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NEWSLETTER DECEMBER 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

Annual General Meeting

Our AGM took place on Saturday 2 November in the Studio of the Capitol at Horsham. Formal minutes will be circulated in due course. The Officers and Committee for the coming year are:
 
Chairman – Roger Keyworth; Secretary/Treasurer – Trevor Tupper
Committee members – James Marchant, Valerie Webb and Kevin Gordon   
 
After the formal business our guest speaker was Angie Doll, Southern’s Managing Director who covered a wide range of topics in her address. One of these was the 5 year partnership between GTR and The Prince’s Trust. The Trust is a youth charity that helps young people to develop the confidence and skills they need to realise their ambitions, so they can live, learn and earn. Over the last 5 years the GTR pre-employability programmes have been delivered to nearly 200 young people struggling to find work, 77% of these have been employed across GTR with 14% of GTR London Bridge staff being recruited through the programme.
 
The other key subject covered by Angie was the change in the measure of train punctuality from Public Performance Measure, based on trains arriving at their destination within 5 minutes of the booked time, to the on-time train which requires the train to be on-time at every stop along its route – a much more challenging objective.  GTR has risen to this challenge and in the latest period, 66.0% of GTR services were on-time (+/-59 seconds) and 83.2% of services at PPM. Southern PPM was 85.2%, and on-time 66.2%. These figures show a continuing improvement during the year. **
 
Angie also mentioned Southern’s participation in the Brighton Pride event and then answered questions from members. Roger thanked Angie for attending our meeting and giving us so much information on GTR and Southern.
 
** If you would like to know more about the On Time performance, there is a GTR video on YouTube in which Steve Wright, GTR’s Chief Operating Officer explains all at www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeKeQ9uFP1g

December Timetable

The new timetable starts on Sunday 15 December and the local pocket versions can now be downloaded from the Southern website at www.southernrailway.com/travel-information/plan-your-journey/timetables. Thameslink timetables are at www.thameslinkrailway.com/travel-information/plan-your-journey/timetables#timetables.
These timetables will shortly be available in stations. There are no significant changes in these timetables other than all the Saturday Horsham to London Bridge Thameslink services will be extended to and from Peterborough offering a similar service to the current off-peak Monday to Friday service.

Havant to Barnham improvement project

This six-week long program of new track and station refurbishment was completed successfully on 1 December. Several kilometres of track have been replaced, some level crossings improved, stations painted, toilets refurbished, some seating replaced. A huge job competently tackled by Network Rail’s Orange Army and their contractors.

Industrial action by RMT guards on South Western Railway

The strike by SWR guards started on 2 December and will run until 2 January except for 12 December. It may have some impact on our services as passengers from Southampton, Fareham, Portsmouth and Havant may start using Southern services to get to London even though SWR are running at least an hourly service on their lines. We will be keeping an eye on this.

Southern services over the Christmas and New Year period

There are no wide scale engineering works affecting our services over the Christmas and New Year period although there will be one closure over the weekend before. Details of the day by day services are:

Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 December – Arun Valley line closed between Horsham and Arundel. Buses replace trains between Horsham and Barnham / Littlehampton.

Monday 23 December – Normal service.

Tuesday 24 December – From approximately 19:00, a reduced service will start to operate with no trains running after 23:00.

Christmas Day – No Service.

Thursday 26 December – The only services in our area will be special Boxing Day services between Victoria and Brighton, and Victoria and Three Bridges.

Friday 27 December – An amended Saturday service will operate.

Saturday 28 December and Sunday 29 December – Normal service.

Monday 30 December to Wednesday 1 January – An amended weekday service will be in force.

Thursday 2 January – Normal services should resume.

Gatwick station rebuilding

Gatwick Airport station will be receiving £150m in funding to widen the platforms and double the station’s concourse, the Department for Transport (DfT) has announced. The renovation aims to reduce delays to services and stop platform overcrowding, and will also add five new lifts and eight escalators to the station. The number of people using Gatwick Airport station each year has grown by six million since 2010 and the current station is not designed for the high volume of daily passengers and their luggage.

The renovation will be managed by Network Rail in partnership with the DfT, Gatwick Airport and Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership. The improvement works will start in spring 2020 and will take around two years to complete. The works will be sequenced to ensure minimum disruption although we understand one line and/or platform will be taken out of use at a time. We will keep you in touch with developments on this – we do know that one of the timetable changes next May will involve a reduction in through services from Brighton to Victoria compensated to some extent by Littlehampton/Eastbourne services running separately with no joining and splitting at Haywards Heath.

Key Smartcard

Holders of a Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) ‘Key Smartcard’ that could previously be used only at Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern-managed stations and those inside London, can now tap in and out across the entire Southeastern network in Kent.

Membership Renewal

Most members have now paid their 2019 subscriptions. If you have not paid, a renewal form is enclosed and we would be grateful if any outstanding amounts could be paid as soon as possible or, at the AGM if you attend. If you no longer wish to remain a member, please let me know by e-mail, post or telephone.

Finally, we wish all our members a very merry Christmas and a happy and peaceful New Year.

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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