Train operator Southern has apologised to Uckfield Line passengers for delays, cancellations and running trains with fewer carriages than planned.
The company is again having another bad week, not helped by a points failure this morning (February 16) north of Ashurst.
The way the company responded to today’s problem angered passengers.
One Uckfield resident told this website.
“They knew the line was blocked before the train left Uckfield. The train should never have left with passengers on board.”
This disruption brought scorn down on Southern with one Twitter user accusing the company of “bewildering incompetence” for starting the service from Uckfield when it knew the line was blocked.
The company had earlier issued another apology on its website for the general poor service on the line.
It said because the service was not electrified, it only has a small fleet of trains for services.
“Therefore, when things go wrong we have very limited options as we cannot use any of our other train fleets as they are all electric.
“At the beginning of the Franchise we acquired more diesel trains to provide extra capacity and resilience for the Uckfield route.
“These trains required a complete overhaul to make them compatible with our network and despite substantial work by our engineering team these trains have proven to be considerably less reliable than our existing diesel trains.
“To get these trains back in service as quickly as possible we have taken the following actions:
- recruited more engineers
- trained more of our current engineering team to maintain this fleet
- carried out additional maintenance
- brought in specialist technical support from our suppliers
“Once again, we’d like to apologise and assure you that our engineers are working around the clock to get the trains back into service as quickly as possible and restore the service you rightly expect.”
Southern sourced the extra diesels from Scotland and they entered service on the route more than 18 months ago after the platforms on the Uckfield Line were extended to take ten-carriage trains.
The platform extension works took many months with line closures to allow construction.
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