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19 - Jan - 2015

Travel chaos continues for many

As Gatwick tops a new poll as the Londoners favourite option for expansion, for many rail passengers in London travel chaos goes on as London Bridge continues with its redevelopment programme.  And if you were thinking of taking the bus instead, that option is also going to be hit by disruption as the Unite union announce a 24-hour strike by workers at as many as 18 bus companies in London on 13th January – not such a good start to the new year!

Overcrowding at London Bridge rail station reached record levels this week on consecutive evenings, and there doesn’t appear to be any let up in the delays.  The problem is the extensive redevelopment work – the station is being extensively refurbished and modernised for the Thameslink Programme – which has led to a limited infrastructure around London Bridge, but this has led to long delays and cancellations for Southern and Thameslink services travelling through the station.

It is of little consolation to passengers who have suffered with dangerously high levels of overcrowding, services cancelled and delays that Network Rail has admitted that the situation is “unacceptable” and “embarrassing” – the reason given was that they had a timetable that was both ineffective and didn’t fit their new infrastructure – really?  In this day and age of improving technology, is this really a justified reason for the distress and discomfort caused over the week?

What is of even greater concern is that the new infrastructure being developed at London Bridge, including signalling improvements and platform re-building, these delays and congestion is set to continue for a considerably long time; predictions are at least several more years.  Even though Network Rail warned of long delays due to the redevelopment programme, nobody accurately predicted the extent of the congestion and suffering that passengers’ would, and are experiencing.  Some serious re-thinking and action is needed in order to significantly rectify the situation, sooner rather than later!

This week, we also pay tribute to those who lost their lives in Paris this week as thousands of people gathered in Paris, London, Berlin and worldwide joined in vigils against the attack on satirical publication, Charlie Hebdo.  Our thoughts are with the families and friends of the victims.

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