Friday, November 26, 2004

Why Didn't It Stop?

Date: 25th November 2004
Journey Origin: Rowlands Castle
Scheduled Dep. Time: 17:43
Journey Destination: Fratton
Estimated Delay: Orginally 29mins, increased to 41min (see below)
Details of complaint: I walk from work to the train station as usual with cigarette in one hand and radio plugged in. I always know that the train is always late enough to have a fag before it arrives as 'for you comfort and safety' smoking is no longer permited on South West Trains. And I also know that the news broardcast on Radio 1 at 17:45 is always interupted by the train arriving! But tonight I would be able to listen to the whole news as the train was delayed until 18:00, not unusual, annoying but not unexpected. I had to call my partner (using reverse charge as I had no change) to let him know that I would not be home at the usual quarter past 6, it would normally be 6:02 but the train is always late, quarter past is the normal time it gets in and I hate to make him wait around. The annoying voice came over the tanoy to say that it was delayed and that he was very sorry (how a recorded voice can be sorry I'll never know?). So I waited. Now normally I am alone and start to get a little scared, but luckily there were some other people on the station, a man with his 2 young kids and a woman with 4 teenagers. We waited... An anouncement was made at 18:02 that the next train to arrive was ours, I made my way up the platform to join at the front of the train as I always do and as I turned to check the train was coming in, it shot past us. The 17:43 was then removed from the screen and replaced with the next one; the 18:17 which was also delayed. I decided to contact Southwest Trains information service to check as I had to let people know what time I would be home so they didn't have to wait. A gentleman answered, sounding very ill, and promptly told me that that train was not due to stop at the station and that what ever the beard was saying was correct. Might I also add that he took his time doing this during which I was not sure if he was still there or not, again I was thanking my lucky stars there were plently of people on the station. So our train had apparently dissappeared. I had to contact my partner (again reverse charge) and let him know that I now ouldn't be in at 20 past 6, but now 10 to 7. The 18:17 arrived at 18:24, 41mins after my original train was supposed to be in and I was finally on my way. It did it's usual slowing down routine outside Havant (which I am more than used to now) and finally reached Fratton at 18:50. I seem to be getting very good at judging what time a late train will arrive! May I also add that South West Train's announcement for their new timetable was made in total of 11 times whilst we were on the station, you would not believe how irritating this gets when you are WAITING FOR A TRAIN! Roll on tomorrow.

Every Day without fail!

Date: Every week day since May 2004
Journey Origin: Rowlands Castle
Scheduled Dep. Time: 17:43
Journey Destination: Fratton
Estimated Delay: Average 15min
Problems in general: Since starting a new job in Rowlands Castle, I have to use the train to get to work every day. I don't drive mainly because I like to use public transport as it is close and convenient, or at least I though so. In the mornings I travel from Fratton Station usually with no problems (except more recently with the new trains 'technical faults') and arive at work by 9am (usually). Is when I need to get home the troubles start... My train in the evening has never once been on time, on average it is about 10 - 15min late. Sometimes it is only 5mins late but after keeping a record (yes I know I look like a train spotter) on average I have worked it out to be 10mins or so. I would not be too concerned if it was a busy station like Waterloo, Fratton or Portsmouth but it is not and I am usually the only person on the station. I would not say I am a vunerale person but being stuck on a station tucked out of the way with only a couple of houses nearby I am starting to feel a little worried when I am forced to wait for a late train on my own. And it's obviously got worse since the clocks have gone back. I don't understand why South West Trains can't get the train to run on time ONCE!