Bexley commuter keeps online photo diary in a bid to 'shame' Southeastern

News Shopper: Mr Eckhoff's blog Mr Eckhoff's blog

AN EXASPERATED commuter is keeping an online photo diary in a bid to "shame" Southeastern into improving its service.

David Eckhoff, a writer from Bexley who has been commuting for more than 25 years, claims the operator's trains are worse than those offered in the USSR when Communism was crumbling.

The 51-year-old has documented his personal experiences with the rail operator for nearly a year on his blog with pictures - from ripped out seats and graffittied trains to staff members who have run away in response to pleas for information.

Mr Eckhoff told News Shopper: "I went on the Trans-Siberian Express in the Communist days in 1988 when everything was a complete mess in the USSR. It was better and more reliable then.

"That’s the real issue. There is no reliability. You have no idea whether there’s going to be a train or not. The information is incorrect.

News Shopper:

"If you ask the staff, they are either rude or don't know anything or they say "We think they are rubbish too".

He decided to start his blog after Southeastern services came to a standstill after a sprinkling of snow.

He said: "About three years ago, it was so bad, some MPs were involved.

"Southeastern said ‘we’ll never let this happen again.’ Then last year, it hardly snowed at all - but I couldn’t get home for hours.

"I’m unable to see, as most passengers are, what investments they have made.

"The company isn’t able to provide any correct information."

On his blog, The Royal Factor, Mr Eckhoff has four detailed posts documenting his experience with Southeastern - which he has dubbed "a demon revenue-collecting machine" after paying £1,800 for a season ticket this year.

News Shopper:

He asked News Shopper not be pictured, so he can continue his blog without reprisals from Southeastern.

A Southeastern spokesman said: "We work hard to provide a reliable service each and every day, so it’s disappointing and frustrating when things do go wrong.

"We appreciate rush hour commuter services are busy and do our best to make sure our 2,000 daily trains run on time for passengers. Our daily punctuality is usually above 90 per cent."

Comments (21)

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12:47pm Mon 9 Dec 13

PaulErith says...

In the past 6 years that I've been travelling by South Eastern to get to work, I can't say that it's been that bad. Maybe I'm just very lucky. I can only really think or a handful of times that I've been seriously delayed, and some of them are down the Network Rail as opposed to South Eastern. I can also say that have seen maybe one or two missing seats in that time. What I do think is an issue is the pure volumes of people compared to train capacity. The extra coach that is coming will help, but won't cure the issue. I think it's disgraceful that people pay for travel cards, and get on at Welling, for example, and can't get a seat. On a Cannon Street train, it's the third stop so it's pretty disgraceful that you have to stand.
In the past 6 years that I've been travelling by South Eastern to get to work, I can't say that it's been that bad. Maybe I'm just very lucky. I can only really think or a handful of times that I've been seriously delayed, and some of them are down the Network Rail as opposed to South Eastern. I can also say that have seen maybe one or two missing seats in that time. What I do think is an issue is the pure volumes of people compared to train capacity. The extra coach that is coming will help, but won't cure the issue. I think it's disgraceful that people pay for travel cards, and get on at Welling, for example, and can't get a seat. On a Cannon Street train, it's the third stop so it's pretty disgraceful that you have to stand. PaulErith

12:56pm Mon 9 Dec 13

PengePerson says...

In fairness, as bad as SouthEastern can be, they are not responsible for the vandalism of trains. The price of travel has also escalated sharply over the last few years which doesn't help improve peoples opinions.

Surely a more proactive thing to do would be logging the delay times?
In fairness, as bad as SouthEastern can be, they are not responsible for the vandalism of trains. The price of travel has also escalated sharply over the last few years which doesn't help improve peoples opinions. Surely a more proactive thing to do would be logging the delay times? PengePerson

1:38pm Mon 9 Dec 13

RoyalFactor says...

I find it astonishing when people say Southeastern is 'not that bad'. You only have too look at @se_railway on twitter to see exposed, at last, by thousands of sufferers, every day, what people have been going through for years. I wrote these blog posts because I have had enough of being robbed of my salary every year for a season ticket that increases in price by many times any salary increase I've been lucky enough to get. And which only guarantees me being stranded either in the morning or evening on many, many occasions.

It's not Southeastern's fault that seats get nicked or its trains are graffitied but if you look at other pictures in the blog posts they show equipment that is supposed to supply information but is either broken or misleading, staff reading books and magazines when they are supposed to be looking after us, poorly maintained trains, trains too short to fit passengers on, staff who disappear when there are issues or who have no comprehension as to we need to know when trains are running and a host of other issues that we're forced to pay for whilst we're told how much has been 'invested' in our railway for the last 20 years.

Southeastern and its senior people are continuing to steal more than a living from us and if our politicians are not going to hold them to account and force them to provide a service and cut fares then I will try to do so in my own small way.

