Dale Haslam's train blog: All I want for Christmas is reliability
Reporter Dale Haslam, pictured, today starts a weekly blog on his daily train-faring experience. It comes following the Prime Minister’s promise to take on board the issues of the Bolton News’ Let’s Get Back On Track campaign to get the axed peak-hour carriages reinstated and tackle problems of overcrowding.
IT takes about 15 minutes each morning for a train to whisk me from home in Chorley to work in Bolton (or 25 minutes if I take the stopping service) — at least that is what is supposed to happen.
But all too often, something goes wrong and I start the day with a frown on my face, wondering why I spend £6.10 a day (that is about £1,500 a year) just getting to and from work.
The latest gaffe was a new one for me.
Last Thursday, a Northern Rail service due at Chorley at 8.02am arrived 15 minutes late and had four carriages, but only two were in service.
Not only did it mean I, and the several hundred other passengers, had to fight for oxygen in a pen suitable only for battery hens, it also meant about 50 or so fully paid-up customers were left stranded on the platform at Horwich Parkway and Lostock.
So why were these carriages closed? It was down to the lights.
A Northern Rail spokesman said: “Two of the four carriages were locked out of use due to an on-board engine fault. This meant there was no lighting in these two carriages.”
He added: “As this service passes through various tunnels, it would have been unsafe for us to allow passengers to travel in these carriages.”
He went on to apologise to customers for the fault — but, hey, at least the apology came from a real-life human being rather than the automated apologies you get at train stations, which cannot possibly be sincere.
I complain, but when it does run well, the railway is less stressful than staring at brake lights through a car windscreen en route to the M61, and it can be very relaxing too when you travel further afield.
But please, Santa, all I want for Christmas is a reliable service.
Is it too much to ask from Northern Rail and TransPennine Express?
- Sign our petition in our town centre office and in shops and newsagents around bolton, or online.
- Sign our petition here.
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