I took a big chance today. I took a trip on Southeastern trains. In the snow. You know what? It wasn’t too bad. I got to where I wanted to go on time. The trains were running sort of okay, although I counted two cancellations in the opposite direction as my train left London… and came back in again to Sidcup.
At Sidcup, I saw that Southeastern was continuing its usual firm policy on fare evasion and ticket sales…
Anyhow, since there’s white stuff on the ground, Southeastern and Network Rail have decided to give up and run a contingency timetable for Saturday, the busiest shopping day of the year. Good luck with that… the Greenwich line trains will a run a measly two trains each hour (compared with four via Bexleyheath), but running further out into snow-prone deepest Kent than other lines so if the trains are screwed at Strood, the service will also be up the wall at Woolwich Dockyard. Thanks for that, Southeastern.
So what times are our generous two trains each hour (surely fewer trains equals more chance for the rails to ice up?) running from Charlton? It doesn’t say, because the timetable only gives the times at Gillingham and Cannon Street. It’s not like we might like to make any arrangements or anything.
Again, most passengers can understand the reason for disruption. But dumb communication like this is why people get angry. Southeastern still isn’t learning.
9:30PM UPDATE: This gets worse. Thanks to commenter scarletmanuka for pointing out that there’s two different versions of Southeastern’s Saturday contingency timetable doing the rounds – the one on the Southeastern website, and one on the National Rail Enquiries website. Both carry Southeastern branding, but both carry conflicting info.
For the Greenwich line, the version on the Southeastern site says it is running two trains per hour to/from Gillingham, calling at all stations. The National Rail Enquiries version has two sets of Greenwich line trains, one running limited stop to Gillingham, the other calling at all stops. Which is correct? I suspect it’s the former, because the NRE version mentions Cannon Street being open until 8.30pm (which it isn’t on Saturday), but who knows? And why didn’t Southeastern make sure both sites were offering the right information?
If you’re doing your shopping tomorrow, I’d get the bus if I were you.