I know we're British but saying 'it's ok', rather than showing dissatisfaction at the malicious incompetence of this organisation will only further guarantee the bonuses that Southeastern's board members will award themselves for generating even more unearned revenue from your wallets and purses - and help them reach cost-cutting targets that are also making commuting such a miserable experience.
I find it astonishing when people say Southeastern is 'not that bad'. You only have too look at @se_railway on twitter to see exposed, at last, by thousands of sufferers, every day, what people have been going through for years. I wrote these blog posts because I have had enough of being robbed of my salary every year for a season ticket that increases in price by many times any salary increase I've been lucky enough to get. And which only guarantees me being stranded either in the morning or evening on many, many occasions. It's not Southeastern's fault that seats get nicked or its trains are graffitied but if you look at other pictures in the blog posts they show equipment that is supposed to supply information but is either broken or misleading, staff reading books and magazines when they are supposed to be looking after us, poorly maintained trains, trains too short to fit passengers on, staff who disappear when there are issues or who have no comprehension as to we need to know when trains are running and a host of other issues that we're forced to pay for whilst we're told how much has been 'invested' in our railway for the last 20 years. Southeastern and its senior people are continuing to steal more than a living from us and if our politicians are not going to hold them to account and force them to provide a service and cut fares then I will try to do so in my own small way. I know we're British but saying 'it's ok', rather than showing dissatisfaction at the malicious incompetence of this organisation will only further guarantee the bonuses that Southeastern's board members will award themselves for generating even more unearned revenue from your wallets and purses - and help them reach cost-cutting targets that are also making commuting such a miserable experience. RoyalFactor

1:57pm Mon 9 Dec 13

joertmclark says...

The one thing that frustrates me with Southeastern is that they do not increase the number of carriages that are in service.
They are building extended platforms along their metro routes to allow 12 carriage trains to be in service (from 10 carriages); yet most peak trains only have 4 and 6 carriages!
The one thing that frustrates me with Southeastern is that they do not increase the number of carriages that are in service. They are building extended platforms along their metro routes to allow 12 carriage trains to be in service (from 10 carriages); yet most peak trains only have 4 and 6 carriages! joertmclark

3:04pm Mon 9 Dec 13

kids1st says...

My husband is a train driver, He has been spat at, abused & threatened.
He has seen it from both sides,being a commuter for 20 yrs before becoming a driver. Although he can understand peoples frustration, there are problems the passenger doesn't know about,.such as sliding straight through a station when it is slightly wet/leaves on the line. which is v.scary when you are responsible for a hell of a lot of people!
My husband is a train driver, He has been spat at, abused & threatened. He has seen it from both sides,being a commuter for 20 yrs before becoming a driver. Although he can understand peoples frustration, there are problems the passenger doesn't know about,.such as sliding straight through a station when it is slightly wet/leaves on the line. which is v.scary when you are responsible for a hell of a lot of people! kids1st

3:44pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Wombles4000 says...

joertmclark wrote:
The one thing that frustrates me with Southeastern is that they do not increase the number of carriages that are in service.
They are building extended platforms along their metro routes to allow 12 carriage trains to be in service (from 10 carriages); yet most peak trains only have 4 and 6 carriages!
Some will be from next year. Half of London bridge is closing so half as many trains will be able to stop there, and those that do will be 12 carriages to hopefully carry enough people.

SE will only get more carriages long term if the Department for Transport agrees. They set most things - trains available, frequencies etc and SE lease them from private companies. The way to get more in London is for TfL to take over metro routes (Kent council blocked this and London politicians didn't fight enough for it) or for MPs to campaign to the Transport Department for more across the wole franchise. MPs all over the country do this for their local area. Hardly any do so in SE London and Kent.
[quote][p][bold]joertmclark[/bold] wrote: The one thing that frustrates me with Southeastern is that they do not increase the number of carriages that are in service. They are building extended platforms along their metro routes to allow 12 carriage trains to be in service (from 10 carriages); yet most peak trains only have 4 and 6 carriages![/p][/quote]Some will be from next year. Half of London bridge is closing so half as many trains will be able to stop there, and those that do will be 12 carriages to hopefully carry enough people. SE will only get more carriages long term if the Department for Transport agrees. They set most things - trains available, frequencies etc and SE lease them from private companies. The way to get more in London is for TfL to take over metro routes (Kent council blocked this and London politicians didn't fight enough for it) or for MPs to campaign to the Transport Department for more across the wole franchise. MPs all over the country do this for their local area. Hardly any do so in SE London and Kent. Wombles4000

3:59pm Mon 9 Dec 13

RoyalFactor says...

kids1st wrote:
My husband is a train driver, He has been spat at, abused & threatened. He has seen it from both sides,being a commuter for 20 yrs before becoming a driver. Although he can understand peoples frustration, there are problems the passenger doesn't know about,.such as sliding straight through a station when it is slightly wet/leaves on the line. which is v.scary when you are responsible for a hell of a lot of people!
Hi, problem is not with the staff who are willing to help passengers. Some drivers are brilliant with info and some leave passengers in situations where they have to break out of stranded trains because they tell them nothing. No-one deserves abuse (I have defended SE staff from violent people) but some station staff deliberately provoke passengers, one of my posts is about this. And passengers naturally get riled when stranded at stations with no or misleading information.

In Britain we either say 'it's not too bad' or punch someone's lights out. We need people to show displeasure somewhere in the middle of those two in order to force those we pay to a do a job for us to do that job.

And I do understand issues with rails. There will be equipment to deal with this but to cut costs and ensure bonuses are triggered it is likely that Southeastern will have minimised its use or stopped using it at all. But last week on twitter Southeastern claimed 'ice on the rails'; it was 9 degrees in London and 9.5 degrees in Dover at the time, so it's easy to see that passengers have little sympathy with ludicrous or simply false excuses to cover a service that is being cut to the bone whilst revenues the Sultan of Brunei dreams about are generated from the wallets and purses of people with little alternative.

