Tag Archives: South Western Railway

South Western Railway Strike Compensation Scheme

Today, I have received the update below from the MD of South Western Railway about the Special Compensation Scheme they are running for their customers who were affected by the industrial action on our network in December 2019.

Dear Nikki,

I’m writing to update you on the Special Compensation Scheme we are running for our customers who were affected by the industrial action on our network in December 2019.

We are pleased to announce that we have now started contacting customers who we’ve been able to determine as eligible for compensation under the scheme. At the same time, we also have our dedicated service team in place who will be able to offer support about the scheme by phone or via our webform. 

Additionally, the December 2019 Strike Compensation Scheme eligibility checker is now live. This useful tool allows our customers to check whether their journey/route is eligible for compensation. https://compensation.southwesternrailway.com

The main compensation scheme will run in two phases. We have now launched Phase One and have started the process of contacting customers who we’ve been able to determine as eligible for compensation under the scheme.  We will contact season ticket holders (valid for a month or longer) for whom we hold complete sales records and accurate contact information, typically those customers who purchased a season ticket through our website or at one of our stations. We are aiming to compensate as many customers as possible during this phase so it will take several weeks to complete.

In Phase Two, all customers who have not already been contacted but who travelled with us during the industrial action in December will be able to apply for compensation by submitting their details through our online system. We will be launching Phase Two when Phase One is complete and we will be using a wide variety of communications channels to spread the message about the scheme. In addition to posters and announcements on our trains and stations we’ll also be using digital channels to reach as many customers as possible even if they are not currently travelling with us due to the Covid 19 pandemic.

Child season tickets will also be included in this process however in Phase One, claim details will only be sent to a parent/guardian where we have that information, all other child season tickets will need to be claimed during Phase Two.

I hope this update is useful and I will keep you informed as the scheme progresses.

An update from Mark Hopwood – Managing Director, South Western Railway

Sharing an email I received earlier from The MD of South Western Railway.

Dear Nikki,

I wanted to write with the latest information about South Western Railway to keep people with an interest in our business updated and informed.

Throughout the current Coronavirus outbreak, colleagues across South Western Railway have been working hard to keep the country moving for their fellow key workers and those that need to travel.

They have also been ensuring that those who do need to travel, can do so safely. For example, when cleaning, they have been paying particular attention to commonly touched surfaces such as ticket machines, grab handles, and door buttons. Additionally, to reduce interaction between colleagues and customers we are not currently accepting cash payments at our ticket offices and ticket machines and encouraging customers where ever possible, to buy on line.

As you know, on 10 May the Prime Minister updated the nation on the road map for coming out of lockdown and recovering the economy. The first step along this road, which started yesterday, was for people to return to work if they could not work from home, meaning an increase in those using our services. However, the Prime Minister also urged people to avoid public transport and so we were not expecting, and have not seen, a dramatic uplift in passengers yet. Nevertheless, I want you to be aware of the additional steps we are putting in place to ensure that those who do need to travel, can so safely.

We are in the process of introducing measures to promote social distancing on our stations and trains, through posters and floor markings and vinyls, as well as through audio announcements and digital media. While we will do everything we can to help passengers respect social distancing; as the Government itself acknowledges, there may be some points on a journey where it is just not possible, such as when boarding or alighting trains.

We’re also encouraging our customers to follow the advice of Government and only travel on our services for essential journeys where other modes of transport are not available. Where customers do need to travel, we are asking them to plan ahead, follow social distancing guidance where possible, follow Government advice on face coverings, and to purchase their ticket online to reduce interaction with our colleagues.

Recognising that the coming days may see more customers return to work, from Monday 18 May, we will be making some increases to capacity. Although we will still be operating a reduced service, some routes will see services reinstated for the first time since lockdown began, with other routes benefiting from longer services or some extra services at peak times. Despite these improvements, with social distancing in place, capacity will be vastly reduced, so we are urging our customers to consider alternative means of transport for getting to work, with our services only being used where there is no other option.

