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Thank you Southern....

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Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 06 February, 2007 - 08:27 pm:   

...for making the 17.24 London Bridge this evening to Victoria run fast AND ALMOST EMPTY to Sydenham just so that nanoseconds could be shaved off its running time and ridiculous performance targets met at the expense of providing customer service to the 150 or so New X to FHill passengers who had to wait a further 12 minutes and board an already hopelessly crowded train to Caterham. As it was, the 17.24 appeared to leave on time, so no reason at all for this selfish inconvenience. Where do most passengers on this particular service get off? Forest Hill. Are they paying us back for making a fuss about reduced services by giving us a free taster now?
Joined 01-12-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 07 February, 2007 - 09:58 am:   

How do you know that this why the service was altered? Was an announcement made to this effect?
Joined 14-01-2007
Posted on Wednesday, 07 February, 2007 - 10:21 am:   

The same thing happened to the 19.24, which also appeared to leave on time and empty. There was an announcement made, but they cunnignyl timed it with when another train was arriving on the platform next door, so no-one could hear the excuse.
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Wednesday, 07 February, 2007 - 10:36 am:   

Would have been quicker to take the Sydenham train and travel back, wouldn't it?
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 07 February, 2007 - 12:01 pm:   

Is there a complaints procedure to follow?
Joined 23-02-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 07 February, 2007 - 02:11 pm:   

I believe the details are on
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Wednesday, 07 February, 2007 - 02:49 pm:   

Actually, I did mean the 19.24- I would never have been able to catch one at 5.24 as didn;t leave work until 6.30pm. I know the excuse as spoke to the guard on the platform. 'Late running'ie arrived a few minutes late . I guess they didn't want a bunch of scruffy passengers holding up the otherwise smooth running of the service...
Joined 27-09-2006
Posted on Thursday, 08 February, 2007 - 05:22 pm:   

Yes I heard the excuse on the tannoy that because the train was late it wouldn't be stopping until Sydenham but it seemed to be ready to leave on time!
If this happens again could people log it here and the Forest Hill Society can go write some letters to Southern.
Joined 11-01-2007
Posted on Thursday, 08 February, 2007 - 11:18 pm:   

Southern actually managed to do even better today. After sitting at London Bridge until 19.40, the driver came on to speak to the passengers and to tell them that thanks to a power problem at Norwood, the train would be "diverted" - rather than go through New Cross Gate, Brockley, etc it was now going to go through Bermondsey, Peckham, East Dulwich etc. - which seemed to me less of a "diversion" and more of a case of "becoming a completely different service"...

Cue a very long line of people decamping to a packed (and also delayed) 19.34.

Now I don't want to appear paranoid, but does the train company have any idea of how busy these trains are? With no barriers at the outlying stations, I don't know how they can be counting, and thus how the decisions to prioritise services to one place rather than another are made. The only option is to trust that professionals are doing their job as best they can.

However, I do know is that travelling from HOP to LB between 7.30 and 9.30 in the morning and back from 5 onwards in the evening is rarely a pleasant experience. The scary, and to my mind outrageous, thing is that government guidelines suggest that standing is acceptable for journeys of less than 20 minutes.
Joined 01-12-2005
Posted on Friday, 09 February, 2007 - 09:07 am:   

This might be an unfashionable view, but I travel daily from HOP to LB between 7:30 and 9:30 and back after 5 and very rarly have any problems. The trains I get tend to be on time or if late, only by a couple of minutes. I have onward journeys with other operators and find that South West trains are far worse.
Joined 22-06-2005
Posted on Friday, 09 February, 2007 - 02:24 pm:   

Deanos, you obviously never try to take the 0856 from HOP - this is a service that exists in name only as it departs at 0856 about once a week if you're lucky. If it turns up at all that is. Southern's service into town from HOP between 0845 and 0915 is nothing short of disgraceful. The only redeeming feature is that on a snowy day such as yesterday, you don't really notice any decline in service cos the trains are usually all over the shop anyway.
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Friday, 09 February, 2007 - 02:51 pm:   

I get that one from FH quite happily almost every day and it is rarely more than a couple of minutes late?
Joined 22-06-2005
Posted on Friday, 09 February, 2007 - 03:30 pm:   

Really? Does it go for a spin round the Devonshire Rd nature reserve between FH and HOP? It regularly turns up after the 0902. Sorry, I sound very boring. Ringingcod signing off.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Friday, 09 February, 2007 - 05:59 pm:   

It does sound as if the Fat Controller at LB is making some arbitrary decisions to improve his own statistics on ' ins and outs' with little regard for customer service. This used to happen with BR a decade or more ago with equally putrid excuses, so hope its not a sign of things to come. Perhaps we should monitor this and if becoming a regular pattern suggest to the FHS that letters are written?

