Playing the blame game for train delays

Passengers using South West Trains have had a dire week. Last night's problems come from an attempted cable theft near Woking.

This is the company's apology.

It seems the problems were compounded by passengers getting out of their stranded trains.

This is what one guard had to say about it (Audioboo).

So who is to blame here?

Firstly it does seem communication was an issue with many complaints from passengers saying they weren't kept up to date.

Following the snow at Christmas, the rail companies said they would be looking to improve this. It looks like this hasn't happened so far.

Secondly, what can you do to stop cable theft? On Monday I reported on the huge increases in cable theft.

It's gone up 48% on the Tube and the DLR and 7% on the trains in the south east.

And the reason is economic. You can now get over £5,000 a tonne for copper.

In fact this is such a serious issue that British Transport Police are making it their number one priority.

However, trying to protect a huge transport network with limited resources is an extremely difficult job. They're really relying on members of the public and passengers to report anything suspicious.

The thieves will go to considerable risk and this won't be the last time you hear of delays caused by cable theft.

Another point. Train companies don't have to pay compensation for "gross vandalism".

So, I'm afraid it's unlikely those who endured four hour journeys will get their money back.

Update: I've just been contacted by the Stage Coach Group who run South West trains.

They have said that under the highly unusual circumstances they will be compensating passengers who were stuck in trains on Thursday night.

Even though it's not covered by the Passenger Charter, they say, I quote: "We believe strongly that compensating customers is the right thing to do."

You can get more details on their website.

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