Tag Archives: Southern Railway

Unblocking the Croydon bottleneck – public consultation

From Brighton & Hove Economic Partnership

Network Rail are developing major proposals to upgrade the Brighton Main Line – one of the most congested routes in the country –  to provide more reliable, faster and more frequent services on the line and its branches.

Key to the upgrade are proposals to remove the most challenging bottleneck on Britain’s railway network at the ‘Selhurst triangle’ and East Croydon station as part of proposals for the East Croydon to Selhurst Junction Capacity Enhancement Scheme.

To check out the plans, the Brighton consultation will be on:

Monday 10 and Tuesday 11 December 2018 – The Brighthelm Centre, North Road, Brighton, BN1 1YD, 4.00-8.00pm.

The proposals

To unblock the Croydon bottleneck and provide more reliable, more frequent and faster services we are developing proposals to provide:

An expanded and enhanced East Croydon station

A rebuilt station with two additional platforms, a larger concourse with improved facilities for passengers and better connections with the town centre and other transport links, supporting the ongoing regeneration of central Croydon. These new station works would also be designed to allow for new offices and homes to be built above the new station in the future.

‘Selhurst triangle’ remodelling

We would improve track layouts north of East Croydon station and remodel the junctions at the ‘Selhurst triangle’, by removing the existing junctions and building new flyovers and dive-unders.

Lower Addiscombe Road/Windmill Bridge reconstruction

To remodel ‘Selhurst triangle’ junctions and provide more platforms at East Croydon station we would need to expand the railway from five to seven tracks north of East Croydon station. This would require the current bridge over the railway to be rebuilt to provide space for the two additional tracks.

Other proposed work

Our proposals for the ‘Selhurst triangle’ and East Croydon station (East Croydon to Selhurst Junction Capacity Enhancement Scheme) would support planned works. This includes works at Norwood Junction station to reconfigure the tracks to enable more trains to run, increase station capacity and provide step-free access to all platforms at the station.

Please note that we are not consulting on planned works to the existing railway.  These works are within the railway boundary and will be carried out under existing permitted development rights.

What Are The Benefits?

More reliable journeys

By improving track layouts, remodelling the ‘Selhurst triangle’ and constructing two new tracks and two new platforms at East Croydon station, we would remove the bottleneck which causes delays and disruption, improving the punctuality of services.

Faster journeys

More tracks and remodelled junctions would also mean we would be able to speed up some services through the area.

More services

Once we deliver our proposals to unblock the Croydon bottleneck to improve the reliability of existing services, we would then be able work with train operators to consider running more trains.

A boost to the regional and national economy

As the main route connecting the capital with Gatwick Airport and the south coast improving the Brighton Main Line will provide a significant boost to the regional and national economy.

An expanded and enhanced East­ Croydon station

We would increase concourse space, provide new entrances and transform passenger facilities.  The work would allow above the station to be developed in the future.

Benefits of our wider plans

While we are not consulting on our plans for Norwood Junction station, as these proposed works are within the railway boundary, we would deliver more train and passenger capacity and step-free access to all platforms at the station as part of our wider plans.

Transport & Works Act Order (TWAO)

Our proposals for removing the Croydon bottleneck as part of the East Croydon to Selhurst Junction Capacity Enhancement Scheme requires work to take place outside the railway boundary.

Where we are proposing to use land or build outside the railway boundary, we must prepare an application for a Transport and Works Act Order (TWAO) from the Secretary of State for Transport. If permission is given we would have the necessary powers to undertake the work.

We are now consulting with the public, stakeholders and the wider rail industry and the feedback will help inform our proposals.  We will then seek permission to deliver our proposals through a TWAO application.

Work taking place within the railway boundary, including works at Norwood Junction station, would be constructed by Network Rail under our permitted development rights.

