Southern making improvements

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I SEEM to have stirred-up a hornet’s nest with my comments on Eastbourne’s train services!

Regarding Mr Barton’s letter, yes, I have travelled on the 07:14 to London Bridge and it is usually late by a few minutes as there are too many trains being shoe-horned into London during the morning peak.

More capacity will be provided once the remodelling of this area is completed as part of the Thameslink Project.

The Class 442 units used on this service will now be serviced at a dedicated facility at Stewarts Lane in South London, and their reliability is expected to improve.

I recently visited Stewarts Lane and was very impressed with Southern’s determination to improve the reliability of this fleet. One must remember that Southern is a commercial company and does not deliberately want to run a bad service.

If it wishes to retain its franchise it must show continual improvement and, as pointed out by Mr Mansford’s letter. I think Southern has achieved this.

Other correspondents have noted the introduction of stock dating from 1976, the Class 313s.

These units are, in some respects, a retrograde step as they do not have air-con or lavatories but are primarily intended for short journeys between Seaford-Brighton-Worthing and to relieve overcrowding during the peaks.

Eastbourne may see one or two of them each day but the vast majority of Brighton services will continue to be formed of air-conditioned units with toilets.

Finally, may I point out I am the editor of Live Rail magazine, but this has no connection with Southern or any other part of the professional railway.

It is the magazine of an enthusiast’s organization, the Southern Electric Group (SEG). If anyone is interested in the SEG, please see our website, www.southernelectric.org.uk.

I would also direct disgruntled commuters towards the Brighton Line Commuters. We have an excellent and very constructive dialogue with Southern, First Capital Connect and Network Rail and receive very prompt replies to all our complaints and queries regarding services in the Worthing, Brighton and Eastbourne areas.

They can be contacted at commuters@blcmailbox.wanadoo.co.uk or www.brightonlinecommuters.co.uk.

Dr Simon A. Jeffs

The Goffs, Eastbourne