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

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