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Unread 10-01-2006, 11:17   #1
Mark Gleeson
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Default Intercity journey experiences

What should be a stress free experience intercity train travel is far from enjoyable in Ireland. The absolute basics are rarely handled correctly
  • The platform the train will depart from is clearly shown in advance of the trains arrival, i.e. no random platform changes
  • All intercity services either the driver, guard or ticket checker will announce the next station unless an automated system is in place and working. This will be done in good time
  • Before the train leaves its starting point a clear announcement should be made listing all stops and all possible changes, as well as a brief safety message concerning proper stowage of luggage and the no smoking policy.
  • The presence of catering services and there location to be announced when they open
  • All working inter carriage doors will be enabled
  • If the train stops in the countryside for no good reason you should be told why

So if you are on a intercity service,
  • Where the announcement is made in the language known as train which you can't understand
  • Where the announcement volume is so low as to be inaudible
  • Where the catering doesn't show up despite being in the timetable
  • A train fitted with an electronic display (inside or outside) which isn't working
  • The computer driven announcement tells you the wrong or out of date information such as the wrong station or doesn't announce the station.
  • You can't hear the announcement or the electronic display is full of funny characters
  • Where you can't find a full route map
  • Where the inter carriage doors won't close
  • Where the heating system is defective
  • Where the seat you booked doesn't exist
  • Where you have a first class ticket but there is no first class despite it being shown in the timetable
  • Where the train is dangerously overcrowded

Post it here, we need the date, time and the service operated, one of the coach numbers would be handy (but is not essential) as then we could prove that its not just one specifc train but a fleet wide problem.
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Unread 10-01-2006, 11:37   #2
Mark Gleeson
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Friday 6-1-2005

15:00 Dublin Cork

No pa made before departure, pa inaudible when annocuments made, no reference to catering which didn't reach the 2nd last coach till Thurles and the train was quiet by standards

Significant number of intercarriage doors where left open
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Unread 11-01-2006, 12:24   #3
Donal Quinn
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this is a fantastic idea - i know there is a thread for suburban already but having a specific one for intercity is great as each have a specific set of issues

i might suggest that this thread form the basis of a leaflet campaign outside heuston and connolly
"Had a bad train journey? IE not listening to you? Tell us!" - with instructions on how to get to the site and give details (basically the first post on this thread)

irish people are increasingly learning to complain and IE give no satisfaction
it should be easy to get them to tell their stories here - might generate alot of traffic as well because it offers a specific reason to come to the site rather than a generic "come and visit us"

i know the committee has plenty of scheme's and plans - just thought i'd add this to the list
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Unread 12-01-2006, 17:38   #4
GavinG
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This is going to be a fairly busy thread ! Im going to print Marks original post and keep it as a check list for my next Sligo-Dublin journey on the 2900s. Im sure i'll get them on some cock-up !

What about the leaflets don mentioned Mark ? Is it a runner ? Shame IE into doing something....
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Unread 14-01-2006, 15:10   #5
MrX
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9:00pm Dublin - Cork - Friday 13th.

1) Announcement before train departed completely ridiculous.
"Passengers who are not travelling please leave the train immediately as doors are about to close - doors are now closing please stand clear of the doors"
(didn't really give much chance if you weren't travelling and did actually have to get off!)

2) Large section of missing seats in one MK3 coach (just after the dining car)

3) Several seats in our coach had badly damaged arm rests. It looked like the front of the arm rest assembly had been knocked right off.

4) While the internal doors were checked by a guy in an IE uniform. One at the end of our coach (standard class 2 away from dining car) didn't work and remained open.

There were 2 problems, both of which I thought were handled very well however:

1) The train borded slightly late due. While the platform announcements didn't explain why, they did keep explaining that bording was slightly delayed and apologised. The ticket checker speeded things along by pre-checking all of the tickets in the queue. When the train did pull up, he simply opened the barriers and people rapidly boarded without any delay.

2) The dining car had a "technical problem with the boiler" ... however, the dining car person came on the intercom and she announced that she would be unable to serve tea/coffe/hot drinks due to a fault with the water boiler. I thought that this was quite reasonable as it saved people who wanted tea/coffee a long trip up the train.
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Unread 14-01-2006, 18:22   #6
philip
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrX
1) The train borded slightly late due. While the platform announcements didn't explain why, they did keep explaining that bording was slightly delayed and apologised. The ticket checker speeded things along by pre-checking all of the tickets in the queue. When the train did pull up, he simply opened the barriers and people rapidly boarded without any delay.

2) The dining car had a "technical problem with the boiler" ... however, the dining car person came on the intercom and she announced that she would be unable to serve tea/coffe/hot drinks due to a fault with the water boiler. I thought that this was quite reasonable as it saved people who wanted tea/coffee a long trip up the train.
Wow, that sounds like a railway company with an actual ethos of customer service was running that train. I'm surprised and gladdened to hear that.
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Unread 15-01-2006, 20:29   #7
GavinG
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You got away lightly MrX, seeing that it was Friday the 13th

Still good to see the right annoucements being made.
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Unread 23-01-2006, 14:03   #8
Thomas J Stamp
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Friday 20/1/06

6.55 train from Templemore (the Cork 5.30 now Mark 3 not 2d anymore...) a/c working VERY well in my carraige. Heating wasnt. Frozen. Thought it was the entire train till the ticketman said it was only our carraige and it was faulty.
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Unread 24-01-2006, 00:51   #9
MrX
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BREL's Air conditioning's never been the best, even on the MK3s.

