Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Tuesday 9th February

My blog about yesterday's Pendolino journeys to and from Coventry mentioned the quietness of the return journey. The reason was, of course, the damage to the overhead lines at Berkhampstead which meant that Virgin was running a Birmingham to Rugby only service in the early afternoon.

The trouble with incidents such as this one is twofold: first, the lack of information being given to passengers, and secondly, the opportunity it presents to journalists for over-reaction.

Taking the first point. At Coventry in the eraly afternoon, the information screens were showing 'delayed' uniformly on all the fast services to Euston. Whilst 'true', wouldn't it be more helpful to add a line advising would-be passengers to seek assistance from station staff?

As I waited, a Wrexham & Shropshire to Marylebone - hardly busy - eased through. Again, I know that decisions have to be taken with limited information but wasn't it clear by then that it would have been helpful to stop the W&S train at both Birmingham International and Coventry to pick up stranded Euston passengers?

Back in Birmingham, staff had been told to tell passengers that Chiltern and Cross Country would honour their tickets for the journey South. However, what was not being made clear was how to reach Moor Street - one young lady I met had been sent out of the Victoria Square entrance! Again, regular announcements would have helped...

Today, of course, Birmingham's regional paper's web site was stating that 'Passengers on rail routes between Birmingham and London were enduring travel misery again this morning' despite the fact that only one route was affected and it admitted at the foot of the article that 'There may be some short notice alterations to these services due to displacement of trains and staff'...

Even the later update stating that services were back to normal couldn't resist starting 'Commuters are facing a day of chaos on the rail network after the troubled West Coast Main Line between Birmingham and London ground to a halt' and 'The fault meant misery for passengers heading for the capital as they were forced to cram on to reduced services or take alternative routes' whilst actually admitting 'that trains were running as normal between New Street and London Euston'...

Who would run a railway?

No comments:

Post a Comment