Icy Friday: No Service at all from Borough Green

borough-green-overview-geograph-3827560,jpgFollowing our analysis of Friday’s icy (or not) events, Karen Harding, our Borough Green Correspondent, writes:-

We had absolutely nothing on the Maidstone East line – the whole line was at a standstill.

We ended up driving to Otford, where we got on the 08:00 Thameslink service to Kentish Town which not only ran, but ran near enough on time as well.  The Thameslink services appeared to be the only ones that were running up to town from Otford.

Prior to leaving work to come home I checked the South Eastern and National Rail website.  Both said that there were continued delays on the Maidstone East line, some 10 hours after the early morning chaos. Yet the 17.47 to Ashford was running from Blackfriars and, amazingly, ran on time!  So, they couldn’t even get it right in the evening.

20120213-karen-tweetI tweeted my reflections on the chaos here and here, and got what sounded like a surprised and slightly aggrieved response from National Rail which started “sorry you feel that way”.  How else was I supposed to feel?  People pay thousands for a train service that fails miserably at the first sign of bad weather – I think we’re entitled to feel a tad aggrieved.

It is noticeable as well that there has been no response or statement from David Statham.  What happened to communication…..?

We’d welcome experiences and comments from other Maidstone East line passengers. Please let us know here.


Icy Friday: No Service at all from Borough Green — 2 Comments

  1. Don’t expect a response from David Statham, we are after all merely a “small bunch of noisy Twitter users”

  2. I was on the Medway Valley train departing Strood at 05:30, the train tried and failed to set off then swiftly returned to the platform.
    We were told the train wouldn’t run due to icy conditions and our “best bet” was to wait for a replacement bus service which would depart from the front of the station.

    Everyone headed to the entrance where there was no communication about what was going on. Staff remained clueless but still continued to sell tickets, the information boards were confusing at best, as later trains on that line were stated as ‘on time’ yet the prospect of a rail replacement bus still loomed. Soon those ‘on time’ trains turned to the inevitable ‘cancelled’ but only once the scheduled time had passed.

    It was some 90 minutes later, after standing in the freezing cold we were finally put on to a fail replacement bus. I use the term ‘bus’ loosely considering the number of commuters that were in need of this service and the cancellations that followed. The bus would have been more fitting for a class of primary school children, however we had very little choice so we all began boarding.

    Capacity was quite possibly exceeded and very little room to maneuver after a member of the station staff insisted on barking aggressively “everyone move to the back so we can fit you all on,” we set off.

    The bus swaying uneasily as the weight of people shifted with every turn we approached the first stop, Cuxton. An argument nearly broke out as someone was trying to squeeze onto the bus and someone from the back was trying to leave, upon leaving the doors shut and the driver was very unsympathetic but eventually allowed the passenger off. This set the tone as the pattern continued until I gratefully departed at New Hythe.

    After I finished work some 6 hours later (bearing in mind I had already arrived two hours late) and several degrees warmer, I was to embark on my return journey home. Fearful of a repeat on the Medway Valley line I caught a lift to Chatham to try and avoid any further disruption, how wrong I was. 3 scheduled trains suffered cancellations from London due to ‘poor rail conditions’ with no offer of a replacement service of any kind.

    Eventually a train did turn up and I made it to my destination but not before one final part shot by South Eastern, exercising what I can only assume to be a new practice on days like this. As I approached the exit gate I could see the barrier guard taking peoples tickets off of them and ripping them up. I flashed my ticket at the guard, when he reached over and tried to take it from. I told him I will be keeping my ticket as I intend to claim for my fare. He insisted once more and I continued.

    Ladies and gentlemen, South Eastern trains….

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