After yet another day of rail chaos on the line from Southend Victoria to London Liverpool Street, an inside source at the company responsible for this service has revealed that the majority of recent problems have been down to passengers NOT USING THE TRAINS CORRECTLY.
A broken-down train led to delays and misery for a number of people on Tuesday, and for this particular problem it has been claimed that too many people were trying to use the train at the same time. He explained, ‘Like any other trains that are used in the United Kingdom, seats are installed for one very good reason – standing up on a moving train affects the carriages’ ability to balance properly on the rails. Therefore, we would advise all passengers to wait for a service that has seats available before getting on board, and passengers in Billericay can travel into Southend before boarding a train to London to ensure that they are able to sit down. If passengers continue to stand up and cause significant damage to trains while doing so, we will have no alternative but to introduce a £20 fixed penalty for anyone who is not in a seat.’
We then asked the spokesperson about signal problems that have the potential to bring the network to a standstill. He said, ‘Passengers have to bear in mind that while the signals are ultra-modern, the trains have to be able to understand what signals are saying properly, and often mobile phone signals from people on board interfere with the train’s ability to think. Again, passengers need to start taking responsibility for their own services here, and please bear in mind that these trains were built in an era when mobile phones were something that you would only see in a science fiction movie – they simply cannot cope.’
However, there might be some good news on the horizon for frustrated commuters on the line. With the recent announcement that the current carriages will remain in service for the next 150 years, our source confirmed that bosses on the route have taken out Green Flag Breakdown Cover to ensure that any broken-down trains can be repaired and put back into service as quickly as possible. In addition to this, all passengers who try and board trains out of Liverpool Street to Southend after 10pm Monday – Sunday will be breathalysed to ensure that the trains are not misused.
We have verified that our source is a genuine employee of the company – he was wearing a train driver’s hat when our reporter met him underneath the rail bridge by Rayleigh Station.
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