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 http://recenttraintimes.co.uk

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 realtimetrains.co.uk.

New London Thameslink tickets from Redhill stations

Shard concourse at London Bridge

The new ‘London Thameslink’ ticket type has appeared when booking tickets online or at the ticket vending machines.

With Southen Rail all but disappearing from the Redhill Route to be replaced by Thameslink through the May 2018 Timetable changes this new ticket might be of use for some passengers.

When you search for a ticket or season ticket on the planners you’ll now see a new option ‘London Thameslink’ as a destination (not to be confused with the station ‘City Thameslink’ – they didn’t really think that through).

The new ticket destination is effectively a replacement for current tickets to named stations such as London Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras.

The valid stations in London available are shown below:

London Thameslink

  • London St Pancras
  • Elephant & Castle
  • Farringdon
  • London Blackfriars
  • London Bridge
  • City Thameslink

London Terminals

  • London Victoria
  • London Waterloo
  • London Cannon Street
  • London Charing Cross
  • London Blackfriars
  • London Waterloo East
  • Vauxhall
  • London Bridge
  • City Thameslink

Technically a ‘London Terminals’ ticket would allow you access to Elephant & Castle as this is on route to London Bridge. The benefit here of the ‘London Thameslink’ ticket would be for passengers travelling from the North down into London. More details on a London Terminals ticket can be found on National Rail Enquiries.

There isn’t a big difference in pricing the London Thameslink ticket and it will be useful if you travel onto Farringdon, or St Pancras from the south, and down to Elephant & Castle for those travelling from the north. But for our area excludes access to stations such as Victoria.

Example pricing at time of writing is (excluding underground travel card) is below.

 London Terminals London Thameslink
Weekly £68.60 £71.00
Monthly £263.50 £272.70
Annual £2744 £2840

If you already hold a season ticket that is to a named station such as London Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon or St Pancras only we have been advised if you head to a ticket office you may be able to upgrade your ticket to a ‘London Thameslink’ at no additional.

May Timetable changes station guide

May Timetable Changes

The massive Timetable consultation is over and in a weeks’ time, the new GTR timetable will be in place for better or worse.

We should remember that this change is about making the service more regular not faster, to make the service more reliable not faster and to contain disruption affects to individual routes rather than across the network, not faster. We believe Redhill has not come out well but do understand the reasons are one of infrastructure (we need to cross fast lines to access them for all services) not a war against Redhill.

We will find all our London Bridge services run by Thameslink and all continuing through the Thameslink core in Central London to strange places north of London. The benefit will be getting to more of London directly rather than having services to Peterborough.

Many of our stations will see the majority of trains run by Thameslink as Southern will only provide a few trains in the peak South of Redhill towards Gatwick. This has led to the loss of useful cheaper tickets (“Southern only”) for London Bridge, increasing season tickets by around 17%. We will continue our fight for Fair Fares on this issue.

I’ve prepared some short PDF’s talking about the changes for each station and some timetables for morning and evening peaks to London (except Merstham as your service improves so much). I have also done a sheet for Redhill & Earlswood to/from Brighton in the peaks as well.

Additionally

For Godstone and Salfords I’ve added you as supplementary to Nutfield and Earlswood respectively as all trains that call at one call at the other.