Posts Tagged ‘rail works’

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.

Weekend rail works no amended timetable

November 1, 2014

The nightmare of weekend rail works is bad enough in itself, but now the latest wheeze from First Great Western (arguably one of the worst train companies in the country), is no amended timetable.

I had noticed a poster last week, saying rail works this weekend. I assumed giving advance notice to then be replaced by an amended timetable, showing where had to catch bus, revised timetable.

I knew Sunday rail works, but had forgotten today too. I therefore arrived at the station, expecting to find I had missed the bus. To my surprise trains running. I enquired trains running? Yes. To Gatwick? No, a bus. I asked the times, did it arrive later?

The answer was unbelievable. The station did not know, they have not been told. And that was why there was no amended timetable posted, showing the revised times and the route bus not train.

Now it is bad enough rail works, being forced to get a bus. But now no times.

I was told passengers are now expected to contact the train company.

At Guildford, a girl wanting to get to Gatwick, tried on-line using her phone. No information.

The bus running to Gatwick, the passengers were advised chaos on M25 and M23, journey could take an hour and a half or more.

The service being provided by the train companies is already a disgrace. It has now got even worse.

The last couple of weeks, trains on the Reading-Guildford (then on to Redhill or Gatwick line) have been arriving late at North Camp, then running slow to Guildford, arriving several minutes late at Guildford. No apology, no explanation.

Last Sunday, Reading to Gatwick train, one toilet not working, one toilet no water.

Tuesday, Reading to Redhill train, one toilet not working, one toilet no toilet paper.

At Aldershot, Southwest Trains, more rail chaos, Guildford-Aldershot-Ascot train, only running as far as Aldershot, then change to a bus. Though with the third world cattle trucks Southwest Trains are now running on this line, passengers may prefer being transferred to a bus.

Last Sunday, bloody chaos at Gatwick and Brighton due to rail works.

Extortionate rail fares, and when the trains are not running to normal schedule, chaos of rail works, as was today and last weekend, no compensation is paid to passengers.

Weekend rail works

July 11, 2011
clapped-out bus

clapped-out bus

It is a pleasant rail trip to Alton. Or at least it is if there are trains. Such are the perils of rail works.

I was on my way to Alton for the Alton Food Festival, an annual event. I arrived at the station to find no trains. Outside the station a clapped-out double-decker bus, maybe suitable for stops around town, but no way suitable for a cross-country trip.

The journey was needless to say horrendous, rattle, rattle, rattle. I arrived in Alton shattered.

The journey back was no better. There was supposed to be buses every half hour. There was a coach parked up, but the driver said no, he was for the next half hour slot.

At least it was a coach, but it was little better than the bus. Halfway we were told to get off and catch another coach.

We pay some of the highest railfares in Europe. If you pay for a train, you expect a train, or at the very least a comfortable coach. And a refund or a reduction in the fare paid.

But at least the delay travelling back from Alton meant I saw a steam train at Alton.

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