Southeastern Trains: London Assembly Calls For Answers

By BethPH Last edited 83 months ago
Southeastern Trains: London Assembly Calls For Answers

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

Last Updated 29 June 2011

Marc Staniford

Similar problem on the FCC Great Northern route yesterday due to lightning taking out some signalling equipment. I understand they couldn't do anything about the lightning but the lack of info was pretty frustrating. To be fair, FCC was pretty good about updating their twitter account. The problem was the boards at King's Cross.  My train was listed as "on time" until a few minutes past departure time and then it was 10 mins late, and then it was 10 minutes late until 12 mins had gone by at which point they updated to 20 mins late. 

They can't always do anything about the cause but surely the same sort of signalling problems occur often enough that they could be more organized and efficient in their response? 


I've had delays every day this week on South West Trains and more congestion than usual at Waterloo. No explanation or excuses given. Luckily I stop commuting by train next week. After years of getting trains to school and then to work, I cannot tell you how excited this makes me.  Service is absolutely terrible.