Thursday, February 28, 2008
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
The Swindon-based train operator agreed the £29m investment package after discussions with the government. Extra drivers and guards will be recruited to resolve a staff shortage.
FGW announced that five extra three-carriage trains will be leased for the troubled Cardiff to Portsmouth service. Compensation for delayed passengers next year will increase by half, on top of the doubling of compensation already announced for this year.
There will be extra discounted tickets available, better information systems and £4m will be spent on staff training."
Monday, February 25, 2008
Friday, February 15, 2008
Now, I'm not sure how this happened, but my ire is beginning to turn and point (can ire point? If it doesn't, I think it should start, and, why not, let's have it stamping its feet too) firmly in the direction of the DfT. Sure, we all like to hate FGW, because they're the ones running the trains, and they've certainly made their share of mistakes, but it rather gets on my nerves when MPs start slagging off the company, when the DfT are the ones who are pulling all the strings.
Read the following, from the Sky News website: (read the full report here)
Chancellor Alastair Darling criticised First Great Western while in the West Country city of Bristol.
"I know there have been very great problems with this particular franchise that have gone on far too long. Frankly, the travelling public using the line are entitled to expect far better reliability and punctuality in a far better service. First Great Western need to get a grip of it. But I know that the Transport Secretary is very focused on this."
And fellow MP Dawn Primarolo said: "I share the rage of thousands of passengers regularly when I'm on a service where I can't get a seat, I'm tired, and I can't get home.
"I think they (First Great Western) have got to be given a clear ultimatum to improve the service. If they don't, we need to reconsider (renewing their franchise)."
Righty ho, so it's all their fault and not yours at all in any way then? The problem is, I don't believe it. It's just all such a lot of finger-pointing crap, and not in any way helpful to sorting out the problem of GETTING THE TRAINS TO RUN ON TIME!
Yes, FGW have their problems with staff-shortages, being a bit rubbish at giving us information sometimes, and putting up prices, and all of those things are their fault. But if they weren't so shackled by the DfT, they'd be able to sort out some of their problems and get the service improved.
I'm quite riled now. Which is a shame, as I'm off on holiday next week, so was having a lovely term's-out kind of Friday.
I'm all for getting a few "I Hate the DfT" badges printed, but I think there would be a queue of car drivers ahead of us, and who ever heard of a government department listening to anyone anyway. Golly, I've gone all political. Someone bring me a magazine full of celebrity gossip, quick!
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Happy Valentine's Day everyone, unless you hate the whole concept, in which case, happy 14th of February, hope it's a good day generally and the shops full of gaudy red hearts don't get you down too much.
I had plenty of time to look at the inescapable flowers and assorted sentimental goo this morning. I arrived at Slough station to find that the fast train I usually miss had been delayed, which meant that I caught it, and sped into London, arriving 15 minutes earlier than usual, and arriving at my destination with plenty of time for a relaxed stroll into work, rather than the usual swearing and huffing and puffing.
Talking of huffing and puffing, in my continuing quest to work from home, I've realised that I'm definitely going to have to build some exercise into the equation. I've worked out through a process of counting (yes, I'm that weirdo walking up and down with my lips moving) that I get through at least half of my recommended 10,000 steps a day just by walking to the station, walking between platforms, walking between tube stations, and walking to my work. And back again. Whereas, the distance from my bed to the kettle and from thence to the computer is approximately 20 steps, and although these are in the form of stairs, I don't really think that's going to be sufficient to keep me fit and healthy. Even wearing my heaviest dressing gown and with the occasional trip to the phone or front door. Which is a worry. Mind you, with the extra three to four hours a day Former Commuting Time (FCT) I'll have at my disposal, I could go to the gym, have a shower, maybe even get dressed too and possibly interact socially with some people in my area. It's a tempting prospect. I must start a list of more 'Things To Do With My FCT', when I've got a moment.
Finally, I must draw your attention to the following site, which will also be appearing in my links list on the right hand side of the blog. Lee Fletcher from the First Great Western Coffee Shop has, along with several other people and groups, started a new site called "Campaign Against New Beeching Report", or CANBER, which campaigns against the closure of existing rail stations and train services nationwide. Find it here. Give it a visit, as it's only if we all get together and complain that anything will get done. Muttering under your breath in a packed train will not change the world. Eh, I'm right philosophical today.