A total of 114 minutes delay – Southeastern 83, Thameslink 31.
Delay Repay Claims: total 1 January 2016 to 31 May 16 inclusive = £41.00 one claim against Southeastern outstanding.
Keith is a SRTA member and a regular commuter from Bat & Ball to London via Sevenoaks. Each month he gives his personal experiences and views.
Week of 2 May 2016
Total lateness 14 minutes: Southeastern 11, Thameslink 3
- Tuesday 03 May – The 06.30 to Waterloo East departed Sevenoaks one minute late and arrived in London two minutes early. There were a lot of people waiting to board this service this morning and the train was very busy. On departure from Orpington a few unusable middle of three sets were empty and about six people were standing.
- Wednesday 04 May – The 06.30 to Waterloo East was busy again this morning. On departure from Orpington some unusable middle of three sets were empty and a few people were standing. For my return journey I caught the 15.43 from Waterloo East which arrived at Sevenoaks seven minutes late due to delays in the Orpington area.
- Thursday 05 May – On the 06.30 to Waterloo East the Conductor informed passengers that this eight coach train only had one working toilet out of the four on board. That’s not good, especially so early in the morning. The train must have left the depot with a number of toilets out of order, whereas they should have been fixed overnight.
- Friday 06 May – I travelled home on the 15.43 today which was on time at Sevenoaks therefore I tried to obtain a copy of the new Bat & Ball line timetable whilst I was waiting for my train to there. The booking office staff advised me that they expected to have the new timetables on Sunday: they did, but not Timetable number 6 “London to Bromley North, Orpington and Sevenoaks via Grove Park”. This is the timetable that the majority of Sevenoaks based rail travellers require. I completed a Southeastern on-line customer comment form and asked why is it that they cannot arrange for copies of this timetable to be available at Sevenoaks Station when they are displayed elsewhere? I await their reply to see what excuse is offered!
Week of 9 May 2016
Total lateness 13 minutes: Southeastern 7, Thameslink 6
- Monday 09 May – The 06.24 from Bat & Ball was one minute late arriving at Sevenoaks this morning. That’s bettter than I feared – I had been concerned that trains through Bat & Ball might have been disrupted this morning because for the majority of Sunday services were severely delayed due to a failed train at Otford.
- Tuesday 10 May – The 06.24 from Bat & Ball was one minute late arriving at Sevenoaks again this morning. I hurried over the footbridge from platform four to platform one only to discover that the 06.30 to Waterloo East had been cancelled. No reason was given whilst I was on the station, although I discovered later in the week that this train died at Tunbridge Wells. The next available service was the 06.44 departure which was very busy due to the earlier cancellation and first class had been declassified. This did not provide enough seats for those joining the train at Orpington and many people were standing on departure from there. I returned home on the 16.13 from Waterloo East: the information display on this train was advising passengers that its final destination was Sandwich. Perhaps wings have been fitted to glide above the missing track just outside of Dover!
- Wednesday 11 May – The 06.24 from Bat & Ball was one minute late arriving at Sevenoaks again this morning. I had expected the train to be very late today because of the The 06.30 to Waterloo East departed Sevenoaks one minute late and arrived in London two minutes early. Overall much better than I feared: torrential rain that had been falling for some considerable time. Perhaps it was the right type of rain!
- Friday 13 May – A day off work today and the destination is Kingston. I left Bat & Ball on the 08.24 which arrived one minute late at Sevenoaks. I travelled to London on the 08.47 which arrived in Waterloo East four minutes late. I returned from London on the 16.10 from Charing Cross which arrived one minute late at Sevenoaks. The 17.00 to Bat & Ball was on time. The benefit of the Oyster Card with my Gold Card linked to it; National Rail Enquiries offered the following Gold Card discounted fares from Waterloo to Kingston, Off Peak Day Return £9.05, One Day Travelcard £8.00 and Oyster Card from £5.00. The “from” in relation to the Oyster Card fare is slightly strange and I do not know why the word was included because using my Oyster Card the fare charged was £5.00, (two times £2.50). (“From” because Oyster has an evening peak for journeys starting between 1600 and 1900 – if one returns from Kingston in the peak the fare is £6.10 and there’s no Gold Card discount. See TfL’s Fare Finder – Ed) How many people are paying almost twice the fare they need to in the zones where the Oyster Card can be used?
