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Southern Discomfort

Most readers, I suspect, know that the Southern railway service is chaotic, less that the Ministry of Transport effectively has taken over the service and plays Govia the franchise holder a management fee. The previous rail minister Claire Perry has resigned. No reason was given but a friend said she is fed up justifying a crap service. One hopes Theresa May’s other female appointments display more vigour and responsibility. The loser in all of this is the commuter. My p/a Polly had to endure a 5 hour train journey from Southampton during which she had to get off the train five times as there was insufficient crew. Yesterday, when there was a fire destroying the track at Gatwick, her best friend Grania was stuck for an hour in Redhill – not an attractive prospect – but showed an initiative that would make her a fine Minister of Transport, rallying round fellow passengers to share a taxi to Brighton.

The dispute is over whether the guards or the drivers should open the train doors. The Transport Ministry are backing Govia in the dispute against Unite and there seems no immediate resolution. Time was when the Brighton Belle was one of the most famous rail journeys (from Victoria to Brighton) in the UK. England captain Ted Dexter had his kippers on it, Laurence Olivier was a regular. Hove has a rich populace of financiers only too happy to pay for a reliable luxurious service. Brighton trades on a 54 journey time to Victoria. One can hardly imagine this present situation would be tolerated by a French mayor, a country with a vision for rail transport.

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About Robert Tickler

A man of financial substance, Robert has a wide range of interests and opinions to match. More Posts