Nightmare of weekend rail works

railworks inadequate information at stations

railworks inadequate information at stations

Once again nightmare of weekend rail works and dysfunctional privatised rail companies.

Last weekend, rail works on Reading-Guildford section, of Reading-Guildford-Gatwick line.

This Sunday, replacement bus service as far as Reigate.

As last weekend and the weekend before, no information at stations en-route, no amended timetable, simply a poster notifying of rail works.

The coach was awful. Seat that reclined, no means to make the seats upright, very bad for lack of back support.

At Guildford, a man got on the coach and said where it was going.

Long wait at Guildford.

Guildford appeared to be closed. No trains. Cheapskates SouthWestTrains not even laying on coaches, local buses pressed into service.

Driver told all passengers to use seat belts. First time that has ever happened.

no information on the platform at Reigate

no information on the platform at Reigate

Getting off at Reigate, feeling dreadful.

No one at Reigate to tell passenger where to go. Station not open, so have to walk down the road to gain access to platform.

On platform no information.

Learn from passengers on opposite platform need to be on that platform for Gatwick.

Back out station, further down the road, across level crossing, and back down to gain access to opposite platform.

Two toilets on First Great Western train. One lacks water.

Return journey relieved to find no rail works. Relief short lived.

2008 Reading train shown on time. At 2010, when it fails to show, announced train has been cancelled. How could it have been on time?

Then an announcement to catch first train to Redhill, and pick up Reading train at Redhill. No information which platform first train to Redhill departing from.

Man on platform asked. Foreigner, long black hair in pony tail. He said Platform 1, claimed announcement to that effect. Not true. He said Reading train would wait at Redhill and there would be no delay.

Next train was 2029, running two-three minutes late, slow train stopping at all stations. It was therefore a blatant lie there would be no delay.

I doubted train would be held at Redhill, was tempted to wait at Gatwick for the next train in an hour’s time, but not knowing why the train had not arrived at Gatwick, and thus not knowing if next train would experience same problem, caught the train to Redhill.

At Redhill, as I had suspected, no train, the man had blatantly lied.

Luckily Redhill has train control.

The Gatwick train was running very late. At 2008, it was not even near Redhill. This begs the question why was it being shown on time? First Great Western Control decided to turn the train around at Redhill to make up lost time. They did not tell Southern Control until too late. Had they told them earlier, they could have arranged for passengers to be picked up, dropped off at Redhill, and still catch the train.

Redhill notified Gatwick of the situation, explicitly told Gatwick not to send passengers to Redhill, as there was no train.

Why did the man at Gatwick blatantly lie, say there was a train, when there was no train? Why did he send passengers on to Redhill, knowing there was nowhere for them to go?

Had no lies been told, simply train cancelled, catch the next train, passengers would have remained at the airport in the warm and dry, got something to eat and drink and caught the next train.

Gatwick is wishing to massively expand with a second runway.  The station cannot cope now with the existing passenger numbers.  Weekdays, the station forecourt is backing up into the airport. A problem easily solved if barriers removed and passengers pay on the trains, but Southern are refusing to remove the barriers. At weekends, nightmare of weekend rail works.

Re-nationalisation of railways long overdue.

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