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Author Topic: Weekend problems Ashchurch to Cheltenham - effect on passengers  (Read 1239 times)
grahame
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« on: September 11, 2017, 01:48:25 pm »

It seems that weekend issues were' limited to the Westbury crew issues ...

From a correspondent

Quote
Some news from the weekend.

On Sunday p.m. there were 'signalling problems' between Ashchurch and Cheltenham. After 1 p.m, no trains running south; so, no trains B'ham to Cardiff, and no trains B'ham to Bristol, Taunton, Plymouth and Penzance (which were being diverted via Newport anyway). This started with the 13.11 being cancelled, and continued for at least next two hours, and was (by 3 p.m.) being forecast for whole p.m.

Response from Cross-Country was lamentable. Nobody there at New Street to deal with passengers. All left to Network Rail, who of a staff of 8 or 9 in the Customer Information Office, only three (the three female staff) seemed to have a clue how to deal with passengers. No liaison with Cross Country. When, on passenger insistence that NR should contact Cross Country, the person from Cross Country allegedly said to NR they would not (or could not) come to deal with passengers. Eventually, after two hours, a coach was provided for passengers heading south. Previously, the tannoy announcements said to await next train (after an hour). Then, when that was cancelled, to await next train (after another hour, which was later cancelled also) or travel instead to London Euston,  to Paddington, and go west from there (I kid you not!). So, for a 40-minute journey to Cheltenham, a four-hour (or more)  journey was being suggested, if passengers had been foolish to follow this...

Given that there are intermittent signalling problems in the same area, one would have thought a clear protocol for dealing with passengers would be in place.  It wasn't. The problem was compounded by no XC trains running S via Reading yesterday.

Three positive things were (a) the provision of Complaint forms, but this only happened after 1.5 hours (as a gesture by NR, not XC, to relieve tension), not the 30-minutes in the passenger charter; (b) some use of initiative, following passenger insistence, from the female NR staff (males mainly did not cover themselves in glory, merely stating they were waiting to hear from Cross Country - rather than contacting them direct); but (c), an NR man looking after a woman who had booked assistance, reassuring her that someone would be there at the coach destination to help her with onward travel to Torquay...

It showed the disintegrated railway at its shambolic worst. Passengers with little knowledge of rail geography would have been sent on a lengthy detour, because Cross Country failed to take charge and serve passengers in good time. They were relying on NR getting the signalling working, which didn't happen. They should have stepped in earlier, and could actually have saved passengers time (and themselves compensation payments) by organising coaches direct to Bristol (so no Newport detour) for those heading there and further south; passengers for Chelt, Gloucester, and S. Wales could have been coached S separately (as eventually happened). The absence of Cross-country staff to deal directly with passengers was a disgrace.

Several passengers from the States caught up in all this, bemused by the whole experience. Well, at least it wasn't a hurricane...

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ChrisB
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« Reply #1 on: September 11, 2017, 02:36:09 pm »

It seems that weekend issues were' limited to the Westbury crew issues ...

So that's a typo & should read 'weren't'', I think.

XC don't have roaming (or even static Customer Service people, as they run no stations. But piss poor, yes.
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grahame
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« Reply #2 on: September 11, 2017, 02:42:47 pm »

It seems that weekend issues were' limited to the Westbury crew issues ...

So that's a typo & should read 'weren't'', I think.

It should ... you and I are a bad as each other, ChrisB ... loved your "Ross Country" the other day which I read as "Ross County" and was imagining discussing services from the West Country to Dingwall.
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SandTEngineer
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« Reply #3 on: September 11, 2017, 05:40:13 pm »

Apparenty a signalling power cable was cut in an attempt to steal cable.....obviously done over night and then the torrential rain Sunday afternoon finished it off.
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Oxonhutch
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« Reply #4 on: September 11, 2017, 08:27:28 pm »

Apparenty a signalling power cable was cut in an attempt to steal cable...

I think the signalling supply voltage needs to be raised - by a factor of ten perhaps.

It makes for less transmission losses - and perhaps cable too!
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #5 on: September 11, 2017, 09:51:28 pm »

XC don't have roaming (or even static Customer Service people, as they run no stations. But piss poor, yes.

Though they certainly used to - have people, that is, not stations. I remember bright yellow-clad XC customer service assistants at New Street in the days of the XC shadow TOC (with its natty graffiti logo).
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ChrisB
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« Reply #6 on: September 12, 2017, 01:28:43 pm »

I think that was before NR took over running the station
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