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NEWSLETTER APRIL 2019

The Newsletter can be found below or you can download it in PDF format. For previous newsletters, please see the archive.

WEST SUSSEX RAIL USERS ASSOCIATION
64, Brampton Court, Stockbridge Road, Chichester, West Sussex, PO19 8PD
Tel: 01243 788028
E-mail: contact@wsrua.org.uk
Twitter: twitter.com/wsrua

Membership Renewal

Our membership year runs from 1 March and subscriptions for 2019-20 are now due. Many members have already paid their subscription either directly or by standing order. 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.

Brighton Mainline Improvement Project

The main tasks of this Project which included large scale work in Balcombe and Clayton tunnels and the Ouse Valley Viaduct were completed successfully and on time over the 9 day closure from 16-24 February. The remaining work will continue over selected weekends up to May 2019 and the Saturday services for those weekends will be similar to the off-peak services shown in the timetable enclosed with our February Newsletter.

May 2019 timetable

There are no changes to the current (December 2018) timetable to Southern services in the new timetable starting on 19 May. On Thameslink, the current hourly service from Brighton to Cambridge will become half-hourly. These Cambridge trains have a good connection from Arun Valley services at Three Bridges.

Easter 2019 timetable alterations

Details of Easter services are not yet available on the Southern website, but taking information from the National Rail Enquiries site, it looks as though a Saturday service will operate on Good Friday 19 April, Saturday 20 April and Easter Monday 22 April.

On Good Friday and Saturday, London trains will terminate and start from London Bridge rather than Victoria.

On Easter Sunday there will be a normal Sunday service and, on that day and Easter Monday, London trains will terminate at and start from Victoria.

Access for all

The Department for Transport has announced funding under its Access for All scheme for Network Rail to upgrade the following Southern stations by 2024: Crowborough, Leatherhead, Battersea Park and Streatham.

Work is already under way on step-free schemes at Crawley, Coulsdon South, Selhurst and Carshalton.

Performance

The following is extracted from a recent GTR communication about new measures for improving and reporting their performance. We thought members would like to see the detail especially as GTR has now turned the corner and is no longer hovering near the foot of the Train Operators punctuality league table.

Last month, the Rail Delivery Group announced that the rail sector is changing the way train operating companies (TOCs) report train punctuality and performance. GTR has now given details of what it means for passengers, how they report data and how they are performing.

From this month, GTR, along with all other TOCs England and Wales, will publish a new primary performance metric, called ‘On Time’. For a train service to be counted as ‘On Time’, it must call at every single station scheduled on its route and its final destination within 59 seconds of the time stated on the timetable. By contrast, for a service to count under the older measure, the Public Performance Measure (PPM), it must call at every single scheduled station and arrive at its final destination within five minutes of the timetable.

GTR say that ‘On Time’ is undoubtedly a tough measure, especially for some of their services. 59 seconds is not a lot of spare time for a service such as the Thameslink services connecting the 109 miles between Brighton, Central London and Cambridge across the busiest tracks in the UK, but this measure will provide clarity to passengers.

As of March 2019, 72.5% of GTR’s 3,600+ daily services are operating exactly on-time and 87.3% are at PPM. In ‘On Time’ terms, this makes GTR the sixth best performing of the twenty-three franchises in the UK, and they carry twice as many passengers as the top five combined.

GTR say that it is testament to the sustained improvement in punctuality and reliability across their services in recent months, and it also shows the very positive role of some of the changes in the timetable in supporting the railway to run more efficiently for passengers. Yet, they admit, there is also clear room for improvement. From an operational perspective, ‘On Time’ will help to drive a focus across the sector that every single second counts. It will support them to pinpoint the tiny delays that add up over an individual train service that starts and stops tens of times on long journeys of several hours. And, it will reinforce their efforts to get better information into the hands of passengers. This includes upgrades to station screens, issuing station staff with new smartphones loaded with real-time service information, and volunteer teams from across the business to help passengers during disruption.

Trevor Tupper
(Secretary/Treasurer)


Facebook

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. 


Community Rail Partnership

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.


Eyewitness

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 Launches Southern’s Eyewitness Initiative

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.

Photograph from Eyewitness launch at Arundel station


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