Posts Tagged ‘Gatwick’

Nightmare GWR trains from Reading to Redhill and Gatwick

November 19, 2018

At every location on a visit to Reading, I stay far longer than intended. I will not make 4-30 train. Not even 6-30. I go for 1902 to find cancelled.

Then the nightmare begins, no trains, no announcements, no explanation, no apology.

Next train for Gatwick, showing twenty minutes late.

Next train an hour later, comes into wrong platform.

As by now frozen decide to catch this train, even if later, as appears to be on time, as at least I can sit on a warm train out of the cold.

During this time no announcements.

Train does not leave on time. Train does not leave, told to catch earlier train which has now arrived and is sitting at the station. It does not leave either. After a long delay, it pulls out of the station, only to stop 100m from the station, where its sits.

Arrive North Camp Station at 2115. If trains running normally, approximately 30 minutes from Reading depending upon fast or slow train.

A man got off the train at North Camp, hoping to pick up stopping train to Ash. Only problem, there were no stopping trains. Whilst on the train, passengers to Ash should have been advised to continue to Guildford, then pick yo a train back to Ash, either on Reading or Aldershot line. I advised he walked to Ash Vale, caught train to Aldershot then to Ash.

There were no announcements to advise passengers what was happening, no apology.

There should have been a bus running to Gatwick.

And this was not a one off.

In September, on at least two Fridays in a row, no Gatwick trains were running. No announcements, no advice to catch Redhill train, then change.

On the last day of October, last train from Gatwick cancelleld. No information at Gatwick on replacement bus or from where to catch.

Train indicator at North Camp has not worked since June. GWR refusing to pay the £5000 to repair.

Not only GWR.

South West Railways too.

During the morning, no trains to and from Waterloo.

A couple of weeks ago, no trains at Guildford, apparently broken down train at Clapham Junction.

Last week in the evening no trains at Alton. Broken down train at Clapham Junction.

September, train from Portsmouth Harbour cancelled.

Every Saturday, no trains due to guards on strike.

Other rail companies as bad.

Three times in September on East Coast Mainline, now run by LNER following disastrous performance by Virgin, trains delayed, connections missed.

Then there is Southern Fail and Northern Fail, appalling service during the summer, missed connections, delays of hours.

Trains with no working toilets.

We have a Third World train service with extortionate fares.

Beginning of January we will see train fares hiked double the rate of inflation, with rail companies telling us service has improved.

Rail fares must be frozen for the foreseeable future.

Rail must be taken back into pubic ownership, the gravy train of HS2 scrapped.

It will cost nothing as default at end of franchise.

Failing companies must be stripped of their franchise.

Note: There were no trains from Farnborough North for fours hours.

Note: GWR consider a delay of two hours to be acceptable.

Cappuccino at Jamie’s 

November 2, 2017

OK,  but not great, drinkable.

Served too hot.

I wish Jamie Oliver would source quality beans not Italian catering supply beans for the catering trade.

There can be no excuse for using catering supply beans.

In London have Union and Square Mile.

In Sussex there is Horsham Coffee Roasters.

Down in Brighton there are several coffee roasters.

The flapjack was excellent. A pity the coffee not to the same high standard.

It took great self control to not eat all the flapjack and save half for a friend.

That was September.

I passed through again last night.

Coffee not good. Flapjack excellent. Half saved for breakfast this morning.

Stepping into Nineteen Eighty-Four

June 2, 2017

Last Friday, it was as though I had stepped into Nineteen-Eighty Four.

I had flown into the country a few hours earlier. From outside the country, I was asked was England under Martial Law?

The country on highest terrorist alert following Manchester bombing. Armed soldiers patrolling the streets.

At Gatwick, having spent the night there, around 4-30am, a poor quality coffee and cookie at Jamie Oliver, my phone dead, I moved a few feet to a shelf to charge my phone. Two armed police appeared at my side armed with semi-automatic weapons, plus a dog. I apologised and let them know it was my luggage. They thanked me for letting them know and moved on.

