Department for Transport’s plans to withdraw WiFi on trains are a backward step

The Department for Transport have apparently told the train operators that they should cease offering wifi if they “cannot justify it financially”.

This is a backward step. As the Chief Executive of Transport Focus has said: “Access to wifi is something many passengers now expect as standard. It helps people use their travel time productively and is something which could encourage more people to use rail over other modes.”

Indeed less than six years ago the DfT were saying that on-board wifi was a key part of the future of rail travel:

Across the UK, this Government is investing at
record levels to improve the experience for rail
passengers. State-of-the-art infrastructure, new
and longer trains, smart ticketing, improved
information and updated Wi-Fi are all contributing
towards a modern, 21st century railway that drives
our nation’s economic prosperity. [On the South
Eastern network] passengers will benefit from a step-change in
customer service, with improved smart ticketing
and on-board Wi-Fi.

“Shaping the Future” November 2017

DfT used to recognise that being able to work, and communicate, on rail services is a key selling point of the service.   At a time when they need more people to travel by train to fund the railway they should be making the service more, not less, attractive.

Abolishing Day Travel Cards would be bad for everyone

Abolishing Day Travel Cards would be bad for Rail users, bad for London, and a kick in the teeth for train operators working to rebuild services 

Sevenoaks rail users are up in arms at a suggestion from Transport for London to abolish day travel cards, which many of us use to get to – and around – London

TfL is being forced by the government to look at ways of raising more money, to recoup some of the cash given to keep London moving during Covid. But this is a very bad way of doing it. It would hit Sevenoaks hard, as so many people use travel cards to give them the freedom to get around the capital for a day

It’s a simple and well used fare option extensively used by older people travelling off peak for shopping, social and  entertainment trips. Travelcards are convenient, safe, easy to use, hard to get wrong and especially good value for those with a concession.  If TfL make things more difficult or complicated people just won’t use the trains.

There’s a strong probability that it will reduce income for TfL from some rail users, especially those on concessionary fares . Many people going off peak to an event in London buy a Travelcard in case they need to go on to other underground stations.  If TfL bin the Travelcard they will rely on a senior bus pass – and so pay nothing towards their travel within London..

One Day Travelcard (off peak) from Sevenoaks costs £19.80 and gives unlimited travel in Zones 1 – 6 on trains, Underground, Overground, DLR, trams and buses. Easy to understand and use, the total cost is known in advance and  you can pay cash.

The alternatives are a lot more expensive.   The total cost of an off-peak return journey to a single Zone 3 destination (e.g. the O2 or City Airport) would be  £21.20 or  £21.90 if returning in the TfL evening peak. Multiple  journeys in Zones 1 – 3 would cost £24.80.  To get the full equivalent of the off-peak One Day Travelcard (multiple journeys) in Zones 1 –  6 would be  £26.40, a massive 33% increase. So much for halving inflation!

This idea is bad for London, bad for Sevenoaks rail users, and bad for the rail companies. It will put off some trips to London altogether, and push others into cars. Please reply to the consultation at and say so.

Agenda for Annual General Meeting 8 December 2022 at 7.30pm



Thursday 8 December 2022 at 7.30pm

To be held over Zoom

Chairman: Mr Tony Clayton


  1. Chairman’s Introduction
  2. Discussion of current issues

                 (a) Timetable from 11 December 2022
                 (b) Closure of Ticket Offices
                 (c) fast Maidstone East to London service

  1. Formal business

                 (a) Approval of minutes of 2021 Annual General Meeting 
                 (b) Approval of Annual Report 2021-22 
                 (c) Approval of Accounts to 31 December 2021 
                 (d) Election of Chairman
                 (e) Election of Officers and Committee


Andrew Stott

Joining instructions in the PDF agenda



Annual General Meeting 8 December 2022

The 2022 Annual General Meeting of the Sevenoaks Rail Travellers Association will be held by Zoom at 1930 on Thursday 8 December. Please contact the Secretary for the link.

The main item for discussion will be the new timetable to be introduced from 11 December. This has significant changes, including much poorer connections for Dunton Green commuters who change trains at Chelsfield. 

We do hope that you can attend.

Southeastern buying a fleet of new trains

The excellent ianVisits website about London and travel reports that Southeastern have issued a notice to train manufacturers to buy a new fleet of trains, to go into service in late 2027. It seems that these are to replace the aging “Networkers” used for suburban services and also the services to Tunbridge Wells.

Apparently the specification calls for both toilets and air conditioning – although it’s not clear whether the new trains will have proper seats or just the “covered boards” that were used for the new Thameslink trains.

Timetable changes from 11 December

There are significant changes to the timetable for services from Sevenoaks, Dunton Green and Otford from 11 December. The detailed timetables have been published at and Southeastern kindly gave us a briefing on the concepts behind the new timetable and the main features. We have looked at the timetable in detail and these are our main observations.

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