Archive for June, 2006

We are getting there, allegedly

June 30th, 2006

This following post is a moan about my most recent rail journey and why the ticket pictured above has been stamped and punched so many times. Best stop reading now if such things depress you.

I was down in Cheltenham on business and traveled back on the Friday. There are normally two options here, one being to take the direct train to Newcastle and the other being to change at Birmingham New Street. In the end I decided to opt for the latter and have a break for lunch. This was a mistake.

I need not have rushed back to the station after my lunch as the train was delayed for around 45 minutes. I asked why the delay and apparently it was a technical problem.

After prompting I found that the breaks were stuck on, a common problem because of some fail-safe systems and nothing to be ashamed of once in a while IMHO. Finding this out was a bit of a shock though as it appears Virgin Trains staff have been told never to tell a customer what the problem with a train is. On one occasions I spent months trying to find why a full Virgin train was shut down (with the doors locked and no safety lights illuminated) while the computers were rebooted.

The following is the bit that I and most of the other passengers were most narked about. At Leeds it was decided to join the train I was on and the following train “to alleviate the overcrowding problem”. Rather than give the customers the choice of standing on the first train or sitting on the second the decision was made to join the train together and make everyone arrive later, and no guarantee of a seat on either train for anyone. Naturally everyone needed to get off the trains to allow them to be combined.

With all the chaos going on and the fact that there were apparently “signaling problems” ahead according to an announcement I decided to have a break in Leeds. When I arrived back at the station around an hour later I decided not to wait for the next direct train but to get the next train to York as this would most likely be faster. This went well with only a short delay because of a “Power Cut” around York, that I guess may have caused the “signaling problems”.

At York I could either get on the Virgin train on one side of the platform or a GNER train on the other side. The Virgin train was going to go first and it was full, so I decided to get on the GNER train that would follow a couple of minutes later. On this train they kept apologising about the delay that was because of a “bridge strike” down the line. At times this changed to because we were behind a late running train but we kept on coming back to the reason of a “bridge strike”.

So in summary on this journey took twice as long as it should of done while using four train from three different companies with delays because of the breaks being stuck on, signaling problems, a power cut, a bridge strike and being behind late running train.

It's official, train companies welcome trainspotters

June 21st, 2006

I was looking through the National Rail website for some information and found the guidelines for rail enthusiasts. It states that all Britain’s train operating companies and Network Rail welcome rail enthusiasts to their stations.

You have been thinking I must get out more, well now is toy chance. Get down to your local railway station and start photographing those trains today. :-)

Yahoo V Google

June 6th, 2006

I have just found this experimental search comparison tool that compares Yahoo and Google. Just enter your search phrase here and it will do the search on the two sites and visually link the results showing the difference in order.

Another interesting version of the tool that compares the US and Chinese versions of Google is here