True stories from the Great Railway Disaster

A weekly chronicle of the absurdities caused by the Government's privatisation programme; No 67: so you want the train to stop at your station?
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Barbara Echlin lives near Collington Halt outside Bexhill and often uses trains at weekends. In the distant past, trains called there on Sundays but they stopped doing so because it was too expensive to staff the station. Now the station is always unstaffed, so Ms Echlin asked Network SouthCentral, the local train company, why trains could not stop there on Sundays. Its customer relations officer, John Flower, replied that, while the reason used to be concern over lack of staff, "more recently, the move towards the anticipated future of the railway network does mean that we have to pay additional fees whenever a train stops at a station. I regret to advise you that [stopping a train] is still a matter of financial consideration that is now primarily for commuter traffic".

In other words, the trains cannot stop because the soon-to-be-privatised Railtrack charges extra fees when they do so.

As Ms Echlin comments: "They say that insufficient people use Collington station to make it worthwhile. But if the trains don't stop, people cannot use them."