Balcombe bemused at station upgrade

Balcombe Parish Council has tried to ascertain the rationale behind and extent of Balcombe’s station upgrade to no avail.  Not only has a new waiting room been built but new seats appeared last week.
Here is an excerpt of our correspondence with Southern Railways regarding the matter, which you may find amusing…

COMMUNICATIONS TO AND FROM SOUTHERN RAILWAYS REGARDING THE NEW WAITING ROOM ON BALCOMBE STATION, AS AT 14TH NOVEMBER

20th September

To Southern Railways

I will be obliged if you will let me know, so that the residents of Balcombe can be informed, why you are erecting a new waiting room on platform 1 of Balcombe station and, presumably, demolishing the existing waiting room.

Thank you in anticipation.

Rodney Saunders, Vice-chairman, Balcombe Parish Council

27th September

From Southern Railways

Dear Mr Saunders

Thank you for contacting us in regards to the new waiting room at Balcombe station.

Unfortunately, I cannot find any information that we have been passed at Customer Service about any waiting room at Balcombe being built. I would assume that this is part of the station redevelopment programme. However, as I do not have the definitive answer I will pass this on to our Escalations department so they can find the answer to the question As soon as I have a response I will be in touch.

If you wish to contact us further regarding your query, please contact our Customer Service team directly at comments@southernrailway.com, by phone on 08451 27 29 20 or in writing to:
Southern Customer Services
PO Box 3021
Bristol
BS2 2BS
quoting ticket number [65872-1348136940] on all communication.

For the latest travel information, why not follow us on Twitter @southernrailUK and @GatwickExpress

Kind regards

James Howells
Southern Customer Services

17th October

To Southern Railways

Dear Mr Howells

I am surprised that your Escalations department has apparently been unable to provide an answer to my question regarding this new and unnecessary eyesore on Balcombe station.

While pursuing the matter can you please confirm that there are no plans to demolish the adjacent original (Victorian) waiting room which is totally in keeping with the other station building.

A prompt response will be appreciated.

Rodney Saunders, Vice-chairman, Balcombe Parish Council

17th October

From Southern Railways

Dear Sir/Madam,
Thank you for your email. Your reference number is [65872-1348136940]
We appreciate you taking the time to contact us. We aim to respond in full to your enquiry within 7 days. Please note that if you have sent us a Delay Repay claim, our team will aim to respond within 28 days. If you have sent us a Refund claim, our team will aim to respond within 10 days. From 22 October, Southern will be operating a revised cycle policy. Restrictions apply to the carriage of non folding bikes from 07:00 – 10:00 and 16:00 – 19:00 Monday to Friday. For details please check southernrailway.com/cyclepolicy
Kind Regards,
Southern Customer Services

31st October

To Southern Railways

Dear Mr Howells

I have now been waiting 5 weeks for the answer to a perfectly simple question.

May I request the courtesy of a response within the next 48 hours.

Rodney Saunders, Vice-chairman, Balcombe Parish Council

31st October

From Southern Railways

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your email. Your reference number is [65872-1348136940]

Etc. as above

2nd November

To Southern Railways

You do not respond to emails (see mine of 17th & 31st October)

You place telephone callers in a queue of unknown length, and offer them your call-back within two hours service.  This morning at about 10.00 I requested a call-back; it is now 14.50 and I am still waiting.

Faxes are apparently rejected

Before I start escalating this matter high and fast please contact me either by email or on 01444 811598

Rodney Saunders, Vice-chairman, Balcombe Parish Council

2nd November

From Southern Railways

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your email. Your reference number is [65872-1348136940]

Etc. as above

5th November

From Southern Railways

Dear Rodney
Thank you for contacting us on 17 October 2012 concerning renovations at Balcombe Station. Please accept my apologies for the time it has taken to respond to your email.
I have looked into your account and can confirm that your query was externally escalated to the station line manager on 8 October 2012.  I am very sorry that you are having to wait this long for a response. Though we endeavour to respond to enquiries within 7-10 working days we are not always able to deliver this and unfortunately are still awaiting to hear back from the station manager.
In an attempt to try and obtain some information in the meantime I spoke to a staff member in Balcombe ticket office. Though they are aware of the renovations they are unable to specify whether there was a particular reason for this.
I have re-escalated your query as this will add urgency to your request as well as providing your additional query about the future of the original waiting room. I have also provided a link below which may be useful in relation to Southern’s overall station enhancement plans.
http://www.southernrailway.com/your-journey/station-information/station-enhancements/
Once again, please accept my apologies for the time it is taking to respond to your query.
If you wish to contact us further regarding your query, please contact our Customer Service team directly at comments@southernrailway.com, by phone on 08451 27 29 20 or in writing to:
Southern Customer Services
PO Box 3021
Bristol BS2 2BS
quoting ticket number [65872-1348136940] on all communication.
For the latest travel information, why not follow us on Twitter @southernrailUK and @GatwickExpress
Kind regards
Fay Hodgkinson
Southern Customer Services

9th November

To Southern Railways

Dear Ms Hodgkinson

I note, unsurprisingly, that there has been no response from your Station Line Manager.

Yesterday the platform seating at Balcombe station was replaced.

What else is planned?  Surely someone in Southern Railways must know what is going on?

Rodney Saunders

9th November

From Southern Railways

Dear Sir/Madam

Thank you for your email. Your reference number is [65872-1348136940]

Etc. as above

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Genuine enquiries by email please as we just can't reply to all comments.

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