I was sitting at Swindon station this evening, thinking that I wouldn't have to do a special entry for today's on my blog, as this morning's journey had been uneventful, when the train to Bristol Temple Meads turned up (this train calls, and has always called, at Chippenham, Bath, then Bristol TM). I had caught 2 trains to get this far, and it had taken me over 1 hour. I was pleased to be getting on the thrid and final train of the day.
So we got on and sat down, and started to settle down. After a few minutes we were still sitting in Swindon station. 'What's going on?' we thought. I said, 'I bet you they are going to tell us that we are not stopping at Chippenham or Bath'. Then the train manager came on the tannoy and made an announcement. Well, I guess that's what she did, but the sound system in our carriage was broken so we didn't hear it. Concerned, JF got up to see what was happening as now the electronic departure board said that the train was only calling at Bristol TM (I could be a psychic). I went into the next carriage and asked the passengers if they heard the announcement. Nobody in that carriage had either. So I announced that it looks like we won't be calling at Chippenham or Bath. I then went back into my carriage and informed the passengers in there. Someone asked me why. I replied 'I dunno, just one of their whims', which is sort of true - one never knows what is going to happen next of a FGW train, the timetable is a fantastic piece of fiction!
So we got off the train. I ran along the platform (with my 10kg bike) and tried to ask the train manager why we weren't stopping. She refused to talk to anyone, so I had to ask the train dispatch man. He said, and I quote 'the driver does not know the route to Chippenham or Bath'. I replied that it was one railway and there were a few lights along the way, so what is the problem? (I could tell her the way as I've done it enough times!) He then said, she could not 'sign' for the route. Essentially, she should have been relieved at Swindon and another driver should have taken us to the advertised stops.
Needless to say, most people were livid. Especially when 90% of the passengers on that train were going to Chippenham or Bath.
Am I being cynical ifI were to suggest that this was a ploy to get to BTM on target? Much better to reach your target than the serve the paying passengers. Why was it that the driver could go to BTM but not the stations inbetween?
So, I arrived 30 mins late. Not impressed. What a shambles. What a pathetic excuse for a train company. A long complaint is in the post.
Journey to work punctuality: 84%, 37/44
Journey home punctuality: 77%, 34/44
nothing exciting to say for themselves today. Of course, no reports of what really happened!