Dale Haslam's train blog: A sign of the times at the railway station

The Bolton News: Dale Haslam Dale Haslam

IF you are a regular user of trains in the North West, you will be no stranger to delays.

But it is not just trains that arrive late, it is also new — expensive — projects.

Last week, our sister publication the Lancashire Telegraph revealed how a planned £780,000 facelift for Blackburn station was six months behind schedule, and two organisations are also running late with a scheme at Bolton station.

Earlier this year, I reported through this column how Northern Rail and Transport for Greater Manchester had teamed up to build two bicycle storage cages at Bolton station.

They were finished in October and signs reading “opens early 2014” have been up since — but they are still not open.

Northern Rail has told us the signs were recently replaced with “ready to use in summer 2014” signs.

Maybe the next sign will read “we hope to get our act together in the next decade”.

Northern Rail has blamed the delay on not being able to connect the cages with other cages at other stations using computer software.

In fact, the firm says it is not the opening that is late, but the cages that were put up early — so why the signs?

The problem here is simply communication.

It should not take me to raise this in this column for the powers that be to inform customers — who, let’s face it, fund all these projects — of any delays, in the same way that station staff should have done more to inform people about lift failures at Bolton station a few weeks ago.

Having said all that, the bike cages will look fancy once they are open – hopefully soon.

Comments (11)

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9:22am Mon 19 May 14

The Righteous One says...

But the cages are not that fancy - you need to see the multi-storey bike park outside Amsterdam Centraal, or even the many bike parks that EVERY station has on the Dutch rail network!! And at last they just don't favour one mode of transport for getting to the station as 99% of all Dutch station also have a decent bus service from many parts of the local area as well as having FREE park & ride schemes for at least 200 cars at 99% of stations as well!!!

They care about customers and customer service over there, compared to here - and yet the UK is meant to be the best country for customer service, whilst Holland has meant to have the worst customer service!!!!

It really doesn't surprise me that the bike cages haven't opened yet - especially as Northern Rail, and its partners, goes for cheap shoddy equipment everytime, rather than going for decent moderately priced reliable equipment! For instance why have we got cheap ticket machines which break down often and not the same one as the parent company uses in Holland which takes coins, notes and cards and are very much more user friendly!
But the cages are not that fancy - you need to see the multi-storey bike park outside Amsterdam Centraal, or even the many bike parks that EVERY station has on the Dutch rail network!! And at last they just don't favour one mode of transport for getting to the station as 99% of all Dutch station also have a decent bus service from many parts of the local area as well as having FREE park & ride schemes for at least 200 cars at 99% of stations as well!!! They care about customers and customer service over there, compared to here - and yet the UK is meant to be the best country for customer service, whilst Holland has meant to have the worst customer service!!!! It really doesn't surprise me that the bike cages haven't opened yet - especially as Northern Rail, and its partners, goes for cheap shoddy equipment everytime, rather than going for decent moderately priced reliable equipment! For instance why have we got cheap ticket machines which break down often and not the same one as the parent company uses in Holland which takes coins, notes and cards and are very much more user friendly! The Righteous One
  • Score: 10

9:26am Mon 19 May 14

Jim271 says...

Do the beggers still hang around the Station yet the staff do nothing about them.

When they build the interchange will it actually have security staff or just be full of drunks like the Interchange is.
Do the beggers still hang around the Station yet the staff do nothing about them. When they build the interchange will it actually have security staff or just be full of drunks like the Interchange is. Jim271
  • Score: 2

10:59am Mon 19 May 14

alexinhorwich says...

The Righteous One wrote:
But the cages are not that fancy - you need to see the multi-storey bike park outside Amsterdam Centraal, or even the many bike parks that EVERY station has on the Dutch rail network!! And at last they just don't favour one mode of transport for getting to the station as 99% of all Dutch station also have a decent bus service from many parts of the local area as well as having FREE park & ride schemes for at least 200 cars at 99% of stations as well!!!

They care about customers and customer service over there, compared to here - and yet the UK is meant to be the best country for customer service, whilst Holland has meant to have the worst customer service!!!!

It really doesn't surprise me that the bike cages haven't opened yet - especially as Northern Rail, and its partners, goes for cheap shoddy equipment everytime, rather than going for decent moderately priced reliable equipment! For instance why have we got cheap ticket machines which break down often and not the same one as the parent company uses in Holland which takes coins, notes and cards and are very much more user friendly!
And the irony here is that the Northernrail franchise is 50% operated by Abellio which is a subsidiary of NS (the Dutch rail operator).
[quote][p][bold]The Righteous One[/bold] wrote: But the cages are not that fancy - you need to see the multi-storey bike park outside Amsterdam Centraal, or even the many bike parks that EVERY station has on the Dutch rail network!! And at last they just don't favour one mode of transport for getting to the station as 99% of all Dutch station also have a decent bus service from many parts of the local area as well as having FREE park & ride schemes for at least 200 cars at 99% of stations as well!!! They care about customers and customer service over there, compared to here - and yet the UK is meant to be the best country for customer service, whilst Holland has meant to have the worst customer service!!!! It really doesn't surprise me that the bike cages haven't opened yet - especially as Northern Rail, and its partners, goes for cheap shoddy equipment everytime, rather than going for decent moderately priced reliable equipment! For instance why have we got cheap ticket machines which break down often and not the same one as the parent company uses in Holland which takes coins, notes and cards and are very much more user friendly![/p][/quote]And the irony here is that the Northernrail franchise is 50% operated by Abellio which is a subsidiary of NS (the Dutch rail operator). alexinhorwich
  • Score: 2

1:03pm Mon 19 May 14

Beyond News Forum says...

