Thursday, 17 December 2009

Two Become One


A complicated one today - I'm not sure I understood it myself. Here's what happened:

The 17:43 usually leaves from Platform 4 at Central, shortly after the 17:35 leaves on Platform 3. Platforms 3 and 4 are really just different sides of the same platform. We passengers (being glorified robots) usually wait, by and large, on the side of the platform that our train is coming on. Sometimes it's funny, when there's a platform change, and everyone switches sides.

Anyway, we were all waiting in our respective places, when they cancelled the 17:35.

Which was weird, because it had just pulled into Platform 3. There was another train behind it - seemingly the Londonderry (that's what they call it) one. On Platform 4 we have another train, for Bangor, although this is not immediately obvious to all passengers.

All the passengers for the 'all stops' 17:43 got off the 17:35 express train (which was cancelled, but still there, full of oblivious passengers). Lots of people for Larne also got off the Londonderry train, and lots of people for Bangor are trying to get on the train on Platform 4.


The conductors are bombarded with "Is this the Express train", "Where is the 'all stops' to Larne". Madness for a few minutes. It turns out that the train on 3 has now become the 17:43, and eventually two trains' worth of us sardines climb into the one train. Cosy.

It also then waits randomly at Yorkgate for longer than is apparently required. What's actually happening is a change of conductor and/or driver. I'm sitting in the bike compartment at the front of the train, so I can see what's happening. Usually you just sit there staring out the window (or as I'm going to keep recommending, reading) wondering why on earth the train has stopped.

This is really two failures, although I wouldn't be surprised if it only shows up as one on the official stats (or maybe not at all, since a cancelled train doesn't arrive late. That's one point of view. It could also be argued it's infinitely late). Firstly, the 17:43 is evidently the train that was cancelled, since the 17:35 did in fact arrive and leave from it's usual platform. Then, the new 17:43 was further delayed by the change of staff.

Spice Girls' verdict- "Don't go wasting my precious time"

Only 5 minutes late at Greenisland, but I imagine that this carried over to all the other stops, maybe even got worse.
That's a 13 minute delay for Express train passengers, and every additional stop after Greenisland would make them even later.

Personal time wasted on this journey: 5 mins
Cumulative personal time wasted by Translink: 116 mins
Total cost of my delayed journeys to the economy: £24.94
Frustration factor: Worse for Express passengers

Monday, 14 December 2009

Third Time Not Charming

w/e 13/12/09

Well. Last week sucked, didn't it Translink people? Two pretty horrendous delays on two consecutive days. Guess who's not getting a Christmas bonus. Oh wait, that's me!

So that's a 3 out of a possible 4.5 days' travel. Another 55.5%

How can it be this tough when the lines are all straight spokes from Central, in such a tiny country? Maybe I need to join one of these 'Passenger Groups' to find out.

So Close, Yet So Far


Wednesday. The 17:16 was delayed until 17:34. I nearly made it. I heard it driving away as I ran down the steps to platform 4.

Can't complain, the world would be a better place if the trains here ran anything like on time!

Another delay, that makes two bad delays in the one week. Am I surprised? Unfortunately we're long past surprise...

Translink and Timeliness - Poles Apart?


Tuesday. I got on the 17:43 train, opened my book, started reading. I started to think maybe I was developing a new superpower - the ability to read through dozens of pages before the train even pulled out of Central Station. A look at the faces of my fellow passengers, however, did not reveal the astonished amazement that such a superpower would naturally inspire. No, there was no confusing that look, we were delayed. Might as well
get back to reading people, we may 'be here some time'.

Many, many pages later, the train eventually pulled out of the station at 18:00, Translink Own Time.

This is why I'd reccommend all Larne-Liners (maybe even all Translinkers) take up reading or buy an MP3 player. It's better than staring out at the platform for 17 minutes.

Lawrence Oates' verdict - "Not hot"

Personal time wasted on this journey: 17 mins
Cumulative personal time wasted by Translink: 111 mins
Total cost of my delayed journeys to the economy: £23.87
Frustration factor: That's why I bring a book

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Last Week's Stats

w/e 06/12/09

I used the train only three days last week, but they were all good. Only one day with a 5 minute delay which I'm going to let fly under the radar. It's probably unfair to label an entire week on the basis of a couple of days (there are plenty of weeks that wouldn't end up in Translink's favour), but we're going to do it anyhow.

So that's another 100%, two in a row. Can they make it three? I think that's a 'turkey' in bowling talk, which would be apt in the run-up to Christmas...