An audience on twitter with chief executive Charles Horton (MBA) would be interesting.
[quote][p][bold]kids1st[/bold] wrote: My husband is a train driver, He has been spat at, abused & threatened. He has seen it from both sides,being a commuter for 20 yrs before becoming a driver. Although he can understand peoples frustration, there are problems the passenger doesn't know about,.such as sliding straight through a station when it is slightly wet/leaves on the line. which is v.scary when you are responsible for a hell of a lot of people![/p][/quote]Hi, problem is not with the staff who are willing to help passengers. Some drivers are brilliant with info and some leave passengers in situations where they have to break out of stranded trains because they tell them nothing. No-one deserves abuse (I have defended SE staff from violent people) but some station staff deliberately provoke passengers, one of my posts is about this. And passengers naturally get riled when stranded at stations with no or misleading information. In Britain we either say 'it's not too bad' or punch someone's lights out. We need people to show displeasure somewhere in the middle of those two in order to force those we pay to a do a job for us to do that job. And I do understand issues with rails. There will be equipment to deal with this but to cut costs and ensure bonuses are triggered it is likely that Southeastern will have minimised its use or stopped using it at all. But last week on twitter Southeastern claimed 'ice on the rails'; it was 9 degrees in London and 9.5 degrees in Dover at the time, so it's easy to see that passengers have little sympathy with ludicrous or simply false excuses to cover a service that is being cut to the bone whilst revenues the Sultan of Brunei dreams about are generated from the wallets and purses of people with little alternative. An audience on twitter with chief executive Charles Horton (MBA) would be interesting. RoyalFactor

4:03pm Mon 9 Dec 13

RoyalFactor says...

Wombles4000 wrote:
joertmclark wrote: The one thing that frustrates me with Southeastern is that they do not increase the number of carriages that are in service. They are building extended platforms along their metro routes to allow 12 carriage trains to be in service (from 10 carriages); yet most peak trains only have 4 and 6 carriages!
Some will be from next year. Half of London bridge is closing so half as many trains will be able to stop there, and those that do will be 12 carriages to hopefully carry enough people. SE will only get more carriages long term if the Department for Transport agrees. They set most things - trains available, frequencies etc and SE lease them from private companies. The way to get more in London is for TfL to take over metro routes (Kent council blocked this and London politicians didn't fight enough for it) or for MPs to campaign to the Transport Department for more across the wole franchise. MPs all over the country do this for their local area. Hardly any do so in SE London and Kent.
The carriages used to be there, where are they now?! London politicians have been worse than useless, that I absolutely agree on!
@theroyalfactor
[quote][p][bold]Wombles4000[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]joertmclark[/bold] wrote: The one thing that frustrates me with Southeastern is that they do not increase the number of carriages that are in service. They are building extended platforms along their metro routes to allow 12 carriage trains to be in service (from 10 carriages); yet most peak trains only have 4 and 6 carriages![/p][/quote]Some will be from next year. Half of London bridge is closing so half as many trains will be able to stop there, and those that do will be 12 carriages to hopefully carry enough people. SE will only get more carriages long term if the Department for Transport agrees. They set most things - trains available, frequencies etc and SE lease them from private companies. The way to get more in London is for TfL to take over metro routes (Kent council blocked this and London politicians didn't fight enough for it) or for MPs to campaign to the Transport Department for more across the wole franchise. MPs all over the country do this for their local area. Hardly any do so in SE London and Kent.[/p][/quote]The carriages used to be there, where are they now?! London politicians have been worse than useless, that I absolutely agree on! @theroyalfactor RoyalFactor

4:12pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Wombles4000 says...

RoyalFactor wrote:
kids1st wrote:
My husband is a train driver, He has been spat at, abused & threatened. He has seen it from both sides,being a commuter for 20 yrs before becoming a driver. Although he can understand peoples frustration, there are problems the passenger doesn't know about,.such as sliding straight through a station when it is slightly wet/leaves on the line. which is v.scary when you are responsible for a hell of a lot of people!
Hi, problem is not with the staff who are willing to help passengers. Some drivers are brilliant with info and some leave passengers in situations where they have to break out of stranded trains because they tell them nothing. No-one deserves abuse (I have defended SE staff from violent people) but some station staff deliberately provoke passengers, one of my posts is about this. And passengers naturally get riled when stranded at stations with no or misleading information.

In Britain we either say 'it's not too bad' or punch someone's lights out. We need people to show displeasure somewhere in the middle of those two in order to force those we pay to a do a job for us to do that job.

And I do understand issues with rails. There will be equipment to deal with this but to cut costs and ensure bonuses are triggered it is likely that Southeastern will have minimised its use or stopped using it at all. But last week on twitter Southeastern claimed 'ice on the rails'; it was 9 degrees in London and 9.5 degrees in Dover at the time, so it's easy to see that passengers have little sympathy with ludicrous or simply false excuses to cover a service that is being cut to the bone whilst revenues the Sultan of Brunei dreams about are generated from the wallets and purses of people with little alternative.

An audience on twitter with chief executive Charles Horton (MBA) would be interesting.
I can't stand a lot of what southeastern do but maintainance trains and de-icing have nothing to do with southeastern. It's network rail that do that and southeastern can't cut it back to save money. Completely different responsibility. When apportioning blame you have to understand the fragmented, inefficient nature of the privatised network and then focus on the things SE are responsible for and get wrong.