Disgusting English breakfast in a  deserted Wetherspoon. Deserted bar two gangs of loud-mouthed drunken yobs, putting down pints at five in the morning.

Begs the question, why serve alcohol at airports or on flights, as only causes problems on the plane?

Undrinkable coffee at Joes Coffee House, though the porridge was ok. I was only there because an idiot at Gatwick directed me to wrong platform.

Late night and early hours of the morning at Gatwick, few trains running, none to Reading, none to Victoria, due to overnight rail works for the foreseeable future. This in addition to weekend rail works that have been ongoing for the last decade.

Late morning, train to Gatwick. Tannoy warning beware, slogans, report anything suspicious. Same on the train. Plus scrolling messages.

The train was all but empty. Now this was unusual, highly unusual. Gatwick train usually packed on a Friday, as was today. And this was a Bank Holiday Weekend, start of school half term.

Guildford Station. It was eerie, the station all but deserted.

In Guildford, the town deserted.

What was going on? Had the propaganda got to people, were they too scared to go out?

North Street, market day, no one around.

Thai restaurant in Jeffries Passage, all but empty, though that not uncommon. Food good, service surly.

Harris + Hoole, not busy.  Cappuccino and cookie excellent.

Coffee at Gatwick Airport

June 2, 2017

What is the point of serving coffee if you cannot make the effort to serve a decent cup of coffee?

Costa

My instinctive reaction to spit it out, undrinkable.

Jamie Oliver

Jamie’s Coffee Lounge is variable from poor to just about acceptable.

But why source a rubbish Italian brand for catering supplies when there are excellent coffee roasters to choose from in London and locally in Sussex?

A Gateway into the country, should not Jamie Oliver be showcasing the best coffee, a house blend and guest coffees?

If FCB can do it at Guildford and Brighton Stations, why cannot Jamie Oliver at Gatwick Airport?

Joes Coffee House

Joes Coffee House clams to be a coffee shop, but not a clue on coffee.

No idea of roast date, coffee not ground fresh for each cup, cappuccino made far too hot.

The porridge was ok and certainly better than the disgusting English breakfast served at Wetherspoon opposite.

They serve excellent fresh orange juice.

Cappuccino at Jamie´s Gatwick

November 12, 2016

Jamie Oliver should know better, Italy is not synonymous with good coffee.

Shame on Jamie Oliver when there are many quality independent coffee roasters he could source his coffee from.

Nightmare of weekend rail works gets worse

October 30, 2016
North Camp rail works

North Camp rail works

The nightmare of weekend rail works, travelling down to Brighton last Sunday, could not get worse, could it? Unfortunately yes.

This Sunday, rail works on the line Reading to Gatwick and a repeat of last weekend’s nightmare with rail works Gatwick to Brighton.

Bus Reading to Guildford, then train to Gatwick.

As the clocks had gone back to GMT, and it gets dark an hour earlier, I set off an hour earlier, plus twenty minutes because bus was twenty minutes earlier.

A journey to Gatwick, that would take an hour, now an hour and a half.

I arrived ten minutes early for the bus. Road to station closed. Where to pick up the bus? No information at the station, nor an amended timetable or where to pick up the bus.

Displays on the platforms were not showing amended times, merely rail works and a bus service in operation.

No bus. The bus failed to turn up.

A bus for Reading arrived. The driver was asked to either contact the driver or his office. The driver refused on the grounds that he did not know the number of his own office.

Passenger decided to walk to another station and get to Guildford that way. Either way, train from Guildford to Gatwicks missed, an hour until next train.

Tough job passengers with a  plane to catch.

Not possible to cross the line due to rail works.

A detour to cross via a road bridge.  Dangerous to walk along, no footpath

On crossing the road bridge, bus turns up. Flagged down, and passengers get on the bus.

