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Liveblog: Chaos on the trains

Last updated:

Bill Gardner, Senior Reporter

    Train services from Brighton are in chaos this morning after a series of electrical fires overnight destroyed signalling equipment.
  • Passengers travelling on almost all services are facing long delays and cancellations.
  • Have you been affected? Leave your comments below.

Comments


StevieD 9:29am Fri 21 Dec 12

There is always chaos on the trains. Whats different today?

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moonster 10:00am Fri 21 Dec 12

If you want live information on what's going on worth following @brightonstation on twitter they are re tweeting messages from Southern,FCC and Network rail and any other information from people on the ground in the area. ..

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peel_acres 10:06am Fri 21 Dec 12

I was stuck on the train just outside Preston Park last night for 2 hours, I just want to say thanks to the driver for doing his best to keep us informed as to what was going on. He was clearly as frustrated as us but was always patient and never panicked and I think that helped the atmosphere on the train.

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The Heretic 10:15am Fri 21 Dec 12

Same answer as the other (more than two dozen) times the Brighton Line went belly-up this year. Get BML2 built ASAP.

If there were more marginal constituencies south of London, we'd have had reliable train services years ago.

If everyone whose train journey was delayed or cancelled by this continuing reliance on our one critical route wrote to their MP each time it happened, and demanded a decent service for their massive outlay on tickets - surely not unreasonable given the prices demanded- the planners at DfT would soon be forced to act to resolve a glaringly obvious problem.

Jacking fares up has been justified for years by citing the supposedly many 'improvements' we'll get, so where are they? Let's have the one that will REALLY make a difference, and that's a second route to London which is the ONLY way we're EVER going to have reliable trains.

We need seating capacity, we need reliable seven day services, we need trains at weekends to bring tourists, not bus replacements to put them off coming to Brighton. The lack of these isn't just an inconvenience, it's costing the economy multi-millions we can ill afford. BML2 is needed NOW.

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kopite_rob 10:58am Fri 21 Dec 12

The Heretic wrote…


Same answer as the other (more than two dozen) times the Brighton Line went belly-up this year. Get BML2 built ASAP.

If there were more marginal constituencies south of London, we'd have had reliable train services years ago.

If everyone whose train journey was delayed or cancelled by this continuing reliance on our one critical route wrote to their MP each time it happened, and demanded a decent service for their massive outlay on tickets - surely not unreasonable given the prices demanded- the planners at DfT would soon be forced to act to resolve a glaringly obvious problem.

Jacking fares up has been justified for years by citing the supposedly many 'improvements' we'll get, so where are they? Let's have the one that will REALLY make a difference, and that's a second route to London which is the ONLY way we're EVER going to have reliable trains.

We need seating capacity, we need reliable seven day services, we need trains at weekends to bring tourists, not bus replacements to put them off coming to Brighton. The lack of these isn't just an inconvenience, it's costing the economy multi-millions we can ill afford. BML2 is needed NOW.

Just wondering who's going to pay for this magical BML2?
I hope its the people that use it, time the government stopped subsidising the railway and made the companies that run the services invest in the Network first and shareholders second.
With the advent of virtual phone & video conferencing is there really any need to spend thousands of pounds and hours of your life travelling to London to work?

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Melgreen 11:19am Fri 21 Dec 12

I was one of the many stuck on the train from 12am for over 2 hours while they delt with the fire and then turned back on the eletrics so we could move into the station! Not a nice end to a nice day in London and as usual communication with what was going on was awful!

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Hoarder12345444 11:25am Fri 21 Dec 12

I would just go home and claim I couldnt get to work, no one needs the hassle before Christmas.

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gbfroggy 11:37am Fri 21 Dec 12

There may be an extremely valid reason today however there have been endless signalling failures in Preston Park as well as Balcombe /haywards H area in the past year or so or so.
I travel a lot at the weekend and get frustrated by the improvement work....ie the former engineering work blocking parts of the line to BTN at the weekend.
One has to ask what on earth are they doing doing these days.
Try to get an on time train these days. The OTP has dropped a lot lately.
It was mentioned yesterday at the BBC that if you take the 5 or 10 mn leeway to calculate the OTP that the train companies give themselves, only 57% of the trains actually arrive on time....poor showing when you consider what you pay to travel.
a friend of mine had to go to London at peak time from BTN.....£50 return!! One can expect to be on-time when paying so much.
So it would be interesting to know why the fire happened and if it was the result of endless failures in that area which have never been properly fixed.