What is wrong is their communications - as you say about the ice in 9c. They respond in a robotic manner which frustrates many.
[quote][p][bold]RoyalFactor[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]kids1st[/bold] wrote: My husband is a train driver, He has been spat at, abused & threatened. He has seen it from both sides,being a commuter for 20 yrs before becoming a driver. Although he can understand peoples frustration, there are problems the passenger doesn't know about,.such as sliding straight through a station when it is slightly wet/leaves on the line. which is v.scary when you are responsible for a hell of a lot of people![/p][/quote]Hi, problem is not with the staff who are willing to help passengers. Some drivers are brilliant with info and some leave passengers in situations where they have to break out of stranded trains because they tell them nothing. No-one deserves abuse (I have defended SE staff from violent people) but some station staff deliberately provoke passengers, one of my posts is about this. And passengers naturally get riled when stranded at stations with no or misleading information. In Britain we either say 'it's not too bad' or punch someone's lights out. We need people to show displeasure somewhere in the middle of those two in order to force those we pay to a do a job for us to do that job. And I do understand issues with rails. There will be equipment to deal with this but to cut costs and ensure bonuses are triggered it is likely that Southeastern will have minimised its use or stopped using it at all. But last week on twitter Southeastern claimed 'ice on the rails'; it was 9 degrees in London and 9.5 degrees in Dover at the time, so it's easy to see that passengers have little sympathy with ludicrous or simply false excuses to cover a service that is being cut to the bone whilst revenues the Sultan of Brunei dreams about are generated from the wallets and purses of people with little alternative. An audience on twitter with chief executive Charles Horton (MBA) would be interesting.[/p][/quote]I can't stand a lot of what southeastern do but maintainance trains and de-icing have nothing to do with southeastern. It's network rail that do that and southeastern can't cut it back to save money. Completely different responsibility. When apportioning blame you have to understand the fragmented, inefficient nature of the privatised network and then focus on the things SE are responsible for and get wrong. What is wrong is their communications - as you say about the ice in 9c. They respond in a robotic manner which frustrates many. Wombles4000

4:13pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Wombles4000 says...

RoyalFactor wrote:
Wombles4000 wrote:
joertmclark wrote: The one thing that frustrates me with Southeastern is that they do not increase the number of carriages that are in service. They are building extended platforms along their metro routes to allow 12 carriage trains to be in service (from 10 carriages); yet most peak trains only have 4 and 6 carriages!
Some will be from next year. Half of London bridge is closing so half as many trains will be able to stop there, and those that do will be 12 carriages to hopefully carry enough people. SE will only get more carriages long term if the Department for Transport agrees. They set most things - trains available, frequencies etc and SE lease them from private companies. The way to get more in London is for TfL to take over metro routes (Kent council blocked this and London politicians didn't fight enough for it) or for MPs to campaign to the Transport Department for more across the wole franchise. MPs all over the country do this for their local area. Hardly any do so in SE London and Kent.
The carriages used to be there, where are they now?! London politicians have been worse than useless, that I absolutely agree on!
@theroyalfactor
They have the same number. Why there are so many short formed trains could be down to their poor maintenance.
[quote][p][bold]RoyalFactor[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Wombles4000[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]joertmclark[/bold] wrote: The one thing that frustrates me with Southeastern is that they do not increase the number of carriages that are in service. They are building extended platforms along their metro routes to allow 12 carriage trains to be in service (from 10 carriages); yet most peak trains only have 4 and 6 carriages![/p][/quote]Some will be from next year. Half of London bridge is closing so half as many trains will be able to stop there, and those that do will be 12 carriages to hopefully carry enough people. SE will only get more carriages long term if the Department for Transport agrees. They set most things - trains available, frequencies etc and SE lease them from private companies. The way to get more in London is for TfL to take over metro routes (Kent council blocked this and London politicians didn't fight enough for it) or for MPs to campaign to the Transport Department for more across the wole franchise. MPs all over the country do this for their local area. Hardly any do so in SE London and Kent.[/p][/quote]The carriages used to be there, where are they now?! London politicians have been worse than useless, that I absolutely agree on! @theroyalfactor[/p][/quote]They have the same number. Why there are so many short formed trains could be down to their poor maintenance. Wombles4000

4:22pm Mon 9 Dec 13

RoyalFactor says...

