November 29 #TTMSWT Questions and Answer Session. Q: A:

November 29 #TTMSWT Questions and Answer Session.
Q: Why do guards repeat the automated announcements?
A: Our Guards use an automated announcement system and also have the ability to
manually make announcements. Guards will make announcements that include the
train schedule when the system is not able to do this. If the system plays a schedule
that is incorrect then they will make an announcement. I will feed this information to
the team if it happens again please let us know what train you are on.
Q: Train failures seem to very high of recent. Including short formations. What
proactive maintenance actions are being taken?
A: Our Fleet team work very hard to ensure that each of our trains is maintained and
safe to use for our customers on our network. For the fourth year running, South
West Trains once again picked up the top awards for the best reliability of its Class
455 and 159 trains and this year picked up an extra award for its Class 458s.
South West Trains’ programme of improvements to its fleet means the average
distance operated by any train between any technical defect causing three minutes
or more delay is over 60,000, which is six times higher than the industry average.
This represents the equivalent of almost two round-the-world trips without any
technical faults.
The annual ‘Golden Spanner Awards’ recognise improvements in train reliability
across the UK rail industry. The awards are based on statistical data and are regarded
across the industry as being an accurate assessment of fleet reliability. Different
classes of trains operating throughout the network are ranked on the distance they
cover between technical faults by the Association of Train Operating Companies’
National Fleet Reliability Improvement Programme.
Q: When will you install more bike racks at Woking train station? The present supply
is totally inadequate & there’s plenty of room?
A: We have no plans at the current time to expand the Bike Facility at this station.
The local council is undertaking a considerable amount of work to increase cycle
spaces in the vicinity of the area around the Woking Station.
Q: Why can’t you run more trains between Waterloo and Windsor / Reading?
A: Our network is now operating to capacity during the peak periods, however we
are looking at longer term plans to provide more capacity on the network during the
peak periods, however this will require significant investment to achieve.
Q: When is the ITSO area going to extend towards Waterloo?
A: We are hoping to launch the Smart card by the end of 2014. More details will be
Q: There has been talk of getting WiFi on board for quite a while now - any updates?
A: Wifi is coming to our 444s (White Trains) in 2014 – No exact date yet.
Q: You must be dreading the November results as its been the worst service. No
more excuses why all the short formations?
A: We have had several services affected by low rail adhesion. When a train suffers
an incident of low rail adhesion, and slides along the rails when the brakes are
applied, this can result in damage to the wheels. The wheels develop a flat spot
or‘wheelflat’. This means that the affected carriages may have to be taken out of
service as running them with wheelflats can result in damage to the track , further
damage to the wheels and even to other components on the bogie. When a train is
taken out of service with wheel flats, it is sent to one of the 2 depots we have which
have wheel lathes, one in Southampton and one in Wimbledon. This equipment
‘turns’ the wheels, removing the flats and allowing the carriages to return to service.
In some cases, the entire wheelset of the train has to be replaced which means those
carriages are out of use for longer. If a train has sustained wheel flats on all coaches,
up to 20 wheel sets, it can take twenty four hours to turn all of these wheels! When
carriages are taken out of service, this can result in some trains running with fewer
carriages than normal. While we attempt to ensure that peak hour trains are not
affected, this is not always possible especially when we have a high number of
carriages affected by wheel flats. ‐
Q: Why are journey times getting longer with every new timetable. Eg 07.02 Dorking
to Waterloo - Also why does timetable allow 5 mins between Box Hill and Dorking
when it should only take 2 mins.
A: The 0702 Dorking to Waterloo has been retimed to start earlier as it was
continually getting delayed behind the preceding Southern service (which has also
been retimed earlier), and in turn delaying our 0722 Epsom to Waterloo and other
Q: 1818 Waterloo to Haslemere is officially Britain's 10 most crowded train. Any
plans to make it 12 longer?
A: The 1818 Waterloo, it isn't one of the most overcrowded trains but is on the list
for strengthening when additional rolling stock becomes available.
Q: Can you tell me how many trains do you run in and out of wloo on a weekday
commute in the am peak?
A: we run 151 trains in the morning peak.
Q: When will Whitton station be upgraded? Its a disgrace - no disabled access, no
toilets, and short awnings?
A: The station upgrade project will go ahead in CP5 between April 2014 and March
Q: You've had your franchise since 1994 and most of the stations are still decrepit.
Get off your backsides & sort them out!
A: The National Station Improvement Plan exists - We are working on as many
projects as possible. We work together with out alliance partner Network Rail for
more information on this please see this website.
Q: How do I book a cycle on a train from Bournemouth to London next Friday?
A: Please call this number 0845 6000 650 (option 4) and speak to an advisor who will
assist you with the booking.
Q: Please explain logic behind Epsom station not being in Oyster Card zones.
