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I used to be a frequent user of the trains back in my college days, in the last few years that has tailed off somewhat, and a welcome break it has been too. Last summer, regular visits to Bath and Bristol did nothing to improve my love of the Wales and West service or Bristol Temple Meads.
I am sure that I am not expecting too much when I ask a member of staff whether I am boarding the right train. I should know if I'm boarding the right train, it's not too difficult, except for when platform changes go unnanounced (a particular favourite of mine), or a later train beats the scheduled train in, or the train pulling up is to all intents and purposes a ghost train, no destination markings or hints as to where it might go. Naturally on occasions like these I ask for a bit of help, only to receive shrugs of shoulders, grinding of teeth, tsk's.
Last summer, duff information led to my mate and I boarding the wrong train on 4 consecutive weekends. I am not a cretin, despite all the howls of laughter these stories generated, but for 4 weeks Wales and West helped me to see Bath from every conceivable angle. I grew quite attached to Bath Spa, and when the monitors were finally fixed at Temple Meads, I quite missed having to ask a strategically shaved gorilla if I was boarding the wrong train with no hope of getting home.
Last weekend I travelled back and forth to Bristol visiting friends, and boy did I wish I'd walked. Wales and West can't honestly operate a smello-rama service, but last weekend I was treated to some truly exceptional stenches as I attempted to find a spare seat on the woefully inadequate shuttles. C'mon Wales and West, it's summer, and I have the misfortune of living in a seaside 'resort', 2 carriages is a little stingy, where will all those midlanders sit?
Delays were the order of the day too, without apology or explanantion, the prices were reasonable enough, but for the sheer hell of it all they bloody well ought to be. So, lack of information and help, lack of carriages and seating, hygiene and cleanliness a very low priority, but they've got a captive audience. People have to get from work to home and back again, what do Wales and West care if they operate one of the shoddiest services on the rail network? What are people going to do? Walk?.....I might next time.
I had the pleasure of using the West Coast rail line recently, on a family day trip to good ole Aberystwyth. I booked my the tickets for us all over the internet, this meant we had seats reserved for us. On boarding the train, me and my clan duly found the right carriage, and ventured down to the seat numbers we had reserved. There where a group of people sitting in our seats, I politely explained "we have these seats reserved, you'll have to move! lol", which they did, and we took to our perches. It was only after 10 mins or so, of sitting there, I got our tickets out, ready for inspection. I'd only gone and got the wrong seats! I did feel awful :-D Apart from the buffet cart, we weren't "I was treated to some truly exceptional stenches". Did you have to pay extra for that or..........? Good op! Ciao for now - J
LostWitness 22.05.2001 22:38
Wales and West rail services are pretty dire - they are such dreadful little trains as well. A real amateur outfit!
sandrabarber 22.05.2001 22:19
Very good op on some horrendous experiences. And I thought Virgin was bad!
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