Wednesday, 11 February 2015

44025 – 18:03 Wednesday 11th February


44025 was the Carriage A on the 18:03 to Penzance.

I got to Reading and then spent the next 90 minutes just hanging around the station.

Here’s what I wrote to the lovely folk at FGW tonight.

I was travelling from Paddington to Thatcham on 11-02-15 when I was left stranded at Reading due to signal failures in the Reading West area.

I arrived at Reading at 18:30 and was eventually put in a taxi to Newbury at 20:10. I arrived in Thatcham at 20:40

During the 100 minutes of delay at Reading station I was staggered by the sheer incompetence of the station staff who didn’t seem to be able to organise any sort of consistent message to the hundreds of passengers in similar positions as myself. At one stage we were all directed to the help desk only to find a single member of staff, with a frightened caught in the headlights look in her eyes, who didn’t even know there was a signal failure never mind what was happening.

When the Station Duty Manager turned up 15 minutes later he whispered some garbled message about buses that could only be heard by the first row of the number 200 or 300 hundred people surrounding the desk. The only way to have a chance of finding our what was happening was to trail a member of staff around and listen in to the whispered conversations they were having between themselves.

Eventually we were then directed to the steps down to the short stay car park where I waited on the steps for about 40 minutes with not one shred of communication. When I eventually reached the front of the taxi queue I was amazed to see it being organised by G4S staff and local police with not one member of FGW staff visible.

You are no doubt in the process of claiming your own compensation from Network Rail for the signal failures because in your eyes you will believe this delay was not your fault (although one could accuse you that your inability to work in any sort of a functional way with your partners makes this just as much your fault) but what cannot shrug your shoulder of, is why your staff simply cannot deal with any sort of a crisis situation. All that was needed tonight was someone with a level of confidence to raise their voice so all could hear (maybe stand on the help desk so all could see) and loudly announce what was happening. No-one is expecting magic taxis and buses to be produced from thin air but I do expect to be kept informed of what was happening and a competent level of organisation.

I am an annual gold season ticket holder and would like to know what compensation I am due for the almost 2 hour delay not to mention the atrocious discomfort suffered.

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