Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Southeastern trains turned off and tuned out.

It's been a grimmer than normal few days on Southeastern trains.

Over the weekend the entire line from Blackheath to Dartford was closed for "essential maintenance" which finished just in time for a little bit of snow to bring the entire network to a grinding and shuddering halt.

Rather than keep their cold and confused customers up to date, Southeastern decided to turn off all train information.

And when I asked in the ticket office at Kidbrooke when the next train would arrive my question was quite literally shrugged off by the member of staff there.

Bit of a tip here. If you ever need to find something out at Kidbrooke station it's best to ask Niall at the coffee stand instead.

He gave me a full update of all the problems on the line that day including the tragic events at Slade Green and even managed to predict the arrival of the next train down to the minute.

Still however bad things have been in Kidbrooke they're far worse on other parts of the Southeastern Network.

Over at Petts Wood last night passengers were trapped on a train for up to five and a half hours. As the hours went by they eventually gave up all hopes of a rescue by Southeastern and broke out:

The best advice for tonight is to avoid Southeastern altogether, but if you really do have to use them, then make sure you're off by 20.00 because trains will be finishing very early indeed.

So there you go, another winter, another totally shambolic and unaccountable service provided by Southeastern.

Are there any politicians willing to do something about it? I'd wager there's a few votes in it somewhere.

-Update- London-wide Lib Dem Assembly member Caroline Pidgeon said today:

“Back in January during the two days of snow Southeastern passengers faced a double whammy of a much reduced train service combined with an appalling lack of useful information being provided by the train company.

“Almost a year later it seems Southeastern have failed to actually implement any improvements in communicating with their passengers.  Southeastern even accept that they need to make many improvements in how they communicate.  Clearly their planned improvements have also faced delays on the line.

“If Southeastern cannot maintain a full train service at the very least it must keep its passengers fully updated about the reduced service they are currently providing, starting with far more accurate and useful information being provided on their website.

"In addition there are simply no excuses for any station not keeping its passengers fully updated.   At a time of such a disrupted service it is vital that information is continually made available via electronic boards and audible announcements at every station"

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