HAYWARDS HEATH – The Magic 100

Imagine you had 100 days to spare…..what would you do with it? 

A Round the World Cruise, perhaps. Maybe a return trip (or 2) on the Trans-Siberian Railway. How about sitting in Haywards Heath station, twiddling your thumbs?

Is this really the best that the operators (previous, current, but hopefully NOT future) can come up with?

SHRIMP (and other local groups) continue to advocate that the East Coastway to Victoria services should have a dedicated service, which is more passenger-friendly and reduces knock-on delays across the network.

Current Conditions

Under the current attach/divide operations on our Ore to Gatwick/Victoria services, four trains per hour (2 up, 2 down) spend an average of eight minutes standing in Haywards Heath station. That’s 32 minutes per hour. For the sake of easy maths we’ll round that down to 30 minutes. This happens for approximately 16 hours per day, equalling 8 hours standing time per day.

Using a six day week, again for easy maths, this tots up to 48 hours ie. two days per week. There are 52 weeks per year, so we’ll again round the figure down and find that these services spend approximately 100 days per year sitting in Haywards Heath station.


That is not only wasted time but wasted electricity, staff time, blocking the station, and not least really annoying passengers who already suffer from overly long journey times.

“This is also confusing passengers who are unfamiliar with the system,” Martin Woodfine o.bo. and campaigner at rail group Shrimp said.

“We accept it is a rough calculation, which we have deliberately rounded down, but even with an error allowance of up to 20% this is still a large figure,” Woodfine said.

Moreover this process doubles the chances of disruption delays, because an incident on the West Coastway delays the East Coastway portion and vice-versa.

In addition, with two crews needed for each service south of Haywards Heath, the chances of crew displacement also increase.

Stakeholder Consultation

We understand that a recent Southern Stakeholder Consultation suggested that users actually endorse the splitting process, but the number of responses within that survey that actually addressed the issue was low –  so we have a low percentage of respondents in favour. And exactly who was in favour? Pass. Hardly a ringing endorsement.

“The process is an unimpressive, passenger-annoying, inefficient and wasteful. We are truly surprised that our numerous official representatives let it go unchallenged,” Woodfine concluded.