From: PA Sherwood, South Kilvington, Thirsk.
THERE has been recent comment in The Yorkshire Post regarding our world-beating abysmal railway services, and discussion as to whether compensation should automatically be paid.
On December 13, I was travelling to India, the first leg of which was supposedly the 18.32 TransPennine Express from Thirsk to Manchester Airport. For some reason TPE manage to retain a franchise to operate the service, despite their disgraceful customer satisfaction levels.
On arrival at Thirsk station, the matrix display said the train was cancelled. Asking in the ticket office what he proposed I should do, he suggested I catch the 18.55 Grand Central London train and change at York to something going to the airport. “Something going to the airport” isn’t very helpful…
On arrival at York, I saw there was a TPE going to the airport and got on that. Several minutes later, passengers were told to get off, because this TPE train couldn’t leave as it was blocked in by another train, which TPE had no driver for.
I changed onto another TPE train which stood outside Leeds station for at least 15 minutes, the excuse being there were trains in Leeds station. I eventually got into Leeds as more and more commuters piled on. The train was seriously overcrowded – blocked doorways, blocked aisles – in an accident or an emergency this would be a disaster.
The train stood outside Huddersfield for an eternity, with further ‘driver’ problems, likewise at Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road and several random stops in between, as yet more and more inept trains were tailing back all over the North West.
I arrived at Manchester Piccadilly about 22.00 where the entire system failed and all passengers for the airport had to board a ‘Northern’ pile of scrap, with no heating for a slow trundle to the airport. I was over two hours late.
I sent an e-mail to the relevant TPE office from India, raising issues. They sent an acknowledgement: “We’ve received the form submitted through our website, and will get back to you as soon as we can.” I am still awaiting a response.
A formal letter of complaint, and compensation claim was sent to TPE on January 10 – no response. This has been followed up by similar correspondence to the chief executive of their parent company on February 6 by recorded delivery. Both have been received, but I have not been offered the slightest excuse, explanation, apology or offer of suitable compensation.