‘Thunderbirds’ could go
Industry Insider’s column in RAIL 866 certainly chimed with me, particularly his comments about missing out station stops.
Recently, Great Western Railway had to divert the 0519 PaddingtonSwansea train. Normally this runs via Bristol Temple Meads, but it ran via Bristol Parkway instead.
So, everyone waiting at Chippenham for their 0642 would have to wait just over an hour for the next service at 0745. I asked one of the ticket barrier staff why the train was cancelled. Apparently, this was due to a freight train breaking down between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood.
This train is the only direct train from Chippenham to Filton Abbey Wood, so is popular with many people who work at the big office complex there. Others rely on it to get them to Bath or Bristol if they need to start work early.
I was lucky in that I can (and do) work from home. So, I returned home after demanding - and getting - my ticket refunded. But there were many who could not do that, and they were left to go off in search of taxis. Appalling customer service!
Perhaps GWR could take a leaf out of London North Eastern Railway’s book and have ‘Thunderbird’ diesel locomotives on standby at strategic places? Then they could have removed the failed freight train so that the passenger service could have run by its booked route. Richard Putley, Chippenham