My letter of complaint to East Midlands Trains
Cor, feels good to get that out of my system. Also: Happy Birthday to me. I got a lovely email from stickcricket reminding me it was my birthday; this is how I know it’s today.
Subject Line: Your 17:39 service on 26th September from Nottingham to London was unacceptable
I am writing to enquire how I go about getting a refund for the train service mentioned above, and to make a more general complaint about the service since it was taken over by Stagecoach.
My journey from Nottingham back to London was a Kafka-esque nightmare due to the company not employing enough staff to maintain both sections of the train. We were put in the horrendous situation of not being able to reach our seats in the closed-off section of the train, and instead being forced to stand in the vestibules of a ridiculously overcrowded carriage. No member of on-board train staff bothered to walk through the train (though they would have had to climb over many passengers) to explain the situation.
Out of the last four journeys I have made from Nottingham to London with your company, three have resulted in this situation, ie half the train being shut off from use, and being pointlessly pulled to London. A variety of reasons have been given for this: the company not employing enough staff to keep both halves of the train open, ‘health and safety’, and an electrical fault with one section of the train. All excuses have led to the same result: massively unpleasant overcrowding and inability to secure the seats we had paid for.
A further point: the new rolling stock you have ordered is totally unfit for purpose. It’s no coincidence that these disasters have all happened on the return leg of our journey. We’ve been lucky in that our London – Nottingham journeys have invariably been on the old ‘intercity 125’ trains, which benefit from deep, comfortable seats, non-electric doors and toilets which are thus not prone to malfunction 25% of the time, decent luggage space (the luggage racks on the new trains are pitifully small, to the extent that they are dangerous), and an actual guard’s van so that a sensible number of bikes can be carried (didn’t the company ever stop to think that people may wish to continue to be able to take their bikes on trains?). In addition, these trains are not split into two halves and so presumably cannot be half suspended due to staff shortages.
Please explain how my friends and I can apply for a refund for our horrendous journey, and please explain what the company plans to do about the endemic problems I have mentioned.
And let me finish by stressing that I don’t hold the staff responsible for this. While I was unhappy at the level of information concerning my journey yesterday, for the most part your staff are polite, helpful, and as evidently despairing at the incompetence of management as much as the passengers are.
p.s. Bring back the free tea Midland Mainline provided. And provide fresh milk for tea: UHT is undrinkable.