Southern '˜encouraged' by revised timetable

The first day of a reduced timetable hoped to reduce cancellations across Sussex's railway network has had an '˜encouraging' start, according to Southern.

Monday, 11th July 2016, 7:25 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:44 am
BRIGHTON STATION DEMOSTRATION - PASSENGERS SICK OF THE SERVICE Fed up commuters are to hold a demonstration at Brighton Station tomorrow evening in protest at Southern keeping its franchise despite weeks of chaos on the Brighton mainline. The news comes as the RMT union, which has called several strikes in protest at the move to driver-only trains, slammed Go-Ahead for paying its bosses huge bonuses while passengers suffer. As well as three walkouts, services have been disrupted by daily cancellations blamed on staffing problems  which Southern says is down to union members calling in sick, and which the RMT says is down to poor management and a lack of overall staff. In-post MPU The protest, organised by a Twitter account named @southernrailout, is being held on the concourse at 6.30pm SUS-160621-172312001

The operator noted 82 per cent of Southern services are running to time against the temporary timetable, which has seen 341 daily services cut.

But Southern encountered difficulties at East Croydon, with a track power supply issue blocking one of the London-bound fast lines.

A spokesman said: “Some 82% of Southern services are running to time against the temporary weekday revised timetable introduced today to reduce the impact on passengers and staff of unpredictable and late notice cancellations.

“The changes we made today have, so far, delivered an encouraging start to what we wanted to give our passengers: a more robust timetable with more trains running to schedule at times when people need them the most.

“But while we cautiously welcome this news, it is early days and we also realise that what our passengers really want is for us to get back to our normal timetable as quickly as possible.”

Despite the operator’s hopes for reduced cancellations as a result of the new timetable, months of delays have angered many commuters.

Carrie Knapp, 41, will quit her job on Friday after a year of troubles on the railway.

Carrie, who was 40 minutes’ late for work today (Monday, July 11), said: “I spend a lot of time getting dinner from Whistle Stop at Victoria and I can’t keep on doing it. Enough is enough.”

In Seaford, the reduced timetable has affected an estimated 81 per cent of services.

Demonstrators will gather outside Seaford Station tomorrow evening.

Anne Marr, 71, of Hurdis Road, Seaford, uses the trains to get to Brighton and Lewes for shopping and to attend courses.

She said the revised timetable would effectively isolate people like here and restrict their ability to travel.

Replacement buses will be laid on to mitigate the impact – but Mrs Marr believed the service would be slower and add to congestion on the roads.

She criticised Southern and parent company Govia Thameslink Railway, joining this newspaper’s call for the operator to be stripped of its franchise.

She said: “We are being used as pawns in this game and it is not right to blame the unions.

“They have deeply let us down by letting it get to this point. There is a great deal of anger in the community about it.”

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