Seems to have 2 settings "sweat" or "freeze"
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Unread 30-01-2006, 09:36   #10
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The 18:21 ex-Killarney to Heuston yesterday (29/01/06) was late arriving into Killarney by approximately twenty mins and didnt leave til 18:40. No announcement/reason or even apology for the delay was made at any point on the train or the station.
Secondly more than half the rear carriage of the train was reserved for a group leaving killarney who seemed not to show up.
After some time a passenger enquired if they could sit in the reserved seats, only to find out that these seats were reserved for a previous train (15:45 again ex Killarney??) and the guard hadn't bothered to take down the reserved signs?
Finally to add to matters the train was freezing most people were wearing their coats hats and gloves for the three and a half hour trip, while one lucky lady resorted to taking a sleepig bag from her bag and getting into it.
Typical IE an excellent service and all for only Euro60!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Unread 30-01-2006, 11:11   #11
GavinG
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Thumbs down Typical

Your story sounds all too familair Colm. The bit about the reserved seats is ridiculous. Id write to the line manager if i were you. This "service" is not acceptable in 2006 !
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Unread 30-01-2006, 14:16   #12
colmoc
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I could post something similar to this every weekend I go home to kerry over the past six years.
It makes sitting in traffic on the N7 seem like heaven. at least your on your own time, you are guarenteed food, warmth, some degree of comfort, and I get to my own front door As with most other customers on intercity I aspire to have my own car soon.
I just figured I do 7360 miles a year minimum with intercity IE If that was Aerlingus or BA I would at least get the air miles and the odd free flight or first class seat.
End of Rant......................
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Unread 03-02-2006, 22:07   #13
sean
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Default Dublin - Sligo: fun and games today

Connolly-Sligo 29K Friday, Feb. 3rd 2006.

19:00 service - no announcements AT ALL except 2 "this train is for Sligo" before departure.

P.I.S. was dead as a doornail too.

Last edited by sean : 03-02-2006 at 22:30.
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Unread 03-02-2006, 22:29   #14
sean
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But wait, there's more!

The train started and stopped an likely went really slow from Connolly to Mullingar, because we got into Mullingar the best part of 10 minutes late. S'posed to get there at 8:05 PM got there it was more like quarter-past.

Now this is where it gets interesting. The driver must have put boot down, becuase we got to Edgeworthstown only 5 min behind schedule, and by Longford, where I disembarked, the train was back on time.

Now let's stop and think about this for a second - the everyday timetable seems to be padded by the best part of 10 min and this is just the stretch from Mullingar to Longford!

Methinks its time to pitch the ridiculous "Customer Charter" as it seems to be doing more harm than good. And there seems to be a lot of unexplained stopping-and-starting of trains since the new timetable Can't believe i ***ing paid 30 for that "service"

What the hell is going there anyway.
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Unread 04-02-2006, 18:20   #15
MrX
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Angry Unprofessionalism taken to new extremes.

I was on the 9:00pm service Dublin-Cork on Friday (03/02/2006). The train, a mark 3, boarded and departed approximately 10 mins late for no apparent reason. However, Heuston staff did make an announcment appologising for the delayed boarding etc.

The "fun" started after boarding.

A completely unintelligable announcement in a very strong cork accent came over the intercom mumbling something about Kent station. This was followed by giggling.

There was no doors closing announcement. The doors simply shut.

The first stop, Kildare was announced after the train stopped and the doors were opened.

The doors had closed before the announcement was made warning that they were about to close.

Now for the really fun bit.

The speakers went live and we heard "Watch yer wan, she'll steal the sugar and the milk.." followed by giggling / horse play.

then "Gerry's here.. .Gerry's here... Gerry's here!" (or something along those lines).

They then left the microphone on for about 45 mins !!

The rest of the announcements for the entire journey were completely farsical. They were deafeningly loud, the mic was never switched off at the end of them and they were completely unintelligable.


I cannot understand how any company that claims to uphold standards could stand over this kind of utter nonsense. I would even go as far as to suspect that the crew making these announcements were possibly tipsy / drunk.

If this happened on an airline the crew would be summarily dismissed without any explanation. You'd simply have to pack your things and find a new job, in a different industry.

I am just amazed that this kind of nonsense can go on.

The faster they come up with an intercity PIS and automatic announcement system the better. IE staff clearly can't be let loose with a microphone!
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Unread 04-02-2006, 18:42   #16
Mark Gleeson
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Our man Derek reports a MK3 coach dumped in sidings in Kildare this morning it would have been some hassle to remove and would have seriously delayed services. Also the turnback in Newbridge is out of use forcing Newbridge terminating trains to run to Kildare out of service

Sounds like the PA in the dining car was left on. I saw my first fully powered up CDE set on Thursday and everything was working let just hope the software works
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Unread 05-02-2006, 01:15   #17
Derek Wheeler
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"Our man Derek" had more on his plate today than a dumped MK3 coach in Kildare.