Now twenty minutes late.  No explanation or apology from driver as to why twenty minutes late.

For some perverse reason, driver decided to drive down the closed road. For what? There are no passenger to pick up, we are the passengers.

We tell him one passenger for Gatwick is on the other side, but not possible to cross due to rail works.

Driver decides to pick up passenger, even though pointless exercise, train missed at Guildford.

Driver, instead of going to car park, drives to another station.

Bus then stuck, as not possible to turn around the bus.

Eventually after much manoeuvring, bus turned around. Bus now running 40-50 minutes late.

He then goes to another station to pick passengers up. No passengers to be picked up.

Arrive at Guildford, train for Gatwick long gone.

Had though the bus been on time, sufficient time to walk through the station and catch the train, insufficient time to buy a ticket.

Any passenger coming by bus without a ticket should be allowed through to catch their train.

At Gatwick, no announcement how to get to Brighton.

I saw a train leaving in five minutes for Havant, stopping at Three Bridges, nipped across to Platform 7, and caught it.

At Three Bridges, unlike last Sunday, no announcements. I assumed as last week, walk through car park and catch a bus.

Very efficient, as soon as a bus full, dispatched.

Double-decker buses, as last week.

As soon as bus pulled out, luggage rolling around, nowhere to safely stow. Area for wheelchairs and buggies doubled as luggage space

French girl on the bus, said she had no idea what to do on arrival at Three Bridges as no announcements. She said trains in France do not provide this appalling service nor are they expensive.

Return from Brighton as efficient, as  soon as  a bus full, dispatched.

At Three Bridges, choice of two trains, one for St Pancras, the other for Victoria, both stopped at Gatwick.

Train to Guildford, then bus.

As train pulled into Guildford, announcement where to catch the train, and again at the station.

Bus driver appeared to know the route, in contrast to the driver in the morning who did not seem to have a clue where he was going.

Nightmare of weekend train travel

October 23, 2016
bus Three Bridges to Brighton

a bus is not a train

Train to Gatwick, no rail works.  Relief short lived. Rail works from Gatwick to Brighton. Journey that would take 20 mins fast train, 30 minutes slow train, now over an hour if train and bus, or hour and a half by train.

Train from Gatwick to Three Bridges, then bus.

Chaos at Gatwick. Screens not working properly. Kept flashing on and off, no time to read the information. Three pages of information scrolled through one screen. Can they not afford three screens?

No announcements. I knew had to change at Three Bridges, I saw a train was leaving for Portsmouth, stopping at Three Bridges, so hopped on.

Chaos at Three Bridges. Platform heaving with people. An accident waiting to happen. But at least they announced find your way to the buses in the car park.

Five minutes walk, out of station, through car park, to find buses.

No coaches, the double-decker buses that serve Brighton.

Buses left promptly, so promptly that passengers were left behind.

Return journey as bad. Had no idea what bus to catch. Turn up at station and hope for the best.

At Brighton, one screen scrolling five or maybe six pages.

Again a double-decker bus. Total inadequate luggage space for people with roll-on hand luggage. Would have been even worse if normal luggage.

Chaos at Three Bridges. At least people kept to one side through subway, but at the top, massive jam of people, people trying to climb out of subway over the rails because of the jam.

At Gatwick, further chaos.

I arrived at Gatwick to see the train I wished to catch running ten minutes late just leaving. Hour wait for next train.

Gatwick is a major international airport, is seeking a second runway, and yet the rail connections are a nightmare and unable to cope now.

We pay for a train, but get a bus. Journey takes much longer, but not classed as delayed, due to amended timetable in force.  No compensation is offered let alone paid.

Rail works on this route has been ongoing for a decade.

Disgraceful behaviour of guard on 1234 Reading-Gatwick train

October 21, 2016

There is a problem  at North Camp Station, a known problem, barriers drop and passengers cannot cross the line to catch the train.

Today the  barriers dropped five minutes early.

