Tag Archives: South Western Railway

An update on South Western Railway timetable – January 2021

From: SWR Stakeholders
Date: 8 January 2021 at 5:06:54 pm GMT
To: nikki.barton@haslemeretc.org
Subject: An update on South Western Railway timetable – January 2021

Dear Nikki,

As you will know, throughout this pandemic, our priority has been to provide safe and reliable train services for all those key workers who are keeping our country running through this difficult time.

As we enter a third national lockdown this commitment hasn’t changed.

However, as cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, we, like many other businesses are feeling the effects.

More of our colleagues are testing positive for COVID-19 or self-isolating. We also have a number of colleagues that are shielding due to being Clinically Extremely Vulnerable.

Alongside this, with further restrictions in place, we have again seen a reduction in the number of customers travelling with us.

Therefore, in order to continue to provide a reliable service for those who need it, from Monday 11 January 2021 we will be reducing the number of weekday services we will be running.

Our journey planners for next week have been updated, and PDF timetables are available on our website at: www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/timetables.

However, further changes to timetables may need to be made at short notice, so we strongly recommend customers  check their journey closer to the time of travel at www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey.

We’ll continue to keep this position under review so that we can again increase services when it’s appropriate to do so, taking account of Government policy and customer demand, and we’ll continue to keep you updated.

If you do have any questions please do not hesitate to contact myself or my team by emailing stakeholders@swrailway.com

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation.

Yours sincerely,


Senior Regional Development Manager.
South Western Railway

Haslemere partnership wins national award for station redevelopment scheme

Press release

From the Community Rail Network | news@communityrail.co.uk

Haslemere partnership wins national award for station redevelopment scheme

A group of Haslemere community organisations and local authorities have won a coveted national ‘community rail’ award for their work transforming the town’s popular railway station and information hub.   

The Arts Society, Haslemere, Haslemere Museum, and Haslemere Town Council, supported by Surrey County Council, South Western Railway, and other regional partners, fought off strong competition to take home the Most Enhanced Station award, sponsored by Greater Anglia, at the 16th national Community Rail Awards, on 9 December.

They were recognised for the Haslemere Community Station project, which saw partners come together to develop the station as a gateway to the town and its surroundings, promote rail as sustainable and healthy travel, and boost the area’s social and economic vitality.

The scheme centred around a major revamp of the Haslemere Information Hub, which was transformed from a modest facility only open in the summer to a bigger community space, run by a team of 35 volunteers, now open year-round to make the station a focal point for visitors and the community.  

Project chair Nikki Barton thanked the “wonderful” team of volunteers and station staff at Haslemere for the “huge added value” they had brought to the project.

She said: “We are all totally delighted, it is an exceptional partnership that has come together here. The project started from a very small germ of an idea, but community rail has so much potential to deliver good and positive work, and recognition of that has drawn in partners who had never worked together before.

“For the first time, we got the Surrey Hills AONB, South Downs National Park, and the National Trust all sitting around the table with local community groups to look at how we could use sustainable rail travel to promote Haslemere as a gateway to this beautiful surrounding countryside. Also, the new Surrey Hills to South Downs Community Rail Partnership evolved from this project, which is really exciting.”

The Community Rail Awards, organised by Community Rail Network, recognise the important, often unsung, work by community rail partnerships, station friends, and other community rail groups across Britain. They shine a light on vital projects across this growing grassroots movement, highlighting community rail’s contribution to sustainable mobility, social inclusion, community development, and wellbeing.

The awards were delivered as an online gala evening for the first time with 550 guests, including community rail volunteers, officers, rail industry leaders and government representatives.

Jools Townsend, chief executive of Community Rail Network, said: “Our congratulations go to all involved in the Haslemere Community Station project, which has cemented the station’s place at the heart of the community, and made a major contribution to local sustainable development.  