Arrived for the 09.28 service to Cork from Kildare. At 9.25 an announcement is made that the next train on Platform 1 is to Cork. Passengers for Limerick, change at the junction, Passengers for Killarney and Tralee change at Mallow. No mention of passengers for Roscrea and Nenagh, changing at Ballybrophy. Obviously, this particular service doesn't enter the mindset this close to Heuston!

Also announced was the fact that the train was running 10 mins late. The 10 mins late bit was announced 3 times, but alas, no apology at any point. Train arrives and departs 8 mins late. "Stand clear of all doors" announcement is made along with arrival at station announcements. (also included was the little "bing bong" bit. nice touch, but spoilt by background noise as usual. Who said they could'nt wait for automated announcements on the new CDE sets?)

Ticket checker was shabby on this service and catering guy(no uniform) insisted on calling me "mate". Arrive at Limerick Junction still 8 mins late. Fair enough. No apology.(obviously in betweeny stops don't matter) Its only 8 mins, but so what, say sorry anyway. It makes you feel better.

Return journey was 17.30 ex Limerick, direct. Listed as having trolley service. As usual, no trolley service or even any sign of a trolley or staff. But hey,this happens all the time and people don't even bother complaining. I didn't miss it myself, but if its meant to have one then it should as somebody (5 in my carraige) obviously cared as they asked about it. Anyway, no door announcements. 9 minute delay at Ballybrophy. No reason. Connection was on time. Fast stop and depart at Portlaoise and arrival at Kildare still 9 - 10 mins down. Pretty uneventful I know, but one positive..... the ticket checker was a non-national (is that PC?) He was turned out in impeccable fashion, smiled, was friendly and a credit to IE.

Ive taken this service before and its always empty. Its preceeded by a 17.10 connection to the junction, but onward stops are different. Seems like a bit of a stock movement feature. Any thoughts on that?
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Unread 05-02-2006, 11:23   #18
MrX
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I would also have to complement the non-irish staff on IE in recent months. I have had fantastically helpful service from several ticket checkers, catering staff etc all of whom have been non irish nationals.

It's clear that there's "don't care" culture within IE's older staff.

There are some Irish staff on board who are quite helpful and nice too though. It's just a minority of them that give the rest of them a very bad name.

There are several catering staff who look like they've never heard of a comb, a shower and have zero ability to tuck their shirt into their pants. Calling customers "mate" etc.. just sounds crumby. I'm not suggesting that they call you "sir" or anything. But you'd sort of expect the same level of customer care as you get in your average O'Brien's sandwich bar or whatever.

I get the feeling sometimes that the train's being run by 1970s school kids who simply failed to grow up.

Also, I think IE should look at a uniform change. The current outfit has a bit of a "school uniform" from the local CBS look about it.

Something a bit smarter and more modern might help improve morale.

Also, perhaps something a bit more practical for those crew members who are clearly incapable of tucking in shirts, tieing ties etc etc.


IE should look at issuing scripts for PA Announcements too. These adhoc announcements arn't really acceptable. Particularly those relating to safety issues e.g. the doors.

I would suggest that they even could install a simple announcement device that would only play "DOORS ARE ABOUT TO CLOSE, PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF DOORS... DOORS ARE ABOUT TO CLOSE ... STAND CLEAR! and perhaps play a Luas style tone. This could be triggered automatically by the door system.

Surely something like that could be implemented very cheaply and would keep safety up. All you'd need is a single message PA announcement system tied into the PA. It could be operated either automatically or by pushing an extra button when you are about to close the doors.

Last edited by MrX : 05-02-2006 at 11:28.
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Unread 05-02-2006, 11:36   #19
Mark Gleeson
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I'm told there is a new uniform coming

The catering is to be contracted out (thank god)

There will be no need for the doors closing PA on the new trains as they have the warning buzzer
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Unread 05-02-2006, 12:23   #20
James Shields
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Quote:
The train started and stopped an likely went really slow from Connolly to Mullingar, because we got into Mullingar the best part of 10 minutes late. S'posed to get there at 8:05 PM got there it was more like quarter-past.

Now this is where it gets interesting. The driver must have put boot down, becuase we got to Edgeworthstown only 5 min behind schedule, and by Longford, where I disembarked, the train was back on time.
Sean, I seriously suspect that the 75mph speed limit on the 2900s is a myth, and whether they are suppored to or not, drivers seem to regularly exceed it. I have been trying Mark's counting-seconds-between-quarter-mile-markers trick, and while I admit that my timing is likely to be less than 100% accurate, I have regularly counted 11 seconds between posts (81mph), and occasionally 10 secs (90mph). I have also watched out of service trains going through stations, and while I have no way of measuring how fast they go, they do really put the foot down.

Give them a clear line, and they can really fly.
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