03 January 2008

'one'/Network Rail hate me and my wife... and if they get the chance they'll f*** up my life

Daylight dawns... you wake up and you're... not going into work today because the train station still isn't properly open.

Doesn't scan as well as Paul Weller's original but it's certainly accurate.

Some of you may remember the comedy last year with 'one' railway where Managing Director Andrew Chivers was dodging an interview with the local paper. He did eventually give that interview, and it was, for the record, complete bollox.

Anyway, this time 'one' and Network Rail have surpassed themselves by failing to re-open Liverpool Street station after it was closed between 23 December and 1 January for engineering works. TfL needed to demolish a bridge on the approach to Liverpool Street for the East London line extension, which is fair enough - it's a big job and it's gotta be done so why not do it over the quietest period of the year? What isn't fair enough is that thousands of commuters went back to the grindstone yesterday and were faced with no rail service whatsoever on the Colchester - London line... there was no replacement bus service (unlike the previous ten days) and passengers were simply advised not to travel. 'one' couldn't even be bothered to try to arrange alternative transport... we were told the station would be open at 10, then 11, then 4pm, and by now they have managed to restore some of the Colchester line into Liverpool Street but other lines (Southend and the Metro service) are terminating at Stratford until mid-morning. I'm working at home until I'm confident the station is completely sorted. Which will probably be March at the earliest...

The core balls-up here is from Network Rail - although 'one' are good at making a bad situation worse by failing to implement any sort of contingency plan. Network Rail say 'a shortage of skilled engineers' has been responsible for the overrun. That's a great idea... schedule a line closure and then find you haven't got enough staff to do the job. Maybe it's because loads of them got fired when British Rail got privatised... But why the hell not just hire in extra staff from abroad? That's what happens with most infrastructure projects.

Really, the managing director of Network Rail should be fired over this. Hitting the management hard is, at the end of the day, the only way to ensure a good quality of service from these monopoly operators. The poor bastards travelling on this line pay through the nose for an appalling service. Is there anything they can do? I guess the main practical measure is to buy some shares in National Express, who own 'one'. Analysis of the company's share price over the last five years shows that it's roughly tripled. That outstrips even the inflation in rail fares over the period... so buy some shares and get your money back! It also means you can turn up at the AGM and disrupt the bastards.


gazz.spencer said...

If you also want to appreciate the sheer bastard nature of them. Despite lots of lovely posters going up saying that season tickets will rise by 4.8% as being the capped rise allowed by the government. My annual season ticket has gone up by 6.25%. And that's not an isolated incident, it's gone up by at least 5% three times in the last five years.

giroscoper said...

Other than the bastards just lying (which I certainly wouldn't rule out - they do it all the time!) the only other possibility I can think of is: does your season ticket include an all-zones travelcard? Because that isn't capped, and TfL tend to put that up by as much as they can... I think Ken reckons he can get away with it because longer-distance commuters don't vote in London elections.