Silverlink Hell (part 2)

Posted on 11 April 2005 in Transport (No comments)

Badger people enough - and importantly be firm - and you might even get a proper answer to your question.

And lo, on the second attempt, finally an answer to the original question.

Adding carriages can also reduce crowding and can be seen as a simplistic solution. Unfortunately however, all available carriages are used in peak times and there is little leeway in adding additional carriages. I do take your point about hiring more carriages and this avenue has been explored but the train class sets can prohibit this and of course, current revenue, infrastructure and maintenance programmes would require change

In other words, 'hey we need more money'.

Of course it's still shit for the people regularly left standing on the platforms, for the people who regularly crowd into their puny three carriage trains. For the people who, whilst they may get a reasonably reliable service (the West London Line does seem to operate pretty well to timetable), have to endure what is quite frankly the most appalling overcrowding I've experienced in London, where overcrowding happens on a regular basis, not just when things go wrong.

Is there any hope for us suffering commuters? Well Silverlink have washed their hands of it - which is nice. However let's not forget that their franchise (with it's lovely £120m public subsidy) is up next year. Will things get better?

Actually, probably not in the short term due to two new stations opening, supposedly this year - one at Imperial Wharf, and another at Shepherds Bush and will be an interchange with the Central Line. Whilst two new stations are good, there seems to be no mention yet of extra carriages, or trying to squeeze some extra trains.

Unfortunately the scope for extra trains is limited due to the fact that the majority of north/south freight trains that cross the Thames, use the West London Line which reduces capacity. Can you imagine if that happened on the roads? If all lorries had to go over Kew Bridge and nowhere else, so much so that very few cars or buses could cross? There'd be uproar.

That said, in a study about freight in London, Transport for London believe at it should be possible to divert around one train an hour off the line, releasing it for other purposes, including passengers - if the Kew East line is enhanced anyway...

Added to that, there are proposals to hand over control of Silverlink's franchise to Transport to London, whose ideas involve cutting back on Silverlink's current services where they duplicate other lines (such as part of the Bakerloo line), and reassigning stock and resources to lines like the West London.

Of course until then we'll just have to put up with Silverlink treating us with contempt for a few more years as they continue to treat their customers like cattle. And what more can be said, bar that it is, of course, Silverlink Hell.

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