Especially when Epsom Downs and Tattenham Corner are both in zone 6 and are
further from a London terminus than Epsom
A: I am not able to explain this as this would be a decision that would be made by
Transport for London and Association of Train Operators (ATOC). Ewell West is the
final Oyster travel zone - There are no plans at the current time to extend this
Q: How much longer before 10 coach trains on Windsor lines? Promised for last
April, I recall?
A: The project started last year which included staff training and changes to new
train stock that will run on the route. I do not have an exact date yet but All of the
additional carriages trains will be in service by the end of 2014.
Q: Are there any plans to get Oyster at Woking? If so when? If not why?
A: There are no plans to get Oyster facilities at Woking – We are working on a Smart
Card which will be available late 2014.
Q: Why only a 'trial' of wifi. What needs to be trialled. It's a proven technology and
customers want it.
A: WiFi is coming to our 444s (White Trains) in the New Year, I do not have an exact
date yet. We do not have any conclusive plans for WiFi on Stations as yet. London
Waterloo does have a WiFi network ‘The Cloud’.
Q: Trains any plans to increase the number of trains per hour from Thames Ditton to
Waterloo. Esp during am and pm rush hours #TTMSWT
A: Non at the moment we are operating at maximum capacity on that route.
Q: Shame just one more train an hour between Thames Ditton to Waterloo 8-9am
and 5-6pm on way back would make life easier for a lot of people. #TTMSWT
A: I appreciate your feedback and will send this to our planning team.
Q: I'd love for you to enlighten me as to why my train has not delivered me home on
time once this month?
A: We have had incidents affect our train service, as we are transporting more
people and our timetable is running at its capacity so the impact when we have an
incident can affect several services.
Q: When are 2014 prices being released?
A: This information will be released by ATOC and will be announced closer towards
the beginning of the New Year, I am sorry I do not know the exact date.
Q: what is the point of building a footbridge at Winchester station? Can't really work
out the benefits vs cost.
A: Access for All Scheme includes a new footbridge and lifts to help all our customers
that travel through this station.
#TTMSWT, what is the reason behind the daily signal failures. By now you could have
replaced the whole system. Been a bad 2 months.
Q: When was the last time you had a day with zero faults, zero cancellations, zero
short-form trains or any of the other usual problems #TTMSWT
A: We run an extremely vast network with 1674 trains run per day over the busiest
commuter train service in the UK. Over 2,000 passenger and freight
services run on the network every day and the route covers 643 miles of
track, with 1375 sets of points and 4394 signals. We have not had one of these since
our current franchise commenced.
Q: When are the longer trains being introduced and platform 19 at Waterloo coming
into use?
A: Platform 20 at London Waterloo will be brought back into use with long term
plans proposed for the future of Waterloo International. The Department for
Transport (DfT) announced plans as part of Phase 1 of the capacity enhancements to
bring Platform 20 at the former Waterloo International Terminal back into use from
Spring 2014. South West Trains is working with the DfT and other parties to re-open
the platform earlier than previously planned. Proposals are also being developed by
the DfT, Network Rail and South West Trains to provide a long-term solution to
congestion at London Waterloo. Longer Trains Where are we now? On the 30th July, the
first complete 5 car train was coupled together at Wabtec in Doncaster and then moved into
the testing compound where it was powered to start pre-delivery testing. The conversion
has changed former Gatwick Express units into Class 458 specification in order for them to
be compatible with our existing trains.
The first unit to be delivered is expected in mid September and will be followed with the
next one later in the month. The next four units will then be delivered later in the
Two of the units being refurbished are being converted from former luggage vans. This
conversion includes cutting out new windows and replacing the roller shutter doors with
conventional power doors.
Once the first train is delivered, following some initial crew training, it will make a test run to
Shepperton before moving to Weymouth to carry out electrical tests. The unit will then take
part in brake performance tests before being joined by the second unit to complete the
The first pair of units will be required to complete 5,000 miles of fault free running (later
units must achieve 1,000 miles), so passengers will start seeing the units on the Windsor and
Reading lines during this time.
It is currently planned for the first pair of Class 458/5 units to come into passenger service
from November. The timing is dependent on the commissioning and fault free running being
successfully completed and having the appropriate safety validation documentation in place.
We will continue to update you on how things progress.
Q: How about letting @My6Percent @fgwkmc @monkeybuxton and I run the
company for a week? #HowHardCanItBe?
A: This would not be possible, thank you for your tweet.
Q: Have you thought about badges for people with an invisible disability/temporary
illness to allow passengers to offer up their seat?
A: We have signage on all our services that points out priority seating - Thank you for
your idea will pass this on to the relevant team.
Q: How can you justify above inflation price increases when you fail to deliver the
service customers pay for?
A: Rail fare rises are one of the most emotive transport issues for passengers and
customers rightly want to feel they get value for money. The spotlight in the media
regularly falls on train companies as campaigners call for “fairer fares”. But what are
the facts and what is the real story behind the headlines?