Wombles4000 wrote:
RoyalFactor wrote:
kids1st wrote: My husband is a train driver, He has been spat at, abused & threatened. He has seen it from both sides,being a commuter for 20 yrs before becoming a driver. Although he can understand peoples frustration, there are problems the passenger doesn't know about,.such as sliding straight through a station when it is slightly wet/leaves on the line. which is v.scary when you are responsible for a hell of a lot of people!
Hi, problem is not with the staff who are willing to help passengers. Some drivers are brilliant with info and some leave passengers in situations where they have to break out of stranded trains because they tell them nothing. No-one deserves abuse (I have defended SE staff from violent people) but some station staff deliberately provoke passengers, one of my posts is about this. And passengers naturally get riled when stranded at stations with no or misleading information. In Britain we either say 'it's not too bad' or punch someone's lights out. We need people to show displeasure somewhere in the middle of those two in order to force those we pay to a do a job for us to do that job. And I do understand issues with rails. There will be equipment to deal with this but to cut costs and ensure bonuses are triggered it is likely that Southeastern will have minimised its use or stopped using it at all. But last week on twitter Southeastern claimed 'ice on the rails'; it was 9 degrees in London and 9.5 degrees in Dover at the time, so it's easy to see that passengers have little sympathy with ludicrous or simply false excuses to cover a service that is being cut to the bone whilst revenues the Sultan of Brunei dreams about are generated from the wallets and purses of people with little alternative. An audience on twitter with chief executive Charles Horton (MBA) would be interesting.
I can't stand a lot of what southeastern do but maintainance trains and de-icing have nothing to do with southeastern. It's network rail that do that and southeastern can't cut it back to save money. Completely different responsibility. When apportioning blame you have to understand the fragmented, inefficient nature of the privatised network and then focus on the things SE are responsible for and get wrong. What is wrong is their communications - as you say about the ice in 9c. They respond in a robotic manner which frustrates many.
Trains are maintained by southeastern. In fact it has just boasted of its 'excellence award' for this, much to the amazement of passengers. See my post 'the further decline of Southeastern'. See also Southeastern's announcement of its train maintenance achievement on its 'news' site. Short trains means maintenance costs are cut. The award was given out by other railway people, including Chris Green who was MD of Network Southeast when it ordered all those 'Networker' trains whose doors don't shut if someone is wearing after-shave.

Agree that privatisation was done badly but I commuted before this, British Rail also suffered from 'UK railway culture' and was awful, it just didn't have shareholders. But many of the BR people ended up in the private companies hence the culture of not getting people from A to B remaining.
[quote][p][bold]Wombles4000[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RoyalFactor[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]kids1st[/bold] wrote: My husband is a train driver, He has been spat at, abused & threatened. He has seen it from both sides,being a commuter for 20 yrs before becoming a driver. Although he can understand peoples frustration, there are problems the passenger doesn't know about,.such as sliding straight through a station when it is slightly wet/leaves on the line. which is v.scary when you are responsible for a hell of a lot of people![/p][/quote]Hi, problem is not with the staff who are willing to help passengers. Some drivers are brilliant with info and some leave passengers in situations where they have to break out of stranded trains because they tell them nothing. No-one deserves abuse (I have defended SE staff from violent people) but some station staff deliberately provoke passengers, one of my posts is about this. And passengers naturally get riled when stranded at stations with no or misleading information. In Britain we either say 'it's not too bad' or punch someone's lights out. We need people to show displeasure somewhere in the middle of those two in order to force those we pay to a do a job for us to do that job. And I do understand issues with rails. There will be equipment to deal with this but to cut costs and ensure bonuses are triggered it is likely that Southeastern will have minimised its use or stopped using it at all. But last week on twitter Southeastern claimed 'ice on the rails'; it was 9 degrees in London and 9.5 degrees in Dover at the time, so it's easy to see that passengers have little sympathy with ludicrous or simply false excuses to cover a service that is being cut to the bone whilst revenues the Sultan of Brunei dreams about are generated from the wallets and purses of people with little alternative. An audience on twitter with chief executive Charles Horton (MBA) would be interesting.[/p][/quote]I can't stand a lot of what southeastern do but maintainance trains and de-icing have nothing to do with southeastern. It's network rail that do that and southeastern can't cut it back to save money. Completely different responsibility. When apportioning blame you have to understand the fragmented, inefficient nature of the privatised network and then focus on the things SE are responsible for and get wrong. What is wrong is their communications - as you say about the ice in 9c. They respond in a robotic manner which frustrates many.[/p][/quote]Trains are maintained by southeastern. In fact it has just boasted of its 'excellence award' for this, much to the amazement of passengers. See my post 'the further decline of Southeastern'. See also Southeastern's announcement of its train maintenance achievement on its 'news' site. Short trains means maintenance costs are cut. The award was given out by other railway people, including Chris Green who was MD of Network Southeast when it ordered all those 'Networker' trains whose doors don't shut if someone is wearing after-shave. Agree that privatisation was done badly but I commuted before this, British Rail also suffered from 'UK railway culture' and was awful, it just didn't have shareholders. But many of the BR people ended up in the private companies hence the culture of not getting people from A to B remaining. RoyalFactor

5:01pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Wombles4000 says...

