'one' fail to ease the pain of another major delay

A few days ago I was checking my blog logs and realised that I was still getting a wealth of hits here for people searching for various gumpf about one railway and their preposterous customer care. I hadn’t written for a while and despite seeing incoming links from monerailway I couldn’t really think of much to say. The service has been below average but not disasterous and I’d changed direction (I’m heading to London from Ipswich these days). The trouble is things can be just ‘ok’ with one but when it does go wrong, it goes spectacularly wrong.

My previous delay record was 2 hours 20 minutes, back in November last year on my way back from London, I beat that tonight with a three and a half hour delay sat just east of Chelmsford when power lines came down (BBC News 31.AUG.06) (can anyone explain how this happens?). We were trapped behind two other trains and could only pass one at a time incredibly slowly. The conductor did his best and told us he couldn’t tell us anything, on one occasion going for 1.5hrs without speaking to us. The trolley passed through once and never re-appeared. We sat in silence, punctuated only by the sound of people speaking to friends and relatives to inform them that, yep, we were still waiting to move. I fortunately had my Nano and laptop with me so I could at least keep myself entertained as long as the li-ion batteries would last.

Eventually we did move of course and passed the stricken train which still had passengers on it. The conductor piped-up with news about our revised ETAs and some arrangements for onward connections which everyone must surely have missed. As people picked up their phones and called to let others know their plight I couldn’t help but feel thankful that I wasn’t on the stricken train. Clearly they were in for a long night. I’m not sure what the evacuation arrangements are but surely a train that’s been stationary for over five hours constitutes a total failure and passengers need to be escorted onto road trainsport?

I know these things happen to some extent but I cannot comprehend why one do not react with more care. Announcements should be made every fifteen minutes – even if it’s to say “we don’t know more” and efforts should be re-doubled for every 15 minutes delay to determine exactly what is going on. The only thing worse than the delay itself is not being kept informed. In addition, arrangements should be made in the event of an exceptional delay (anything over two hours) for staff to board the train at the next station and distribute free refreshments – a small biscuit and some water for example – to anyone who wants it. These supplies could be held at stops along the way for this purpose. Announcements should be made to encourage people to stand and walk about the carriage to reduce the risk of blood clotting.

As a customer all I felt on the train was that people in ‘control’ just think it’ll get fixed eventually, customers can sit tight until then. The only concession to passenger comfort was an unscheduled stop at Shenfield for a cigarette break.

Once again I’d invite anyone from one to comment in response to this post but I’m well aware that will never happen. All I can look forward to is a complete refund of my ticket.
UPDATE: When I got home (around 11pm) I saw the following message on the one website ... can anyone translate? "Cuatomers [sic] are advised to use alternative travel where possible. The LUL and First Capital Connect are passing customers reasonable routes on their Network for travel easements." [see pic included]
Technorati Tags: + delay + train + customer service

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I believe I may well have been on that other train. It took a total of 6.5 hours to get from London to Norwich. Our conductor was very chirpy and continued to joke about it until gone midnight at which point he noted that "all day saver tickets" are now invalid and we would need to purchase new tickets.