LETTER: Bus scenario is just a joke

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Finally managed to stop laughing after reading about how the Army is going to drive buses when no Southern trains are running.

Now from reviewing train layout information on the net, I see that the Electrostar carriage seats 68 passengers, oops, sorry, should have said customers. Now from further reading on the net I see, for example, that National Express motorway coaches seat 59 passengers. They still call them passengers.

Now cast your mind to the heady days when Southern thought they were running a half hour train service carrying passengers at up to 90mph between London and the South Coast towns of Brighton, Eastbourne, and Hastings. Beautiful 12 car trains seating just over 800 passengers (they were passengers in the early days) being whisked swiftly and efficiently to and from their places of business and homes and families.

That’s 12 carriages containing 68 seated souls at up to 90mph. Now imagine the replacement bus scenario – 800 passengers seated in 16 coaches, each nose to tail at 90mph. You might just manage it for a yard on the M23, but can you see it on the A27 between Lewes and Eastbourne? No way with the dreadful driving conditions on the already overburdened road. Or on the A259 between Eastbourne and Hastings? Not a chance, especially with all the ambulances running between the Conquest and the DGH.

Now, just consider the beginning of the journey out of London. Three weeks ago, we went on a rail replacement bus from Victoria to Clapham Junction. It took almost 25 minutes with one bus. I’d like to see any team of drivers manoeuvre 16 coaches, even at a safe distance, through the busy streets of London and all arrive at the same time.

Please note I am assuming there are no standing passengers in the above scenarios.

It’s time to take away the Southern franchise, sack the Transport Minister, along with the DoT and Southern rail managers, and let the professional railway men and women run the train service like they’re trained to do.

ALEX WILLIS

Rattle Road, Westham

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