The service is bad, the reliability is bad and nothing is being done. So I decided to take pot luck and start tweeting them about the problems. It got so bad that I had to raise an official complaint this week.
On Monday, the trains were cancelled because of over running engineering works. They consistently blame Network Rail for this and try to wash their hands. But if you're spending over £2000 with them per year, this isn't a very good response.
So I started by asking for someone I can complain to that isn't in the customer service area. I wanted someone senior, someone that might do something. I was given the email address firstname.lastname@example.org. Not a Southern Railway email address which seems strange, but I am assured it's a special team that deals with complaints. So just to be sure, I tried copying in a published email address of their MD, Chris Burchell as well as some publicly available addresses from Go Ahead, the owners of Southern Railway. So far, I found email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. They're a number of directors there so should be aware of the issues.
I received a fairly quick response back from Liam Ludlow, the Customer Service Manager, assuring me that Chris Burchell has read the complaint and asked him to deal with it. Sadly, Chris Burchell's email address that I found didn't work, but the others did so I was kinda happy.
I patiently waited the two working days I was quoted for a response and to be honest, with the service and reliability of the train service they run, waiting is something I'm now very good at.
In fact, I waited more than two days and still no response or follow up. I can only assume that the company runs permanently late and so I've had to follow up with another email of complaint to them. I tried a variation of Chris Burchells email address to try and make sure he received a copy. Failed again. One final try and it made it. Sadly, I then received an Out Of Office response from him as he's on holiday. So did he really read my email from the other day ? Or was that just Liam Ludlow deciding to try and placate me that something was being done ?
At least now I have his email address and a contact number for his PA Sam.
I look forward to getting this all looked in to and sorted out properly. By 11.02 am today, still no reply from anyone. Hopefully this can all be resolved without having to refer them to the Office of Rail Regulation.
Finally, I'm trying to trend #southernfailuk which I think has a nice ring to it and is very similar to @southernrailuk twitter name.