also runs between Gatwick and Redhill – see Metrobus for times

Options using MetroBus

  • Between Redhill & Reigate on routes 420, 430, 435 & 460.
  • Between Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords, Horley, Gatwick, Crawley and Three Bridges on routes 100, 400 & 460
  • Between Redhill, Nutfield, Godstone on route 400 between Redhill Station, Nutfield (A25) & Godstone village (not evenings).
Southern Sink Hole

The ‘Sink Hole’ effect on the Redhill Route

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
Stephen

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)

Balckfriars

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

On Southern and the introduction of guard less trains

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