Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Half a Cheer

Latest News for those in the more Westerly areas of the FGW region. Full report from the BBC here:
"First Great Western is to pay for more trains and better passenger compensation after poor service on lines to Wales and the West Country.
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."
More Train Less Strain, who organise the fare protests, have given the announcement "half a cheer", saying "We're very pleased to see more trains on a particularly troublesome route, but things like more cut price tickets are, to our mind, gimmicks."
Myself, I'm quite a fan of gimmicks, especially off-peak first class upgrades, or free cups of tea. Anything that acknowledges that travelling by train is not that fun and tries to improve it is fine by me.
Of course, the best gimmick of all would be cheaper tickets and fewer delays, but we can only live in hope.
Talking of delays, last night's trip out of Paddington was so bad I had to get off the train three stops early and get a lift home. I do wish suicidal people would find some other way to off themselves than throwing themselves under a train, it really is most inconvenient. I know it sounds callous but really, it throws the whole system into complete chaos for hours.
And, if you're standing nose to nose in a crowded carriage on the one train leaving the station for your destination (who knew there were 10 stops between Paddington and Slough?) please don't chomp away on something with open mouth whilst you're in close proximity to my ear, or you might end up one of those casualties on the tracks yourself. You have been warned.


Lord Hutton said...

From what I heard, the contingency plan for last night worked quite well, with senior management swamping Paddington and trains moved around to get by "obstruction"

Anonymous said...

I understand it was a woman and her 12 month old baby - that is why it took so long to clear up.

Tim said...

Who would kill a 12 month old baby - I'm all upset now.

There does seem to be a suicide black-spot in the Southall area though. The victims often seem to be mothers. Has anyone any idea why suicidal people are concenrated in this area. Is it the demographic or cultural makup of the area or because NHS services are poor in that area (a mother and child suicide sounds to me very much like Post Natal Depression - something that the NHS might have spotted)? Maybe some of the railway platforms need freephones to the Samaritans (perhaps FGW and NR could fund them - they might even pay for themselves in fewer delays). Does anyone know?

Anonymous said...

I am afraid it is cultural. There is a large asian community living near by and they have a tradition of women committing suicide. In the past is has been known for wives to throw themselves on the funeral pyre of their husband.

See this link


I hate FGW said...

This is very sad, and I feel bad for my flippant comment in the blog now. Please consider it withdrawn, and my apologies for treating something so tragic light-heartedly.