It is strange to find ourselves directing people away from the railway, but that is unfortunately what we have to do at present as we try to keep both customers and colleagues safe.

I also wanted to keep you updated on the progress we are making with tackling the huge number of refund requests we have had. We have now received around 29,000 requests for refunds, and through their hard work, our refund team have processed more than half of those requests. We are continuing to look at how we can speed up this process to deliver passengers their refunds quicker, as we know many of them will have seen dramatic changes to their personal circumstances since lockdown began.

I hope the above information is useful to you. I will of course keep you updated as the situation develops. Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Hopwood
Managing Director
South Western Railway

Update from MD of South Western Railway

I have received the update below from South Western Railway’s Managing Director, Mark Hopwood.

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I wanted to update you on the work South Western Railway has been carrying out in dealing with the Coronavirus and keeping key workers moving during this critical time.

Following on from the changes to the train service timetable we made last week, we have made further adjustments to our revised timetable, with extra early morning and later evening trains to better meet key workers’ travel patterns.  We have also this week made further contact with key stakeholders, including NHS trusts, supermarket distribution centres, and emergency services across our network to check our timetable is meeting their transportation needs. 

Our priority is to keep our trains running for the essential service workers who have to get to work, while keeping everyone safe and helping prevent the spread of the virus. This includes adapting our cleaning regime with our heavy cleaning programme suspended so the team can concentrate on disinfecting trains, with a particular focus on key touchpoints such as handrails, door buttons and toilets. As well as overnight cleaning we have extended the turnround times of trains to allow additional cleaning, bringing in off-track staff and trainees to help disinfect the trains whilst they are in service. The reduction in the number of train services has allowed the team to concentrate their efforts on the trains still running and so help keep customers and colleagues alike safe.

We have also closed our waiting rooms and are making announcements on trains and at stations to promote social distancing among those who have no option but to travel, while using all available communication channels to advise against non-essential travel and urge people to save lives and stay home.

Following Government advice, we have advised many of our non-operational colleagues to work from home and are restricting the activities of our customer contact centre. Unfortunately this has temporarily hampered our ability to handle refunds, however we are currently putting plans in place to allow us to restart this process very soon; although it will take some considerable time for us to work through the backlog of outstanding claims.

I know that refunds have been a major concern for many customers and I am pleased that the industry has this week announced some further policy changes which will alleviate some of those concerns such as extending the refund window from 28 day to 56 days, helping those who may be self-isolating and who feared missing out on a refund. Full details are available on our website.

Throughout this challenging period, we have tried to keep everyone updated through all available channels, including twitter, our website, station customer information screens, and stakeholder emails like this one. We have, and will continue to, take on board feedback about our services and how we can best meet the needs of not just those key workers, but also of those customers who are no longer travelling and need to change their plans.

We recognise that together with Network Rail we have a vital role to play in keeping the country moving and I am exceptionally proud of how my colleagues at South Western Railway, particularly those on the frontline, have risen to the challenge and are just getting on with the job of running our railway.

If you need any further information, please contact stakeholders@swrailway.com  


Yours sincerely,

Outcome of South Western Railway consultation into late night and early morning services

I have received an update from South Western Railways following their consultation re late night/early morning services. Kindly read below:

Dear Nikki,

I am writing to let you know that following last Autumn’s public consultation into changes to late night/early morning services, we will be pressing ahead with the improvements on a trial basis from December 2020. As a result, passengers will benefit from:

  • More late night services on Fridays and Saturdays
  • A more reliable railway for everyone
  • Less overrunning engineering works

Although this will mean the withdrawal or retiming of a small number of late night/early morning services on Sunday-Thursday affecting around 400 passengers, by allowing Network Rail additional time for engineering work we will deliver a more reliable railway for the hundreds of thousands of passengers who travel on the network every day.

The full results of the consultation are available at: www.southwesternrailway.com/consultation

Network Rail will carry out a large programme of improvement work in the Guildford area over Easter

I am sharing an update I received from South Western Railway about
a large programme of improvement work in the Guildford area over Easter that will affect train services for rail users including Haslemere residents.

