Monday, 26 September 2011


Well, I've had a month so far of my new daily routine of commuting from Brighton to London in the rush hours.

It's been an interesting but often depressing experience. Until now, I've travelled for work mostly off-peak, when things have seem to have run pretty smoothly. But so far, my regular inbound trains (one of the extended Gatwick Expresses) have been unfailingly late. Sometimes only by 5 minutes, and other times up to 40 minutes. But not one has actually arrived at the stated time: and that is with the slower, peak-time services which all take over an hour from London to Brighton (though I realise they make a few more stops).

Of course, I realise the performance figures refer to trains being on time if they arrive within 10 minutes of the scheduled time, but it seems the figures in the low 90s in percentage terms must be largely determined all those relatively empty trains running off-peak; peak services seem to be much more fragile.

And, is it my bad luck I've had four major incidents - roughly one a week - so far? These include a man who had climbed under a train (5 hour delay), a broken rail (3 hour delay), and the recent problem with Balcombe tunnel (where the lining needed emergency repairs). On that day I didn't even make it into work.

And of course this for well over £3,000 a year. I may rent a room up in town...