Week of 16 May 2016
Total lateness 13 minutes: Southeastern 4, Thameslink 9
- Monday 16 May – Day one of the new timetable! The 06.24 from Bat & Ball was one minute late arriving at Sevenoaks this morning. The 06.30 to Waterloo East was running in to Sevenoaks as I crossed the footbridge from platform four, it departed on time and arrived in London one minute early.
- Wednesday 18 May – The 06.24 from Bat & Ball was one minute late arriving at Sevenoaks today. The 06.30 to Waterloo East could be seen in the distance approaching Sevenoaks as I crossed the footbridge from platform four, it departed on time and arrived in London two minutes early. Probably due to the strike on Southern services from Tonbridge this train was busier than usual, only a few seats available on departure from Sevenoaks a lot of people were standing after Orpington with one or two unusable middle of three seats unoccupied. I received a reply to my enquiry about the unavailability of timetable number six at Sevenoaks station today. An apology and assurance that they would be available soon. I was also advised that a copy would be posted to me. (As at 28 May I have not received it!)
- Thursday 19 May – I travelled back to Bat & Ball on the 14.12 from Blackfriars today, a seven minute late arrival.
Week of 23 May 2016
Total lateness 74 minutes: Southeastern 61, Thameslink 13
- Monday 23 May – The start of the second week of the new timetable and a poor one by Thameslink. The 06.24 from Bat & Ball was eight minutes late arriving at both Bat & Ball and Sevenoaks this morning; no explanation offered! What’s more, this train did not appear to have been cleaned over the weekend; it was the first service of the day and it could not have become so bad on just one journey. The 06.30 to Waterloo East was long gone therefore the 06.43 was the service I used today; it was on time at Sevenoaks and it arrived in London two minutes early. At Bat & Ball two of the rotten wooden footbridge steps have been replaced with new ones.
- Tuesday 24 May – I returned home on the 16.13 from Waterloo East which arrived on time at Sevenoaks. However at Sevenoaks the departure time came and went. Eventually an announcement was made, the delay was due to a woman being under a train at Paddock Wood. The train was diverted via Otford and Maidstone East regaining the normal route at Ashford.
- Wednesday 25 May – Thameslink almost let me down this morning. The 06.24 from Bat & Ball did not arrive at Sevenoaks until 06.29 where the 06.30 to Waterloo East could be seen coming to a stop in platform one. A very quick crossing of the footbridge was required and I just boarded train before it departed on time. A bad journey home tonight, the 16.13 left Waterloo East a few seconds late but came to a halt at a red signal on the South end of Petts Wood Station. The cause was a major track circuit failure between there and Orpington; nothing moved until Network Rail engineers fixed the fault. Arrival at Sevenoaks was fifty-one minutes late. Annoying the delay to my journey could have only been thirty minutes but the train was held outside of Sevenoaks whilst presumably another mainline train that had been diverted via Swanley was allowed in to Sevenoaks Station in front of us. This resulted in me missing the 17.30 departure to Bat & Ball and having to a wait for the 18.00 service. A one hour Delay Repay claim has been submitted. The train crew on the delayed 16.13 service did a good job informing passengers about what was happening but they were unable to get much in the way of updates from the areas that feed them the relevant information for which they were very apologetic. The Conductor was very keen to encourage passengers to submit Delay Repay claims in respect of this incident and he reminded them that the service was disrupted yesterday and that they should also submit claims for this if they were effected. He also supplied the train service number “2R50” which probably confused the average traveller because unlike some European countries these numbers are not commonly used when communicating with passengers or advertising train service departure times at stations.