I do feel for people getting on beyond FH in the mornings as the trains are already packed so little hope for anyone up the line comfort wise. I personally don't really notice how late the trains are- I just grab the first one. However in the last few months there does seem to be a worsening trend.
Joined 02-01-2007
Posted on Friday, 09 February, 2007 - 06:57 pm:   

I was rather annoyed last night when we sat for ages on a 19:34 at Charing Cross due to a fire in another train on the line and a loss of power (apparently). Things like this happen but what really annoyed me was this: after waiting for about 15 minutes we heard a platform anouncement telling us that that train was cancelled. Half of the train walked off to get onto a train bound for London Bridge to then see 2 minutes later our original train leave with the passengers who had stayed on. Why tell us that the train is cancelled and then let passenger sit on. The group of us that had left, were left to look on wondering what was going on and now forced to change at London Bridge rather than be on the direct service from Charing Cross. I wonder if the people who stayed on actually got to their destination on that train?
Joined 29-09-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 03:59 pm:   

Yesterday evening I caught the 18.18 from London Bridge to Victoria. I jumped on the last carriage. I stood in the, what I refer to as the ‘door’ area. Space was tight as usual. I noticed two fairly well built gentleman wearing Meteo Security uniforms. Wow! I thought. I take everything I’ve said about Southern Trains back. They actually do care for our safety. With all the news recently, they must have, quietly and without publicity in a magnanimous way, put on guards. I shall spread the word, that Southern have a heart…and a brain!

The ‘door’ area quickly became full (stay with me please). It usually does as the trains departure time dears. Turning us from humans, to cattle, in a little under 60 seconds. Suddenly I realised something wasn’t quite right. The security guards were making it impossible to move further down the rear of the train. One of them had his hands held on the uprights either side of the carriage blocking the way. The other, plus two large bags, was taking up valuable paying commuter space in the ‘door’ area. When I enquired what the problem was, with regards to moving into the rear seated area. I was informed that this was, and hears the punch line…”its 1st Class mate, unless you have a 1st Class ticket you can’t come in!” I almost collapsed, luckily since the train was so full I found myself in the upright position, with due thanks going out to my fellow commuters.

Who has ever heard of a 1st Class journey from London Bridge to Victoria? It’s slow 50 minute journey. Surely that particular type of customer would prefer a taxi ride to the amazed stares of the human cattle chewing the cud on the other side of glass partition and two rather hefty security guards. To the security guards defence, he blushed and, I suspect, felt a might embarrassed about guarding the 12 empty seats at the rear of the train, whilst twenty people re-enacted the ‘Black hole of Calcutta’. The laughable thing is that the only difference in service is that you get a head doyley with ‘Southern 1st Class’ on it... Wow whoopee do!! Watch out Virgin Atlantic, Southern Trains are coming!!

The guys at Southern really take some beating…and so they should! If only there had been a ‘Meeting the Managers’ this morning. It would have been a delight to have arrived twenty minutes late into work for venting my spleen at them. On an economic note. Two security guards, guarding 12 empty, unpublicised seats make no sense. If I were a shareholder I’d be mighty concerned with who was looking after my investment. As a mere commuter who pays the wages I’m simply bewildered.
Joined 17-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 05:32 pm:   

Some time ago I tried to investigate first class tickets from FH to LB and found I couldn't buy one as the fare did not exist. I would be interested whether this is still the case. If you can't pay for the enhanced fare then they should not stop you sitting or even standing in First Class. How can they? I don;t actually think not having a first class ticket prevents someone from standing in the first class area.

Sorry you had such a bad experience Haylands.

Southern do seem to be operating some strange customer unfriendly policies recently so it would good for the FHS to bring this up with them at some point.
Joined 30-03-2005
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 06:18 pm:   

I have wondered about this.
Surely, if the only ticket available to us is second class, we should be able to use the available first class area.
Joined 12-10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, 20 February, 2007 - 07:25 pm:   

You are allowed to travel in the First Class section because there is no such thing as a First Class journey between LB and Victoria. The option is not available from the machines. I had a problem one time with a guard (I used to love the First Class on the old slam doors and "treat myself" on I think the 1825 - ?) and rang them the next day to enquire. They said anyone was more than welcome to sit there and even sent me a letter to confirm this.

It's not our fault they don't have the right rolling stock... that said I suppose they are within their rights to prevent access but the absurdity of this doesn't really bear thinking about. Perhaps they could start running some coal wagons and not leting anyone on at all. I probably houldn't have said that as they will now start checking out whether that will meet the targets...

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