Monday, March 30, 2009

The Monday Morning Blog no. 1 - National Express ghost trains

National Express have, yet again cancelled my train to London. They are of course, experts in providing timetables for train services to London without providing the trains to go with them. And as usual, my train did turn up on time at Newcastle Central. It was meant to be the 7.40am fast service to London. On arrival from Edinburgh at Newcastle, it is cancelled and converted to the 7.52am slow service. The excuse as usual is that there is a "set shortage at the depot". That's National Excess technobabble for not having enough trains. And as this regularly happens, it strikes me that there is a systematic failure of management in this company. They take the easy route to solving a problem: cancel a service rather than solve the shortage of trains that they clearly have. And if that basic point is beyond them, they could try redrawing the timetable to take into account their ability to deliver it with the trains they have, rather than running the ghost service they operate now.

I asked at the National Excess "information desk" why the 7.40am is so regularly cancelled but was given the usual opaque technobabble. However, I could "fill in a complaints form" if I felt strongly enough. "Yes please," I replied. When I read the form I was given, it was billed as a "Comments and Compliment" form. Clearly, "complaints" is a word unknown to National Excess! And frankly, I am only prepared to make compliments to train operators who actually bother to provide train services I have paid for.

But get this. The form states: "At National Express we try hard to provide an excellent level of service for our customers at all times. We are continually looking at ways to improve and welcome any feedback and suggestions you may have." My suggestion is simple: try running a train service rather than a cancellation service. I for one am fed up with your ghost train service.

Sent via BlackBerry


Anonymous said...

Well we couldn't allow GNER to keep the franchise could we. We don't do rewards for success in Britain - only for failure

Anonymous said...

Completely agree, absolute shambles of a service. Bring back GNER anyday.

Anonymous said...

My niece went to pick up a national excess ticket at Kings X and could not get it out of the machine. Despite having all the paperwork and credit card she was told she must buy a new ticket! Kings X to Leeds return was only £280 !!
What a great experience after a transatlantic flight.

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