c2c Delivery Director, Kevin Frazer, recaps the first morning of the new c2c timetable
This morning saw the biggest change of the c2c timetable for a decade. So how did it go? We have taken input from customer feedback, both at stations and on social media, and used industry data on punctuality, reliability and train loadings to review the morning service.
While we do recognise the strength of feeling in some areas, across the line as a whole the timetable operated largely as predicted. Most trains had the right level of seating, apart from those key exceptions highlighted below, and demand was generally well-matched with supply. There was a strong response from Basildon station in particular, where many passengers welcomed the new seats.
As the Delivery Director, the first statistic I consider is punctuality. Over 90% of trains arrived on time this morning, which is a very good result for the first peak of the new timetable. With time we can expect that figure to climb to our usual high standards.
We have downloaded data on how busy each service was at each point by weighing the train. The early data shows that more than 90% of trains were as busy as we expected at each individual station. One feature that stands out is that on several services, more people were boarding at the front of the train rather than the back. This means some passengers were standing when there were empty seats available on the same service. If you vary where you board the train tomorrow, you may find you have a more comfortable journey.
This loading data, combined with passenger feedback, highlighted issues on a handful of specific individual services. Where we have been able to, we have made some changes:
1) The 07.49 service from Pitsea, which runs via Tilbury and Rainham before arriving at Fenchurch Street at 08.47, was clearly over-crowded.
From tomorrow this will become an 8-carriage train.
In the short term we will use a train that is normally undergoing maintenance to provide this additional capacity.
In the long-term, we will identify another service which isn’t so crowded to provide these extra carriages.
2) At Laindon the service generally worked well with a couple of key exceptions:
The 06.51 and 06.58 trains were particularly crowded. There is a starter service at 07.05, which had spare capacity and may provide a better alternative.
The trains at 07.46 and 07.52 were particularly crowded. There were spare seats this morning on the 07.58 and 08.03 trains, which are both formed of 12-carriages, so you may benefit by catching one of these alternative trains.
3) The 06.51 train at Chafford Hundred/06.56 service at Ockendon was particularly crowded.
There is an alternative train at 07.06 at Chafford Hundred/07.11 at Ockendon which starts at Grays, and had good seat availability today.
4) In the Southend area, the 07.18 train from Shoeburyness (arriving at Fenchurch Street at 08.19) was the busiest train. This was the only service on which there were more passengers onboard than seats before it left Chalkwell.
If you travelled on this service this morning and weren’t able to get a seat, you should find that seats are available on the alternative services either side
If you travelled on another train from the Southend area and were standing, you may want to consider boarding further back in the train where more seats tend to be available
5) Travelling away from London, there was some crowding on the trains arriving at Southend at around 08.00.
From tomorrow the 07.10 departure from Fenchurch Street will additionally stop at Upminster at 07.36, and arrives at Southend Central at 07.59.
We also expect many passengers will want to try different options for the first few days, before settling on the service that suits them best. Please do consider this approach, especially if you weren’t satisfied with your commute this morning.
We promise that we will continue to watch the new timetable closely, and if we identify more opportunities to improve the overall service, we will take them.