Posts Tagged ‘weekend rail works’

Nightmare of weekend rail works gets worse

October 30, 2016
North Camp rail works

North Camp rail works

The nightmare of weekend rail works, travelling down to Brighton last Sunday, could not get worse, could it? Unfortunately yes.

This Sunday, rail works on the line Reading to Gatwick and a repeat of last weekend’s nightmare with rail works Gatwick to Brighton.

Bus Reading to Guildford, then train to Gatwick.

As the clocks had gone back to GMT, and it gets dark an hour earlier, I set off an hour earlier, plus twenty minutes because bus was twenty minutes earlier.

A journey to Gatwick, that would take an hour, now an hour and a half.

I arrived ten minutes early for the bus. Road to station closed. Where to pick up the bus? No information at the station, nor an amended timetable or where to pick up the bus.

Displays on the platforms were not showing amended times, merely rail works and a bus service in operation.

No bus. The bus failed to turn up.

A bus for Reading arrived. The driver was asked to either contact the driver or his office. The driver refused on the grounds that he did not know the number of his own office.

Passenger decided to walk to another station and get to Guildford that way. Either way, train from Guildford to Gatwicks missed, an hour until next train.

Tough job passengers with a  plane to catch.

Not possible to cross the line due to rail works.

A detour to cross via a road bridge.  Dangerous to walk along, no footpath

On crossing the road bridge, bus turns up. Flagged down, and passengers get on the bus.

Now twenty minutes late.  No explanation or apology from driver as to why twenty minutes late.

For some perverse reason, driver decided to drive down the closed road. For what? There are no passenger to pick up, we are the passengers.

We tell him one passenger for Gatwick is on the other side, but not possible to cross due to rail works.

Driver decides to pick up passenger, even though pointless exercise, train missed at Guildford.

Driver, instead of going to car park, drives to another station.

Bus then stuck, as not possible to turn around the bus.

Eventually after much manoeuvring, bus turned around. Bus now running 40-50 minutes late.

He then goes to another station to pick passengers up. No passengers to be picked up.

Arrive at Guildford, train for Gatwick long gone.

Had though the bus been on time, sufficient time to walk through the station and catch the train, insufficient time to buy a ticket.

Any passenger coming by bus without a ticket should be allowed through to catch their train.

At Gatwick, no announcement how to get to Brighton.

I saw a train leaving in five minutes for Havant, stopping at Three Bridges, nipped across to Platform 7, and caught it.

At Three Bridges, unlike last Sunday, no announcements. I assumed as last week, walk through car park and catch a bus.

Very efficient, as soon as a bus full, dispatched.

Double-decker buses, as last week.

As soon as bus pulled out, luggage rolling around, nowhere to safely stow. Area for wheelchairs and buggies doubled as luggage space

French girl on the bus, said she had no idea what to do on arrival at Three Bridges as no announcements. She said trains in France do not provide this appalling service nor are they expensive.

Return from Brighton as efficient, as  soon as  a bus full, dispatched.

At Three Bridges, choice of two trains, one for St Pancras, the other for Victoria, both stopped at Gatwick.

Train to Guildford, then bus.

As train pulled into Guildford, announcement where to catch the train, and again at the station.

Bus driver appeared to know the route, in contrast to the driver in the morning who did not seem to have a clue where he was going.

Nightmare of weekend rail works

November 8, 2015
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.

Weekend rail works

November 1, 2015
notice of rail works no amended timetable

notice of rail works no amended timetable

For at least ten years, weekend railworks on the line Reading-Guildford-Gatwick and Gatwick-Brighton. One or the other, if very unlucky, both.

The first Sunday in November, first day of the month, it was the turn of Reading-Guildford, but also effected was Guildford-Aldershot.

Dysfunctional First Great Western, who do not give a damn about their passengers, no information at effected stations, other than a poster stating weekend railworks. No amended timetable.

A replacement bus, leaving twenty minutes earlier than  train would have departed.

No one at the station, no bus.

 no information of rail works on platform display

no information of rail works on platform display

I wandered onto the platform. No information on the display, other than a non-stopping train passing through.

One girl on the platform. I told her no train, a bus, running twenty minutes earlier. She did not know. Had I not told her, she would have been waiting for a non-existent train. It was lucky for her she was early for the train.

At Guildford, bus arrived early. Had it arrived at its scheduled time, there would have been barely sufficient time to buy a ticket and catch the waiting train.

Passengers treated as criminals.

Passenger coming in by replacement bus, should be allowed to walk through and board the train, and buy their ticket on the train.

On the train, a couple who had missed the train, or at least the replacement bus. They had arrived at the station, no information. They were now running an hour late, less than an hour to catch a BA flight to the US.

Return journey only marginally better.

Chaos at Guildford Station.

There should have been people at the station exit directing people to buses. There was not.

Half a dozen buses.

I asked. I was directed to a bus further down the line. No, I needed to catch the bus in the opposite direction.