Monday, July 21, 2008

The Monday morning blog - National Express, a bunch of effing, useless wankers

David dropped me off at Newcastle Central Station and joked that the train would be cancelled. I told him not to tempt fate. But it was too late. As I stepped into the station, there was the notice saying the 7.40am service to Kings Cross was cancelled. Regular readers of this blog will have read previous entries about this service. It is the fast train to London (when it is running) and gets in 40 minutes before the next service that leaves Newcastle only 12 minutes later.

Regular readers will also be aware that the 7.40 service turns up on time at Newcastle from Edinburgh and is then cancelled so that it can become the 7.52 slow service. National Express call this a "set swap" but I can think of other words to describe it. So the fast train is converted into the slow train and my day is screwed up. And here we are, 2 train loads of passengers packed into one train. It is now the case that the 7.40 service has been cancelled most times I have booked it since National Excess took over the East Coast franchise in December. I have experienced many more train cancellations in the 8 months since National Excess took over that I did under the previous 8 years of travelling to London.

What their cancellations effectively mean are that they can claim they are putting on the service required of their franchise agreement without actually providing that level of service.
So, National Express, you are a bunch of effing useless wankers who couldn't organise a Hornby train set, never mind a real service.

I did complain to a National Excess manager who was on the platform but I was told that the cancellation was due to the company "implementing the strategic contingency plan". I do not know what that techno-babble bollock meant but National Excess can stick it up their strategic contingency arse.

So, as you can see, I am not pleased that National Express, a bunch of effing, useless wankers, has screwed up my day.

And so to other things. The weekend was a mix of Whickham South byelection, allotment, messing around with photos from my recent holiday, more of which have gone onto both this blog and onto Facebook, and a visit to the Quayside to look at the temporary bamboo bridge built last week over the Tyne. I knew we needed another Tyne crossing but this was not quite what I had in mind! Anyway, watch out for my video and photos on this, coming shortly to this blog.

And finally, on Saturday, David and I tried out the revamped, renamed Italian restaurant in Whickham, Sonny's. We walked there and back from Sunniside therefore working up an appetitie and burning off the calories just acquired respectively. If you live in the area and haven't tried Sonny's, I would recommend them. But book in advance. They were packed.

Sent via BlackBerry


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