Saturday, April 10, 2010

Southeasten offer High speed trains with traditional service

Southeastern railways high speed service is seen as a great benefit to the local area, which I'm sure it is, fans include local blogger and professional taxpayer funded Labour politician Mark Nottingham and Conservative Cllr. Chris Wells, so a few weeks ago I thought I'd give it a go, unfortunately when I checked, there happened to be a bus replacement service from Ramsgate to Ashford thus making the journey, the typical weekend train journey we all know and detest but no problem I just travelled at a later date.

Subsequently I have travelled on a weekend, when Network Rail and South eastern railways have managed to run a normal on time service, which though not perfect is an improvement on existing routes. Still it's unfortunate that money was not spent on new track allowing high speeds on the entire route.

Southeastern railways, appear have improved standards of service despite charging a premium, to travel on the high speed Train. I understand that passengers were today treated to the usual railway levels of service, this morning, when high speed trains were canceled and replaced with smelly old buses as Southeastern railways were terminating trains at Ebbsfleet but decided not to inform their customers until they were stuck.

Had Southeastern informed customers at Ashford for instance high-speed trains would become no-speed trains at Ebbsfleet, customers could have changed trains been got into London earlier, apparently an announcement to passengers that there would be a 10 minute delay at Ebbsfleet was followed sometime later by the conductor/ticket collector walking up the train and advising customers they would have to get off and on to a bus.

It seems to me that rail operators etc have no idea of how to treat customers, had Southeastern any customer skills, they would have informed travellers at the start of the journey, who could have made alternative arrangements, but no, even in 2010 with the private business sector rail companies couldn’t careless since they still get paid fat subsidies just like the state owned establishments of the past.

You would think that Southeastern having failed to deliver passengers on time or anything like it would instantly refund customers, a check with the “Customer Services” call centre (Tonbridge) reveals what I refer to as the “far queue mentality” in which the customer is always wrong or at least has to jump through hoops to get any recompense, so those who have been short-changed will apparently have to write to the company.

Finally the trains built by Japanese firm Hitachi are brilliant unfortunately British managed rail companies are not.


  1. The cancellation was due to a signal failure at Ebsfleet which lasted about an hour.Then normal service was resumed.

  2. While on the subject of trains, any thoughts on the verbal and agressive behaviour rail staff receive from some customers for the slightest of reasons.

  3. I understand that at least 5 trains were cancelled.

    Nice to see you leap to the defence of Southeastern railways, any thoughts on taking customers money without informing them that its likely you will not provide the service paid for.

    Hi speed 1 30 reality 3 hours plus

    Have a nice day Beachcomber

  4. My daughters went up this morning I will hear their views tomorrow and get back to you.

  5. Tony, I am not leaping to their defence just telling you as it is. Infact there were no cancellations from Ramsgate to St Pancras, the only cancellation at Ramsgate was an arrival that went on to Margate (11:59).
    When notification of the signal failure can through the 11:05 had already left Ramsgate and had to be terminated further up the line and by time the 12:05 was due to leave the problem had been sorted.

  6. the 9:53 from margate did not make it london fact tony, not sure your fact is er factual.

    I assume your facts come from the staff who's answers were of the "dunno" variety who were unable or willing to give advice at ebbsfleet

    As your industry is Transport do I take it that you are a professional train-spotter or since your so touchy an employee of Southeastern

  7. The 09:53 would have been the 10:05off Ramsgate. Therefore the 11:02 arrival at Ebsfleet which unfortunately was around the time the signal failed between Ebsfleet and Strattford. Nobody could have predicted the signal failure once the train had left Ashford.

    Tony, I am just being factual nothing else.

  8. Furthermore, yes I do work for Southeastern on the platform, I have been assaulted three times, I am sworn at on a weekly basis and have to tolerate aggressive behaviour on almost a daily basis. In fact last week a customer who had missed his train because he was late asked me where the Margate train was.I replied " I am sorry sir, it has just left" he squared up to me and hit me on the right side of my head.

    The trouble is people do not like the truth or the facts.

  9. Tony Im sorry to he this.

    Your employers should do more to protect you, I suggest you ask them to do a risk assessment.

  10. Tony, this is something the RMT are campaigning for. Anyway thanks for the comment much appreciated.

  11. I am an annual season ticket holder and travel daily to London - on the mainline not high speed route.

    No member of staff - of any customer-facing organisation -should have to tolerate physical or verbal abuse, but sometimes, their own attitudes and behaviour do not help.

    Very often on Southeastern, there are delays or inexplicable problems. I recently came home mid-evening on a Friday; the train was delayed by 20 minutes at Gillingham waiting for a guard; he eventually joined the service but offered no explanation or apology for the delay; the train was delayed a further 5 minutes but again with no explanation or apology. Most customers - myself certainly included - feel undervalued and mistreated in such situations. This is not the company's fault but the fault of the individual member of staff who has not done his/her job.

    Some staff are unduly officious when it comes to making announcements about ticket-holding (for example travelling in first class without permit) and do need to sharpen their customer skills.

    As for the company, they are becoming increasingly dismissive of customer complaints. Their customer service staff - who handle all customer queries - will never put a complainant through to a manager, and their role is limited to defending the company, saying sorry, but not ensuring that complaints are actioned.

    There is a lot of room for improvement!