Tunbridge Wells asks: Is Southeastern trains REALLY ready to cope with the wintry weather and snow this year?

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By kentsussex | Thursday, December 06, 2012, 09:48

Today we ask the question - is train firm Southeastern really ready for this year's cold weather?

It comes after yesterday's light dusting of snow caused major disruption to services across the country of Kent.

The firm blamed Network Rail for not clearing the rails of snow and ice - because it hadn't realised it was going to snow.

But embarassingly it follows the company's brazen statement last week to local MPs that it 'was' ready to cope with the arrival of wintry weather.

Yesterday, thousands of commuters from Kent into London were affected by poor services, mainly through the key stations of Tonbridge and Maidstone.

Many took to Twitter to voice their anger at the situation. Still fresh in their minds is the farcical situation of the last four years when the network completely ground to a halt when it snowed.

It led to a spokesman for Southeastern to apologise for the incident.

He said: "We're sorry that snow and icy conditions across south east England caused significant disruption to train services.

"The south east network is more vulnerable when it snows than anywhere else as our trains draw their power from the third rail.

"We're reliant on Network Rail clearing the rails of snow and ice so we can run a train service. 

"We're advised that Network Rail's weather forecast didn't indicate snow, so they weren't able to put the snow clearance trains out overnight.

"Network Rail did run some de-icing trains, but with snow and freezing conditions in the early hours of the morning, the rails iced over making driving conditions very difficult. 

"With the ice on the rails, trains were running at a reduced speed for safety, so the knock-on effect meant it was difficult to keep services running to the timetable."



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