WEST SUSSEX RAIL USERS ASSOCIATION
64, Brampton Court, Stockbridge Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8PD
Tel: 01243 788028
As both regular and non-regular users will be well aware, GTR has not covered itself with glory with the new timetable introduced on 20 May. The changes to Southern services now seem to be working well in practice but the Thameslink changes have proved to be disastrous. The Thameslink chaos has mainly affected our members using these services from Littlehaven, Faygate, Ifield, Crawley and Three Bridges.
The problems with the Thameslink timetables are mainly down to inadequate time for planning driver training and rosters over what was new territory for many of them, some of these problems are down to GTR and others to Network Rail and the Department of Transport. The GTR timetable team has spent the last few weeks analysing the problems and they have produced an amended Monday to Friday timetable starting from next Monday 16 July. We were told at a meeting last Monday that this timetable more accurately matches staff and stock availability to needs and it give users more certainty of the trains likely to be running. For the last 8 weeks only around 50% of planned Thameslink services between Horsham and Peterborough have actually run, and on some days it has been even lower. Hopefully, the service planned from next week will be more reliable. Details of the changes can be found on the Thameslink website at https://www.thameslinkrailway.com/timetables. As the year progresses and reliability improves, Thameslink will add any services missing from the original timetable. This will be done on a phased basis. You will see from the information attached that 4 Thameslink services in each direction are missing from the timetable. It is these trains that will be restored when GTR consider they can do so.
There will be NO changes to the published Southern timetables and these services should improve in reliability as there should be no need for last minute additional stops to cover cancelled Thameslink services.
The Thameslink timetable covering the Horsham services covers other services running into Sussex and extends to 52 pages. As yet, there is no single timetable coving both Southern and Thameslink services, so I have attempted to produce one by merging the information from the published timetables. The result is attached to this Newsletter and is basically the information provided on the Southern timetable sent to you in April with the insertion of the Thameslink services and the detail now covers 3 pages instead of 2. I hope you will find it helpful. It is worth mentioning that all the Thameslink services call at Redhill for connections to Tonbridge, Guildford and Reading.
These are already in the Southern pocket timetables and are in the Thameslink table mentioned above. If you are travelling at the weekend, it is worth checking times on the National Rail journey planner at http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ as there is a lot of engineering work planned over coming months, most of which will take place at weekends. It is worth mentioning again that the pocket timetable does not show the last through train to Portsmouth which is the 21.16 from Victoria via Hove arriving Barnham 23.00 and Chichester 23.08. Nor does it show the connection for Chichester off the 21.33 from Victoria, a 38 minute wait at Barnham arriving Chichester 23.59. There is no connection for Chichester off the 22.33 from Victoria.
We now have a Facebook page at facebook.com/wsrua. Please “like” it if you want to keep in touch and contribute through that medium.
WSRUA gave a brief presentation on our work and current activities at the Community Rail Partnership stakeholder event held on 1st November 2012 at Christ's Hospital School. A copy of the slide set is available to view here (PDF). We are continuing our close involvement with the CRP, of which our current secretary/treasurer is vice-chair.
Below is a Southern Press Notice about their Eyewitness initiative to deter and report low-level crime on the Arun Valley line.
Policing and Criminal Justice Minister, Nick Herbert MP has launched Southern’s internal Eyewitness initiative to the public for the first time at Arundel railway station.
Mr Herbert joined Southern senior staff, Rail User Group and West Sussex Community Rail Partnership representatives to launch a trial of Southern’s award winning low-level crime reporting system to passengers who use Southern services between Arundel and Crawley.
Eyewitness is a scheme which allows the reporting of low-level crime by e-mail. The system has been used successfully as an in-house system where Southern staff have e-mailed members of Southern’s Safer Travel and Revenue Protection Teams to report incidences of vandalism, anti-social behaviour and fare evasion. The system allows Southern to respond quickly where officers are in the area, and to identify patterns, trends and hotspots which enables more intelligent deployment of Rail Neighbourhood Officers and Revenue Protection Officers when detailing patrols.
Commenting on the initiative, Mr Herbert said: "I was delighted to help launch the next phase of Southern's Eyewitness scheme which will provide passengers with an effective way to report antisocial behaviour on trains.
"This is further action by Southern who already fund Rail Neighbourhood Officers to help tackle crime and provide a reassuring uniformed presence on trains and at stations. The scheme doesn’t replace police officers, it adds to them, and I believe it's welcomed by the public.
"The minority who can make rail journeys miserable for everyone else need to be dealt with, and I am pleased that Southern is playing its part."
Southern’s Head of Revenue Protection and Security, Martin Grier said: “Eyewitness has been a tremendous success since we introduced it internally 18 months ago. Now we look forward to even better results now that we are asking our passengers to tell us about low-level crime that they have seen.”
In the last 12 months, reported crime on the Arun Valley has fallen overall by 71%. At Billingshurst station, incidences of crime reduced from 28 last year to zero this year.
Passengers witnessing crime between Arundel and Crawley stations can report what they’ve see, where they saw it, when they saw it and a brief description of the offender(s) by sending an e-mail to the dedicated address found on posters at leaflets at staffed stations between Arundel and Crawley.