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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
well i got home in the end yesterday. what happened? UGH. Well I got to newark and there was no train to lincoln despite it being timetabled. there was no replacement bus either. apparently this was the fault of passengers for not checking at the booking office of newark first even though they had been sold tickets with the specific train times on them!

staff were "oh this doesn't count, all that matters is the poster in the booking office", that is a booking office i didn't even pass through as 1) i bought my tickets online and 2) i came from lincoln! all stranded customers were expected to pay for their own way home from newark to lincoln! how's that for customer service?

ehen I started to complain some stupid robot woman told me off for waving my hands at her colleague. how dare i speak and use my hands at the same time, i presume customers should have their hands tied behind their backs when address railway staff at all times. i was told the sale of goods act doesn't matter, all that matters is one stupid poster (i called up trading standards today to complain and got disbelief from them that the train company failed to provide replacement transport)

to make matters even worse I had no money for a bus. i had £20 notes, no change and no way of getting any because everywhere was shut, a flat phone with which I couldn't call a cab though thankfully someone paid my two quid and I got home two hours late.

so lets see. we have lots of stranded passengers from London to Lincoln just abandoned. Anyone buying their tickets in advance or online is blamed for this, its their fault for not buying tickets on the day, and from a station they dont even begin their travel on. its their fault for having a printed timetable and that the only thing that counts is not timetables, online or printed from the station, but their very latest poster. hows that for customer service? not a single word of apology and no alternative service provided.
 
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I hope we'll have private companies properly competing against each other on our railways in the not too distant future.

Shite customer service like that is easy to get away with when your company is the only option.
 

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What was the reason given for the train being cancelled? I can't find any sign of engineering work yesterday.

And what train exactly? I think all trains to Lincoln are run by East Midlands, and National Express should have put you in touch with them for further help

Depending the cause, you may have been within your rights to demand a taxi or at the very least bus fare (National Rail Conditions of Carriage section 43).
 

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That is totally unacceptable, but so is waving your hands at staff, it would of been interpreted as aggression, I would of walked away and left you. No, you should not be expected to have your hands tied behind your back, but you should not be waving them around to get a point across - it just makes people not want to help you, and possibly why they didn't.

Anyhow - what was the actual reason for the lack of trains?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
the reason for lack of trains was unscheduled engineering work. to get around having to provide taxis or buses as a replacement they simply put up posters in the stations (which helps no one who bought tickets online and was not travelling from that station!) saying that they have decided to change the timetable early and cancel the later services whic are supposed to be running until the 18th. with those services no longer existing they avoid replacement transport.

i did demand a taxi or bus fare. none was forthcoming. i wanted them to pay £2 for the woman who had paid my bus fare because i only had 20 and 50 pound notes. we found this out after getting on the bus and all showing our tickets only for the bus driver to say the train staff had lied to us and that we would all have to pay to use the bus. stupid me for thinking if i was reasonable and cited the conditions of carriage theyd dop just that. you do realise that the whole criticising a customer for speaking and using his hands (and always speaking politely and never raising his voice) is just how they were trying to get the upper hand? what am i supposed to do? stand with my hands in my pockets? guess its ok though for their staff to wave their hands at me, and then when i give up trying to reason with them shout at me across the car park as i walk away and laugh derisively because thats whats happened?? as soon as i got back on the bus the bus driver exclaimed to me about how out of order he thought *they* not me, were.

the station in question, newark north gate, is run by national express and its their staff there. can i get the cctv footage from the station. it should show the whole wonderful customer service they have and will make a lovely feature for a leading rail magazine i regularly write for.
 
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That is totally unacceptable, but so is waving your hands at staff, it would of been interpreted as aggression, I would of walked away and left you. No, you should not be expected to have your hands tied behind your back, but you should not be waving them around to get a point across - it just makes people not want to help you, and possibly why they didn't.
Having worked in customer services before the whole interpreting waving hands as a sign of aggression is a cheap excuse to get out of explaining to the customer that your company has fucked up and doesn't give a shit about them.

Trust me, I've seen aggression and I've seen emotive hand waving from frustrated people. If they are scared of someone waving their hands about they shouldn't be working on the front line.

Fucks sake play group teachers deal with worse, next time gf tell the sackless shower to grow some bollocks.
 

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gf I would also speak to Passenger Focus as well given the fact that you were basically fobbed off. Their address is http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk

I work on the railway (customer-facing), and have frequently seen colleagues receive verbal/physical abuse from being unable to listen to customers, and see things from "their" point of view, rather than that of the railway.

Short-notice engineering work can cause problems, it requires changing Trust and updating CIS screens, not just hand written posters, extra staff to co-ordinate between trains and buses. It sounds as though this station needs to get organised! Unless it is reported, nothing gets done.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
salif, i dont go around telling people who i write for. if i did i would simply have produced my press card (which i had on me) but thats not my style. "do you know who i am" is not the best of attitudes i think. ij toitally agree with you though that if people are interpreting someone talking and using their hands as they do so (and as a journalist i KNOW how to communicate properly) as aggression really they need retraining. i was neither rude nor aggressive.

my girlfriend made a point that having known me for years since before i was successful shes seen how i have changed over time and i am apparently much more demanding with people in general, socialising aside, expecting better service. she says i am becoming used to being treated a lot of the time by people with respect and that as a result i expect it from others even if they dont know me from adam.

thanks for the heads up linkroad. ifrst thing i am going to do will be request the cctv from outside the station. hopefully it will have sound.

manchesterplanner, i should not merely be cattle. i travel to london twice a month and the railway gets about 2000 a year from me. in any other business this would make me a *valued* customer. if something goes wrong i expect the train company to fulfil their contractual obligations. i do not expect to be called a liar, told i am stupid and so on particularly when my ticket booked the previous night has the precise times of the trains on it! i know that selling someone a service that doesnt exist is a criminal offence and if the train company does not intend to honour their obligations that they have taken money to perform, nor provide a replacement, then they should be prosecuted... but of course they wont be. FGW were scamming customers for years by having the wrong prices in the ticket machines and werent prosecuted, even when they were caught it took them ages to change it.
 
