It seems the level of service provided by National Express on the East Coast Line has caught the attention of a number of Parliamentarians. Lib Dem peers Bill Bradshaw and Angie Harris were reported recently in The Journal as being decidedly unhappy with the quality of rail services provide by my not-favourite company.
And then last week, Blaydon MP Dave Anderson expressed his unhappiness with the company as well. He asked Geoff Hoon, the Transport Secretary, to speak to the company and ask for improvements. Mr Hoon sidestepped that part of the question. May be some good will come of this. Here's hoping!
Nevertheless, is a trend of making vocal complaints about National Excess being set?
One interesting National Express wheeze I want to share with you is about the 9pm service out of London being resheduled to take about half an hour longer to do the same route and stations. I discovered this on a journey north recently. There was no explanation as to why the extra half hour had been added on. The train arrived at a number of stations early and sat waiting, in one instance for 20 minutes, so that it could catch up on its elongated timetable.
But that wasn't the end of it. National Excess schedules half an hour on the timetable to get from Durham to Newcastle. The actual journey time is 12 minutes. Under the old timetable, it normally arrived 20 minutes early into Newcastle. No doubt this helped the company tick a few boxes on train punctuality.
But on the elongated timetable, the train got in half an hour early. The reality was that it got in half an hour after it used to do, but because of the madly extended timetable, the train guard was ever so proud to tell passengers that National Express was bringing us in a staggering 30 minutes early. Who are they trying to kid? Hardly surprising they can claim to be doing so well on their punctuality targets!
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