Right this is a rant.
People, as you read this please put on your best impression of me, as it will sound better.
Yesterday I made the mistake of going down to London, thinking that being we’ve had this bad weather for some days, and the transport network is coping then Virgin would be able to get me down to London Euston in the usual time. After all there is no 3rd rail to speak off; there is no London buses that can’t cope with a little scattering of snow. There is however an incompetent useless, hopeless company that has been given the franchise, and why is it not classed as a monopoly when it is. There is no other competition to speak off. Sure I could go to Leeds, and catch the East Coast, or go to Birmingham and catch the Midland Mainline, but why add extra journey time, and cost when I can get a bloody train or in the case of yesterday a tin box on wheels that sat on two pieces of metal.
I arrived at Manchester Station, to find that the trains that had been running fine to and from London all morning were at 09:00 about to throw there toys out of the pram. For this was the time that Virgin thought Fuck it we will cancel the fifteen minutes past the hour. Well thank you very much for canceling a service that could of ran. I was luckily booked onto the 09:35, and as the swarm of people gathered on the platform to await the arrival of the 9:35 which was in fact the 9:15, everyone knew that there would be a stampede to get to a seat.
I boarded, and found my seat booking however there was a woman, who worked for Virgin sat opposite. Excuse me I said you seem to be in my colleagues seat. “No you see what they will do, is cancel the seat reservations” she reported to me. I looked up at the screen that is impossible to read and saw that they had sprung into life with the seating reservations. “Doesn’t look like they are” I smugly retorted. “Well I was supposed to be on the 9:15” came the reply. Did I care? Did I fuck! Do one I thought, you should know better.
She eventually stood to allow my friend the seat he had paid for, unlike her who was being paid to travel down, and who had not paid for the ticket being she works for the excuse of a company. The Conductor, or should I say the Train Manager was not heard, or seen for the entire trip. By Stoke on Trent, people were standing in the aisles and the heating knob must have been stuck on max, and still no communication of our late arrival into London.
Now I said before that I was on the 9:15. I know this because sitting at platform 7 was the 9.35. It was labeled up on the doors as the 9.35 and had arrived at the platform when the 9:35 should have arrived. Not sure of the point that I am making, but I wanted to point out that they still had and were running there entire rolling stock on the lines to and from London, they were just changing when they were to depart as they had what they saw as an legitimate excuse for running late. The 9.35 now became the 10.00 I’m assuming, with no passengers as they were all crammed on to my bean tin. Surly it is illegal to have customers stand???? The rant about ticket prices and seats will just have to wait for another blog but that makes my blood boil as well. I decided to tweet my comments to Virgin, and for those who want to do the same the @virgintrains and also hashtag it as Virgintrains It is really quite funny to see that 9 in 10 tweets are not complimentary about the service on offer. But anyway I tweeted, and I received a response, that did not answer my query and was basically saying we don’t care. I feel maybe we should add another train operator on the line, and see if that knocks the company’s prices and customer service into gear.
Anyway, half way down, the Virgin lady who now stood and who was not working but was in full uniform went off to the loo. She came back to inform here fellow passengers that there were seats in Coach D and E. Why had the Conductor, sorry Train Manager not informed people of this. Oh yeah that’s right, it will be because she was hanging out in first class, where there was a room to swing a cat and the business knobs had been given free drink to prevent them from complaining.
We finally got to London, and rushed to the underground. Now I know some of the under ground operates over ground, but why not just run the stuff back and forth underground??? Anyway the Victoria Line had good service. It said so on the white board, and the man said it over those speaker things. We then went through the gates and boarded the escalator, to find the Line had gone from good, to ‘Northbound having issues due to a man being taken ill on a train, and not being able to get medical help to him’, so from Oxford circus to Warren street North bound had delays. That’s fine I thought, I’m south bound. Well I was till we got to the bottom of the escalator and at Euston, it’s not a long one, but by the time we had gotten of the moving stairs the Victoria Line in both directions had been suspended???? You are joking me?
Anyway I got to the Hotel, had my dinner and spoke to some people, then headed into town for some more drinks. Better look at the train times I thought. All on the hour’s had been cancelled, out next train was the 20:40. We arrived at Euston, looked at the score board, and found a very rare treat that the train was boarding on platform 14. So of we went. We sat down, and at 20:50 it left with the following announcement: “this is the delayed 19:40 to Manchester”
Yes that is right they had allowed the 7.40 to pull into the platform for all those people wanting to board the 8.40, as that was delayed. The train we were on was actually the 7.40 and was not calling at Stockport, to my fellow passengers upset. We were then informed to expect long delays. As the guard, sorry the Train Manager came through the coaches; some one asked what time we would arrive in Stafford. “How long is a piece of string” came the reply. “Not sure” the man who had forked out over £66, said. “Exactly” said the guard. Sorry Train Manager “don’t know because of this extreme conditions.
Extreme conditions are you taking the piss. It was cold, and there was some snow and ice about. Why does Britain now stop? Russia, Iceland, Greenland, Germany, Poland don’t bloody stop, only if it’s 10ft of snow, and to cold to start the engines. Surly some one wearing the uniform should have responded with, “I can’t give an exact time, only an estimation which I will keep you informed with” Instead he hid away and did not inform us of how late we were running and expected arrival times. The only time we heard from him, was when we stopped at a station and he said “Is there a doctor on board, if so can you come to coach G” my first response was ‘were at a station, unload them at the platform and phone for an ambulance and get this train moving again.
I eventually arrived back in Manchester four hours later and un-boarded the boiling hot carriage. With Virgin it is either to hot or cold, and I was always led to believe that Virgins always arrived early. To be fair Virgins don’t always know what they are doing, and in the case of this company the latter is very true.