Sunday, April 09, 2006

Rant: The Art of Communication (First Great Western)

First Great Western (until last week 'First Great Western Link' and previously called 'Thames Trains') operate a service from London Paddington to Greenford and back. The service runs twice an hour for about 15 hours a day, Monday to Saturday.

Having previously checked posters for any mention of engineering work, I went to catch the 09:56 Greenford to Paddington service yesterday morning. The train never arrived. At about 10:05, I decided to proceed with my life and left the platform.

Please bear in mind the following points:
  • No announcements were made at Greenford station
  • At no time did the departure screen show any train times
  • Engineering works posters made no explicit reference to service altertions to the line
  • Despite extensive searching, I could find no reference on the First Great Western website to any amended service patterns. I am not saying they weren't there, just that I couldn't find them.

For those who have been bothered to read this far, the reality was:
  • Due to weekend engineering works affecting the main lines between Hanwell and Hayes, the services to/ from Greenford were reduced to one per hour, departing Greenford at xx:43.
  • The only place I could find any indication of the revised service was on the National Rail Live Departures page.

While travelling on the line later in the day, there were people waiting on 'opposite' platforms at most stations (ie they didn't know that there was only one train per hour).

I hope that ignoring the effect of service changes on Greenford branch line passengers from publicity material is not a sign of the new Franchisee's attitude to the line and its continued existence.

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