Tuesday, 15 January 2008

The overly keen customer host....

On the train home tonight and the train slowed down for Didcot (where it doesn't stop much to our relief) and a very excited "customer host" came on the tannoy to announce we were arriving at Oxford.

A number of panicked looks flashed around the train as the uninitated began to hastily get their
things together. The initiated merely looked out of the window, saw the towering heights of didcot power station and went back to whatever it was we were doing:

e.g. reading,
voodoo doll of FGW staff or employer,
typing on laptop,
watching film on iphone,
staring into space with a sense of dread about the rest of the journey,
checking their reflection in the tinted windows...
the list goes on.

Anyway, back to the story. The Train Manager then came on the tannoy to announce to all and sundry (let us say 8 carriages at roughly 70 people per carriage - so 560 people) that "my customer host got it wrong and assumed that, as we were slowing down, this must be Oxford". Nothing like being dressed down in front of an audience eh...

Must have been the Customer Host's first day as anyone else would know very well that it doesn't need a station for the train to slow down.. Any excuse will do - a bend in the track, bright sunlight, dark night etc. He'll learn. Oh yes, he will learn.
He went on to make an announcement about there being a "Happy Hour" at the buffet and was offering free drinks with all food that has to be sold at 1/2 price as the train is on it's last run of the day. Forgive my cycnicism but I struggle to find anything happy about the food in the buffet (unless there is a travelling chef on board).

As an aside, I had a very nice chat with a 1st class customer host this morning about various things - he recognised the Soul Survivor lanyard that I hang my security pass on. Nice wee chat and very nice fellow.

You see. I can be nice.


Loxley said...

'you see. i can be nice'...



Anonymous said...

Dear TrainFellow,

So glad to see you have regained composure and humour; suspect it must also be in part related to the cancellation of LWW strike plans.

I will be intrigued to see how long your 'customer host' will stick the job; I guess the title gives a clue to what might happen (did he/she realise what they might be taking on in the shape of an 'Aunt Sally' role for on-board complaints?) It would also help for you all to have a Network Rail Infrastructure consultant on-board too, so that you could berate that person on the real culprits of the piece

Well, suferred my first cancelled Chiltern Train today ~ the 6.59 at Bicester North did not turn up ~ had to wait for the 7.12 fast service. I refrained from cursing as Chiltern have gone a full 6 months in my experience without this sort of problem ~ anyway arrived only 7 minutes behind schedule at Marylebone; buffet trolley service works well but no discounts to rival LWW.

Let me know when the LWW Cotswold line gets better at time keeping and providing trains when you want them (eg 4/5 an hour at rush hour)and I might come and join you again one morning at Kingham (incredible to think I live next to Kingham but find it better to go over to Chiltern for reliability on adhering to timetables, rather than a loose guide or possible target times into Paddington and back (DID YOU HEAR THAT LWW?)No point mentioning Network Rail who have created the mess anyway (lack of infrastructure investment over decades)as they are totally thick skinned.

Oh, by the way mentioning NR here is a snippet for you about Reading. One of the cunning plans at present, I hear, is to create a rail underpass at Reading junction to speed up through traffic (just outside of the station on the western side ~ by the current depot and Basingstoke / Newbury connector line). Just think of the fun that it will entail installing same and keeping services running! I guess LWW are pencilling in the Heads of Claim already for the mess they will have to try and operate around. Roll on home working!



Neil Bennetts said...

mate don't be nice too often. it will totally ruin the blog.