Rail firm needs to be proactive

It is regrettable that the on-going disputes affecting Southern Rail services to and from Ore and Hastings show no sign of immediate resolution.

The operator has released a table of services that are being pre-cancelled daily in order that staff can be more efficiently deployed. This can be found at www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/conductor-sickness. It is important to note that these are only the pre-planned cancellations and that no services to/from this are included in the list.

However, staff sickness is random and there have been regular short-notice cancellations on all our Southern-operated routes, often with the affected services terminating / starting at Eastbourne. This latter development is very unhelpful because Eastbourne already has two services to Victoria an hour, as against our one. Similarly our Ashford service is hourly.

As a voluntary group we are unwilling to endorse either GTR or the RMT in this dispute. However, the GTR franchise is 100 per cent subsidised by the Department for Transport (DfT), with all fare revenue returning to them, and we feel that the DfT should be taking a more pro-active and publicly visible role in resolving this dispute, with no pre-determined outcome.

Martin Woodfine

St Leonards and Hastings Rail Improvement

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