Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Thursday, 14 January 2010

Southeastern to explain 'bad' snow service on trains

Southeastern train
Southeastern said snow had interrupted the power supply

Southeastern Trains has been asked to explain its "bad" performance during snowfall which left thousands stranded.

The London Assembly Transport Committee said many passengers complained about "badly disrupted" services and the lack of information about alternatives.

The committee asked why services were hit despite "relatively light snowfall" when other trains ran a normal service.

Southeastern Trains said it ran a reduced service to prevent "passengers being delayed on failed trains".

Caroline Pidgeon, chair of the transport committee, wrote a letter to the company's managing director Charles Horton demanding to know the reason behind the disruptions between 5-8 January.

Call for refund

Ms Pidgeon wrote: "Why was Southeastern's service so badly disrupted on these days when there was relatively light snowfall in south-east London compared to other areas in the capital, and other rail operators such as Southern were still running their usual services?

"Why were freight trains able to operate but not passenger trains during these three days?"

She also questioned the lack of information about alternative travel options and why passengers were unable to get refunds for their weekly tickets.

A statement from Southeastern said: "We ran a revised timetable to reduce the chances of passengers being delayed on failed trains for long periods in freezing weather.

"We tried to provide as much information as possible so help passengers make reliable journey choices during this time.

"In this part of the UK train services are vulnerable to snow and ice because it acts as an insulating layer on the conductor rail making it difficult for electrical trains to draw power."

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