It was not a good day for FGW……..seriously, not a good day.
Basically every single signal point across the network exploded at some point during the day and delays and cancellations were the order of departure boards up and down the country. Ah, but that’s not FGW’s fault is it, I hear you cry. Well, no, it isn’t, not directly anyway but do they help themselves curry favour with their customers when things do go wrong?
Well let me give you an example and I’ll let you decide.
I managed to make it aboard the 18:05 Frome Service and got myself a nice window seat in 42559 which was another one of the new refurbished Carriage Fs. All well and good I think until that most dreaded of all announcements rings around the train. – “Will the Train Manager please contact the driver.”
Turns out that the signals controlling some of the platforms have gone for a Burton meaning we all have to decamp from this train on Platform 10 and run around to Platform 5 where there’s another “set” waiting for us.
“OK, is that all you’re moaning about? For gawd’s sake, things do go wrong you know!”
And I wholeheartedly agree with you, things do go wrong and 99.9% of passengers know and realise this and aren’t the foul mouth louts that the train companies like to portray us on the TV.
So what is it I’m moaning about?
OK, so if I was in charge of this relatively minor disruption I would have got all my station staff to guide people from one platform to the other and maybe get them talking to the passengers as they transferred. “This way please ladies and gents, many apologies for this but please come through this short cut to the replacement train, again many apologies for the disruption.”
But no, that would be too difficult wouldn’t it and would require a small iota of empathy with this company’s life-blood. So what did they do? They lined the platform with blokes with whistles, who then proceeded to constantly blew them like they were herding sheep. There was no interaction or eye contact with the passengers, no recognition that this bunch of inconvenienced people where probably the same people who were stuck on train and at stations during this morning’s signal failures, no shred of understanding for anyone who perhaps had to do the multi-platform switcheroo with luggage, pushchairs, crutches or all three.
Look, I know they can’t lay on a liveried porter service that would grace the Orient Express, but for gawd’s sake don’t stand around like a demented drill sergeant, peeping a whistle like you life depended on it.
Seriously, don't do that.