Problems are continuing with new ‘old’ trains introduced to the Uckfield Line last year.
Commuter Robert Moore, from Buxted, who has written to operator Southern about continual faults on the trains, resulting in delays, cancellations and short forms says he doesn’t think nearly enough is being done by the company to resolve problems.
He has contacte Uckfield News after discovering information on the Southern website about troubles with diesel trains that should have allowed the company to lengthen services to ten carriages.
The company says it is sorry it hasn’t been able to provide longer trains all the time recently. A lot of work was put into making the new trains more reliable but more work had since surfaced.
The company says: “Some (trains) have had fewer carriages and, on occasions, even been cancelled altogether, making some of your journeys crowded and difficult.
“We have taken great pride in our diesel fleet which has won awards for reliability but is now, since the acquisition of additional trains, only average in the UK for its class.”
Southern says it acquired the extra trains to give passengers “desperately needed space” on extremely busy services on the Uckfield Line.
The aim was to lengthen services to ten carriages and increase capacity by 50 per cent last summer.
“But,” it says, “Because there is a shortage of diesel trains in the UK, the only trains available were older and less reliable than those we already had.
The company says it put a great deal of work into the new trains to make them more reliable but there is more work to do with “wiring looms” that has since surfaced, and there is little room for error because it has to use virtually all of the trains all of the time, leaving few spare when things go wrong.
Southern adds it will soon be overhauling engines and is recruiting more technicians.
Mr Moore is frustrated by a reply he has received from Southern to his complaints about the service.
In addition to complaining about delays, cancellations and short forms he asked why delay repay season ticket details could not be held on the site and why his season ticket did not work at all stations resulting in him having to ask to be manually let out/in, for example at Sanderstead.
He said the questions were clear but in response he was sent links to a page on the Southern website about a performance improvement plan, which he maintains says very little about the Uckfield Line’s particular problems.