Southeast Franchise Stakeholder Meeting – Maidstone 11 April 2017

Local representation: Martin Woodfine (SHRIMP), Roger Blake (RailFuture SE) – Reps paid their own expenses.

Presentations: Q&A responses by Department for Transport (DfT), Network Rail (NWR), Transport Focus (TF)

Andy Cole (DfT)

All options will be considered, no pre-decisions made. All views welcome.

Key aspects are:

Passenger experience


More passengers carried with less crowding through better service patterns

Support to local economies

Better interaction with other agencies especially NWR

New social developments to be supported by rail infrastructure/services

Simon Fielding (DfT)

9/10 journeys on SE are to/from London

SE is the 4th largest franchise in terms of passenger demand, 181m journeys pa

Next franchise must put passengers first

Reliability and information are key issues


Infrastructure reliability

Peak time railway with mostly commuter traffic

Timetable congestion

Performance regime and reporting needs to change

Lots of ‘flat’ junctions cause congestion and breakdowns

Going forward:

CrossRail will reduce journey times through Abbey Wood catchment

Improved platform capacities

30% of delays are >3mins – why and how to address?

Smart ticketing to include more products and COULD lead to removal of ticket barriers

More on-line systems to improve information

Performance starts with getting the right timetable

Incentives to improve relationship NWR/TOC, build on success of Kent Integrated Control Centre

Information must be relevant, accurate, and regular

There will be minimum standards of service determined within the contract

Need to explore Private/Corporate finance investment options – ideas please!

Fare reforms and smart ticketing

Stations Evolution

All stations to meet RSSB standards

Find additional uses for station buildings / adoption of stations

Increase off-peak revenue through promotions

Recognise and address needs for passenger safety and security

David Kimble (DfT) (services and rolling stock)

Maximise passenger flow and capacity

Metro services are key to resolving issues across the rest of the franchise

Seeking multiple journey options through connectivity

Some areas do not have turn-up-and-go service due to bunched service patterns

Lewisham (flat) junction has 27 conflicts per hour; reducing termini options would reduce to 4 (just one example)

Metro stock gives more capacity. Lots of possible options to increase capacity

Main Line journey times must be improved, but the potential impact on smaller stations must be addressed

Some wanted connections / journeys  are hard to achieve under existing infrastructure

Challenges: London orbital service, Kent < > Gatwick connectivity

How do you improve services that already operate with rammed 12car trains?

QUOTE: “Significant public support for High Speed services to Hastings and Bexhill”

Sharon Hedges (TF)

Customer priorities: Price of tickets is TOP, free wifi at the BOTTOM

Delays = dissatisfaction is the BIGGEST issue (not just on SE)

Better and more accurate reporting of performance needed, not PPM which isn’t passenger based.

Punctuality and disruption handling must be keys to next franchise

Train Operating Companies (TOCs) should be forced to take ownership of delays & respond accordingly

Paul Best (NWR)

Network can cope with anticipated demand up to 2024 by tweaking the existing services etc, but beyond that there are no easy options and the industry needs to make the right judgements. In reality, they have 7 years to come up with those right solutions.

Mainline hot-spots:

Canterbury curve – is it worth continual repair?

North<>South connections – how and where?

Ebbsfleet connectivity to Orpington?

HS1 / Marshlink:

Looking at 12-car trains for existing HS services

New services to Hastings, Bexhill, Eastbourne? Would avoid messy connections and associated crowd-movement issues.

Bi-mode (electric/diesel) units to be ‘pondered upon’ (note: a recent DfT suggestion that these would not be allowed in the HS1 East London tunnels may have been a misinterpretation and it is NOT an issue)

Q&A (responses)

(DfT) Need to change reporting structure to reflect impact on passengers, not service provider.

(NWR) Investigate expansion of Charing X station onto bridge

(DfT) There are better candidates than Kent for investment in more on-board IT facilities

(DfT) HS rolling stock mis-used on local routes, needed to improve capacity on actual HS

(TF) DfT must be encouraged to issue challenging ITT terms

(DfT) Looking at other options to improve Hastings connectivity through better CX journey times

(note: this was shot down by Hastings and Sevenoaks reps if intended as an alternative to HS1)

(DfT): Deadline for expressions of interest (from bidders) extended to 21st April

Other Issues Raised:

(SHRIMP) TOCS must be dis-encouraged from pumping out trains to nowhere during NWR-instigated disruption through a full review of the financial blame-game compensation package. It doesn’t help passengers and clogs up an already disrupted network.

(RF) Due to high HS1 set-up and operating costs, how should user-groups interact with bidders to best effect?

(SHRIMP) re better connectivity, consider:

extending Marshlink to Maidstone East (Thameslink connections 2018+ plus employment/leisure interests)

direct service Hastings to Strood (for North Kent connection, currently requires 3 trains over 3hrs)

circular service Hastings, Tonbridge, Ashford, Hastings (stopping sweeper service connecting into main-line services at Hastings, T/Wells & Ashford) if there is a move  to speed up main line services.