Whilst at one level it is understandable that some services have struggled to cope with the current severe weather, what has been unacceptable has been the complete lack of information provided by some. Southeastern trains have been at the forefront in this regard.
Whilst in normal conditions their service is pretty reliable, they have fallen well short in terms of performance over the last few days. I have had reports of chaotic scenes at London Bridge Station with station staff unable to provide any meaningful information as to when the next train would be or where it would be going. It is this basic communication and management issue that has been particularly concerning.
The Transport Secretary, Philip Hammond was right when he said in the House of Commons yesterday:
"The lack of information is inexcusable. The Office of Rail Regulation said this morning that it will have its inspectors out on the Southeastern and Southern networks, looking at the information that is being provided and making sure that operators are meeting their obligations under their franchise contracts, and if they are not they will be dealt with according to the provisions in those franchise contracts."
Southeastern needs to have a long hard look at how it responds to winter weather and how it can keep its customers better informed.