Thursday, 13 December 2007

Keeping cool in a crisis

Thanks to all those who have taken the time to share their transport woes on the comments sections of this blog. It seems that satisfaction is not too great with the way South West Trains have handled this week’s landslide crisis. Most weeks I envy the train commuters as I crawl through the choking treacle that is Worcester Park traffic, but for this week at least I’ve been more than happy being on four wheels.

‘Anonymous’ has got in touch to relate his own particular tale of woe:

Yesterday I arrived at Stoneleigh station only to find that the train times had changed from Tuesday which meant I had just missed one. The 7.20am was then cancelled. After asking the ticket guard where and when the replacement buses were running from, he replied that he wasn't too sure what had happened to the buses or what exit they went from, or if they were even running.

After waiting for 1 hour and 30 minutes (it was freezing!) with no information about what was happening until ten minutes before it arrived, the train eventually rolled up at the same time as the replacement bus service. 45 minutes later we arrived at Waterloo.

So despite leaving home 30 minutes earlier than normal I still ended up being an hour and a half late for work. So whilst I understand that incidents such as landslips happen, I (along with everyone else stuck on the platform!) felt that the situation was very poorly managed. The guy in the ticket office obviously wasn't being told anything by the communications centre despite all the phone calls he kept trying to make. However once he did get through he was great by keeping us updated with the station the train was at.I did contact Southwest Trains to see if I could get a refund on my weekly travelcard but as the 'land slip was not their fault' they aren't obliged to give me anything.

The guy on the phone from Southwest Trains mentioned that they can't always get replacement buses when they need, or get sufficient to provide a good service. He also mentioned that the centre their employees use to get information about for Customers (train times etc) is often busy in the morning so their guards can't get through. However he was sympathetic and mentioned that he was glad it wasn't him who was getting caught up in this every day!So considering that the earliest they will fix this is Monday, I'm dreading my daily commute into London even more than usual!”

It all sounds horribly familiar from my days on the daily commute up to Waterloo. South West trains can’t be held to account for the landslide occurring, but they can for their reaction to it and the emergency arrangements put in place.

From the comments coming in to this blog, it sounds like they haven’t acquitted themselves at all well this week.

5 COMMENTS (Add Yours Now!):

Brenda said...

I like thousands suffererd a miserably cold and excessively long week of commuting these last few days due to this land-slide/slip. Just wondered if anyone has seen evidence/photos of this land-slide, does it really exist ?

Jennifer said...

Hmmm, thats what I would like to know too...

Worcester Park said...

Oh ye of little faith. Of course it exists. Just like Santa does.

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to commute from Dorking to London Waterloo all week and it has been a nightmare!! It is bad enough that ALL the South West Trains from Dorking to Epsom have been cancelled. But, Southern have been running an abysmal service from Dorking to Victoria as well. We have to put with a broken rail at Waddon on Tuesday morning, trains not stopping at Dorking, Leatherhead and Ashtead to magically begin their journey at Epsom, to contend with one peak train instead of four and most of the trains coming along with four carriages instead of eight!!

South West Trains' lack of communication is laughable. First of all the landslide became a landslip overnight. SWT / Network Rail said the work was going to be completed by the following night, then it became the end of the week, then Sunday (16th) and now today, I have checked SWT's website and there is no mention whatsoever on when the 'landslip' is going to be sorted out at Worcester Park. Very frustrating, as I have tried in vain to speak to someone at SWT about the major inconvenience it is causing south of Epsom. Our platforms are rammed with pissed off commuters who pay in excess of £3,000 per annum for a shoddy, overcrowded, dirty, unsafe SWT route which is very often late or cancelled.

Sincerely hoping that this major inconvenience can be sorted out sooner rather than later. I have little faith in Network Rail, as I saw a group of workmen just past Worcester Park on Friday afternoon, at the landlslip, sitting on their arses having a good laugh, smoking a cigarette or two, with a flask of tea. In other words, they were doing absolutely NOTHING. Paid to do NOTHING - what a job!!

DORKING Dan

Anonymous said...

To Dorking Dan , I do have some information about this and the Network Rail people that you referred to, were the Operators working the crossing that controlled the movement onto the Single Line in order to provide the limited train service to Epsom ,this was covered by from 04.30am -01.00am the following day in temperatures recorded as low as -4c (not a particularly nice job I can assure you),they were not the Engineers or Workmen as you refered to them as. Understand your frustration as i was also affected as well as thousands of others - but please do your homework before putting such nonfactual information on the internet, i certanily was grateful to have a service of some sort,rather than sitting on a bus sitting in heavy traffic.....

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