Bloody sunday trains:-(

In the recent past, the information online has accurately reflected any disruption to Sunday services.  So I set out today expecting to make a normal journey.  The station staff also reassured me there was no disruption to my route (only Portsmouth had works near it).

I went for the 11:14 from Hove, only to find it was the truly ghastly 2-carriage “alphaline” train (now rebranded “first great western”, so it’s harder to spot in the timetable).  So I went back to the parents, and took the 13:26 instead.  It was a slightly unusual route going via Fratton (Portsmouth), but otherwise the usual route.

Now normally I have to change train somewhere between Fareham and Southampton onto the South Coast -> South Wales Line.  I leave the change as late as possible, because the trains along the south coast are far more comfortable than the south wales ones.  This time it stopped a long time at Eastleigh, where I heard the train onwards was cancelled, and joined a lot of other travellers in search of an alternative.  To make things worse, the electronic information boards were out of order.

Station staff at Eastleigh were good, and got us information about getting there.  I was one of several people wanting Plymouth (the greater number was for Bristol), and they routed us via Reading on a later train.  From that point on all went as expected.  The train from Reading was overcrowded (comfortable after Exeter) but fast, and I arrived in Plymouth only 45 minutes later than expected, leaving me to catch the 20:50 bus to Tavistock.

A minor inconvenience in the global scheme of things (at least for me, if not for the unfortunate young lady who mislaid her wallet whilst being diverted).  But what annoys me is that I knew nothing about the cancelled train until Eastleigh, and then only by chance.  Can’t they announce these things when you get on to a connecting train?  Or better, when you look up the timetable online?

Posted on May 20, 2007, in travel, uk. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. At least you were provided with a train for the entire journey. My other half went to Redruth today and was decanted onto a bus at Truro due to engineering works. To be fair, this was planned and featured in this week’s Sunday timetable, and the connections did work. But I wish we could start to emulate continental Europe and try to run a 7 days per week railway (like we used to in the good old days of British Rail)!

    Still, at least none of us was travelling on Central Trains today. They cancelled a large percentage of their services due to “staff shortages”. Apparently, they relay on (paid) volunteer staff on Sundays. How the hell did the civil servants that attempt to run the so-called Department for Transport choose an outfit to operate this franchise that doesn’t contractually require its staff to work on days when it’s meant to be running trains. You couldn’t make it up…

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