County news: Rail woes lead to commuter quitting job

A Sussex commuter will quit her job on Friday after months of delays and cancellations to her train journeys.

Monday, 11th July 2016, 5:25 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 2:27 am
This train's empty - but it's a rare event. Carrie Knapp has quit her job because of rail woes at the hands of GTR SUS-161107-144403001

Carrie Knapp, 41, will ditch her daily commute to London and instead drive to Guildford for her new post because of issues on the railways.

And despite operator Govia Thameslink Railway’s new revised timetable reportedly ‘running well’, she was 40 minutes’ late for work after a delay at Redhill.

She said: “I spend a lot of time getting dinner from Whistle Stop at Victoria and I can’t keep on doing it. Enough is enough.”

The restaurant group compensations and benefits manager has commuted to London for 12 months, having previously worked in London six years ago.

While her experience was more positive before, Carrie described her latest commute as ‘absolutely atrocious’.

She painted a picture of repeated cancellations, delays and overcrowded trains, seemingly worse during evening peak times.

“I had a panic attack on the way home two or three weeks ago because I am very claustrophobic,” she said.

“There was an almighty crush of people. They were two deep in the isle and I started to panic. There was no way to get off.”

A spokesman for GTR said the new timetable, aimed at cutting the number of short-notice cancellations, was ‘running well’.

But Carrie said her experience was different. She said: “I got on my normal train and we were kicked off at Redhill because it was going out of service. There was a huge crush of people on the platform.

“There was lots of misinformation and we were told to get onto a different train. We sat there for a few minutes and then they said ‘sorry, the original train’ is going to be going. I was 40 minutes’ late.”

This newspaper last week launched a campaign, calling for GTR to be stripped of its franchise.

Passenger services director Alex Foulds has insisted he and fellow railway bosses are fit to run services, despite heavy criticism of poor performance.

Carrie is among numerous readers to have supported the campaign.

She attended a meeting with GTR bosses organised by Horsham MP Jeremy Quin on Saturday and was left unimpressed by their responses.

“They came across very poorly and I have absolutely no confidence in their ability,” she said.