When the 1257 (1255) train to  Guildford pulled in, the barriers did not open immediately.

The guard could see passengers waiting to cross the line, with at least one person waving to indicate they wished to catch the train.

As passengers crossed the line, hurried to catch the train, the guard signalled for the train to leave and waved and smiled at the stranded passengers.

Maybe he thought it a sick joke, to pull away deliberately leaving passengers stranded.

His action cost one passenger at least £20 in taxi fares to get to Guildford. She was starting a new job and could not afford to be late and lose her job.

This guard should be fired.

1334 (1332) train from North Camp, guard never came through the train to collect fares. This necessitated further delay at Guildford queuing to buy a  return ticket. The ticket office at North Camp was closed.

Train companies complain of fare dodging, but make no attempt to actually collect fares from passengers who wish to pay.

The display on the platform was indicating trains running two minutes earlier than shown on the timetable. There was no poster or other information to indicate there was an amended timetable in operation.

Nightmare rail works train journey

September 11, 2016

That time of year, dreaded rail works. Been ongoing for at least ten years.

Nightmare journey down to Brighton.

No amended timetable at local station. Female guard on train, fails to walk the train to collect fares. I search her out. She refuses to sell a ticket. Barely sufficient time to leave Guildford Station and catch replacement bus service. No time to buy a ticket, and certainly no time with long queue. Luckily able to get on bus without ticket.

I had no luggage. Worse for those that did. Especially as no clear direction where to go when train terminated at Guildford.

Bus leaves ten minutes late. No explanation or apology.  But at least  rail personal announce on bus, where bus is going and that mandatory to wear seat belt.

Major traffic jams en route.

Traffic jam on A3, tail back from RHS Wisley Gardens, jam waiting to join M25, massive jam existing M25 onto M20, police road block on slip road into Gatwick.

Bus arrives Gatwick 15 minutes late. Two trains to Brighton missed.

Chaos at station concourse, queuing back into airport. Luckily, I am allowed through the barrier.  Twenty minutes wait for Brighton train, which is then five minutes late.

Poster on platform stating free wifi. No wifi.

At Brighton cannot exit, no ticket. 10-15 minute wait to buy a ticket. Asked why no ticket? I explain station closed, train guard refused to sell a ticket, replacement bus service.

Train companies only last week were complaining of fare dodging, that it costs them millions. Maybe man their stations, get their guards to do their jobs properly.

Forced to leaving Brighton earlier than I wished. My reason for doing so, rail works. A bus journey of over an hour. Had I waited, next bus journey was showing around two hours for bus and train, for a journey that would normally take an hour. .

Train Brighton to London Bridge packed. At Gatwick, platform heaving, passengers trying to get on a packed train.

A sign in the airport, wait here to be taken to the bus. No one there. Luckily I knew where to go.

I asked, was directed to a bus. No driver. Bus in semi-darkness. When driver appeared and bus set off, he did not announce where the bus was going, nor state it was mandatory to wear seat belts.

Luckily journey only 45 minutes, but twenty minutes wait in the cold at Guildford Station for a train. Had the train ran all the way, but for rail works, no wait in the cold.

Less time in Brighton. Arrive later, forced to leave earlier. Pay for a  train, get a bus. Longer journey time. No compensation. Thus the train companies screw their passengers.

Gatwick is one of the busiest airports in the world, second busiest in UK, and yet chaos at station concourse, totally inadequate train service to and from Gatwick. They cannot cope now, with existing infrastructure and yet they are wishing to expand, demanding a second runway.

Cappuccino and cookie at Jamie’s Coffee

June 13, 2016
cappuccino at Jamie's Coffee

cappuccino at Jamie’s Coffee

Excellent cappuccino this morning at Jamie’s Coffee at Gatwick North Terminal.

Cookie was not so good.

Cappuccino a month ago was not good.

Why the difference?

I suspect a month ago, moronic music blasting out, barista not focussing on the job.