RoyalFactor wrote:
Wombles4000 wrote:
RoyalFactor wrote:
kids1st wrote: My husband is a train driver, He has been spat at, abused & threatened. He has seen it from both sides,being a commuter for 20 yrs before becoming a driver. Although he can understand peoples frustration, there are problems the passenger doesn't know about,.such as sliding straight through a station when it is slightly wet/leaves on the line. which is v.scary when you are responsible for a hell of a lot of people!
Hi, problem is not with the staff who are willing to help passengers. Some drivers are brilliant with info and some leave passengers in situations where they have to break out of stranded trains because they tell them nothing. No-one deserves abuse (I have defended SE staff from violent people) but some station staff deliberately provoke passengers, one of my posts is about this. And passengers naturally get riled when stranded at stations with no or misleading information. In Britain we either say 'it's not too bad' or punch someone's lights out. We need people to show displeasure somewhere in the middle of those two in order to force those we pay to a do a job for us to do that job. And I do understand issues with rails. There will be equipment to deal with this but to cut costs and ensure bonuses are triggered it is likely that Southeastern will have minimised its use or stopped using it at all. But last week on twitter Southeastern claimed 'ice on the rails'; it was 9 degrees in London and 9.5 degrees in Dover at the time, so it's easy to see that passengers have little sympathy with ludicrous or simply false excuses to cover a service that is being cut to the bone whilst revenues the Sultan of Brunei dreams about are generated from the wallets and purses of people with little alternative. An audience on twitter with chief executive Charles Horton (MBA) would be interesting.
I can't stand a lot of what southeastern do but maintainance trains and de-icing have nothing to do with southeastern. It's network rail that do that and southeastern can't cut it back to save money. Completely different responsibility. When apportioning blame you have to understand the fragmented, inefficient nature of the privatised network and then focus on the things SE are responsible for and get wrong. What is wrong is their communications - as you say about the ice in 9c. They respond in a robotic manner which frustrates many.
Trains are maintained by southeastern. In fact it has just boasted of its 'excellence award' for this, much to the amazement of passengers. See my post 'the further decline of Southeastern'. See also Southeastern's announcement of its train maintenance achievement on its 'news' site. Short trains means maintenance costs are cut. The award was given out by other railway people, including Chris Green who was MD of Network Southeast when it ordered all those 'Networker' trains whose doors don't shut if someone is wearing after-shave.

Agree that privatisation was done badly but I commuted before this, British Rail also suffered from 'UK railway culture' and was awful, it just didn't have shareholders. But many of the BR people ended up in the private companies hence the culture of not getting people from A to B remaining.
The difference with BR is that is was given a very small amount of money from central Government. The privatised network actually gets far more taxpayer money and subsidy - about 5 times as much as British Rail did. Chris Green actually did a very good job given BR and Network SE was given tiny amounts of funding. The extensions to 12 carriages was almost finished in the early 90s then cut by central government after platform extensions and other things were done. All train order were also curtailed in the early 90s as privatisation was coming - that led to 5 years of upheaval and no investment.

'Trains are maintained by southeastern' - not trains you mentioned before. Passenger trains are maintained by southeastern but maintenance trains are Network Rail.
[quote][p][bold]RoyalFactor[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Wombles4000[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]RoyalFactor[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]kids1st[/bold] wrote: My husband is a train driver, He has been spat at, abused & threatened. He has seen it from both sides,being a commuter for 20 yrs before becoming a driver. Although he can understand peoples frustration, there are problems the passenger doesn't know about,.such as sliding straight through a station when it is slightly wet/leaves on the line. which is v.scary when you are responsible for a hell of a lot of people![/p][/quote]Hi, problem is not with the staff who are willing to help passengers. Some drivers are brilliant with info and some leave passengers in situations where they have to break out of stranded trains because they tell them nothing. No-one deserves abuse (I have defended SE staff from violent people) but some station staff deliberately provoke passengers, one of my posts is about this. And passengers naturally get riled when stranded at stations with no or misleading information. In Britain we either say 'it's not too bad' or punch someone's lights out. We need people to show displeasure somewhere in the middle of those two in order to force those we pay to a do a job for us to do that job. And I do understand issues with rails. There will be equipment to deal with this but to cut costs and ensure bonuses are triggered it is likely that Southeastern will have minimised its use or stopped using it at all. But last week on twitter Southeastern claimed 'ice on the rails'; it was 9 degrees in London and 9.5 degrees in Dover at the time, so it's easy to see that passengers have little sympathy with ludicrous or simply false excuses to cover a service that is being cut to the bone whilst revenues the Sultan of Brunei dreams about are generated from the wallets and purses of people with little alternative. An audience on twitter with chief executive Charles Horton (MBA) would be interesting.[/p][/quote]I can't stand a lot of what southeastern do but maintainance trains and de-icing have nothing to do with southeastern. It's network rail that do that and southeastern can't cut it back to save money. Completely different responsibility. When apportioning blame you have to understand the fragmented, inefficient nature of the privatised network and then focus on the things SE are responsible for and get wrong. What is wrong is their communications - as you say about the ice in 9c. They respond in a robotic manner which frustrates many.[/p][/quote]Trains are maintained by southeastern. In fact it has just boasted of its 'excellence award' for this, much to the amazement of passengers. See my post 'the further decline of Southeastern'. See also Southeastern's announcement of its train maintenance achievement on its 'news' site. Short trains means maintenance costs are cut. The award was given out by other railway people, including Chris Green who was MD of Network Southeast when it ordered all those 'Networker' trains whose doors don't shut if someone is wearing after-shave. Agree that privatisation was done badly but I commuted before this, British Rail also suffered from 'UK railway culture' and was awful, it just didn't have shareholders. But many of the BR people ended up in the private companies hence the culture of not getting people from A to B remaining.[/p][/quote]The difference with BR is that is was given a very small amount of money from central Government. The privatised network actually gets far more taxpayer money and subsidy - about 5 times as much as British Rail did. Chris Green actually did a very good job given BR and Network SE was given tiny amounts of funding. The extensions to 12 carriages was almost finished in the early 90s then cut by central government after platform extensions and other things were done. All train order were also curtailed in the early 90s as privatisation was coming - that led to 5 years of upheaval and no investment. 'Trains are maintained by southeastern' - not trains you mentioned before. Passenger trains are maintained by southeastern but maintenance trains are Network Rail. Wombles4000

5:04pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Wombles4000 says...

