Sunday, May 13, 2007

Train Trouble

A concerned reader, Adam, writes:

"As a Birchington resident who reads your blog, I would just like to mention a couple of incidents in the past week which highlight Southeastern Trains contempt for the general public.

Firstly, whilst waiting for the Birchington – Victoria connection last Wednesday evening I was shocked to see two girls running across the train track between the platforms of Birchington station. Some boys were throwing stuff onto the third rail nearly causing one girl to nearly fall straight onto it. When they boarded the train they were bragging about it and mentioned they were surprised to see stuff explode because they didn’t realise the electric power was on.

The point of this really is about two things:

1. The lack of any security presence at small stations (and on trains), a small price to pay for the ridiculous increase in fares across the local network.

2. As the rail franchise is not the Government’s responsibility it should be up to these rail companies to spend money on education about rail safety and be held to account for their uncaring attitude towards the public

Secondly, the usual pre-dominance of engineering works at weekends is hardly a good way to promote those nice Thanet posters on display around Denmark Hill, etc. Unfortunately, to get to work for Saturday night in London, I had to ring Southeastern four times to get replacement bus information only to be told at each turn by different people that all the trains were running like clockwork from Birchington, and National Rail Enquiries gave the same info. Telling them that I was watching a 1940s replacement double decker going creaking past my window seemed to have zero impact on my argument.

To be honest, these companies have such disdain for the public that commuting between Thanet and London has become like a nightmare on perpetual loop."


DrMoores said...

One of our councillors was caught-up in the same engineering mess yesterday too. No information and only a doube-decker bus between Margate and Faversham. It reflects what we have to come to expect from our rail companies and many large corporations that deal with the public these days, from call-centres to trains!

Anonymous said...

I have never understood how British Rail and the private companies since have been allowed to open premises,their stations, to the public (of any age) where there is fatal high voltage electricity within touching distance and the chance of 400ton trains passing the public at speeds in excess of 70mph within inches of where they might be standing, AND HAVE NO SUPERVISORY OR SAFETY STAFF ON THE SITE! If I were to run a factory where only my trained and briefed staff were subject to similar hazards, the Health & Safety Executive would close me down. The removal of station staff was a cynical cost cutting exercise that should never have been allowed and should be reversed.

Anonymous said...

anon again!

This is all part of the Total Lack of Parental Control (TLPC) & not much to with Network Rail & even less to do with South Eastern.
It's also down to the Brainless Attitude and Moral-Less teens of today.
One assumes that all children are taught from an early age NOT to go near the rails, especially the third rail, which can give you a nasty shock.
If a young person is killed doing WRONG things near a railway line, then surely it is their own fault for acting in this stupid way.
It is quite easy to blame someone else for disregard of life's rules, when it can only come down to one thing.... use of common sense.

Anonymous said...

Easy target the railway companies aren't they? Get off their back. Whilst I agree some things need to be looked at, in the most the companies do as much as they can to please their customers.
As for idiots on the lines etc,well that is down to those individuals. If they want to endanger their own lives then thats down to them. Dont blame lack of security for their stupidy.
My advice to those that dont like travelling by train.Go by another form transport! See if things are any better on the roads. They wont be!
I wish all you knockers could give it a rest.

Anonymous said...

11.06 and 4.10 miss the points here. It is not about stupidity of youngsters it is the basic health and safety issues that apply to the rest of society but not the railway companies and their stations. The 'Ten Tors' was called off for far less dangerous circumstances than many 'customers' have to tolerate as a result of unmanned stations. Why in my lifetime have we seen the disgraceful state that British railway stations have fallen into; job cuts meant saved wages meant greater profits. Railway stations have always attracted the young; how much less of a problem would Westgate have if its station was manned during services to it and locked and secured after services to it ceased?

Anonymous said...

Well done 4.10.
I thought railway stations had CCTV, that much hailed human relacement. Can the youngsters not be identified and charges with trespass.....or is that oo easy. Personally, I have no sympathy if they are electrocuted, they are breaking the law of trspass, one assumes they can read the warning signs posted around the lines, so who cares if they get killed in the pursuit of their particularly brand of fun.

Ken Gregory said...

The rail companies are all too often held up as the bad guy's here.

Railways are dangerous places, Parents should warn their offspring of the facts. I do have a great deal of sympathy with anyone who has lost a loved one on the tracks, but if we want a national transport network, the risks are risks that we can deal with, as a society.

Personally, as a councillor, representing Thanet in both Birmingham and Manchester, I would say that the rail network is fine, except for 2 points.
1, Why does it take 2hours to get to london, and 1.25hrs to Birmingham?

2. Why do Virgin have 6 first class coaches for 20 passengers, and 4 second class coaches for 200 passengers.( Ps TDC make sure we go second class).


DrMoores said...

Ironically, given the cost of travelling by train these days and the time it takes - that's without the train breaking down - it is frequently cheaper and faster to fly. It's a pity that we can't run a viable "city hopper" turbo-prob from Manston.

Anonymous said...

5:46 says I have no sympathy if they are electrocuted, they are breaking the law of trspass.....

Yeah they're fools for being there and their parents are fools too and both should be bought to book. But no 'sympathy' if say a 14 year old DIES, I mean are you for real or just really mean and harsh? Kids have played on railway lines as long as railways have existed. Firing off live rounds on a railway line was the thing I'm told during the war years, wait for a train to go over the bullet and kerpow! Made a noise.

I remember 26 years a go waiting at Broadstairs Station to go to college in Ramsgate and my mate said "What do them other rails do?" (the two in the middle, one serving each set of lines). Not many people know. I only knew because my dad told me when I was a boy.

As for the service to London, it was fine when I commuted a year a go or so Mon-Fri to London Bridge. Weekends are the best time to operate as there are less people using the system.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Cllr Gregory about the 'trackway' he has not however commented on the situation of dilapidated,criminal infested un-manned stations. Is he not aware that women in modern Britain will not travel alone on late trains through FEAR; not of the journey but of coming onto an unmanned station at the end of it!

Anonymous said...

There are many notices on the station telling & warning people EXACTLY what the third rail is for & what the dangers of touching it are.Take a look.They ARE clearly visable & situated in places where they should be noticeable too.

Anonymous said...

With regard to cctv Birchington has it installed. Also the railway did school vists I believe they still take place, also to replie to the person who says he could care if they get electrocuted please bear in mind the Driver of the train who has to find the body as a driver who has been involved in hitting a person on the tracks it just doesnt affect the driver but my wife and 2 children also went through my mood swings and nightmares.

Anonymous said...

anon again!
10.03 AM.
Thanks for pointing out a highly significant 'dark side' to the actions of these 'brainless idiots'.
It must be awful to discover a body under such circumstances.