My platform - Commuter column

London to Brighton line just north of the Balcombe viaduct
London to Brighton line just north of the Balcombe viaduct

A clampdown’s poised to deter young people from using stations as impromptu youth clubs.

Southern are working with British Transport Police to mount an operation and promise to target Plumpton where the shelter is a known haunt of local youths engaged in anti-social


Meanwhile, we are encouraged to email reports to their Eyewitness team. Don’t always expect instant action, but help Southern to gather intelligence and build-up a picture of areas where they need to take action to clean up the railways.

The email is:

Creating a colourful winter display in the garden is hard enough, but to attempt it in the confines of wooden planters situated in almost total shade is a challenge for even the best horticulturalist.

Odd, then, that the newly-installed planters at Burgess Hill have been situated so that they get virtually no sunlight, never mind that they are also in the busiest thoroughfares and have become an added obstacle for stressed passengers.

Advance warning that a train will be late, or even cancelled, can be a boon – but not when the information proves totally inaccurate.

The computer system which feeds station screens and the online ‘Live Departures’ service is apt to catch us commuters out. How often it says a train is delayed and we mentally re-schedule our plans but, somehow, at the last minute, the service manages to arrive on time and we end up missing it. Infuriating.

Ticketless-ticketing (if that isn’t an oxymoron) is moving closer.

Many commuters already have their green plastic Key but they seem to severely hold up on-train ticket checks as each card has to be inserted into a machine to see whether it’s valid for the journey as frustrated conductors are left battling with the machinery.