However, tonight’s journey from Paddington literally left me shaking with rage in the toilets of a HST, and not shaking in the way that your dirty minds are all thinking.
I was late out of work today due to a very quick farewell drink at the Wimbledon local but still left enough time to make the 18:30 Weston-Super-Mare service from Paddington. It was a bit touch and go as I scrabbled up onto Platform 9 at 28 minutes past, but I was still in time to manage to secure myself a seat in Carriage F.
And then of course nothing happened………
Well I say nothing; we were told with inept frequency that the Extress Café was serving a range of hot and cold beverages and 3 types of porridge of course, but nothing that would in any shape or form actually help a passenger.
Eventually the Train Manager quit his game of mock wrestling on the platform and informed us that we were delayed due to a missing driver which was “beyond FGW control”……yeah you go figure as well.
Anyway, with the knowledge that the 18:45 to Swansea was about to leave from Platform 10 next door, I and several others decided to make the quick flit around and at least guarantee ourselves a departure from Reading this side of Whitsun.
Just as I was rounding the end of the platform there was a camel-train of wheelie bins being taken through the barrier between the two platforms. Seeing as there was a barrier guard standing doing nothing, several of us tried to take the opportunity to use the shortcut and make the 18:45 with some sort of decorum.
But of course FGW have a company policy that even when things (beyond their control) are going wrong, they will not, to any degree, try to help or assist their poor put-upon passengers. Both the wheelie bin driver and the barrier guard (Mike) refused point blank to let any of us through even though we were all waving our thousands of pounds tickets. Instead we had to loop around the porta-cabin shops and go through the ticket barriers proper. Of course whilst this is all going on the clock is ticking and the dispatch staff are blowing their whistles like a bunch of crazed football referees.
Now as you read this, snuggled up with a Friday evening glass of something alcoholic, you’re probably thinking that at the end of the day this was all small potatoes and why am I making a fuss? But what I object to is that when things go wrong (and as I’ve said countless times before, the going wrong of things is most times accepted by passengers providing it is properly communicated and dealt with) FGW will not do anything to even attempt to alleviate the pain. Why couldn’t Mike have just understood the situation, realised that it was definitely “beyond passenger control” and see his way to make a small but meaningful gesture to improve things? It would have meant so much, but instead we get the grim face of the Jobsworth.
Thank god there was a free toilet when I got on the train as I needed to splash my face with some cool and fan my sweaty bollocks in an attempt to calm down.
Still never mind, I’ve learnt I can make a complaint as long as I take the time to log it myself because sure as hell no-one on the customer services team is going to help me.
“You can’t get them…………they’re part of the union.”
P.S. My journey was eventually completed in 42554, Carriage E.