“The Community Rail Awards recognise the achievements and passion of community rail volunteers, groups and partnerships across Britain. Their tireless efforts connect local people with their railways and stations, bring communities together, and enable more people to access sustainable travel. This contributes to greener, healthier, happier communities, and promotes wider access to opportunity. This couldn’t be more important right now.

“We will be holding up this brilliant example from Haslemere nationally, to inspire more communities to engage positively and draw on their railways and stations.”

Details of all 2020 award winners are on the Community Rail Network website here.

For information on the Haslemere Information Hub, go to www.haslemereinfohub.co.uk.

ENDS

Notes for editors

For more information, pictures, or further interview opportunities, please contact Nikki Barton at nikki.barton@surreycc.gov.uk.

Community Rail Network – Community rail is a unique and growing national movement comprising more than 70 community rail partnerships and 1,000 volunteer groups across Britain that help communities get the most from their railways. Community rail is about engaging local people at grassroots level to promote social inclusion, sustainable and healthy travel, wellbeing, economic development, and tourism. It involves working with train operators, local authorities, and other partners to bring improvements and help our railways and stations to serve local needs.

Established in 2000, Community Rail Network provides support and advice to the community rail movement. We share best practice and connect community rail partnerships and groups together, while working with government at different levels, the transport industry, and the voluntary sector to champion community rail and share its insights on sustainable transport development.

Community rail is evidenced to contribute high levels of social, environmental, and economic value to local areas. A 2019 study estimated volunteer activity alone was worth £33.2m every year.

See communityrail.org.uk, follow and tweet us at twitter.com/CommunityRail, find us on Facebook at facebook.com/CommunityRail/, or sign up to Community Rail News at www.communityrail.org.uk/news/community-rail-news-sign-up/.


South Western Railway update on the December 2020 timetable

Dear Nikki,

I wanted to write to you to provide an update on our plans regarding our timetable from 13 December 2020.

In October SWR informed our stakeholders about our plans to increase services from 13 December 2020. The decision to increase our services was made earlier this year, at a time when we were seeing a steady increase in passenger numbers.

However, since I wrote to you, the nation has entered a second lockdown and from tomorrow we will again be entering a tiered system of restrictions. As you will appreciate, these measures have had an impact on our passenger numbers both current and forecasted.

In light of this, with the permission of the Department for Transport, we have taken the decision to “rollover” our weekday timetable from 13 December 2020 to 26 March 2021. We believe this is the right decision for our business and the taxpayer, who through the Government have been supporting the rail industry throughout this pandemic.

To summarise our timetable from 13 December 2020:

Weekdays – SWR will continue to operate the same timetable that has been running since early September 2020, subject to final approval by Network Rail and planned engineering works, particularly over the Festive Period.

Weekends – Some weekend timetables will still change to reflect patterns in demand and to accommodate planned engineering works, so we are advising our customers to check before they travel.

I hope you will appreciate the scale of the challenge posed by the fast-moving situation presented by COVID-19 as we try to keep our passengers informed of changes in a timely manner. Please rest assured that my colleagues at SWR and Network Rail are working hard to ensure journey planning systems are up to date with the latest information.

While weekday services should be correct through to March 2021, we are working closely to ensure that planned engineering works during the festive period and weekend changes are reflected in the system. We are confident the journey planners will be fully updated by 5 December 2020, although weekend timetables will be subject to change up to 4 weeks in advance of travel.

More information on our current and future timetable can be found at: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/plan-my-journey/timetables        

Thank you for your continued support.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Hopwood
Managing Director
South Western Railway

Apprenticeships available on South Western Railway

To: South Western Railway Stakeholders
Subject: Apprenticeships available on South Western Railway

I’m writing to highlight a significant number of live ongoing vacancies at South Western Railway that could be of interest to your network.

We’re commitment to the communities we serve and currently have nine open apprenticeship opportunities, and a significant number of live ongoing job vacancies across the network – many of which do not require previous rail industry experience.