The reality is that rail fare rises are determined largely by government policy and
funding for the rail network can come from only two sources - the taxpayer or the
For many years, government policy has been that a bigger share must come from
people who use the train as it has sought to sustain investment in better stations,
new trains and faster services. That is the policy of the current Conservative-Liberal
Democrat Coalition and was also the case under the previous Labour administration.
Government support for the industry has dropped sharply in recent years, falling
from £6.3bn in 2006-07 to £5.2b in 2008-09 to £3.9bn in 2011-12, according to
figures from the Office for Rail Regulation. That is a cut of nearly 40% in the last five
years and it has directly affected the cost of rail travel for passengers.
Around half of all fares are regulated by government, and the average increase in the
price of these fares is set by government. Since 2004, successive governments have
required train companies to increase the average price of season tickets and other
regulated fares every January by more than RPI inflation. This increase has also
applied to off-peak tickets on most intercity journeys.
All other fares are unregulated. Train companies set the prices of these fares to
make sure they are competitive with other types of transport customers can choose
for these journeys, such as car, coach, or plane.
But even unregulated fares are heavily influenced by government policy. Train
companies have to meet tough financial commitments agreed with the government
when franchise agreements are signed. For a number of years, these payments have
been shaped by the government policy to reduce the share taxpayers pay towards
the cost of running the railways.
It is also often overlooked that RPI inflation also determines some of the biggest
costs facing train companies, such as charges levied by Network Rail for accessing
the track, payments for leasing trains, and energy bills. Even the substantial
payments many train companies make to the Government are directly influenced by
the rate of RPI inflation. This puts further upward pressure on all fares, not just those
set directly by the Government.
Over many years, the average operating margin of train operators in the UK – that is
profit as a percentage of the revenue it collects – has remained fairly constant at
around 3p to 4p in every £1 of the cost of a rail ticket. The rest goes towards the
significant cost of running train services.
Source: Association of Train Operating Companies, 2012
Q: How do you justify the decision to NOT declare St Jude storm day as void? I Dont
care who at fault i pre-paid & you ran no trains.
A: I'm sorry you were affected. We make all our decisions around our Passenger
Charter which is as per our franchise agreement with the Govt.
Q: Which dept in #swtrains is dealing with rewriting the cycle policy?
A: The current policy is being looked at by our stakeholder team who are only
contactable by our customer service department [email protected]
If you would like to leave us your contact details I will pass these to the team.
Q: when will the decision be taken whether to publish Network Rail punctuality stats
on you website alongside your own?
A: This was raised at the August Passenger Forum as well; it is something we are
looking at doing in the near future.
Q: Why are your trains are so hot in winter? I read that the thermostats are turned
up - is that true & if so why
A: Desiro units are fitted with a full air conditioning system. The summer setting will
cool the ambient temperature to 23c and heat to 21c, the winter setting will heat to
23c and cool to 24c. When a problem is encountered the train team can ask our fleet
team to look into the problem.
Q: Why do boards at #Putney no longer display due times, instead they count down
mins to arrival? Is it to avoid complaints?
A. we have had lots of feedback relating to the new style boards. We’ll ensure yours
are taken on board. More information about the ‘Countdown’ information screens
can be found here:
Q: Why do train guards NEVER check tickets in first class EVER? Are they too lazy or
does SWT make so much money it doesn't care?
A: These are checked regularly - on busy peak services trains are very busy and this
may not happen.
Q: Why do your customer service team take so long to respond to complaints
A: When we have big incidents like #StormSWT we get a huge influx and the team
work through all these queries to ensure everyone is responded to and all matters
are investigated. We are working on getting better response times.
Q: Why do trains from Raynes Park never leave at their schedule time during the
A: As soon as the train is loaded and doors are closed in the peaks between Raynes
Park and Vauxhall they will depart. The frequency of train services from these
platforms does allow this to happen towards London in the peaks.
Q: Why inconsistency showing plat nos at WAT? Sometimes train isn't even in plat,
others it has been sat there several mins #TTMSWT
A: This is because we run Suburban Commuter trains with short turn arounds at
Waterloo and longer distance trains with longer turnarounds. So the loading times
and when they are displayed on the boards with differ. These times can also change
if we are in service disruption.
Q: The 7:10 HSL to WAT almost always wrongly announces its stopping at WOK to
then be corrected by the guard, repeatedly, Annoying.
A: this is a software fault we are hoping will be rectified this December.
Q: What are you doing to improve the service?
A: we are working with our alliance partner on this and details can be found here
Q: Where can I find your financial reports?
A: This information can be found here
Q: Why have you changed to “Countdown” style on your information boards?
A: This is a similar style to London Underground and is based on the frequency of
trains heading to London – This is to improve customer information at these stations
into London.
Q: Who is informed when you do not respond to customers within 20 days as per
your Passenger Charter?
A: The monthly reports that go to our regulator contain numbers of complaints and
our response times.
Q: Merry Christmas :-) Oh, oh - I forgot to ask the manager something! When is the
next sesh?
A: December 31 2013