Delay Repay: If Southeastern claim they have a bullet train, challenge them!

I was very surprised to receive an e-mail from Southeastern Customer Services advising me that my claim for a journey on 22 February was declined. The reason given was as follows:

“Our records indicate the journey was delayed by less than 30 minutes, which is below the minimum threshold for triggering compensation”

I replied stating the actual arrival and departure times and asked for an explanation as to why my claim was declined.

The answer I received was as follows: –

“Thank you for your webform dated 26 February about your Delay Repay claim reference S20180223-1169105.

I’m sorry you feel your claim has been wrongfully declined. I appreciate why you’ve taken the time to contact us.

I’ve looked on our records and investigated this claim again for you. I can confirm the 17:00 service from London Bridge arrived into Sevenoaks at 17:30, 3 minutes after scheduled arrival of 17:27. Because of this you missed your 17:30 connection from Sevenoaks to Bat & Ball. Consequently your actual arrival was 18:01, 28 minutes after your scheduled arrival of 17:33.

Although you were only delayed by 28 minutes, as a gesture of goodwill I’ve compensated you for a 30-59 minute delay. I’ve arranged for £7.80 to be sent to you via bank transfer. Please allow 10 working days for the funds to appear in your account.

Once again, thank you for contacting us. I hope your future journeys are trouble free.”

How can the delay I experienced have only been 28 minutes? The 18.00 departure from Sevenoaks would have had to arrive at Bat & Ball at 18.01, it takes three minutes to travel from Sevenoaks to Bat & Ball! According to Network RaiI’s online timetables, which show the distance between stations, Sevenoaks to Bat & Ball is 1.25 miles. To travel 1.25 miles in a minute a speed of 75 MPH is required, and that is ignoring that the train would have to accelerate from being alongside the platform at Sevenoaks station and then brake from speed to stop at Bat & Ball station. I do not think that a Japanese Bullet Train could do this, let alone a Thameslink Class 700.

I was tempted to reply and ask the question, but I have better things to do with my time and I already had the money. Still it shows that it pays to challenge a refusal of Delay-Repay!

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