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Discussion in 'UK Railway Discussion' started by cjohnson, 18 Nov 2011.

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  1. cjohnson

    cjohnson Member

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    Southern are currently running an online Q&A forum for members of their 'passenger panel' (similar to the FCC online 'meet the managers' thing that runs every so often).
    Unfortunately I don't think it's visible to non-panel members, but if there's any interesting replies I'll attempt to summarise them in this thread. Similarly if there's any burning questions that anyone wants to put to Southern I can post them and see what they say...
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    A few interesting things from Southern management so far:

    • They have apparently have just started a trial that allows a ticket from any destination to be purchased at whatever machine you are at (hooray!)
    • re: a complaint about the minimum fare when buying a ticket with Network Railcard - "this card is being reviewed at the moment"
    • Southern are not keen on doing print at home tickets
    • "Relaunching" cycle policy next month
    • re: complaints about fares to London Bridge as compared to Victoria - "We are not allowed by industry rules to create a fare to London Bridge that is only valid on Southern"
     
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  3. wintonian

    wintonian Established Member

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    Linky please. :)
     
  4. cjohnson

    cjohnson Member

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    It was southernrailway.com/forum - but as mentioned above I think you have to be a member of the passenger panel to see it.
    --- old post above --- --- new post below ---
    Other items of note, aside from the usual moaning about lack of toilets on 313s, and the usual 442 vs 460 debate:

    • Looking into running the parlay Lewes-Newhaven Marine service into Newhaven Town rather than empty
    • A surprisingly detailed discussion about the squeaky pull-down tables on the back of the 377 seats
    • Gatwick Airport to be gated by Dec 31; after that's gone live you won't be able to buy tickets on board GatEx services anymore
    • Southern have 100 revenue protection inspectors, plus 32 rail neighbourhood officers and four British Transport Police officers (funded by Southern)
    • "The Key" smart card scheme can't be rolled out until Dec '13 at the earliest in London as the existing Oyster readers need to be converted. Plan is for it to include a pay-as-you-got element as well. It will probably be introduced outside London before that.
     
  5. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    They are currently doing work at Gatwick Airport station concourse. Is this to create a larger space for gates?

    When introduced it will end a strange situation where by a penalty fare will be issued for traveling between Gatwick Airport and Brighton without buying a ticket in advanced on a Gatwick Express service but it won't between London and Gatwick. It is also issued if traveling between London and any station beyond Gatwick Airport on a Gatwick Express without buying a ticket in advance but it isn't up to Gatwick Airport. The reverse directions are the same.

    I always thought wither make the whole route penalty fare or none of it.

    Talking of the Gatwick Express, I don't see why their full route is not on their network maps on leaflet/Web Site. They miss everything south of Gatwick. I'd have thought showing a larger network would look better from a promotion point of view..
     
  6. Minstral25

    Minstral25 Established Member

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    I was amazed at this comparison of ticket prices

    EBT £2444 25.5mile £95.84 /mile
    EBR £2444 (31.25 £78.20)
    RDH £2344 20.75 £112.96
    OXT £1864 20.25 £92.05
    EGR £2160 30 £72.00
    UCK £2444 46.25 £52.84

    How much more do Redhill commuters pay for their tickets than East Grinstead passengers, yet despite being many more of us by passenger statistics, we are forced to squeeze into overcrowded 8 coach peak services whereas EGR get extended 12 coach trains and same service frequency.
     
  7. OxtedL

    OxtedL Established Member Quizmaster

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    As a branch line, the Oxted line is disadvantaged in many ways. If one thing goes wrong on the Oxted line then there are very few alternatives, and at Uckfield particularly so - trains are cut to Crowborough if delays get above 20 minutes. We disappear quite promptly when there is snow. East Grinstead only gets stoppers now. Although this is not a huge excuse for the comparative luxury you've noticed. :D

    Southern did some massive flat pricing thing on season tickets when they massively improved the Uckfield line service to encourage greater useage (and it's worked). Meanwhile Redhill has a bit of FCC thrown in, which can't help with sensible ticket pricing at all.

    I fully agree with your overcrowding comments, most of the Redhill trains I see in the evening are completely sardined from at least 5 minutes before departure, with people physically forcing themselves onto the train. (People in the North, take note when moaning about your 2-car trains :p).

    You have probably hit the nail on the head with passenger statistics; when there are more of you they can charge more, in financial confidence. The Oxted Line is all about grabbing commuters onto the line and it is sometimes difficult to convince people when it isn't a main line.
     
  8. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    Redhill has exceptionally poor pricing and, it seems, pretty awful service. Every time any wider improvements are mentioned, Redhill station is almost forgotten - again. The poor staff have to work in a grottier, more overcrowded, outdated station and it really shows on their faces sometimes. The place needs 4 operational platforms (at least), nicer entrances and lifts, and just a big spruce up. This is the station that the town was built around, for goodness' sake! It also serves not one but two junctions with what could be economic and useful routes.