Contact Us

For more information on the proposals you can e-mail at CARS@networkrail.co.uk

You can also call Network Rail’s National Helpline on 03457 11 41 41 or contact us @NetworkRailSE

RMT announce new January 2018 strike on Southern trains

From The Argus

Commuters are due to face disruption with the announcement of another train strike in the new year.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out on January 8 as part of a long-running dispute over the role of guards and driver-only trains.

The union said it had made “every single effort” to resolve the bitter disputes, which it insisted were about safety.

The strikes will cause fresh problems for passengers, days after rail fares increase.

It also falls on the same day Brighton and Hove Albion play Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup at the Amex stadium in Falmer.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Every single effort that RMT has made to reach negotiated settlements has been kicked back in our faces and we are left with no option but to confirm a further phase of industrial action.

“No one should be in any doubt. These disputes are about putting the safety of the travelling public before the profits of the private train companies

“It is frankly ludicrous that we have been able to negotiate long-term arrangements in Scotland and Wales that protect the guards and passenger safety but we are being denied the same opportunities with rail companies in England.

“This suspension of normal industrial relations by the employers has to end if we are to make progress towards a solution that guarantees safe rail travel for all.”

Mr Cash said the Government should lift its “blockade” on talks in the separate disputes to allow the union to negotiate “freely” with the companies.

Andy Bindon, Human Resources Director at Govia Thameslink Railway, parent company of Southern, said: “We are very disappointed by today’s announcement of a further RMT strike in the New Year.

“Their decision is even more regrettable as it comes on the same day that we had invited them to talks in the hope of reaching a resolution to their long-running dispute.

“We ask them to call off the strike and come to the negotiating table as we have suggested on many occasions.”

Rail union suspends strikes

From Brighton & Hove Independent

The RMT has suspended strike action by both drivers and guards on Southern Rail after being approached for direct talks with the Secretary of State.

The RMT union has suspended the industrial strike for guards planned for Tuesday, August 1, after the union’s general secretary was invited to meet with Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for transport.

A driver strike on Tuesday, August 1, Wednesday, August 2, and Friday, August 4, has also been called off.

“We instruct the General Secretary to arrange the meeting and to place back before this NEC an update on the progress of the talks by Tuesday, August 1,” a spokesman said.

“RMT will be making no further comment at this stage as we arrange details for the talks and allow them space to take place.”

Government paying Govia Thameslink £38m for ‘disastrous’ performance

From Brighton & Hove News

The Department for Transport (DfT) is paying £38 million to train company Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) despite “disastrous outcomes” over the past year.

The payment is flagged up in a critical report by the House of Commons Transport Committee which spells out shortcomings in the official handling of railway franchises.

The cross-party committee of MPs said that the DfT had “failed to take responsibility for some of the failings in handling the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern (TSGN) franchise”.

Louise Ellman, who chairs the committee, said: “The government has serious lessons to learn from the management of the TSGN franchise.

“Our committee exposed serious deficiencies in the department’s monitoring and enforcement of this franchise which has already led to a change of policy on performance reporting.

“This can only help to hold serially underperforming operators like GTR to proper account.

“If GTR is officially found to be in breach of contract – and the committee is still pushing ministers for an answer on this – the Department for Transport should consider restructuring the franchise.”

Click here for the full story.

Southern Rail reintroduces emergency timetable

From The Argus

Buses are set to replace trains in parts of the county as Southern Railway announced the implementation of a new emergency timetable.

Southern announced that from Tuesday until further notice, services between Lewes and Seaford are all cancelled.

Bus services will operate between Seaford, Bishopstone, Newhaven Harbour, Newhaven Town, Southease and Lewes.

It is not the first time passengers on the Seaford branch line has had its services axed. Around 80 per cent of trains on the route were axed in July.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on Southern will strike for three days from Tuesday in protest at changes to the role of conductors.

The drivers’ union Aslef is due to start an overtime ban on Southern from Tuesday ahead of strikes later in the month and in the new year in a row over driver-only trains.

