We Inform and Comment -
©2017, 2019 MWA & some weird bloke in the corner
4th September 2018
National Rail is not known for being on time, but this was ridiculous.
I had to get to Guildford for 12:15 on 3rd September. I thought; let’s do the eco bit and take a nice fuel-
It took me an hour with a fast broadband connection to get the rail websites to link together enough to order a ticket. A website called ‘National Rail’ is where you make your initial enquiry. Apparently the different regional operators have their own websites with their own profitability, which you are directed to when making a purchase. OK if you accept the complexity which privatisation has brought the customer -
My real difficulties started the morning of travel. Just to be safe -
This is where the story REALLY begins. My train was over the bridge and I watched it leave at 09:55 as I was descending the stairs, shouting. This was the direct result of the dire difficulty in getting printed tickets. Why don’t they use smartphone downloadable e-
I decided to get on the next train and if I couldn’t figure out which train to take using my laptop, I would hopefully have more luck in asking at the much larger Southampton Central. Needless to say, altohugh a web connection was available it was of the very narrowband variety. It turned out the best option was to take the 11:17 to Woking arriving 12:15, then hop onto the Guildford Train at 12:25. This would get me into Guildford at 12:33, just three minutes late and was thus vaguely tenable. But the Woking train had to be on time. Was it? Not a chance. It arrived (with apologies for lateness from the guard) at 12:24, just in time to see my connection to Guildford drawing out of the station at 12:25, on time for once!
By this time it had become abundantly clear that I needed to forget the railway service and take a taxi to stand any chance of getting to Guildford roughly in time. The taxi cost £20 and running through several traffic jams got me within a minutes’ walk of my destination at 12:44 -
I had noted throughout that getting any meaningful information was almost impossible. Even platform numbers were obscured or missing and when any information display was visible it showed very little information but pronounced the rail service to be ‘on time’. I’d like to know the definition of ‘on time’, does it mean “within half an hour give or take 15 minutes”? Interrogating the relevant website besides being hit-
So thank you, National Rail and South West Trains -
I also blame myself as I didn’t think even mildly ‘out of the box’ at Bournemouth station. I could have jumped straight into a Europcar rental car just opposite the station and taken a quiet, calm and relatively pleasant trip to Guildford, or called a friend…..
Moral; Don’t think you are saving the planet by using the train -