The acid test
17 March 2015
Last December I posted a series of blogs about the early problems at London Bridge with the words: ‘The big test of the Xmas works and beyond now looms’. Little did I or anyone know that the problems that I and others had encountered on the weekends at London Bridge would be multiplied massively. I wrote an article for Transport Times called ‘London Bridge is falling down’. Network Rail and the train companies responded well and things did seem to get better. How to get that much needed investment built without totally losing the trust of passengers has become a key issue for the industry.
The memory of Christmas and thousands of angry, frustrated passengers stuck at cold stations will linger long in the memory. Stories of passengers standing for hours on trains, locked outside stations and left to find out what to do by themselves.
The industry did not cover itself in glory that weekend but it responded quickly and set out plans to do better. We welcomed Network Rail’s swift and honest review of what went wrong.
Easter is approaching and with it a number of major engineering works. We passengers don’t like them digging up the tracks and the inevitable disruption this causes, although we accept it’s needed to make the railway better. The payoff is that we will get plenty of notice and that it reopens as promised.
All eyes will now be on train operators and Network Rail to make sure lessons have actually been learned.