Sunday 20 March 2016

The MP and the Rail Company (2)

 20 May 2015 

Southern Railway has made the headlines again this week, for all the wrong reasons.

I took a picture of them fining people – including an elderly woman – for standing in first class, despite the fact the train was hugely overcrowded.

Southern says the ticket inspectors can operate ‘discretion’ when handing out fines on busy trains, and that first class can be declassified if it’s really busy. But the 0736 from Oxted is ALWAYS busy, so why were the inspectors even on there?

Do they get commission? Does Southern send them out with a simple instruction to fine as many people as possible?

fbb has blogged previously about the appalling PR of Southern in dealing with Phil Mccaferty, an acquaintance of fbb and a fine upstanding chap of indubitable moral rectitude.

See "The Sorry Saga of Phil McCafferty [1]" (read again)

And "The Sorry Saga of Phil McCafferty [2]" (read again)

And they are still at it. Of course if you have been daft enough to pay a first class fare for the dubious privilege if having a paper headrest, you may be miffed at having the sniveling minions cluttering up your space. But with a properly run railway there should be enough seats or even enough standing room to prevent such a heinous trespass.

The Phil McCafferty case was handled so incompetently by Southern that they were forced to abandon court action having cost their customers vast sums of money to recover nothing.

 15 June 2015 

Southern Trains, which runs services into London Bridge station from south London, Kent and Surrey, were on time on just 46.4 per cent of journeys in the first three months of this year.

Watchdog London TravelWatch blamed the "poor performance" on the £6.5 billion redevelopment of London Bridge, not enough tracks and poor timetable planning - combined with "numerous" signal failures, driver shortages, and faulty trains.

The London Bridge rebuild, turning nine terminal platform and six through into six terminal and nine through is a frighteningly complex project.
A bit like reducing the M25 to one lane each way round whilst resurfacing. Doing it whilst trains are still running was and still is a mega-massive challenge.

But is isn't as if Southern managers woke up one Monday morning and said, "Oh, golly gosh; half the platforms at London Bridge are out of action, We should do something." Repeated press reports, repeated timetable changes and repeated grovelling apologies have shown that they simply got it wrong.

Even allowing for an occasional blip, the rest of the excuses are lame in the extreme. As the late great Gerry Fiennes ...
... (author of "I Tried to Run a Railway") wrote, "Failing to run the advertised service is down to bad management and nothing else." Which, being interpreted, implies that if the advertised service is unworkable, that service should never have been provided in the first place.

 15 Dec 2015 

Need we say more!

 4 Jan 2016 

Enraged travellers catching the Brighton to London service, which was memorably late every day for a year, have experienced delays up to half an hour on the first Monday of the 2016.

Angry John Jangler tweeted: "After closing the rail for two weeks for improvements first day of normal service and half the trains are cancelled. Nice one Southern Rail."

 5 Feb 2016 

One commuter, Sue Darnell, tweeted: “What is up with Southern Rail? 12 emails in 3 mins- can't they just concentrate on running their trains on time? #leavemealone."

Another passenger, Andy Lewis, said on Twitter: “Southern Rail services delayed due to staff shortages, they're all sending emails instead of driving trains."
It was due to a "system failure". The failed system being opne that was badly managed; but they wouldn't admit that, would they?

So in steps MP Tim Loughton.
Loughton was born on 30 May 1962 in Eastbourne. From 1973 to 1980, he was educated at Priory School in Lewes, East Sussex. From 1980 to 1983, he studied classical civilisation at Warwick Uni.. He graduated with a first class honours degree 1983. He then joined Clare College, University of Cambridge, where he studied Mesopotamian archaeology between 1983 and 1984. Loughton followed a career in the City of London as a fund manager from 1984 for Fleming Private Asset Management, becoming a director from 1992-2000.

He has been Member of Parliament (MP) for East Worthing and Shoreham since the 1997 general election.

Tomorrow, we shall look mortee closely at complaints and answers from the companies involved. Incidentally, many of these complaints we exactly the same as Connex South Central received when they were running the service with slam door stock.
It would all be better when the new trains arrived, passengers were told, but it wasn't.

And Connex lost the franchise; the company was sacked. Déjà Vu?
Lamb at Easter - The Best
Morrisons' advert exhorts us to enjoy their lamb joints as part of the tradition of Easter. But going back in pre-history, there was a "tradition" of making an offering to God as a picture of the worshippers commitment. Only the best was good enough for God, because of His provision of \the best for his people.
Abel's "best", contrasted with Cain's casual "some", brought about the first Biblical murder. But offering a lamb was, in that remote culture, the very best that could be imagined. Today is Palm Sunday; worshippers saw Jesus as "The Best" as he was welcomed to Jerusalem with palm leaves a joyous shouting. 

The outcome wasn't quite what that particular crowd expected.
 Next rail battle blog : Monday 21th March 

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