Wednesday, February 28, 2007
Tuesday, February 27, 2007
Thursday, February 22, 2007
Wednesday, February 21, 2007
I apologise for my lack of posts in the last week or so. I've been working late shifts, and have therefore been travelling on a service unknown to most commuters - the night train. The horrors to be encountered on this service are very different to the daily squeeze on the way to and from work. For a start, the trains are few and far between. On Monday night, I was unfortunate enough to miss a connection, and spent the hour between 11pm and midnight pacing up and down the platforms at Reading, until a member of the station staff came to make sure I was neither drunk nor planning to throw myself onto the tracks. I was, in fact, investigating platform 1, as I'd never used it before and wondered where it was. But I suppose I should be glad that someone's actually watching the security cameras, in case I am ever in late-night peril.
The other problem with taking the late train is something I can't blame FGW for - the passengers. They are drunk, loud, messy and generally unpleasant in every way. At least for all the huffing and coughing, the commuter is generally a quiet breed, too tired or stressed to say much. After last week's experience of the 2259 from Paddington, I felt like I'd made several trips to the zoo. And, here's a word of advice to the drunk. I don't want to talk to you. And, large groups of young girls, please don't sing. It's really very annoying. Well, enough of the grumpiness. The good news is the poll has backed my favourite slogan, and the "I Hate First Great Western" badges will soon be ready to send to the printers. Please continue to vote, as I may bring in a second set at some stage, if the first ones are a success.
I continue to hate, not because of the staff - particular thanks go to the kind train attendant who let me on the 8.24 when I was late this morning - but because I've just been quoted the price of renewing my annual pass. Let's just say I could buy a small car and take a pretty smashing holiday if I didn't have to get to work and back on the train every day. Sigh. Anyway, we soldier on, as only the commuter can.
Friday, February 09, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
I've had several suggestions for slogans on the protest badges. My favourite is still "I hate First Great Western", as you might expect, but I understand that not everyone wants to be hateful, and might just want to be very miffed indeed, or wear something more constructive. So, how do you feel about "FGW made me late today"? I can't see that offending anyone, and it has a more useful message. I see from my newspaper that the company has begun to apologise and investigate possible timetable changes, so well done to all of those who have been doing useful things like getting people to sign petitions, and involving their local MP, while I've just been farting around with badge designs. But I feel the battle is still far from over, so choose your weapon in the form of words, and I will print the favoured option onto a badge and then, one day soon, may even hand it to you during an extended delay.
Monday, February 05, 2007
So, three things to report: Firstly, predictably enough, the delays continue, and I will not be forced to eat my hat after all. I was late for work on Friday, and, since I always leave an extra half an hour to take account of delays, this is particularly galling.
Secondly, my friend had an important meeting this morning. So, despite spending more than three thousand pounds on her train ticket, she got into her car for part of the journey. In other words, the uselessness of FGW is forcing us to spend more money and damage the environment to boot, because IT CAN NOT BE TRUSTED to get us to work on time.
Thirdly, my friends and I went to the theatre in Oxford last night. The comedian we had gone to see was particularly funny, so I was confused as to why dozens of people started to leave just after half past ten. Then I realised - they were catching the last train! Luckily, we had driven, so were able to see the whole show. I agree with those who say that FGW is "not fit for purpose" because it simply cannot do the job it is designed for, which is to get people where they need to go in a reasonable time. So, I'd like to appeal to anyone in the Pangbourne area to sign the petition which demands a return to the pre-December timetable. Go to www.pangbourne-on-thames.com. Also, please continue to comment to the managing director of FGW about your personal experiences. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't keep quiet and put up with it, or they might take our silence for acceptance.
Thursday, February 01, 2007
So, how was it for you this week? I have a confession. The service from FGW in the last few days has been virtually faultless. I am shocked and delighted in equal measures, and long may it last. Is everyone experiencing a similar level of happy travel, or am I existing in some kind of parallel universe, in which trains come on time and seats are always available? I'm so pleased that if this level of service continues for a month, I will cancel my blog. I'm pretty confident that I won't have to do this, in an "eat my hat" kind of way, and it would be a lot of hard work down the drain, but if I was getting to work and back in a reasonable time, I wouldn't care! It's nice that in the month of St Valentine, I have reason to post such happy thoughts. Please feel free to burst my bubble and call me a deluded fool if your experience is different, but for now, I heart First Great Western!