Friday, May 06, 2005

Summary 2-6 May

Here's the summary of our fifth week, looking better still!

The stats so far show 60% of trains I've gone for getting a green status, 15% orange and 25% red, still not great for timeliness, but certainly a big reduction in the percentage of very late/cancellations.


I've given them a green if the train that I wanted to catch departs within two minutes of the scheduled time and I've given them an orange if they are "on time" according to Connex - seem fair?

Fri 6 May - Five days straight...

That's five days straight that the 07:14 has run. I'd say it's been a while since that happened. Maybe things really are improving.

Just had an interesting chat with somebody at Connex. It looks like all my complaints are still in progress. What was interesting is that the person I spoke to is in the area that looks after the feedback forms. It seems Joel and Sam may not have had the authority to attempt to block my non-standard forms after all - oh really?

I should have an answer on Monday about whether the new Word and PDF forms are acceptable.

Well, for the first time in so long I can't remember, all trains that I've wanted to catch have run reasonably close to on time. Does this mean my work is done? Probably not, but as the 18:50 pulled out on time I was happy to acknowledge that Connex has done pretty well. In fact, had it not been for the delays in the yards on Wednesday, there would not have been any reds this week. I might take a box of choccies in to them on Monday!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Thu 5 May - Any complaints...?

A very kind person has taken the original Connex complaint form and completely reworked into a very useable Word document. Thanks very much Sam. I'll test it today with Connex.

I can't believe they could have any objection to it, but then again, they didn't like having something on the back of it, so you never know. As it happens, I've never heard back from them on that, nor any of the other complaints, queries and issues I've raised. Give 'em another week and then we'll see if the Ombudsman wants to get involved.

Anyway, back to the trains... I'm on the 07:14 as I write this (on the i-mate). Once again we seem to be taking the scenic tour through the yards. No, it's Ok, just slowing down a bit - I thought this was going to become the norm while we're out in the boonies at 12 & 13!

Joel (see April 7 blog if you can't remember him) is on duty again today when I take the forms in. There's some debate about whether the forms are the same as the original - no, they're much better - and he seems to accept them for now. As my wife pointed out, the original form really summed up their contempt for customers - we don't even warrant a usable form! I left them with another form asking why I've had no answer to my many forms submitted thus far. Sometimes I don't think they're taking this seriously!

This evening we get there with a few minutes to spare. The sign tells us it's platform 12, and by a happy coincidence that's where our train eventually appears. We leave a minute or two late, giving time for the stragglers from platform 8 to get over. We somehow squander a couple more minutes on the way. Luckily there's five minutes and 59 seconds to play with so he should still be on time.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Wed 4 May - The yards...

You need to be stopped in the yards, with time to have a good look around, to realise that they are probably largely unchanged in the last century or so. Which then leads you on to the question of whether this is part of the problem with running a modern rail network. We have a few minutes to reflect on this as the 07:14 waits patiently for somebody somewhere to initiate the super-complex arrangement of lights required to tell the driver to proceed. It's a topic that was heavily debated recently over at Railpage. The gunzels would have you believe that the signalling mechanism is perfect the way it is and there is no need for new technology to improve things - I gather a certain Neil Ludd held similar views some 200 years ago!

Platform 9 for the 17:38 the sign says. "That'll be wrong" says Shaz. "Let's check anyway" I say. Shaz is right. I'm wrong. The sign's wrong. Platform 12 it is. But we get away on time so anybody cutting it fine probably went to platform 9 and missed it. That's life with Connex.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

Tue 3 May - Too early?...

Must be a very keen driver this morning. He arrives about a minute early and keeps a good pace the whole way. We wait in the yards for a minute or so and still arrive on time - once again into platform 13.

I hadn't even thought about recording trains being too early, never occurred to me that it might happen. Lucky we waited in the yards for a while or I'd have been in a real quandary about how to handle this!

To compensate for this morning's earliness we manage to drift out to being a few minutes late on this evening's 17:38. From platform 12 again, looks like we're going to be stuck out there until the works are completed on the other platforms.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Mon 2 May - OK so far...

07:14 on time, no dramas. There's some sort of survey going on, people clicking little counters everywhere. We're told that they're doing this to see if we need more trains... yeah right!

Leaving extra early as my wife is going out and I've got the kids, going for the 16:37. Platform 8 is open again, but has a Frankston train on it, no sign of the Sandy line trains. A couple of minutes later we're told platforms 12 and 13. Get over there, no sign of the train. It rolls in just after 16:37 and we depart at about 16:40. It's nice and empty, I could get used to this!