Friday, August 22, 2008

No Slow Train Coming

At some point yesterday afternoon, there was a landslide that covered a section of the East Coast Mainline between Stonehaven and Montrose.

As I understand things, ScotRail became aware of the problem around 4pm.

I arrived at Aberdeen railway station at 4.30pm, intending to catch my usual 4.41pm train home to Montrose. I was allowed to board the train as normal, and as usual it was fairly close to being full, with only a few seats free.

No announcement was made to tell passengers there was a delay until 4.50pm, and at that point we were informed that this was simply a delay.

At around 5.30pm we were told to get off the train as substitute buses would be running from Dundee onwards, and that separate buses would transfer passengers to Stonehaven, Montrose and Arbroath as required.

The announcements made over the station tannoy system were inaudible, leaving hundreds of passengers milling around the station concourse, joined each minute by new arrivals unaware of the problems.

Finally, all passengers bound for Edinburgh and Glasgow were urged to move outside (into the pishing rain) to queue for substitute buses. Everyone else was informed they should wait in the station.

Having waited until 6.30pm, I went out to seek further information. I asked a ScotRail employee whether any buses were running to Montrose, to be told "Oh, it's just left".

No announcement was made to the scores of passengers inside the station. There were still hundreds of people queuing on Guild Street in the rain, waiting for buses they were assured were "on the way".

I decided to stay in the queue, in case another Montrose-bound bus should appear unnanounced. While waiting, I got talking to the three people beside me, who were trying to get to Edinburgh.

At around 7.45pm, one of the women I was talking to set off to find more information. She returned around 8pm to inform me that a member of ScotRail staff was gathering a group of Montrose-bound passengers to travel in a taxi.

Thankfully, I managed to grab a space in the taxi, which left Aberdeen at 8pm, three-and-a-half hours after I had first arrived at the station, and I finally got home just after 9pm.

It is safe to say that I have never had the misfortune to deal with a company as disorganised, poorly managed and generally useless as ScotRail. At least three members of staff in Aberdeen station were truculent, moody and sarcastic when asked for information.

If the company is stripped of its operator's licence, it won't be a moment too soon.


Jaggy said...

I couldn't have put it better myself. They are properly useless. The Gerry's and Japs must fucking laugh their tits off that the country that gave the world the railway is as totally shite at running it now.

Mike Smith said...

Scotrail are now run by First Group - or Worst Group as I call them, the same company who try to run bus services in Edinburgh.

Shambolic doesn't begin to describe them...