Southeastern’s summer shorts – passengers feel the heat

During August, Southeastern has reduced the number of carriages on several peak time services. These are:

  • 08:14 Tonbridge / 08:19 Hildenborough to Cannon Street
  • 17:41 Tonbridge / 17:45 Hildenborough to Charing Cross
  • 18:41 Charing Cross to Tonbridge and Paddock Wood

We strongly suggest that travellers avoid the 18:41 from Charing Cross if at all possible – with the best alternatives for Tonbridge being the 18:45 to Hastings, and for Paddock Wood the 18:19 to Ashford International or the 19:10 to Ramsgate.

All of these services have been reduced to just 7 carriages, having been previously been formed of 11 carriages. Although passenger numbers are indeed lower during the summer holidays, they are not completely devoid of passengers.

We’ve had first hand experience of some of these trains as well as lots of feedback on social media and email. The mornings seem all right, with passengers boarding at Tonbridge and Hildenborough able to secure a seat. However, in the evenings we’ve been seeing cramped and sweaty conditions. We’ve asked Southeastern what they’ve done to alleviate the evening crush and they’ve ‘passed on reports’, in other words little or nothing. This intransigent following of a model that clearly didn’t work is disappointing and frustrating.

Our view is that this is a conscious decision by Southeastern to take trains out of service and so they should take every reasonable option to mininise the impact on passengers. We understand that Southeastern wishes to catch up with maintenance over the summer, but forcing people on to cramped, hot trains in a heatwave is a failure to passengers. It also breaches the promise that passengers won’t have to stand for longer than 20 minutes.

Have you experienced overcrowding or uncomfortable journeys as a result of these short formations? If so, please let us know – our strength is in our numbers and so the more we hear from you, the better we can hold Southeastern to account and win improvements for our services!

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