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“Please help me persuade East Coast to sort out rail replacemnet coach shortcomings” – Dave H

Description

Dave H

Also for Network Rail, East Midlands Trains & others

I use the 1844 ex Derby XC service to Edinburgh fairly frequently and 3 weeks ago I was shocked to see that the train was shown on the departure board as a service to Newcastle.

I checked with the ticket window in Derby and asked how I was going to get to Glasgow - my final destination, and normally a connecting train from Edinburgh. I was advised that I would arrive around 13 hours later than I'd expected and have to spend thi time either in Derby or a shorter time (but same arrival time) in Newcastle.

On the train, no announcements were made (for both weeks I used this service) that a rail replacement coach service woul be running to take passengers from the XC service to destinations the train would not be running to, and throughout the train was announced and indicated only as a service to Newcastle.

At Newcastle you needed to be quick as the coaches for Northbound passengers left within a few minutes of the train arriving. Amazingly I had the same coach driver (from Classic Coaches - owned by Arriva) on both trips one in a TGM coach from Hounslow, and then in a Classic coach from Anfield Plain.

On the first trip the driver was unsure about where to drop off the passengers (one of the reason it is not surprising to find rail replacement buses losing their upper deck or getting stuck because no-one has planned the operation, or briefed the drivers thoroughly). We pulled in on Waverley Bridge but there was no East Coast or Cross Country marshal and many passengers at a total loss regarding the onward rail connections which had left around 1.5 hours earlier. I directed some to the night bus inspectors (in a Lothian Bus on the bridge) and headed off with another passenger for the Citylink coach which I fortunately knew about, but had to pay £9.70 for, supplemental to the rail ticket for Glasgow I already had. My fellow traveller was bound for Prestwick, and we were delighted to learn from the coach driver that a connection existed in Glasgow for a coach to Kilmarnock via Ayr (at least Citylink coach drivers seem to know what is going on).

2 weeks later we did a faster run but this time when we rolled in to Edinburgh, despite the space having no parking restrictions we were stuck out in the road by an East Lothian taxi which refused to move and sat there for at least 30 minutes blocking both the fast coach and the stopping service that followed us in, and leaving the latter with a major problem in getting a space to safely let the passengers off. Again not a single representative of East Coast or Cross Country to receive their passengers and keep the space clear for the coaches to unload.

So lets get this sorted out

1) Show the final destination for the SERVICE and not the train on displays.

2) Announce clearly the final destination for the service on platforms and on the train, with the information that the SERVICE will include a portion of the journey by coach or bus.

(these issue may be due to a flawed software for feeding the Passenger Information System displays which takes the train timings but cannot marry these to the coach/bus times)

3) Get clear direction displayed where passengers are transferred to coaches. I almost missed the coach on the first occasion and only the knowledge that the 'bus' departure displayed only on a single screen on the concourse would be outside the front door and the slightly late departure saved the day.

4) Have a member of staff at the stations where the coach services run in place of trains, to reassure those waiting and receive those coming in.

5) Co-ordinate with existing bus and coach services as happens in London and Birmingham, so that passengers can use these in place of trains*

*Use of the Citylink coach service between Edinburgh & Glasgow could save a fortune for Cross Country when their services have to terminate early or start from Edinburgh, by transferring passengers to the existing coach service rather than using special services

Problem History

  • 1 Dave H reported the issue on FixMyTransport. close 19:55 08 Oct 2011
  • 2 Dave H wrote to East Coast close 19:55 08 Oct 2011

    Here is the letter that Dave H wrote.

    Coach Service vice Cross Country & East Coast trains (Arriva TGM)

    Also for Network Rail, East Midlands Trains & others

    I use the 1844 ex Derby XC service to Edinburgh fairly frequently and 3 weeks ago I was shocked to see that the train was shown on the departure board as a service to Newcastle.

    I checked with the ticket window in Derby and asked how I was going to get to Glasgow - my final destination, and normally a connecting train from Edinburgh. I was advised that I would arrive around 13 hours later than I'd expected and have to spend thi time either in Derby or a shorter time (but same arrival time) in Newcastle.

    On the train, no announcements were made (for both weeks I used this service) that a rail replacement coach service woul be running to take passengers from the XC service to destinations the train would not be running to, and throughout the train was announced and indicated only as a service to Newcastle.

    At Newcastle you needed to be quick as the coaches for Northbound passengers left within a few minutes of the train arriving. Amazingly I had the same coach driver (from Classic Coaches - owned by Arriva) on both trips one in a TGM coach from Hounslow, and then in a Classic coach from Anfield Plain.