Sorry should have said -

'Trains are maintained by southeastern' - not the maintenance trains which run around de-icing and checking the track. Passenger trains are maintained by southeastern but maintenance trains are Network Rail. So fair to blame them for the many short formed trains and poor maintenance but not lack of de-icing etc.
Sorry should have said - 'Trains are maintained by southeastern' - not the maintenance trains which run around de-icing and checking the track. Passenger trains are maintained by southeastern but maintenance trains are Network Rail. So fair to blame them for the many short formed trains and poor maintenance but not lack of de-icing etc. Wombles4000

5:20pm Mon 9 Dec 13

RoyalFactor says...

Wombles4000 wrote:
Sorry should have said - 'Trains are maintained by southeastern' - not the maintenance trains which run around de-icing and checking the track. Passenger trains are maintained by southeastern but maintenance trains are Network Rail. So fair to blame them for the many short formed trains and poor maintenance but not lack of de-icing etc.
ok. I meant the passenger trains. Network Rail is not an innocent in this, it suufers with UK railway culture too but my contract is with Southeastern and Major said blame-offsetting would not be allowed.
[quote][p][bold]Wombles4000[/bold] wrote: Sorry should have said - 'Trains are maintained by southeastern' - not the maintenance trains which run around de-icing and checking the track. Passenger trains are maintained by southeastern but maintenance trains are Network Rail. So fair to blame them for the many short formed trains and poor maintenance but not lack of de-icing etc.[/p][/quote]ok. I meant the passenger trains. Network Rail is not an innocent in this, it suufers with UK railway culture too but my contract is with Southeastern and Major said blame-offsetting would not be allowed. RoyalFactor

8:47pm Mon 9 Dec 13

Rev. Sue Scottley says...

Personally I don't find the southeastern service intolerable in itself. I would say "satisfactory". I understand that delays happen from time to time and that vandalism and suchlike are inevitable. I have generally found their staff to be pleasant and helpful; some of the drivers especially have impressed me with a sympathetic and informative manner on the intercom when the train I've been on has been delayed. The trains are usually clean, at the times I travel anyway, and I always get a seat.

What I do resent is the premium price I'm paying for a merely "satisfactory" service, and I'm very sure that if I lived a couple of stops up the line and had to stand for half an hour I'd have a very different opinion.

Re the southeastern twitter feed though: most of the time when I've read it during delay days it's mostly them having to repeatedly ask people "which train are you waiting for?" in answer to the question "why is my train late?", or idiots who think all our trains should be equipped for Siberian winters and Saharan summers, and a leaf-destroying ray gun.

It's just occurred to me that "back in the day" there weren't so many trees on railway embankments, because they were a fire hazard with steam trains. Presumably less leaf-triggered delays pre-electrification then!
Personally I don't find the southeastern service intolerable in itself. I would say "satisfactory". I understand that delays happen from time to time and that vandalism and suchlike are inevitable. I have generally found their staff to be pleasant and helpful; some of the drivers especially have impressed me with a sympathetic and informative manner on the intercom when the train I've been on has been delayed. The trains are usually clean, at the times I travel anyway, and I always get a seat. What I do resent is the premium price I'm paying for a merely "satisfactory" service, and I'm very sure that if I lived a couple of stops up the line and had to stand for half an hour I'd have a very different opinion. Re the southeastern twitter feed though: most of the time when I've read it during delay days it's mostly them having to repeatedly ask people "which train are you waiting for?" in answer to the question "why is my train late?", or idiots who think all our trains should be equipped for Siberian winters and Saharan summers, and a leaf-destroying ray gun. It's just occurred to me that "back in the day" there weren't so many trees on railway embankments, because they were a fire hazard with steam trains. Presumably less leaf-triggered delays pre-electrification then! Rev. Sue Scottley

2:36am Tue 10 Dec 13

ISaidThis says...

Is this the bloke who left cards advertising his eBook in a Waterstone's, then complained when the staff gave him bad reviews?

Bit of a cheek to complain about rude railway staff if it is.
Is this the bloke who left cards advertising his eBook in a Waterstone's, then complained when the staff gave him bad reviews? Bit of a cheek to complain about rude railway staff if it is. ISaidThis

10:52pm Wed 11 Dec 13

Sian1979 says...

It's a shame you can't photograph the temperature of the trains SE can't control the damage or graffiti, however I do expect the heating to be on when the weather is as cold as it was today. Both trains to and from work today were absolutely freezing, and we have to pay extortionate prices for this service
It's a shame you can't photograph the temperature of the trains SE can't control the damage or graffiti, however I do expect the heating to be on when the weather is as cold as it was today. Both trains to and from work today were absolutely freezing, and we have to pay extortionate prices for this service Sian1979

5:51pm Thu 12 Dec 13

RoyalFactor says...

Sian1979 wrote:
It's a shame you can't photograph the temperature of the trains SE can't control the damage or graffiti, however I do expect the heating to be on when the weather is as cold as it was today. Both trains to and from work today were absolutely freezing, and we have to pay extortionate prices for this service
The heating was left on on many trains throughout the summer. When Southeastern was asked about this on Twitter it said that it had a 'summerisation programme' where heating was turned off on trains over the summer but that thermostats 'might be faulty', there was no mention of fixing them. Many trains continued throughout the summer with heating on full blast as the thermostats, along with much of southeastern's equipment, were not fixed or maintained.