Passengers advised to plan ahead this Easter with Guildford area set for 10 days of improvement work

  • All lines in the Guildford area will be affected by improvement work between Friday 10 and Sunday 19 April 2020
  • A limited South Western Railway (SWR) service will operate between London Waterloo and Guildford via Cobham & Stoke D’ Abernon between Tuesday 14 and Sunday 19 April
  • Great Western Railway (GWR) and CrossCountry services will be replaced by buses throughout
  • Southern passengers for Guildford will need to change at Epsom for onward SWR services

Network Rail will carry out a large programme of improvement work in the Guildford area over Easter to provide a more reliable railway and better performing train services.

Engineers will lay almost a mile of new track for trains to run on and over a mile of conductor rail to supply trains with electricity. 41 new track circuits, which tell signallers where trains are on the network, will be installed. The project has taken more than two years to plan and will take 12,000 man hours to complete.

Between Friday 10 and Sunday 19 April, all other services by SWR, GWR, CrossCountry and Southern are affected as follows:

  • SWR services between Woking/Guildford and Haslemere will be replaced by buses
  • SWR services between Guildford and Aldershot will be replaced by buses
  • GWR services between Reading and Gatwick Airport will run between Reading and Ash, with buses replacing services between North Camp and Guildford/Gatwick Airport
  • CrossCountry services from Newcastle to Guildford will terminate at Reading
  • Southern services for Guildford will start and finish at Epsom, with passengers required to transfer to SWR services to travel on to Guildford
  • SWR will run a limited service between London Waterloo and Guildford, via Cobham & Stoke D’ Abernon, from Tuesday 14 April.

Passengers should plan ahead and check before they travel with National Rail Enquiries or their train operator, as services are subject to changes and may take longer.

Mark Killick, Network Rail Wessex route director, said: “We would like to encourage passengers who travel through Guildford to plan ahead and check before they travel, as there will be a very limited number of services between Friday 10 and Sunday 19 April.

“We apologise for the disruption that our improvements will cause however this work is vital if we are to improve both the railway and train services in the area. Closing the line for 10 days will allow us to carry out much more work compared to a series of more limited weekend closures, which could take months.”

Alan Penlington, South Western Railway Customer Experience Director, said: “These crucial works will increase the reliability of train services that travel through Guildford and help reduce disruption in the future. I realise there is never a convenient time to close the railway, but Network Rail has chosen to carry out these works over the Easter holidays when passenger demand is typically lower.”

“I really appreciate the patience of our customers whilst the improvement works are carried out and I urge anyone who is traveling via Guildford over the Easter period to check before they travel.”

Notes to editors

  • As part of our multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, we’re working for you to allow trains to run more frequently, faster, and to improve the reliability of the rail network to reduce delays in the future.
  • Network Rail is investing over £2bn over the next five years to upgrade signalling, tracks, structures, embankments, stations and depots to give passengers in South West London, Surrey, Hampshire, Somerset better journeys with fewer delays.
  • Our timetables are planned 12 months in advance, and we schedule in the time needed for planned works to improve the rail network.
  • When we need to carry out planned engineering works, such as replacing tracks or upgrading signalling systems, we might need to close a section of track for 24 hours or longer to complete the upgrade work efficiently and safely.
  • Trains run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, so there’s no time when the network isn’t being used, meaning works can cause some disruption for passengers and businesses.
  • We plan works for certain times, so they cause the least disruption to passengers such as on bank holidays, Sundays and overnight, when the network is less busy.

Suspended – RMT Strike Monday 9, Tuesday 10, Thursday 12 & Friday 13 March

Notification from South Western Railway that RMT strike action has been suspended

South Western Railway announces compensation package for customers affected by December strikes

From: South Western Railway
Date: 18 February 2020
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Subject: South Western Railway announcement on compensation for December 2019 strike

Dear Nikki,

I am writing to you to let you know that today we are announcing an additional compensation package for customers affected by the strike on our network in December 2019.