Those interested in becoming an Apprentice are encouraged to apply quickly as the openings, which always prove incredibly popular, will be closing to applications at midnight on Sunday 22 November.

The four-year scheme is geared towards developing highly-skilled Train Technicians and has an impressive retention rate of 98%. Each apprentice divides their time between training college and gaining valuable workplace experience, giving them the opportunity to learn while they earn. Successful applicants can expect to receive a salary of £20,577 in the first year, increasing to £25,306 by year four (plus regional allowance).

We appreciate that it’s short notice, but could you help us share the details of our apprenticeship scheme – and wider job opportunities at SWR – across your own contacts. To this end I’ve attached the press release which has further details: https://www.southwesternrailway.com/other/news-and-media/news/2020/november/new-opportunities-to-get-on-the-right-track-for-a-career-in-the-railway  

We’re also sharing details of the two case studies from Nicole and Emmanuel on social media between now and Sunday:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SW_Help/status/1329008687852253184   

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6734490161637289984  

We would be very grateful if you could share these posts through your own social media channels to ensure these career opportunities reach as many people as possible.

If you need any more information, then please do drop me a line.

Senior Regional Development Manager

Stakeholder Team

South Western Railway

www.southwesternrailway.com

Templecombe and Haslemere stations shortlisted for coveted railway prize

Two South Western Railway (SWR) stations are in the running to be crowned ‘Station of the Year’, as part of the National Rail Awards (NRA) 2020.

The judges were impressed by Templecombe station in Somerset and Haslemere station in Surrey, with both being shortlisted earlier this month.

The Friends of Templecombe Station – a long established adoption group which has worked closely with the SWR member of staff at the station – has continued to produce beautiful flower displays which are on show across the site, including on the disused platform. They also host monthly coffee mornings in the station’s waiting area, supporting passengers and the local community alike.

The station has history with the awards, having been highly commended in this category in 2018 and winning in 2019.

The local station adoption group at Haslemere has worked closely with the SWR team to install new flower displays, a defibrillator and artwork produced by local schoolchildren. They also received funding and assistance from a variety of teams across SWR to completely refurbish the volunteer-run Information Hub, which is leased on a peppercorn rent.

Commenting, SWR’s Head of Stations Jerome Pacatte said:
“Our station colleagues and local community groups work incredibly hard to maintain and enhance our stations, and in doing help to enhance the overall experience of using our network.

“It is fantastic that the teams that help to maintain both Templecombe and Haslemere stations have already been recognised by the National Rail Awards. This is richly deserved, and we are all wishing them the best of the luck for the next stage of the competition.”

Notes to editors

A message from South Western Railway’s Sustainability Team

From: SWR Stakeholders
To: Nikki.barton@haslemeretc.org
Subject: A message from South Western Railway’s Sustainability Team

Dear Nikki,

You may have spotted that the Department for Transport has launched an open consultation, calling for ideas to “Create a plan to decarbonise transport”

There is more information on the DfT website under  https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/creating-a-plan-to-decarbonise-transport-call-for-ideas

SWR would like its stakeholders to be aware of this opportunity so that you can submit ideas, or indeed alert others to do so.

This could be an opportunity to consider how we kickstart the return to rail post lockdown, rekindling public support for modal shift from cars to public transport in support of local and regional climate change planning.

The consultation is aimed at individuals and groups and is looking at all forms of transport.  It opened on 8 July and closes on 31 August 2020, and ideas can be submitted online through a smart survey on https://www.smartsurvey.co.uk/s/WF1I3C/

Ideas could of course include some of the things that stakeholders have discussed with us in the past such as more electrification, use of new technology such as battery powered trains, and better integration with bus, cycling and walking as well as making rail more accessible and easier to use.

If you want to share any submission with us, please feel free to do so. We are always keen to see ideas on how we can help with sustainability and climate change and we would welcome the opportunity to see your thoughts on this. You can contact us at sustainability@swrailway.com

Best wishes

Head of Sustainability

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.

************************************************************************

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