Southern – I Said There Was Trouble!

I reported a few weeks back that the new Southern timetable didn’t seem to be working. Well it wasn’t, and so they have amended the timetable and issued a long explanation and apology. Note the following comment:

Adding trains to an already busy railway network makes the new timetable much more sensitive to delay.

That’s what any railway operator knows. Its not surprising that the DfT tried it on, but it is disappointing that the franchisee did not think to make this point to the DfT a bit earlier. It will be interesting to see how the South Coast Route Utilisation Strategy proposes to deal with these problems. Note also the comment in the press release:

Firstly, we have undertaken a detailed review of the timetable. The result of this review is that we have introduced some minor changes to timings to a number of trains to specifically improve their performance onto the Brighton Main Line at the most congested times in the morning peak. These changes took effect from 23 March and I hope that you will see a sustained improvement.

Well as far as I can see these minor changes have not resulted in any improvements. There are two trains from Three Bridges at around 5 past 8 in the morning. One from Brighton, one from Littlehampton. Southern has tried switching them around, Southern has tried switching them back again. But they still inevitably delay each other and run out of sequence.

And there is more bad news for Southern because they have had to borrow some south Eastern Class 375 units which are running instead of 375 units. This is not Southern’s fault – it is the result of a complicated chain of events. But the Sussex long distance commuters don’t like the temporary stock. And I don’t blame them! My 17:47 from London Bridge will be Class 375 for the next 12 weeks. I get a numb bum after just 38 minutes – I hate to think how people feel when they arrive at Littlehampton!


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