Tuesday, September 30, 2008

When I'm annoyed, I blog

In case you were hoping that this post title referred to an exciting new single or album I might be planning to release I'm afraid that I'm going to have to disappoint you. The subject is nothing clever and there is no double meaning. Basically, I'm annoyed and I'm going to blog about it.

Cheer up, though, I've not had a good train related rant in a while.

Had you asked me an hour ago what I thought of First Great Western I could not have been more positive. I have travelled with them a reasonable amount recently and my experiences bear no resemblence to the poor reputation they seem to have gained. I have found the trains to be consistently clean and comfortable, and the staff to be consistently friendly and helpful. That's certainly more than could be said for a lot of train operators.

But it's so often true that one bad experience can destroy a whole raft of positive ones and that's how I'm feeling now.

The journey I booked online has two tickets - one valid on any train as far as Swindon, and one valid on a specific train from Swindon to London. My appointment finished much earlier than expected and I was able to board a much earlier through train (via Swindon) to London. Now, I know the rules regarding Advance Fares but I asked the conductor anyway whether or not he would permit me to remain on this train rather than alighting and waiting for my booked service. As the train is very lightly loaded, an
d there are unused through reservations on the seats around me I didn't think that this was an unreasonable request.

Unfortunately the conductor is not only a complete jobsworth but he is also a contender for the title of Rudest Man in the World. Insolence and an unwillingness to listen feature highly on his list of 'qualities'. It's now looking as though I've been condemned to a pointless wait of an hour and a half in Swindon, and to add insult to inury if I'd known that my appointment would finish early it would actually have been cheaper to book a through ticket on the train I am on.

I might try some further negotiation, but if not at least I can soothe my sorrows in the Sensory Garden at Swindon station. It'll probably be raining though.

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