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The Heretic 12:10pm Fri 21 Dec 12

@ kopite_rob: The BML2 moniker IS a bit of a misnomer, as it implies the benefits of the scheme are confined to Brighton line passengers. If that were the case, the outlay couldn't possibly be justified. Note though, that doing nothing also has a very high cost, both in terms of time lost by tens of thousands of commuters delayed each time there's a problem, to income lost to the local economy through repeated line closures. Then there are non-performance 'fines', in reality, subsidy monies being shunted from the taxpayer funded Network Rail to - you've guessed it - the private operating companies.

The catchment area for which BML2 would improve matters is actually in excess of 7 million spread across eight counties plus the eastern side of Greater London. Please take a detailed look at the scheme and how it links in to the wider transport network (and benefits non-rail users by freeing up road capacity and improving airport utilisation) in the most densely populated corner of the UK.

There's nothing magical about sensible transport planning. Just look at competitor countries who do invest in infrastructure, and at the ones who don't. A successful economy requires decent infrastructure, and in the case of the South East, there's a considerable body of opinion (including high level professionals in governement, transport and business) who have stated that the lack of investment is holding economic development back and seriously impedeing recovery.

It may suit control freaks to know that every little oarsman is safely tethered to their 'Home Communications Hub', beavering productively away, but while there are benefits to working from home, the way things are going, it'd be a comparatively short journey to needing permission to step outside what would become a prison in all but name, so be careful what you wish for, it may come true.

I'm in agreement about shunting taxpayer's money to investors and shareholders. The ones who always get under the radar are the train leasing companies, probably because they're all but invisible to yer average passenger. Personally, I want to see the railways re-nationalised and operated under an independant charter to ensure they don't become a political football like the former incarnation of BR. Odd how both German and French rail companies now control so much of our national network, while we 'privatised'. So as usual, the poor old UK tax payer is stuck with the worst of both worlds.

Withall, Brighton & Hove is consistantly ranked top ten busiest rail destinations outside London, yet even here some believe that level of patronage (at some of the highest fares in the world) still doesn't require or justify investment an adequate infrastructure. The present setup just isn't good enough.

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CantUseNSCatWork 12:25pm Fri 21 Dec 12

Hoarder12345444 wrote…


I would just go home and claim I couldnt get to work, no one needs the hassle before Christmas.

Really wish I had just that this morning and worked from home today. Hope this is all sorted out by tonight, or at least some semblance of a service is running back from Victoria.

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Old Ladys Gin 12:51pm Fri 21 Dec 12

And they want us all to use public transport more.
They've got hopes and one of them used to play golf.

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CantUseNSCatWork 1:11pm Fri 21 Dec 12

Leaving the office in about an hour. Anyone in the know able to tell me if London Bridge or Victoria is the best bet for getting back to Brighton?

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Dan Gleballs 1:11pm Fri 21 Dec 12

This might be a blessing in disguise. A brand new Signal Box for the people of Brighton. Hopefully commuting next year will be much better.

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Dan Gleballs 1:18pm Fri 21 Dec 12

CantUseNSCatWork wrote…


Leaving the office in about an hour. Anyone in the know able to tell me if London Bridge or Victoria is the best bet for getting back to Brighton?

I always get the first train to East Croydon. Jump off and wait for the first Brighton train there, that way you get a pick of all Brighton trains coming from Victoria and London bridge.

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puddinghead 1:55pm Fri 21 Dec 12

There have been no end of problems with signaling between Brighton and Hawywards Heath this year. Hardly a week goes by without a delay because of a fault. Looks like they overloaded the sticking plasters and they caught fire.

It is ridiculous that this line hasn't been upgraded and expanded.

The rail network should be seen as a vital part of the national infrastructure like it is in other countries not as a cash cow and a luxury.

When the rail network was nationalised the passenger was the victim of under investment under privatisation the passenger is the victim of corporate greed.

The whole network and service needs a comprehensive review that picks apart what is spent where and how much of the ticket price actually goes towards maintaining the service. If that ever happens it will probably uncover a scandal bigger than phone hacking, plebgate and the BBC fiasco combined.