Southern is taking legal action to try to stop the strikes, but if the action goes ahead, services will be crippled.

Southern warned passengers to expect “severe and significant” disruption to Southern and Gatwick Express services every day from Tuesday.

Southern is advising that Aslef’s continuous drivers’ overtime ban will severely affect services every day.

On RMT strike days this will result in only around 50% of the full timetable being able to operate. If the Aslef strikes go ahead, no Southern services will operate, with only Thameslink services to Three Bridges and Brighton and a limited service on Gatwick Express.

Southern director Alex Foulds said: “Regrettably, because of this wholly unnecessary and unjustified industrial action, there will be severe and significant disruption on our network from Tuesday and customers are advised that stations will be incredibly busy.

“If passengers can make alternative travel arrangements they should, and if they don’t have to travel they shouldn’t. If the drivers’ strikes go ahead, there will be no services on Southern and customers should not attempt to travel.

“We’re doing everything we can to stop the drivers’ strike and that’s why we are seeking an injunction in the High Court.

“This industrial action is a clearly co-ordinated and cynical manoeuvre by the unions to bring yet further travel misery to passengers as well as having a detrimental impact on the regional economy when it least needs it.

“If the unions are listening to passengers then they will call off all industrial action now and give hardworking commuters and their families their lives back.”

Thameslink is not directly affected by the strike action, although its services are expected to be extremely busy.

Other operators’ services are not affected, but are likely to be busier.

More strikes threatened on Southern Rail

From The Argus

Now a second train driver union ballots for strikes

Now a second train driver union ballots for strikes

Southern rail drivers in the RMT union will join Aslef colleagues in voting on possible strike action which would cripple Sussex rail links in the run-up to Christmas.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said drivers it represents on Southern Railway will vote on industrial action over driver-only trains.

The ballot will open on November 4 and close two weeks later, mirroring the voting timetable of the main drivers’ union, Aslef, in the same dispute.

Southern is embroiled in a bitter dispute with the RMT over changes to the role of conductors which has sparked a campaign of industrial action.

General secretary Mick Cash said: “Drivers on Southern Rail will find themselves dangerously exposed if the company decide to plough ahead with their ill-conceived and dangerous plans for a wholesale extension of driver-only operation on their routes.

“Drivers will be placed in an impossible position, trying to monitor despatch from overcrowded platforms while they should be concentrating on the job of driving the train. The consequences for safety at the critical platform/train interface are horrendous.

“The union will be calling for a massive Yes vote as we step up the pressure on Southern to abandon their high-risk plans.”

Southern insists driver-only trains are safe, stressing the system is in place across large sections of the rail network.

Meanwhile, the RMT announced the timetable for a strike ballot among almost 3,500 London Underground workers over jobs and the closure of ticket offices.

Voting will start next week and the result will be known in mid-November.

Mr Cash said: “London Underground knows that it has compromised safety and customer service across its stations by cutting jobs. A responsible employer would reverse the job cuts and put staff back into station control rooms.

“If London Underground really cares about passengers, it would reverse the ticket office closure programme.

“The continuing impact of those cuts leaves us with no alternative but to move to a ballot for industrial action and the terror alert at North Greenwich last week has confirmed the urgency of the current situation and the nonsense of axing station staff.”

Southern to restore full timetable by the end of October

From Brighton & Hove News

Train company Southern said that it would restore its full timetable by the end of the month.

But some Gatwick Express services up and down the Brighton mainline will be cut until December because of leaves on the line.

And the train journey times will be up to three minutes longer in the timetable to try to give more certainty to passengers, Southern said.

The pledge to restore services fully comes almost four months after the company cut 341 services as it wrestled with staff shortages, high rates of sickness and a long-running industrial dispute.

The dispute, with guards belonging to the RMT union, continues. Three more strikes are planned before Christmas.

Southern said that trains to, from and through Hove are among 34 West Coastway services due to be restored net Monday (24 October).

Click here for the full story.