Chairman Pip's Railway Thoughts

“Vader, how’s my favourite Sith?”

Posted in Commuter, Customer service, London by Chairman Pip on 18 June 2010

The Age of Austerity has led to many cut price endeavours being taken up, one of which seems to be the approval of Porterbrook’s proposal to increase South West Trains’ fleet by using the eight Class 460 units to lengthen the TOC’s existing Class 458s. The Class 460s, which are currently used by Gatwick Express, will be replaced in this operation by the full complement of 24 Class 442 units that have been in storage since 2007. However, Gatwick Express, which used to be a franchise in its own right, is now part of Southern’s operation – the amalgamation was ordered by the government to ensure better use of the Brighton Main Line, as commuters had complained of having half empty airport shuttles whizzing through stations at rush hour while they were forced to both wait on the platform and stand all the way to their terminus. As a consequence, Gatwick Express services have been extended to run to both London and Brighton, increasing the number of trains serving the south coast. But, all 24 of the Class 442 units have received the distinctive Gatwick Express livery of red, white and grey-blue, together with Gatwick Express’ own typeface logo, which is completely different to Southern’s two-tone green. This has the potential for confusion to reign, as Gatwick Express only operates from Victoria. But, on my way home last night, on a train from London Bridge, I looked out of the window and saw one of the Class 442s, in its Gatwick Express livery, sailing serenely past, thus leading to some significant confusion in my mind momentarily. If I, who (I like to think) keeps up to date with the happenings on the railways, and was aware of Gatwick Express’ plans for the Class 442s, gets confused by this, then what about ordinary John and Jane Q. Public who don’t follow these things. They’ll look over, and may well think “oh, Gatwick Express operates from London Bridge now, that’s good, I don’t need to schlep all the way to Victoria.” It occured to me that it might actually be better for Southern either to keep a dedicated fleet on the Gatwick Express services from Victoria, and use the rest of its Class 442s on more general express services to Brighton, or to integrate Gatwick Express more fully into its own corporate image, much as Stansted Express is with NXEA.

Gatwick Express

Would it be better to incorporate Gatwick Express into Southern's own branding?


2 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Claire said, on 22 June 2010 at 12:29 am

    Did you make that logo?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: