Concerns – The new operator and Railfuture Proposals

SERUG have expressed serious concerns about the working of the line after reading various reports about the new First/MTR franchise award, now branded as South Western Railway (SWR), and wrote to the Dft (Peter Wilkinson ) expressing our views about lack of any improvement in services, capacity increases, passenger benefit and standards, continuing with the existing 25 year old trains, lack of more car parking, and a serious concern about unregulated fares and car parking charges.  The response from the Dft gave no help.. From their decision,  they think their “improvements” are good, but, an example of one, is the 11 minute time saving from Salisbury to Waterloo, that they may be able to achieve if Woking and Clapham Junction stops are omitted. There will be public consultation on that issue, as SERUG would be set fully against that option.

Andy Mellors has been appointed the MD for the new franchise. He was formerly GWR’s engineering Director.

We had a constructive meeting with SWR in July and now the major Waterloo station works (phase one) are complete we look forward to working with them to improve the railway.

In August 2017 Railfuture and SERUG delivered a paper “Salisbury to Exeter Route Capacity Enhancements which can be read in full in the Publications section of this web site. It suggests the way forward to improve capacity, services, and passenger benefits. This is with all 8 MP’s on the route plus the Minster. Our lobbying for improvements with your help gives this paper critical importance.

New Committee Members required…

We urgently require  additional Committee members:

  1. Someone to take responsibility for Communications (currently this role is divided between 2 existing committee members, but now requires a person with marketing and social media skills).
  2. Someone to lead Axminster  station.
  3. Membership and program secretary

Please  email  if you’re interested in either of these roles…. neither are particularly onerous !

Competition and Markets Authority CMA decision

Railfuture’s  (Rf) complaint to the Competition and Markets Authority has just resulted in First/MTR proposing a fares cap on the two routes between London and Exeter so that travelers are not disadvantaged by the company’s new monopoly position.
SERUG worked with Rf to make this application to ensure passengers are not disadvantaged. However the CMA decided only to consider London Waterloo and Exeter stations as the comparisons – intermediate stations are not considered – we think that a cop out and will continue to check the details as the franchise moves forward.

South Western Railway

From the 20th August 2017 First/MTR will call our line part of the South Western Railway. The Waterloo station works phase one are complete and we look forward to better running and efficient services.

Commendation for SERUG

SERUG in November 2016  won a coveted national award from Railfuture for the Best new Rail User Group 2016 category – receiving a commendation. This was an accolade indeed and highlights the RUG quality and its independence.