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That's generally what I read the magazines for, not into stock lists and stuff about ticket prices. More into the articles on stuff like HS1, Crossrail, HS2, etc.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
yeah im not an trainspotter. couldnt care less about stock lists. i do see forumers post up articles ive done in magazines a lot and i just smile and never say "i wrote that".

anyway this shit service happens too much, only two weeks before i had this problem -
http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showpost.php?p=20505167&postcount=22

come back GNER, all is forgiven.
 

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I try and avoid the use of the trains as much as possible as I always have bad luck with them.
National Express coaches on the other hand are actually really good. Very rarely late, always clean and quicker than the train from Leeds to Nottingham. There alot cheaper aswell and I don't have to change.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
lincoln to london by national express takes four hours each way and there is only one service a day each way. the bus goes via all sorts of places, just cos. never picks up passengers from places like stamford, i heard somewhere it served them only because of some public service obligation they have. its actually quicker to take the train (or bus to nottingham) and then catch the bus from nottingham to london than it is to take the bus from lincoln to london!
 

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I wouldn't use them who shall not be mentioned if you paid my fare ten times over for me. It's like some cruel, sickening form of torture using them, never once had a journey completed on time and about 20% of journeys ended wit the coach breaking down, that's the god's honest. I used to get the service from Newcastle to Glasgow, it never EVER once completed the journey on the coach you set out on - by the time it got to Edinburgh it was so late they said ( don't believe a word the bastards ever tell you by the way ) that they had to turn the coach around and you got sent onto another coach that left whenever the **** it felt like it. I got the train after that.
 

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First Great Western are worse in my opinion.

Take this, Greater Portsmouth is served primarily by South West Trains, arguably one of the best franchises in the country. Secondarily by Southern, another fantastic franchise.

Both offer amazing service, modern, clean, comfortable trains. They are punctual, if a service is cancelled they make sure there is a bus or replacement service, they have helpful and polite staff who genuinely seem to give a damn. Then there is FGW, who operate old, un-refurbished class 158s that still sport the old alphaline livery of old. I had the pleasure of riding one of these on the Portsmouth-Cardiff route to bath, ok fair enough that route is not electrified once you pass Southampton so yeah, diesel unit, makes sense. What didn't make sense is the missing seats and broken windows covered up in warning tape. Im sorry but that doesn't tick my boxes when concerning comfortable travel. Also, despite the fact me and my girlfriend reserved seats, only hers was actually reserved for us (I would have complained but she didn't want me to make a scene).

Also, regarding these class 158s. They also run them on the Portsmouth to Brighton Route (shared with Southern but calling at less stations), this route is 100% electrified (the Portsmouth area has been since 1932), Southern run class 377 EMU's, FGW run dirty Diesels in dire need of replacement. Despite the fact the FGW service gets you there quicker, I would much rather use the Southern Service where I know there will be seat, I know I am in for a smooth ride, I know my train will actually be there waiting for me to board on time and I know I can expect good customer service if anything should go wrong.

FGW also disappointed me when traveling between Bath and Chippenham. My first ride on a High Speed Train, good old class 43 IC125 plus Box Tunnel, Awesome. Except I didn't make it into the passenger cabin, I was crammed into the doorway bit wedged between my girlfriend and a door (not as sexy as it sounds) for the entire (thankfully brief) journey. Wanted to go on a 125 since I was a sprog, and that was my experience.

Thanks FGW for an overall shit experience.
 

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First Great Western are worse in my opinion.

Take this, Greater Portsmouth is served primarily by South West Trains, arguably one of the best franchises in the country. Secondarily by Southern, another fantastic franchise.

Both offer amazing service, modern, clean, comfortable trains. They are punctual, if a service is cancelled they make sure there is a bus or replacement service, they have helpful and polite staff who genuinely seem to give a damn. Then there is FGW, who operate old, un-refurbished class 158s that still sport the old alphaline livery of old. I had the pleasure of riding one of these on the Portsmouth-Cardiff route to bath, ok fair enough that route is not electrified once you pass Southampton so yeah, diesel unit, makes sense. What didn't make sense is the missing seats and broken windows covered up in warning tape. Im sorry but that doesn't tick my boxes when concerning comfortable travel. Also, despite the fact me and my girlfriend reserved seats, only hers was actually reserved for us (I would have complained but she didn't want me to make a scene).

Also, regarding these class 158s. They also run them on the Portsmouth to Brighton Route (shared with Southern but calling at less stations), this route is 100% electrified (the Portsmouth area has been since 1932), Southern run class 377 EMU's, FGW run dirty Diesels in dire need of replacement. Despite the fact the FGW service gets you there quicker, I would much rather use the Southern Service where I know there will be seat, I know I am in for a smooth ride, I know my train will actually be there waiting for me to board on time and I know I can expect good customer service if anything should go wrong.

FGW also disappointed me when traveling between Bath and Chippenham. My first ride on a High Speed Train, good old class 43 IC125 plus Box Tunnel, Awesome. Except I didn't make it into the passenger cabin, I was crammed into the doorway bit wedged between my girlfriend and a door (not as sexy as it sounds) for the entire (thankfully brief) journey. Wanted to go on a 125 since I was a sprog, and that was my experience.

Thanks FGW for an overall shit experience.
Let's not forget the exorbitantly high fares for South West Trains. It's over £4 just from Kingston to Waterloo. That's ridiculous.
 
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