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    Northern Rail: No wonder consumers are fuming at rail companies !

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    Technician
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    Northern Rail: No wonder consumers are fuming at rail companies !

    Post by Technician on Thu 09 Feb 2012, 8:39 pm

    Hi All,

    Perhaps this little tale illustrates all that is wrong with our overpriced and crackpot railways. I decided (now against my better judgement) to take a short rail journey to Preston as I have been on a course there for 3 days. First time on a train for over 3 years, and I wanted to save the car.

    Bought an anytime saver ticket to Preston ( day return ) from a local station ( Poulton Le fylde ). Wife drops me off in the car to catch the train 20 mins before it was due. Sat in the waiting room with a load of poor miserable buggers..Problem? It was -3 and NO HEATING ON despite a HEATER BEING IN CLEAR VIEW. ( Wonder how cold it needs to get before they turn it on ??)Train gets in. Filthy, overcrowded, and yes, hardly any heating.

    Return journey. Get on train ( again, hardly any heating, dirty, managed to get a seat )starts off. Then a woman in front says the train may not stop at Poulton, but go on to the next stop, Blackpool.( I saw no indication of this, so perhaps its pot luck, as its only a small station ). Phones my wife, don't go to Poulton, pick me up in Blackpool. No problem, one stop, and same price.

    Arrives in Blackpool. puts ticket in electronic barriers and it refuses it. Guy comes up and says you need to 'go back to Poulton to get off the station, there is a train leaving in a few minutes !!!! )I could not accept such 'logic' and explaind that the train did not stop and my wife was picking me up here. Can't let you out mate he says, you need to go to the ticket office or get off at Poulton, you can use the same ticket ( so, no extra charge then to return where the train did not stop !!)

    Walks to the ticket office and the guy says 'you need to get the train back to Poulton to get off on the station platform, there is a train leaving in a few minutes'!!!!. I repeat the same story !!!, my wife is meeting me here and the train did not stop I reply once again.

    Reply: you need to get the right train ( I have an anytime ticket of course !! )Again train did not stop I reply. You will need another ticket he says if you want to get off at this platform...Why, I will pay the extra from Poulton, even though your train did not stop. Sorry cant accept that, you need a 'new' single ticket. So I have to buy a single which allowed me then walk out of the ticket office and insert in the ruddy machine to let me out at Balckpool.

    By this time I was fuming and told them in no uncertain terms what a bunch of rip off merchants they were. I appreciate that tellin them that will not make a blind bit of difference as I am sure they either employ a load of 'jobsworths' or there is a total indefference; lack of common sense or understanding of passenger needs.

    Welcome to the state of UK railways. A small tale, but my God it made me so mad!!

    Last day of course on Friday...and I am going in the car!!!!. I just wish we could all boycot these railway companies just to teach them a ruddy lesson.

    Technician

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    papa_umau
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    Re: Northern Rail: No wonder consumers are fuming at rail companies !

    Post by papa_umau on Fri 10 Feb 2012, 1:24 pm

    What an awful, but sadly, typical story !

    I got angry just reading your review ! Evil or Very Mad

    There are 24 different, private and often fragmented and un-co-ordinated Train Operating Companies, ( TOCs ), on Britain's railways and while they are all supposed to be held to a standard which is built into the franchises that they operate under, in the main, the franchises have very little effect on their quality of service as the overview of these franchises is almost non-existent.

    What is even worse is that as part of these franchises the TOCs are allowed to raise their fares even although their quality of service is not up to the standard required of them.

    The old private company, Railtrack, were so bad that the government took over this awful service and formed up a not-for-profit entity called Network Rail - who were supposed to fix all of the problems that were wrong with the rails and the stations under Railtrack. Sadly, this new entity has taken a very long time to sort out all of the problems associated with Railtrack and it has been fined recently for breaches of the quality of service and for some serious accidents.

    If this new and not-for-profit entity was to be eventually made to provide a good infrastructure to the rail network it might be then a possibility that some or even all of the TOCs might be taken back under state-control.

    If this was to happen at least then we might see a proper co-ordination of some of the intercity and cross-rail services, so that any traveller might then be able to get a ticket from any station to any other station and trains would then be able to wait for other trains to connect with them, ( outwith the city to city express services of course ), and a fully joined-up service could then take place. Also, if this was to happen the fares that would then be applied could be set in a much less-complicated way so that the potential passengers could easily understand them. They might then also be reduced in order to encourage more people to use the rail network.

    Finally, I think that once this was done and done properly we would see more people actually using the trains than would be forced - like you were - to use their cars. ( This is the whole ethos behind public transport of course ).

    There is a saying that is based around the mathematics of providing goods and services that states: "The law of diminishing returns" says that while prices are continually raised in order to bring in more income this in fact stops people from using the service and the result is that because less people are using the service a loss of revenue ensues, instead of a rise in revenue. ( The effect of this "law of diminishing returns" is mitigated by many commuters that do not have the choice as to whether they take the train or not ).

    Whether the privatised train operating services are returned to state control or not is a very difficult question as it would cost a lot of money to re-nationalise these services and compensate the private companies for the loss of their businesses !


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    Angie baby
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    Re: Northern Rail: No wonder consumers are fuming at rail companies !

    Post by Angie baby on Sat 11 Feb 2012, 1:25 pm

    Yes, that certainly is a sorry tale technician.

    As I don't have a car I use the train a lot and I have found that train-fares and travelling by train is just as you describe a lot of the time.

    If I pay through the nose for getting on a train I expect that a few things will come as automatic with my fare: A seat, some heating, some cleanliness, ( especially the bogs ), and a promise that my train will not be late arriving or getting where I want to go.

    If the rubbish public transport that we have by train is done on a franchise contract then I think that a lot of the train operating companies should lose their franchise PDQ.
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    papa_umau
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    Re: Northern Rail: No wonder consumers are fuming at rail companies !

    Post by papa_umau on Sun 12 Feb 2012, 12:03 pm

    They do actually get fined fairly regularly by the government watchdogs but it takes a serious incident or some really bad management for the government to take away a franchise.

    There are two independent regulators that look after both the passengers and the railways:

    Here they are:

    http://www.passengerfocus.org.uk/

    http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/

    Surprisingly these two regulators are not as well known as the biggies like OFCOM etc'.


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    Angie baby
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    Re: Northern Rail: No wonder consumers are fuming at rail companies !

    Post by Angie baby on Sat 18 Feb 2012, 12:32 pm

    Thanks for that Papa, as I must admit that I have never heard of either of these bodies before.

    Maybe Technician could send an angry letter to the top one eh ?

    Technician ??????

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