Melia Pro

Published on Monday, February 26, 2018

Gatwick-bound travellers miss flights because of 'inadequate' replacement bus service

Southern Rail has apologised to passengers travelling to Gatwick Airport who missed flights because of severe delays on a replacement bus service on Sunday.

The rail operator had warned earlier in the week it would be running a bus replacement service between Redhill and Gatwick airport while 'essential maintenance work' was carried out on Sunday.

But it later admitted it had underestimated demand.

Police were called to try to control the overcrowding as people waited for buses at the station, which is just outside Gatwick.

Many people took to social media to post pictures of huge queues and to criticise the service as 'inadequate'.

Tweeters included local MP Crispin Blunt, who wrote: "Dangerous shambles on stairs in Redhill Station behind barriers before people get to join this shocking queue of people trying to get to Gatwick Airport.

"Final insult is full Gatwick Express prices being charged by Southern Rail."

Passengers described scenes of 'chaos', with people almost 'trampling one another' according to one eye witness.

One man, calling himself #mynameisGraeme, tweeted the picture above, saying: "Someone needs firing for this debacle."

One passenger told the Guardian newspaper: "There was no system whatsoever. There were people just trying to get on the train back to Victoria and hundreds of people trying to leave with all their suitcases. It was a mess.

"There were also elderly people and parents with children and babies in the crowd, and it was so cold. Buses were also backing up into the crowd and there were no barriers. It doesn't seem very safe and that's what made me angry."

A spokeswoman for Southern said: "We apologise to any passengers delayed at Redhill this afternoon. Demand for the rail replacement service has been greater than expected.

"We will ensure that plans for upcoming weekend engineering works take a higher capacity requirement into consideration.

"We have altered the routes of a number of additional bus services drafted in to help to get passengers on the move, offering a shorter Redhill to Gatwick route."

The rail operator said buses are scheduled to run every five minutes. It advised passengers to allow extra time for their journey.

British Transport Police confirmed four officers were sent to help with the flow of people.


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  • Yet another management failure

    There are 4 tracks on this section of line, 2 up & two down. The two 'fast' lines don't even pass through Redhill station. Surely, it doesn't take a genius to organise the work so that only one pair of lines is being worked on at any one time.

    By Peter Lewis, Monday, February 26, 2018

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