I HAS HAT

mmn

Kévin COSTELLOE

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Cherie Blair
mmn

I guess you already know that then...

Now I'll cut the bit before we get to the suck, because basically it's boring and long. But the trains in this country are consistant with being rubbish at timings. Constantly this thing is late anywhere from 5 minutes to 20 minutes on a daily basis and this incident was far from being abnormal but also not so brilliantly handled.

For info it takes me 18 minutes on the first train and 53 on the final train to get home, add connecting time and it's just under 120 minute journey.


My station from work to home is in the absolute middle of nowhere, the train company operate an automated information system as there isn't any staff around. It never tells you anything (other than the usual security stuff about luggage and bombs) of use when a train is delayed and you can never really be sure what's up when it doesn't arrive. This particular evening it was late by 30 minutes, which meant I missed two possible connecting trains before I got home. With it being 9pm and me needing to be up at 5.30am the next morning with an hour journey in total I'm sure you can see this wasn't cool.

The train finally pulls up just after nine and we're off, we manage to pick up a bit of time which leaves the possbility of getting my second possible connection and getting home slightly earlier than the utterly late I am already, this doesn't happen because we arrive 2 minutes before the connection is going to leave on an opposite platform. As I get to the top of the stairs they despatch the train and I watch it sail off in to the sunset, which is an arse and I wasn't best pleased. I check the departure boards and see the next train is at 21.55 which would get me home for about 23.00, clearly I was not very happy about it but what can you do? Until of course the guy who despatched the train wandered up to me and says "well I guess you know when the next one is" I said yes which of course didn't stop him from telling me "then you'll know it's five to ten". I was quite shocked at the absolute whatever attitude of this guy and just walked off, considering that I've just spent half an hour waiting at the other station only to do the same at this one.


So with all this time on my hands I wrote an email complaining about not knowing about the status of the train, no announcements, not holding the connection for less than sixty seconds considering this is a key connection point between lines and the attitude of the staff.

Five days later I get a reply which was the usual rubbish I expected "we're investing £12m in our information system" it proclaimed, but then I read this:

I was also very sorry to hear that you missed our 21:25 from Westbury to Bristol Temple meads and as a consequence of this you then had to wait for the 21:55 departure. I understand how frustrating this must have been for you. However as you arrived at Westbury at 21:23 there was an insufficient connection time for your train to Bristol Temple meads. It is policy that we must allow a minimum connection time of five minutes between journeys.

The service left on time, but we usually lock the train doors around 40 seconds before departure for passenger safety and to avoid delays. Once the despatch procedure has started, I am afraid we cannot unlock the doors to let passenger's board. This procedure must be followed strictly.

Yeah, they just blamed me for showing up late. I'd be a fair point of course if I hadn't been on one of their late trains in the first place, HIGH FIVE on the customer service!

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