I read with interest Paul Bigland’s three-part Rail Rover report. I found it to be a very interesting piece, which certainly provides a good snapshot of the current state of rail travel around the country.
However, what struck me in the last episode ( RAIL 866) was the section detailing when Paul travelled on the Northern service between Carlisle and Newcastle, on a strike day.
Can it be true that senior and operational managers at Northern are either so inept, or have so little care and concern for passengers (paying customers), that they seem to make no effort at all to try to ensure the provision of maximum capacity on the trains that do operate, in order to compensate for those that do not?
There can surely be no possible excuse for failing to make what is normally a 2/3-car service into a 4/6-car service if the previous or next train is cancelled, in order to at least compensate for the reduction in frequency?
In addition to apparently failing to put into place any sort of contingency planning, to cover the problems arising from a strike that was known of well in advance, did those managers then leave their “safe” offices to stand alongside those members of their staff who were working - in particular those members of station staff who have to face the travelling public on what must be very difficult days.? This is not only treating the travelling public with contempt, but also their own staff.
If I were a cynical person, I might be tempted to suggest that the manner in which the managers of train operating companies are handling this long-running dispute is actually a deliberate strategy designed to ensure that travellers suffer to the maximum degree on strike days, in order to put pressure onto the trade unions.
No matter what the rights and wrongs are of this dispute, it is beholden on the management of any train operator (not just Northern) to ensure that at times of
disruption, particularly when there is advance notice, those services that do run are at the very least strengthened to provide as many seats and spaces as possible.
This would at least provide some support for those who often have no option than to travel and for whom alternative arrangements are simply non-existent. Graham Mumby-Croft, Lincoln