Deplorable Gatwick Express

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This topic contains 46 replies, has 25 voices, and was last updated by  AMcWhirter 28 Nov 2015
at 14:03

Viewing 15 posts - 31 through 45 (of 47 total)

  • NTarrant

    That is a clerks error rather than anything to do with who runs the railways Canucklad


    ‘canucklad’ why do you think re-nationalisation will fix clerical errors ?


    Morning Charles & NTarrant
    There was no clerk involved, I used our in-house on-line booking tool. Which I presume, metaphorically speaking talks to National Rails computer.

    And I’m taking an educated guess here….. Because the booking involved 4 different companies I was allocated a seat on the first train that a seat could be reserved. If the booking tool had chosen a Northern train to get me to Manchester I’d have been OK. But it linked a Virgin train from Euston to Manchester onto my booking, a service that allows for reserved seating. . .and consequently I forfeited my seat reservation on my TPEX journey.

    So for me, it comes back to, too many companies, with different rules all trying to grab their share of my substantial fare !


    My mistake, you think re-nationalisation will help with computer software errors ?

    Good luck with that 🙂

    Joking aside I agree that the current system is seriously flawed and I appreciate your frustration at what should be a far simpler booking procedure however I remain to be convinced that handing control to civil servants will improve things. I’m old enough to remember British Rail !



    My understanding is that the split of revenues between the franchises is based on an algorithm that has nothing to do with which company you have travelled on. The exception to this are the advanced purchase tickets that are franchise specific. Let me ask you have you ever seen a guard record your travel when you already have an “any routes” ticket ? Just another part of the nonsense of the privatisation. If the Tories thought about it they would use the Network Rail inquiry to look at changing the way the railways are run, allowing a franchise to be responsible for its network, track, stations and trains and requiring open access to other operators certified by the ORR. It should save money by less bureaucracy, clarify responsibilities yet avoid a national system that both Railtrack and National Rail have proved as unmanageable.


    For a flight that early I would have stayed at the Premier Inn or Sofitel at LGW and rolled out of bed and straight into the lounge. I would never in a million years faff around getting up at god knows oclock to make the station for 0430. I would only expect problems and stress.
    That said, the issue in question is a disgrace, especially for a premium service like Gatwick express… but at the end of the day this is the UK rail system you talking about so does not surprise.


    Whilst we are part of the EU train operators will never be allowed to own the track they run on. All countries have to create separate companies to manage the rail & infrastructure. This in theory is to allow competition for freight / passenger services and encourage open access operators to compete with the State railways (in most countries).

    In terms of re-nationalization – it wouldn’t be Civil servants then running the railways – it would be rail professionals (as was case in BR days). Sure BRB could be called Civil servants if you want to get technical – but the people on the ground were railway professionals. I wouldn’t call a nurse a Civil servant – I wouldn’t call a train driver on a nationalized railway a civil servant.

    When all the different franchises were let in the 90’s, Gatwick Express was the only franchise that started straight away with payments made to the treasury. Make of that what you will. Once new trains arrive might have half decent rolling stock for once.


    It’s true EU train operators may not own the infrastructure according to the EU directive, but, as is the case with both Deutsche Bahn and SNCF, they are separate companies with the main (sole) shareholder being the State!

    So separate operators and infrastructure, yes, but with the same ultimate shareholder. Hmmm! Not an excuse not to renationalise the lot in the UK.

    As for reserved seating, I’ve never known a mistake to be made on all my continental rail journeys, sometimes using five different operators across Europe.

    Only once was my reserved seat occupied on a very full train in Belgium by a very arrogant Englishman. He refused to move as the ticket inspector came by. I explained my seat was occupied and the inspector asked for the mans seat reservation and ticket. He did not have any reservation and refused again to move adding, “and what will you do about it”. The inspector replied, “nothing sir, but the train will be stopped at the next station where the police will be waiting for you and they will remove you!” Priceless, and very red faced he reluctantly left.


    Hi LP

    I wasn’t saying how other countries choose to apply the directive. Alas like many directives the Europeans seem to know what to follow and what to apply liberally whilst we ties ourselves in knots making sure we probably adhere to everything and do ourselves in in the process.


    How do you fix Britain’s most delayed train line? By HALVING the number of services – according to the operators of the Gatwick Express

    …Rail firm Southern has held the dubious honour of having the most delayed train service in the country with its notorious 7.29 Brighton to London train, with many other trains heading into the capital also arriving late….

    One wonders how much further it will degenerate once cross rail is fully operational.


    The news has been broadcast on LBC and there’s a piece in The Independent too.

    And it’s not just Gatwick Express. A number of Thameslink trains have also been cancelled every day this week to “ease congestion.”

    It’s the growth in long-distance commuting from people who either can’t, or refuse to, pay London accommodation prices which has put pressure on all London commuter routes.


    I was just about to start a new thread on train services to Gatwick, but let this original thread survive.

    On Wednesday 25 November, I used TFL’s journey planner find me the best route to get to Gatwick by about 07.45. It recommended (after bus and tube from my house) the 07.11 Thameslink train from London Bridge. Fine, except that it was annnounced just before departure from London Bridge that the train “will not stop at Gatwick airport”.

    We cannot pretend to be a developed country if train services to London’s second airport are cancelled with no notice at all – as in my original post, and again this week. What kind of hicks are running our trains? What do overseas visitors think of us?


    As a commuter on the line there are too many trains trying to use a track that is at capacity. The slightest issue and the whole thing goes pear shaped, just like Heathrow on a foggy day.

    The answer is to run fewer trains but to make sure they are all at maximum length (12 cars). Many of the off peak Gatwick Express services operate with 5 cars which is a complete waste of capacity.

    There is no excuse for cancelling services at short notice, however even with the removed services there are still about 10 services an hour into Victoria for most of the day so there shouldn’t be a need to wait long.

    Thameslink is a bit of a lottery due to the engineering work going on.


    SimonS1 – 27/11/2015 22:17 GMT
    “There is no excuse for cancelling services at short notice” err, yes there is, no driver for whatever reason, no guard (for guard operated services), broken train, faitality etc, the list goes on.

    What DavidGordon10 said was that his train was not stopping at Gatwick. Skipping stops is ok if they are minor stops but Gatwick is a very important stop and effects and confuses people.

    Some years ago I was travelling from the south coast through the Arun Valley and the train was already 20 minutes late getting to Horsham, on leaving it was announced that we wouldn’t stop at Gatwick resulting in confused people having to change at Three Bridges. When I asked the guard he said that it was because there are plenty of services to London from Gatwick.

    I wrote to Southern and pointed out that whilst the guard is correct, what about the people already on the train etc. Following that I didn’t have the same problem on late running trains, although not having done the journey for over two years that might have changed!


    Personally I don’t consider a shortage of drivers to be an acceptable reason. I know it takes time to train them which is why the operators need to have a level of contingency built in.

    It’s a bit like an airline operating without any standby crews.

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