Sunday, 9 December 2012

Southeastern epic fail today.

I was going to continue writing about Medway Tunnel or share with you all the latest letter from Nick to the membership but instead, after a really nightmarish journey into work, I thought I'd share with you a letter I am writing to Southeastern delay/repay scheme and an illumination of the chaos that I witnessed on a modern railway system....

Dear Delay and repay team,

I am writing to you on the off chance that my journey today may be applicable but I am not holding out much hope.

The original fault was indeed my own. I had failed to notice the thin green line on the Engineering works posters that ran through the Medway towns and thus didn't realise there were buses until 8.45.

Still, I came up with the following journey that would get me to work on time:

7.55 Bus from Gillingham station arriving at Rochester at 8.13
8.21 Train from Rochester to Strood arriving at 8.26
8.31 Highspeed train to Saint Pancras arriving at 9.05
Then jump on the Northern Line and within half an hour I'm at the Imperial War Museum, ready for work at 9.35 - a whole 15 minutes early!

I bit the bullet, accepted it was my original cockup and bought the HS1 return to add to my Season ticket (see attached sheet) and headed off. It all went to plan at first but at Rochester it went hilariously wrong.

At 8.16 a train arrived on Platform 4 and terminated - resting in the station.
At 8.19 we were told our train was at Higham and only 5 minutes away.
At 8.26 a train pulls in at Platform 3 and we were advised this was our train. So we all boarded and the platform staff, who were genuinely fantastic, told us that they would telephone ahead to Strood to advise them to hold the HS1 for us, it was all very doable!

8.29 the Train on platform 4 leaves for Slade Green depot.
8.30 We're all ordered off the train on Platform 3 as it is also going to Slade green depot and that our connection was outside Rochester awaiting a platform because these two trains had been sat there doing nothing.
8.35 The train arrives on platform 4 and we watch the other train leave platform 3.

8.38 ish we leave Rochester and the train is running around 17-19 minutes late. There is no Highspeed train at Strood.

So now I'm stuck on the stopping service to Charing Cross. It isn't all bad as, if it is running on time it will arrive at 9.41 and I can get to work a by 9.53 - however we're running 20 minutes late.

When I get to Gravesend I checked the National Rail enquiries progress report (as there had been no announcements) and the train's progress will be sped up by skipping Eltham, Blackheath and Lewisham and getting to Waterloo by about 9.44.

I was then very interested that we stopped in Eltham, and Blackheath... Then came the funniest thing. At Lewisham we're told (although we're running late) that an "All stations" train on platform 1 was going to be in front of us so our journey was further slowed down.

On top of that there was no heating and it was freezing!

I finally arrived at Waterloo at 9.48 and work at 10:02.

I should have arrived in London at 9.05 and arrived at 9.48 most annoyed.

Does this count towards a delay/repay case as the 20 minute delay at Rochester and general confusion cost me the HS connection at the £3.30 I paid for HS1?

All the best,

Chris Sams

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