WEST SUSSEX RAIL USERS ASSOCIATION
64, Brampton Court, Stockbridge Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8PD
Tel: 01243 788028
In this newsletter there are some details of the new timetable being introduced on 20 May, wifi on trains, membership renewal and more details of Network Rail plans for improving our lines including a closure of the Brighton mainline over the October 2018 half-term. For once, there is no mention of industrial action although the RMT have had recent strikes over changes to the role of guards on Northern, South Western Railway, Greater Anglia and Merseyrail. Until the disputes with these other operators have been settled we think there is still a risk of further action on Southern.
Details of the new Monday to Friday timetables of services from May 21 can be downloaded from this GTR website: https://www.railplan2020.com/timetables. There are no firm details of weekend services yet, although we do know that Saturday services will replicate the off-peak Monday to Friday service. On Sundays, the Portsmouth, Chichester to Victoria services will cease to run via Worthing and will, instead, be attached to the existing Bognor to Victoria service at Barnham. More details about this will be given on the GTR website and we will also let you have details on our website and in a later Newsletter. There is a lot of information in the 21 pages of the London and West Coastway timetable on the GTR website mentioned above and so I have produced the attached summary showing just the services on the Arun Valley line and I hope you will find it helpful. Hopefully, the usual pocket timetables will be available from stations before May 20 when you can discard our version. West Coastway services have changed a little, but the website timetable sets out the new timetable quite clearly. Our summary does not include the stopping services from Horsham to London Bridge. The new timetable on the website for London to Redhill, Reigate, Tonbridge and Horsham gives details of the Monday to Friday services which are still half-hourly in the off-peak but operated by Thameslink and all running beyond London Bridge to Blackfriars, St Pancras and Peterborough.
Southern class 377 units are now being fitted with wifi on a rolling programme. Those so far fitted have a wifi sign on the entrance doors and my experience suggests that the signal is strong and reliable.
As members may have noticed, Network Rail has embarked on a major programme of work on our lines and on the Brighton mainline (BML). If you are planning to travel at weekends, please check the Southern website beforehand. There is a backlog of maintenance on the BML in particular, and to get on top of it that line will be closed over the October 2018 half-term (20-28 October) and again in February 2019 half-term (16-24 February). This will inevitably disrupt our services and we will give you more details as these become available.
Our membership year runs from 1 March and subscriptions for 2018-19 are now due. Many members have already paid their subscription either directly or by standing order. Also, the subscriptions paid by those new members who joined the Association in the second half of 2017 will cover the current year as well. If you have not paid, a renewal form is enclosed. The subscription remains at £2 and can be paid by cheque through the post, by direct bank credit or by standing order, the renewal form gives details of all these options. A few did not pay their subscription for last year and rather than deleting them as members, we are asking them to pay for 2 years and for those members the payment slip shows £4.
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.