Friday, 29 August 2008

The Black Box

The train was about to leave this morning and I heard the doors lock. This was followed by some pleading sounds and the stern response of Collyn the train manager.

Apparently he was unable to re-open the doors for the late running passenger because if he did, "the information would be recorded on the black box and I'd have to explain why I'd opened the doors and made the train late".

I didn't know that trains have black boxes as well. It seems that whatever they do, the train staff will be called to account.

Shame it's not really their fault but that of their management / Network Rail when things go wrong.

Small comfort for the lady left on the platform but I do understand poor Collyn's dilemma. Over the last year and a half, this train has taken longer and longer to reach destination.

Therefore any departure from the time timetable (aka List of Suggestions) is definitely going to bring all kinds of grief down on Collyn.

I imagine that FGW must have this list Gestapo like department who diligently download all the data from the trains and look for any problems and mistakes. This information must then be passed up the line to the enforcement staff who probably take Collyn aside at the next opportunity and beat him with sticks..

That's why he has a limp.


FGW Comms said...

Hi Train Fellow - Trains really do have black boxes - although like their airline brothers and sisters they're not exactly black.

I work for FGW, and I'm sorry you felt Collyn was a bit harsh in not re-opening the doors for a late passenger.

I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but his decision is all about customer service at the end of the day. If we let one late customer board a train once the doors have locked, we're effectively holding up the other 400 or so already on board.

We've got to re-set everything and start the dispatch process again, adding about two minutes to your journey. If we did this at just five stations on a route, we're 10 minutes late already.

As for the black box - yes we do look at it because it helps us work out why your train is late, and sort it out. However good our Gestapo

Anonymous said...

Well, if she goes to the BBC website, she'll find full easy to follow instructions on how to read a wristwatch...

The Train Fellow said...

FGW Comms - I wasn't actually criticising Collyn. He actually does a good job.

It's meant to be a bit more tongue in cheek....