    It could be a much more useful station but lots of people now give up on the railway in this area since the Brighton/sensible southbound services have virtually been dropped, the services to Reading stop at every house in the Surrey countryside and the crowning glory is the aforementioned peak hour crowding and infrequency of service per head.

    On the plus side, Thameslink should hopefully deliver a greater level of long-distance service and result in 12-car trains. We can only hope.

    /rant

    Suggestions I would constructively make for Redhill area would be:

    - Eradication of the Quarry Line section that goes past Redhill station (diverts economic interest from the increasingly desperate Redhill area, ruins a site of special scientific interest and requires increased upkeep costs)
    - Four or more platforms for Redhill station
    - Construction of a South-to-West chord at Redhill, for potential Gatwick-Heathrow services
    - New station buildings on the old nightclub or Ford garage site - safeguarded land - in Redhill to serve both the conventional and chord (see above) platforms
    - New commuter belt station under the Hatchlands Road NDL bridge between Redhill and Reigate
    - Potential extension of services to more long-distance TOCs, as seen with old Virgin and IC services
    - Creation of a wide, carefully designed pedestrian subway under A23/A25 roundabout to link Redhill town centre and Redhill Bus Station with railway facilities

    I know this is probably not the ideal thread to post this on and I need to get in touch with someone "official" about these ideas, but most of them have been thought up before and I simply think they bear repeating and would be in the area's economic interests. I realise that none of the above will probably ever happen in the near future, but they are worth considering!

    I'd also like to see full price-by-mileage on the BML.

    (P.S. The above is not just my view but also expresses the views of many friends and family who use Redhill station for varying purposes.)

    ;)
     
    Last edited: 20 Nov 2011
  9. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    I sympathise with the Redhill situation. In theory it should be an optimal place to commute from but 15 years ago I chose Three Bridges instead due to the reasons you have mentioned.

    Curious though at your comment here:

    'Increasingly desperate' - are you talking economically? It doesn't seem like it is doing too badly given the huge amount of housebuilding and new office blocks in the area.

    What do you mean by 'Quarry Line section that goes past Redhill station'? Are you advocating diverting the Quarry Line through Redhill from somewhere south of the M25?
     
  10. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    Redhill has some of the most deprived areas in Surrey right within its urban area and a great number of closing or closed businesses and you can see that with, for example, derelict shops and empty houses and offices.

    I don't know when you last visited but a lot of the building work has been for council-owned housing and the office space has not all been taken up as far as I'm aware. As they say... I live here!

    My point is that it could be more of a shopping and leisure destination (like Crawley is now, to take one example) if more trains stopped here. A lot of traffic that could probably call at Redhill uses the Quarry Line. It is literally an excuse to avoid rebuilding Redhill station - with four platforms could accommodate far more traffic IMHO. This is not to mention the increased office/commuter potential both inwards and outwards.

    As far as I can tell, Coulsdon South and Merstham stations are adequately served and in a natural bottleneck due to Merstham tunnel, but the Quarry Line doesn't actually need to start until the North of Redhill. For services that must be fast through Redhill - I suggest only Gatwick Express - there are two lines dedicated to these anyway and they are little-used.
     
  11. radamfi

    radamfi Established Member

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    From what I can see from the Quarry Line when whizzing past Redhill at high speed, there seems to be lots of new houses either side of the line, for example the Watercolour development. I would have thought there would be ample job prospects at the airport or at the many offices in Reigate. Redhill/Reigate is supposed to be one of the most prosperous areas of the country!

    I would have thought considerable remodelling south of Redhill would be required to enable all fast trains to go through Redhill without loss of capacity. Are you advocating Redhill stops on all Eastbourne, Littlehampton and fast Brighton trains? What about all those peak hour trains which currently run non-stop from East Croydon to Three Bridges or Haywards Heath?
     
    Last edited: 20 Nov 2011
  12. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    There aren't all that many jobs in Reigate per head of the population and certainly not as many offices as you think. The business parks in Redhill would be greatly encouraged by any transport infrastructure expansion and they need all the help they can get. The Watercolour developments were actually a sneaky way to add council and shared ownership dwellings and were a response to a lack of family homes. Redhill is comparatively deprived when you look at Surrey as a whole, or even the South East, but Reigate isn't.

    Remember though that I am not talking about Reigate. Reigate station has almost certain planned expansion (I can't think how, but never mind about that!) although this will depend on Redhill station being expanded too. But Redhill has always grown alongside the railway, and vice versa, with the first prosperity really coming from the original Red Hill station. Previously it was marshland and had a few hamlets with farms. This system is still largely in place between Reigate and Dorking. Redhill urgently needs railway development to grow economically, rather than being a backwater junction. As for jobs at Gatwick, well, I am sure there are some, but think of the competition across about four counties!