We did our utmost to keep passengers moving during December and carried over 80% of the number of passengers we normally would have done at this time of year. However, I have listened to customer feedback, and given the duration and intensity of the strike, we are now offering additional compensation, over and above the normal delay repay arrangements.

Full details of the compensation arrangements can be found in the attached press release or by visiting: www.southwesternrailway.com/december-2019-strike-compensation

Yours sincerely,

Mark Hopwood
Managing Director
South Western Railway 

South Western Railway Strike Update

Today, I received this update from South Western Railway regarding proposed strike action.

From: Andy Mellors
Date: 21 November 2019 at 4:15:04 pm GMT
To: Nikki Barton
Subject: South Western Railway Update

Dear Cllr Barton,

I am contacting you regarding the prospect of industrial action taking place on the South Western Railway network and the impact this could have on passengers in your local area.

The RMT union has called 28 days of strike action which will disrupt our train services throughout December. The action is due to commence on 2 December and last until the New Year.

I very much hope we can avoid the strikes happening at all and we’re still open to discussions with the RMT.

However, we are working very hard planning for how we keep our passengers moving if the strikes do go ahead. 

This dispute centres around the role of guards on SWR’s trains.  We have publicly promised that there will always be guards on our trains, helping deliver the train service passengers need and want, and that our guards will have a safety critical role.

All we’re asking is that our guards work with us to bring in our new trains, which our estimates show could mean over 10 million more passenger journeys arrive on-time in peak hours every year.

We still hope these promises will help avoid strike action. However, we are putting plans in place to keep as many passengers as possible moving throughout the strike should it proceed:

  • By early next week we will publish downloadable, detailed timetables for services that will still be running during the strike, once these have been finalised. We will also be publishing some frequently asked questions to help passengers plan their journey
  • We are working with other transport providers so as many tickets as possible can be accepted on other rail and bus networks
  • We are committed to doing everything we can to provide people, business, councils, community groups and other organisations with the most detailed and up-to-date information we have and will be providing the latest travel information on our website

I don’t want this strike to happen. It doesn’t need to happen, and I hope the promises we’ve made to our guards will help reassure them that the strike is unnecessary.

However, if the strike does go ahead we will be doing everything we can to get our passengers to where they need to go in the run-up to Christmas and New Year.

We will provide you with regular updates as and when new information is available.

You can find the latest information at www.southwesternrailway.com/strike 

Kind regards

Andy Mellors
Managing Director
South Western Railway

Woking SWR stakeholder conference

Yesterday, I attended the South Western Railways Stakeholder conference in Woking.

Some slides:

Guard will be retained but strikes are still scheduled for December 2019
Additional early evening services for Haslemere

Acknowledgement by CEO Andrew Haines that Network Rail didn’t understand consequences of changing the layout at Waterloo station on the travelling public and didn’t liaise with SWR on impact on timetables. New approach – Putting Passengers First – following Holden Recommendations identified many improvements needed.

Big stress of increasing passenger numbers, 230 million/year on Wessex Route, Waterloo is the busiest station in the country.

Andy Mellors, Managing Director SWR, celebrating recent successful launch of Surrey Hills to South Downs CRP at conference.

Proposed amendments to some late night & early morning train services from December 2020

From: Andrew Harrowell
Date: 30 October 2019 at 7:52:00 am GMT
Subject: Proposed amendments to some late night & early morning services from December 2020

Dear Community Rail Partnerships

I am writing to you to let you know about our current consultation on the proposed amendments to some services from 13th December 2020.

The attached letter from Andy Mellors, Managing Director of South Western Railway, and Mark Killick, Route Director of Wessex of Network Rail, details why we are proposing these amendments. You can view the full consultation at: www.southwesternrailway.com/consultation

I would appreciate it if you could share this with you steering groups and stakeholders.

Many thanks

Andy Harrowell

Community Rail Manager

South Western Railway