TransPennine Express customer service?27th March 2007
The prospect of a fine sunny day on Sunday had me heading off to Haworth so that I could take in another section of the Pennine Way. Part of my journey involved catching a train between Manchester and Leeds, normally a straight forward manoeuvre as there are frequent trains between the two cities provided by First TransPennine Express. However, the 10:49 got delayed by a technical fault but communication was next to non-existent as to what was happening; the sight of TransPennine Express staff huddled away from passengers did nothing to add to the company’s reputation for customer service. Parking an out of service train in the station didn’t help either, especially when it was at the same platform as an outbound service for which the train forming it was delayed. Luckily, there was a train at 11:12 but passengers were left standing outside the doors of that for a while before they were opened to let them on and the same applied to the 10:49 when it finally did arrive. The delay to door opening could be justified for the 10:49 because Siemens staff were taking a look at it and a staff changeover could have been the cause in the case of the 11:12. Engineering works were preventing trains from reaching Manchester Airport that day so all the staff changeovers could have been happening at Piccadilly instead. Granted these extenuating circumstances and the fact that it was a Sunday morning, the whole impression still reeked of laggardness; it was hardly a good advertisement for that rail industry and that’s a pity because it continually needs it. Thankfully, it was all a brief frustration as I got my train to Leeds and got to Haworth as planned, even if we did pass Wakefield along the way thanks to another set of rail engineering works. Nevertheless, the timeliness of the 10:49 would have helped me get to my destination earlier to start my walk but all ended well anyway.