Agree re graffiti and missing seats (if they are cleaned or replaced) but if you look at other pictures in the blog posts they show equipment that's either broken or supplies misleading information, staff reading books and magazines when they are supposed to be looking after us, poorly maintained trains, trains too short to fit passengers on, staff who disappear when there are issues or who have no comprehension as to why we need to know when trains are running and a host of other issues that we're forced to pay for whilst we're told how much has been 'invested' in our railway for the last 20 years.
[quote][p][bold]Sian1979[/bold] wrote: It's a shame you can't photograph the temperature of the trains SE can't control the damage or graffiti, however I do expect the heating to be on when the weather is as cold as it was today. Both trains to and from work today were absolutely freezing, and we have to pay extortionate prices for this service[/p][/quote]The heating was left on on many trains throughout the summer. When Southeastern was asked about this on Twitter it said that it had a 'summerisation programme' where heating was turned off on trains over the summer but that thermostats 'might be faulty', there was no mention of fixing them. Many trains continued throughout the summer with heating on full blast as the thermostats, along with much of southeastern's equipment, were not fixed or maintained. Agree re graffiti and missing seats (if they are cleaned or replaced) but if you look at other pictures in the blog posts they show equipment that's either broken or supplies misleading information, staff reading books and magazines when they are supposed to be looking after us, poorly maintained trains, trains too short to fit passengers on, staff who disappear when there are issues or who have no comprehension as to why we need to know when trains are running and a host of other issues that we're forced to pay for whilst we're told how much has been 'invested' in our railway for the last 20 years. RoyalFactor

3:17pm Sat 14 Dec 13

goldenbroomboy says...

You cannot shame people who have no conscience. The KGB found that out when they tried to blackmail the former Indonesian dictator Suharto with photographs of him with prostittutes, he smiled and said "Wow these are great, can I have a set to show my wife?"
You cannot shame people who have no conscience. The KGB found that out when they tried to blackmail the former Indonesian dictator Suharto with photographs of him with prostittutes, he smiled and said "Wow these are great, can I have a set to show my wife?" goldenbroomboy

7:06am Sun 15 Dec 13

MJB says...

I do think Southeastern have got better in recent years compared to previously. I do work shifts so travel off-peak most times and I can't say that my train has caused me to be late too many times, if at all in the last six months. The 'storm day' in late October was pretty bad though getting home.

The MASSIVE problem they have is the provision of real time information. Nothing is more frustrating than checking the website (NR's in fairness) just before leaving home or work and it says the train you intend to get in 5-10 mins is 'on time', when, in fact, there are major delays. You only find the true situation once you get to the station when it's almost too late to make other arrangements. There's just no excuse for poor information in this day and age. None. Especially given my stations are a couple of stations from the start/end points. They must know whether the train has left or not surely?

I do second the notion of letting TfL take over the Metro routes. 2 trains per hour off-peak just isn't acceptable for surburban London. I'm pretty sure TfL would double this given the chance.
I do think Southeastern have got better in recent years compared to previously. I do work shifts so travel off-peak most times and I can't say that my train has caused me to be late too many times, if at all in the last six months. The 'storm day' in late October was pretty bad though getting home. The MASSIVE problem they have is the provision of real time information. Nothing is more frustrating than checking the website (NR's in fairness) just before leaving home or work and it says the train you intend to get in 5-10 mins is 'on time', when, in fact, there are major delays. You only find the true situation once you get to the station when it's almost too late to make other arrangements. There's just no excuse for poor information in this day and age. None. Especially given my stations are a couple of stations from the start/end points. They must know whether the train has left or not surely? I do second the notion of letting TfL take over the Metro routes. 2 trains per hour off-peak just isn't acceptable for surburban London. I'm pretty sure TfL would double this given the chance. MJB

1:51pm Mon 16 Dec 13

RoyalFactor says...

Hi, whilst I would dispute that Southeastern has got better (mind you it has always been atrocious) I do agree on information. Lack of information of inaccurate information has been the norm for 30 years. I was told by a Southeastern board member that a lot of investment has gone into this. I can only think that our money has either been wasted on systems that would never work (the cheapest possible) or has simply been used to boost revenues and therefore trigger bonuses. In terms of information we are no better off than we were 30 years ago.

Southeastern staff readily admit that they have no idea what's going on, in fact some of them seem quite proud of this! And you're right, a train had to start somewhere so it would be obvious for some time that it will not arrive up the line later. UK railway culture is a factor in this, staff seem confused as to why we would want to know when a train might arrive...
Hi, whilst I would dispute that Southeastern has got better (mind you it has always been atrocious) I do agree on information. Lack of information of inaccurate information has been the norm for 30 years. I was told by a Southeastern board member that a lot of investment has gone into this. I can only think that our money has either been wasted on systems that would never work (the cheapest possible) or has simply been used to boost revenues and therefore trigger bonuses. In terms of information we are no better off than we were 30 years ago. Southeastern staff readily admit that they have no idea what's going on, in fact some of them seem quite proud of this! And you're right, a train had to start somewhere so it would be obvious for some time that it will not arrive up the line later. UK railway culture is a factor in this, staff seem confused as to why we would want to know when a train might arrive... RoyalFactor

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