    On the first trip the driver was unsure about where to drop off the passengers (one of the reason it is not surprising to find rail replacement buses losing their upper deck or getting stuck because no-one has planned the operation, or briefed the drivers thoroughly). We pulled in on Waverley Bridge but there was no East Coast or Cross Country marshal and many passengers at a total loss regarding the onward rail connections which had left around 1.5 hours earlier. I directed some to the night bus inspectors (in a Lothian Bus on the bridge) and headed off with another passenger for the Citylink coach which I fortunately knew about, but had to pay £9.70 for, supplemental to the rail ticket for Glasgow I already had. My fellow traveller was bound for Prestwick, and we were delighted to learn from the coach driver that a connection existed in Glasgow for a coach to Kilmarnock via Ayr (at least Citylink coach drivers seem to know what is going on).

    2 weeks later we did a faster run but this time when we rolled in to Edinburgh, despite the space having no parking restrictions we were stuck out in the road by an East Lothian taxi which refused to move and sat there for at least 30 minutes blocking both the fast coach and the stopping service that followed us in, and leaving the latter with a major problem in getting a space to safely let the passengers off. Again not a single representative of East Coast or Cross Country to receive their passengers and keep the space clear for the coaches to unload.

    So lets get this sorted out

    1) Show the final destination for the SERVICE and not the train on displays.

    2) Announce clearly the final destination for the service on platforms and on the train, with the information that the SERVICE will include a portion of the journey by coach or bus.

    (these issue may be due to a flawed software for feeding the Passenger Information System displays which takes the train timings but cannot marry these to the coach/bus times)

    3) Get clear direction displayed where passengers are transferred to coaches. I almost missed the coach on the first occasion and only the knowledge that the 'bus' departure displayed only on a single screen on the concourse would be outside the front door and the slightly late departure saved the day.

    4) Have a member of staff at the stations where the coach services run in place of trains, to reassure those waiting and receive those coming in.

    5) Co-ordinate with existing bus and coach services as happens in London and Birmingham, so that passengers can use these in place of trains*

    *Use of the Citylink coach service between Edinburgh & Glasgow could save a fortune for Cross Country when their services have to terminate early or start from Edinburgh, by transferring passengers to the existing coach service rather than using special services

  • 3 Customer Relations Mailbox responded to Dave H close 20:01 08 Oct 2011
    Thank you for contacting the East Coast Customer Relations
    department.  As stated within our East Coast Passenger's
    Charter, we aim to respond to all written correspondence within
    10 working days.

    If your enquiry is time critical, such as lost property please
    do not hesitate to contact us on 08457 225333 (Option 3), Monday
    to Sunday 07:00-22:00 and we will of course be happy to help.

    Thank you again for contacting East Coast.

    Regards

    Customer Relations Team

    **********************************************************************

    show quoted sections
  • 4 East Coast CR responded to Dave H close 15:06 26 Oct 2011
    East Coast

    Freepost

    RSRJ-LJCX-GHST

    Plymouth

    PL4 5AB

    Tel: 08457 225 333

    Email: [East Coast problem reporting email]

    Website: www.eastcoast.co.uk

    Fix My Transport

    26 October 2011

    Ref: EC-0111008-BKT

    Dear Customer

    Thank you for contacting East Coast Trains via
    [1]www.fixmytransport          

    In order for us to resolve your enquiry could you please contact
    East Coast Customer Relations direct on 08457 225 333.
    Alternatively you can also contact us via email at
    [2][East Coast problem reporting email]. Or visit www.eastcoast.co.uk.

    We look forward to hearing from you

    Yours sincerely

    Roxanne Curtis

    Customer Relations Advisor

    East Coast

    ------------------- Original Message

    show quoted sections
  • 5 East Coast CR responded to Dave H close 21:38 04 Jan 2012
    East Coast
    Freepost
    RSRJ-LJCX-GHST
    Plymouth
    PL4 6AB

    Tel: 08457 225 333

    Email: [email address]

    Website: [1]www.eastcoast.co.uk

    4 January 2012

    Ref: EC- 0111211-BCB

    Dear Customer

    Thank you for contacting East Coast Trains via
    [2]www.fixmytransport.com on 11 December 2011. I apologise for
    the delay in our response, this has been due to an unexpected
    level of customer communications.

    In order for us to resolve your enquiry could you please contact
    East Coast Customer Relations direct on 08457 225 333.
    Alternatively you can also contact us via email at
    [3][East Coast problem reporting email] or visit www.eastcoast.co.uk.

    We look forward to hearing from you.

    Yours sincerely

    Mark Smith
    Customer Relations Advisor
    East Coast

    **********************************************************************

    show quoted sections

    References

    Visible links
    1. http://www.eastcoast.co.uk/
    2. http://www.fixmytransport.com/
    3. file://igsplyfil02/shared$/ECML/MSmithDocs/[East Coast problem reporting email]
  • 6 Dave H commented close 03:27 05 Jan 2012

    Will sort out direct, with East Coast.

Comment
  • started 8 October 2011
  • supporters 2
Train route between Edinburgh and Newcastle operated by East Coast, Crosscountry
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