The beleaguered Southeastern Trains were stymied by weather yet again after major delays on one of the hottest days of the year. The London Assembly’s transport committee has stepped into the breach to demand explanations and compensation for passengers stuck on trains on Monday.
Passengers found themselves stranded in hot carriages for almost two hours after a train broke down at Dartford. They eventually forced open the doors to make their escape by walking along the track. This led to the power being turned off, which caused more delays. Southeastern were unrepentant, castigating the passengers for their actions. 853blog goes into more detail about this, including the passengers’ Twittering and the BBC’s wholesale acceptance of Southeastern’s PR line, which deflected the blame from the company to commuters.
A letter to Southeastern from Caroline Pigeon AM, Chair of the Transport Committee, shown here, states:
‘We acknowledge the danger that some passengers may have placed themselves in by walking on to the tracks. However, we are concerned about the circumstances under which passengers felt that they had no other option but to take such a drastic step. We have also heard reports that the provision of information to commuters at rail stations, such as Charing Cross, was inadequate.’
Well, quite. How long do Southeastern expect passengers to sit on a baking (or freezing) train without being told when they might be on the move? In case you’re wondering, snow stranded unlucky passengers on a Sevenoaks train last December until 3.30am.
Sure, we all accept that delays on public transport are a fact of life, but when train companies who impose hefty fare increases on commuters deal so badly with the occasional extremes of weather that are also a fact of life in this country, something is amiss. And it’s not just the delays, it’s the lack of any information (in itself pretty inexcusable in the age of Twitter, smartphones and y’know, technology).
The London Assembly’s transport committee want assurances that lessons will be learned and they want them by 13 July. Good luck with that.
Was your journey delayed on Monday? Tell us about it.
Photo by dseow