For a town of Bolton's former stature - it is telling how dilapidated Bolton Train Station looks. That roof is an eyesore, the platforms are an eyesore - the station is very much like the town... a dump!
For a town of Bolton's former stature - it is telling how dilapidated Bolton Train Station looks. That roof is an eyesore, the platforms are an eyesore - the station is very much like the town... a dump! Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 2

1:05pm Mon 19 May 14

Beyond News Forum says...

And the cages look like they have been stolen from the old chicken factory. How on Earth anyone can say they look fancy is completely bonkers.
And the cages look like they have been stolen from the old chicken factory. How on Earth anyone can say they look fancy is completely bonkers. Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 2

1:06pm Mon 19 May 14

Beyond News Forum says...

Jim271 wrote:
Do the beggers still hang around the Station yet the staff do nothing about them.

When they build the interchange will it actually have security staff or just be full of drunks like the Interchange is.
TRO & Jim271

Dare I say I agree? I agree.
[quote][p][bold]Jim271[/bold] wrote: Do the beggers still hang around the Station yet the staff do nothing about them. When they build the interchange will it actually have security staff or just be full of drunks like the Interchange is.[/p][/quote]TRO & Jim271 Dare I say I agree? I agree. Beyond News Forum
  • Score: 2

11:07pm Mon 19 May 14

Bolton First says...

When we get NEW trains they will be clapped out old rubbish just as usual. This always happens. Travel round most of the country, and you find that many urban areas have far better trains then us.
More important than the bikes or drunks is the sign that tells you that the train is on time, when it is not, Even after the arrival time the indicator still says on time. THE TRAIN IS NOT ON TIME, IT IS LATE.
At Manchester Victoria the indicator changes so fast that it is never possible for me to find the information that I need without watching for some time.
When we get NEW trains they will be clapped out old rubbish just as usual. This always happens. Travel round most of the country, and you find that many urban areas have far better trains then us. More important than the bikes or drunks is the sign that tells you that the train is on time, when it is not, Even after the arrival time the indicator still says on time. THE TRAIN IS NOT ON TIME, IT IS LATE. At Manchester Victoria the indicator changes so fast that it is never possible for me to find the information that I need without watching for some time. Bolton First
  • Score: 1

11:36pm Mon 19 May 14

BoltonNick says...

Bolton First wrote:
When we get NEW trains they will be clapped out old rubbish just as usual. This always happens. Travel round most of the country, and you find that many urban areas have far better trains then us.
More important than the bikes or drunks is the sign that tells you that the train is on time, when it is not, Even after the arrival time the indicator still says on time. THE TRAIN IS NOT ON TIME, IT IS LATE.
At Manchester Victoria the indicator changes so fast that it is never possible for me to find the information that I need without watching for some time.
Totally agree.

The "new" trains we are getting are 25-30 year old relics from Thameslink - when we eventually get them. they have already been put back by 6 months!

As for the matrix signs - utter useless, they are not even networked, as they should be to provide the most up to date information!
[quote][p][bold]Bolton First[/bold] wrote: When we get NEW trains they will be clapped out old rubbish just as usual. This always happens. Travel round most of the country, and you find that many urban areas have far better trains then us. More important than the bikes or drunks is the sign that tells you that the train is on time, when it is not, Even after the arrival time the indicator still says on time. THE TRAIN IS NOT ON TIME, IT IS LATE. At Manchester Victoria the indicator changes so fast that it is never possible for me to find the information that I need without watching for some time.[/p][/quote]Totally agree. The "new" trains we are getting are 25-30 year old relics from Thameslink - when we eventually get them. they have already been put back by 6 months! As for the matrix signs - utter useless, they are not even networked, as they should be to provide the most up to date information! BoltonNick
  • Score: 2

9:28am Tue 20 May 14

Bolton First says...

Perhaps the cycle cages could be used to put 'customers' before the cattle class experience.
Perhaps the cycle cages could be used to put 'customers' before the cattle class experience. Bolton First
  • Score: 1

12:22am Wed 21 May 14

BoltonNick says...

And just seen this on Dutch news website, NOS, that they are ending paper tickets and all tickets, in future will be done on the OV Chipkaart (their national version of TfL's Oyster Card) but if a paper ticket is required then that will actually cost an extra €1 on top of the normal price!!!

http://nos.nl/artike
l/650426-einde-papie
ren-treinkaartje-per
-9-juli.html

They are so far ahead of us in the UK - and depressingly NS own 50% of Northern Rail though their UK operation - Abellio!
And just seen this on Dutch news website, NOS, that they are ending paper tickets and all tickets, in future will be done on the OV Chipkaart (their national version of TfL's Oyster Card) but if a paper ticket is required then that will actually cost an extra €1 on top of the normal price!!! http://nos.nl/artike l/650426-einde-papie ren-treinkaartje-per -9-juli.html They are so far ahead of us in the UK - and depressingly NS own 50% of Northern Rail though their UK operation - Abellio! BoltonNick
  • Score: 0

8:45am Wed 21 May 14

BoltonNick says...

Not just the UK that embarrassments - This in France where they ordered the trains just every so slightly too wide for many of their older platforms and are no having to shave those platforms so the trains can run!!

http://www.bbc.co.uk
/news/world-europe-2
7497727


But I am sure something similar happen over here a few years ago with either the Pendalino's or the Voyagers!
Not just the UK that embarrassments - This in France where they ordered the trains just every so slightly too wide for many of their older platforms and are no having to shave those platforms so the trains can run!! http://www.bbc.co.uk /news/world-europe-2 7497727 But I am sure something similar happen over here a few years ago with either the Pendalino's or the Voyagers! BoltonNick
  • Score: 0

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