Thu 25 August - OK near enough...
I swore I wouldn't swear in this blog, but I'm finding it very difficult not to let fly! Here's why...
I get to the entrance to the station at about 17:55. The sign shows the next train to be the 18:01, followed by the 17:49... oh really? So I'm anticipating something amiss as I head towards platform 8.
I walk up the ramp and the platform's almost empty. I see there's a train already in on platform 8, must be the 18:01. I get up onto the platform and I can see it's packed solid. The monitor reveals it to be the 17:49, obviously very late. There's another train on platform 9 that's standing empty. It's only a couple of minutes until the 18:01 is due, so I decide to let the 17:49 go.
After a couple of minutes, for no reason that I could see or hear, a few people get off the train on platform 8 and get into the one on platform 9. The monitors on platform 9 are blank. Soon most people follow and jam into the other train. Then for no apparent reason they all exit that train and head back to the one on platform 8.
A minute or so later the monitors on platform 8 go blank and the ones on platform 9 tell us that it is going to be the 17:49. This time it's accompanied by an announcement to this effect. So once again they all stream back across to the train on platform 9. Everybody jams in so you have all the 17:49 passengers, all the 18:01 passengers, and by now a few of those who'd arrived expecting to catch the 18:12. And everybody waits.
Meanwhile the train on platform 8 stands empty and the monitors are resolutely blank. There's no way anybody's telling us where this train is going! Every fibre in my body is straining to get me into the 17:49. Even though it's packed to the gunwales all my instincts tell me to get on the train that's there because who knows when the next one will be. I resist the overwhelming urge to barge my way in and eventually the doors close and it leaves at about 18:05.
As soon as the doors have closed the monitors on platform 8 reveal their secret... yes, it is the 18:01 - surprise!!! Now what possible reason was there to withhold that information? It's quite clear that they deliberately did not tell passengers that the empty train was the 18:01. I can't even begin to hypothesise on why they would do that. And I'm also left wondering why they shifted everybody out of one train and into the other. Why wouldn't they just run the one from platform 8 as the 17:49 and platform 9 as the 18:01? What the hell is wrong with Connex that they stuff their passengers around like this and go out of their way not to tell them what's going on?
Anyway, those who haven't managed to squeeze into the 17:49 board the 18:01. And we wait. And we wait. Eventually at 18:10 we depart. We get to Ripponlea at 18:25, which is a minute after the 18:12 is due in. So we can safely conclude that it's running late too. Good effort Connex.