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banargustrolls 2:09pm Fri 21 Dec 12

They're putting the prices right up in January so that might cover the repair to the rubbish singalling system. Merry Christmas.

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tim_actually 3:18pm Fri 21 Dec 12

Shocking again from Southern / Network Rail. I suggest everyone writes to their local MP, easily done online. I complained to Mike Weatherby a few months ago and got a goodwill voucher from Southern. This needs to be escalated and not brushed under the carpet like they normally do. Tipping point..

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electnick 4:33pm Fri 21 Dec 12

It's not just the trains that have been disrupted.A wide variety of signals are carried alongside the railway A number of feeds for digital television channels have also been affected.

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BenUk 4:44pm Fri 21 Dec 12

yet they want us to give up our cars and use this VERY RELIABLE transport service, in hope it will get us to work on time. bus or train there to expensive and if people think about it they would work out for themselfs it actually cheaper safer and less time consuming to have a car then to get a bus or train.
when traffic lighst not working nothing comes to a holt, but when a train traffic lights has a problem then it comes to a holt! for how long?!! good ol to much health & safty.
i stick to my car thanks.

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davyboy 5:39pm Fri 21 Dec 12

another problem the train operators cannot be blamed for. flooding caused the short-out and fires. all these problems are down to network rails failures in drainage

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keswick 7:11pm Fri 21 Dec 12

Chaos rules on Southern Trains, they really are clueless. This morning they could have run some buses directly to Three Bridges which would have helped those trying to get to London Bridge instead of sending every bus through Haywards Heath. You would expect the journey back to be smoother as they have had time to consider all options, oh how naive.
There were trains from London Bridge to Haywards Heath but trains were being sent from Three Bridges to Brighton. Why not advise Brighton bound travellers to change at Three Bridges and reduce the congestion at Haywards Heath ? I’ll tell you why because the train companies do not care in the slightest about their captive customers.
When you arrive at Haywards Heath more chaos rules. A train is going to run from Three Bridges to Brighton but as to when is anyone’s guess. However there are buses outside but these have been suspended as there will be a train at some time. When you try to ask a Southern staff member as to why you get spoken to like you are something on their shoe. There is not a manager in sight. So it is back to the John West audition on platform two and eventually the cattle are herded on to the train. The train is stop and start. Any information from the driver on the likely progress, no not a word.
Southern and FCC do not care less because they have a captive audience who have no choice but to pay their exorbitant fares for a service that is worse than it was twenty years ago. I normally get the 07.32 train from Brighton to London Bridge but it is never on time so what do Southern do, change the times to allow them to be later. Trouble is that even the revised timetable cannot be kept to.
Southern/FCC should offer all passengers today a full refund, after all they get the money from Network Rail. This money is in fact another revenue stream as they do not refund as much as they receive.
Come on Southern/FCC/Network Rail answer the points that I have made above.

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Nitrous_McBread 7:49pm Fri 21 Dec 12

Remember, you can claim compensation if your train is late or cancelled. Details here: http://www.guardian.
co.uk/money/2012/dec
/18/how-claim-train-
delayed?INTCMP=SRCH

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Sussex jim 8:01pm Fri 21 Dec 12

Bring back the LB&SCR.

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danielsreef 1:39am Sat 22 Dec 12

I am regularly caught up in these signalling problems from Brighton to St Pan. You cant blame the train companies , its an infrastructure issue, Network Rail tracks, power and assets. The issue is that there is that many people using this route , if the train service goes down there are then very few alternative methods to get people moving . Buses, taxis , other routes around it for example. Serious investment is required to modernise and expand capacity on this well used and important route. Unfortunately this in itself will cause disruption with continous engineering works and part closures to fix it, so its time to grit our teeth and have some short term pain for some long time gain. Come on Network rail , bring it on , get it over and done with, we're ready for you!! London has had its bit, Brighton deserves it now.

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danielsreef 1:46am Sat 22 Dec 12

I forgot to add that ,even though it is not the train companies fault , they do not help themselves by taking too long to co-ordinate alternative arrangements in the first place . Get around the table, have a joint disruption meeting , all work together, update each other as to what each other can do to help each other and, most importantly the passenger ( customer)

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