    From an infrastructure-only point of view, the remodelling required would be a short addition of two extra lines between Redhill and the southern Quarry Tunnel entrance (not forgetting that this is a short distance from Redhill station and much of this is already railway land). There would need to be some displacement of signalling. North of Redhill, a new link to the shortened Quarry Line would be needed. This would probably be the trickiest bit.

    Not every train would need to stop at Redhill but it could probably have the same level of service as East Croydon for coastal destinations and London Terminals. There are already NDL and BML services to Gatwick Airport so this need not be improved upon, as far as I can see, by adding extra Express services. Certainly an improvement is needed in service frequency to London (especially to St Pancras) and Brighton.
     
  13. Southern

    Southern Member

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    Would it not be cheaper to perhaps build another station on the Quarry Line itself, near to the mouth of the Sand Tunnel? Half hourly service to Victoria/Brighton using the existing path (xx:51 ex Victoria) and an additional hourly service (xx:21 ex Victoria). Adding the Clapham stop to the Express hasn't done it any favours (especially at weekends) so I'd leave that as non-stop from East Croydon.
     
  14. tsr

    tsr Established Member

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    No. It might be cheaper, but that is not a good reason to do it (sadly except in NR's eyes).

    There are a number of problems with this:
    - Coulsdon North station had a problem with a similar setup being used and eventually closed (see here)
    - If you're going to stop the services to Victoria and Brighton anywhere, why not stop them at Redhill, which as far as I can see is performing under capacity, even with only 3 platforms?
    - The station is already in the optimum place and has been moved a few times. Why move it again, or even worse, only partially again? Would this not drive commuters away from using the railway?

    I said above:
    What I meant by that was that to spread the use of stations you could have a station in the residential area midway between Redhill and Reigate stations, and provide a greater number of Reigate-London services in peak hours, taking strain off Redhill and Reigate stations and still adding services through Redhill in any case. However, this is only a partial alternative to your suggestion of a station on the Quarry Line.

    Just as it happens there is an ideal site directly adjacent to the A25/Linkfield Street roundabouts and under the Hatchlands Road bridge over the North Downs Line (NDL).

    Also, I'm not suggesting modifications to the Express.
     
  15. Minstral25

    Minstral25 Established Member

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    tsr as a regular Redhill Commuter I can see the need for improvement as the current station struggles to provide a decent service with just 3 platforms. It is complicated by the FGW trains that turn around for Gatwick and terminators from Tonbridge, Reigate and Reading also crowding one platform.

    Improvements to Redhill Station should though be kept simpler.

    Removing the Quarry Line is a significant feat that is unlikely - there is room for a crossover at Merstham from the existing line and room to run 4 track into Redhill Station and to the South of the junction there is probably room for 4 tracks too. Problem is the junction to the South of the station - quite frankly the cost of remodelling to allow fast trains to go through would mean negative cost benefits. Let's be fair as well the Quarry Line has been there for years and the town has grown up around it.

    So what should happen - the plan for Platform zero is a bit naff too. It will be on the wrong side of the station and would not reduce the conflicting moves. Also in the evenings with the Southbound trains splitting in Platform 3 this would not be relieved either and that is the major constraint of rush hour trains at Redhill.

    I think that the best idea would be to extend the bay platform 4 (which currently has access from the north only) to be a full 12 coach through platform with access to the mains and Tonbridge branch.

    This would be possible by removing the old connections to the sorting office and squeezing the line through on a new Bridge. It may mean the loss of some of the station buildings on Platform 3 plus the offices at the end of the platform. Additionally the easy exit from platform 3 would also go but a new footbridge could be added at the Northern end of the station as compensation.

    The operational flexibility would be wonderful and Tonbridge terminators would no longer need to cross to platforms 1/2.

    Additionally the Southern end of Platform 1 could be converted to a 4 coach bay for Reading trains and by extending the rest of the platform out and along, a 2nd Northbound 12 coach platform could be created further down. I think there is enough room before the footbridge which would create even more operational flexibility although some of the sidings may be lost but as they are hardly used (if ever) not a great loss.

    Then lastly two flyovers, one for Northbound trains at Stoats Nest and one for Southbound trains before Earlswood station, would enable trains to get onto the fast lines without effecting fast trains going in the opposite direction.
     
  16. Caped Crusader

    Caped Crusader Member

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    Please don't get me started, oh dear too late!

    As a resident of the area for most of my life I have been shocked at the lack of investment and forward thinking that has been put into an integrated public transport system in Redhill. It is one of the most undervalued transport hubs in the South East.

    Now that may seem like a bit of an overstatement to those that don't know the area but where else can you go East to West without hitting the coast or going via London, there is so much potential and so little planning or investment it's almost like someone has wiped it from the map at planning meetings.

    The reason that Redhill exists is because of the railway and trust me those sneaky Victorians weren't stupid.
     
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