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NEWSLETTER FEBRUARY 2021

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

Future of your Association

There was a heartening response from many members agreeing to the proposals set out in our November Newsletter for continuing the Association into 2021 and beyond. These proposals were:

We are now implementing the proposals. We will not be seeking any subscriptions for 2021 and those few subscriptions already paid in advance for 2021 will be treated as donations unless the members concerned wish to have refunds.

Some 50 members have been paying their subscription by standing order. These standing orders should be cancelled before 1 March 2021 if you have not already done so. 

Current Timetable to 12 December including Lockdown until 2 December

The current weekday timetable introduced on 7 September showed few changes to the July services. We still have basically a Saturday service and this seems quite adequate for the number of passengers travelling. The late additions to the July timetable of the 06.18 Bognor to London Bridge and the 17.12 London Bridge to Chichester continue to run. These services are formed of 12 coaches of Gatwick Express stock.

New timetable from Monday 22 February

With the impact of coronavirus and the new national lockdown measures, Southern’s passenger numbers have fallen to around 15% of pre-Covid weekday levels. Additionally, the impact of coronavirus on crew availability, as their staff may need to self-isolate or shield, means Southern are adapting the timetable to ensure they continue to deliver a resilient and reliable service for passengers. .

For these reasons there will be reductions in current levels of the Monday to Friday service from Monday 22 February onwards. Southern have developed a revised weekday plan which should better match anticipated demand in the months ahead. The plan focuses on maintaining services earlier in the morning, later in the evening and at peak times, based on feedback from key workers and stakeholders. Southern have also aimed to maintain services for ‘school trains’ at suitable times in readiness for all students returning. These are the planned changes affecting the Arun Valley line and the western end of the West Coastway line:

Weekend services are not due to change, but engineering work continues which can of course amend the regular patterns.

Passenger Benefit Fund Improvements

There is another tranche of improvements in West Sussex underway for the passenger benefit fund (also a refurbishment of Ifield with a new accessible ticket office and improved staff area and upgrading the customer information point on platform 2 at Barnham). The main list is: 

Looking ahead

Our next Newsletter will include updates on the Gatwick Airport improvements and the August closure of our line for work at Horsham.

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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