Advantages Comfortable trains
Disadvantages delays, breakdowns, customer service
GNER (or Great North Eastern Railway) operates the main route from Glasgow to Kings Cross. A quote from their web site “Punctuality, reliability and safety remain our top priorities, underpinned by a firm commitment to customer service.” In my opinion they have some work to do!I’ve used GNER a fair bit as I used to live in Peterborough and would travel home to Newcastle and have only ever suffered minor delays (around 20ish mins). That was until the other day when I had to make the journey from Newcastle to Slough for a job interview. The journey should have gone something like this: leave Newcastle at 11am, arrive London at 1.50pm, tube to Paddington then train to Slough, arriving at 3pm.
WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED?Well, I started out on the 10.57 from Newcastle. All seemed to be going well, apart from for those poor people who were travelling to Darlington having to go to Northallerton to go back to Darlington due to only one track being in operation.
Then the train gets just past Durham station and then stops. Announcement “Ladies and Gentlemen, we apologise for the short delay but we are currently waiting for a train in Darlington station to progress, there is a problem with the air flow on this train.” So, we sit and wait, the engine on our train stops and there’s another announcement “Ladies and Gentlemen, there is a problem with the air flow on this train, the driver is making an attempt to fix this so we can commence with our journey.” Now, maybe I just missed it happen, but I don’t think I got off the train I was on and onto that train in Darlington….why did they lie about what was going on? It emerges that the train is broken and cannot go on to London, the train will return to Durham and terminate…….fantastic, an hour and 15 mins and I’m in Durham, I could have driven there in 15 mins! Everyone is then advised to get the next train (a virgin train going to Bournmouth) and to change at York for trains to London. Mr Virgin train driver couldn’t be more helpful in providing details of trains from York and providing platform information and following his advice I get on what is the 13.15 service from York to Kings Cross. However, this train doesn’t leave until 13.40, the reason being that no on realised there were any staff on the train to run it. There is then an announcement regarding the buffet car and trolley service “the buffet car will be open but a trolley service will only be provided if we can find enough staff”. So, short of waving a magic wand and making staff appear we stood a cat in hell’s chance of getting service at our seats. At least they had enough staff to distribute the complaint forms!I eventually arrived in Kings Cross 2 hours late, having missed connections but was lucky that the services I needed operate very frequently. I reached Slough after 6 hours at around 5pm! I have completed my complaint form and hope I receive some compensation for the hassle and disruption caused. I didn’t pay £85 to spend the entire day travelling!
|Frequency of trains|
|Reliability of trains|
|Speed of trains|
|Safety of trains|
|How extensive is their Rail Network?|
|How well does it cater for disabled people?|
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Pages: 48, Edition: 1st, Paperback, Passmore Edwards Museum
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