16 January 2016 | Phil Rogers

Why has this group been formed?

I guess I’ve been toying with this idea for a long time, but hearing about protests against another TOC whilst sat on yet another delayed Southeastern train, and people being interested in joining some sort of action, I figured:

  • There are local rail groups that have members
  • These members aren’t necessarily that active
  • The rail groups may sometimes not focus on the needs of the customer, but the railway (they are railway enthusiasts, in general, after all)
  • There are many people on social media groups that might not want to formally join a formal rail group, but want to do something
  • There isn’t one way to mobilise those interested in speaking out against Southeastern…at least not an independent way

So, that evening, I put together the Twitter and Facebook page to bring people together - and within 24 hours we had reached 140 followers on Twitter

What will we do?

That will be lead by what the group thinks! And I’ll be putting out a poll on our twitter and facebook accounts over the next week with some ideas

Most of all we need to positively campaign as any sort of abuse, violence etc. never really got anywhere…

The best place for discussions would be our facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/SERailAction - so please join the group if you’re on facebook.

Why now?

The first two weeks of 2016’s commute have been absolutely awful.

Yes, on the whole this was due to factors within Network Rail’s control, though Southeastern have not helped the situation due to ongoing themes that never change:

  • Cancelling trains instead of diverting them, causing overcrowding and irate rail users
  • Making no effort to use the stock on cancelled trains to extend these overcrowded services
  • Lack of useful information conveyed to those wanting to take a train, or already on the train
  • Lack of a working email alert service to tell rail users when there is a problem

More importantly, near the end of 2016, the franchise process for south-east England begins.

So this is an important time to get our voices together to say what we want, and what don’t want.

And as a group, form a united voice across SE London, and Kent, to make ourselves heard to our representatives (both MPs and local rail groups), and those responsibile for looking at the franchise as a whole (DfT, Transport Focus, other bodies)

What next?

I believe this will organically form from discussions with group members over the coming days and weeks…and from this we can work on our first piece of action.

About me

I’ve been a commuter from Dartford since 2001 - I’ve seen how bad Connex got, and how we got a slight improvement under the Govt run services, and saw the gradual decrease in the care that Govia put into the franchise under the ‘Southeastern’ name.

I was also lucky enough to be asked to join a BBC Radio Kent live session with the new Southastern MD in October 2014, which lead to co-founding a rail group for Dartford - helping provide a place for Dartford commuters to discuss rail related problems, and also crowdsource information from each other when there’s delays…usually faster and better than Southeastern can.

My involvement with Dartford Rail Travellers’ Association will continue, and this group is independent of that.

If you’d like to contact me then contact details are in the ‘About us’ section at the top of the page


For the latest follow us on social media:
Twitter:@serailaction
Facebook:Southeastern Railway Action Group
or email:contact@serailaction.uk

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Related links

UK Govt petition to remove franchise from Southeastern
Facebook Group
My personal blog
Dartford Rail Travellers' Association