Commuting Viagra.

It’s been a while since I’ve allowed myself a proper rant at Chiltern Railways. This isn’t because the perilous and difficult journey from South Bucks to London has in any way improved “ it’s more about a level of resignation that’s been beaten into me through a year of commuting. But today they pushed me over the edge.

Although to properly stretch that metaphor, you should think of it as being fired into the abyss by cannon. The root of my discontent is not the new platform built so far away from the station that one should be provisioned with sandwiches to fortify you on the journey. Amazing as it is, they still categorise this distant outpost as part of Marylebone station although a more geographically accurate description would be South Hampstead” The truly awful consequence of siting the platform in the next borough, is the unedifying sight of fat people struggling up the miles of asphalt – wobbly bits to the fore.

But that’s not the reason I was lemming fired into the ranting chasm. Nor was it Chiltern Railway’s total inability to communicate with their customers. They have acted consistently whenever presented with one of my written missives pleading for some rationale to explain their random decision making when it comes to timetables, bike racks and other myriad areas of Mandelbrot policy.

They’ve ignored them all.

I’ve been forced to complain to a ˜higher authority’ although my route there was plotted through terrifying thickets of ear steaming angst on rail forums. Some of the folk on there, as our American friends would label it, have ˜issues‘. I prefer to think of them as barking mad and in need of stronger medication.

Although I’m irritated beyond what’s sensible by their apathy is strategy approach to customer relations, that didn’t fire up my inner grumpy either. Even when the other day when the first train never arrived and the second one had hardly left before stopping to admire the leafy London suburbs, I couldn’t even dignify that as blog food. Once it started to move again, it did so with all the speed of glacial erosion “ still my boredom was forestalled by the educational delight of the entire Jurassic age passing by the window.

The reason for my rant was the simple announcement that This train is for London Marylebone“. No it bloody isn’t, that’s just an aspirational vision foundering on the rocks of we really don’t care “ an approach which abandoned us at Harrow. No reason was given although I’ve not ruled out a possible lightening strike brought on by a dispute over Bacon Buttie rations.

The undignified push and shunt onto a passing tube seemed like a possible solution but I’d happily forgotten that these wheeled cigars only give an appearance of speed through noise, vibration and the nervous worry that at any point, the tube would career off the rails. Time based reality distils the truth as a ten mile journey spanned thirty minutes and joggers of immense antiquity passed us with hardly a sweat.

Some bloke modelling June’s Mr. Motorway HiViz Maintenance” had the temerity to attempt to wrest further funds from my good self in exchange for an Underground ticket. Once I’d informed him that, as far as I was concerned, You’re all part of F*ckwit central stained with the inability to run a railroad“, further conversation deterioration left me with no choice but to out this bon jot Even in the remotest inbred village, you would disgrace the rank of idiot“. I’ve been saving that one for a while.

We agreed to differ and, vibrating sideways with righteous anger, I strode onto the Marylebone concourse (had to fetch the bike) only to see happy little trains running in and out of the station.

I’m starting to think this is personal now.

Still at least I can claim compensation. In this digital age, form filling should be a rather simple electronic page or, at worst, a quick email. But not this is Chiltern Railways motto: Fares from 2015, Systems from 1915” “ so it’s no surprise that it’s some kind of super complex four page form with carbon paper.

Oh the cruel irony “ we know they never respond to any communication that doesn’t involve the size of their bonus cheques, so what do you think the chances of me receiving anything back other than letterbox inadequacy? The form is pretty funny though, I’ll fill you in when I fill it in. Makes you think doesn’t it? Email travels at 30,000 miles per hour yet Chiltern Railway’s administration barely matches the speed of their trains. It’d be quicker to transcribe it on a stone tablet and dispatch it by camel.

I’m feeling increasingly impotent and while the blog is therapy of sorts, I need some kind of commuting Viagra. A man on the inside, a hotline to someone who cares, a targeted thermonuclear strike, that kind of thing.

One thought on “Commuting Viagra.

  1. Jey Barter

    Al

    I had a similar dust up with First Great Western and became so familiar to their call centre in Delhi they added “Press 6 if you are Mr Barter” to the telephone greeting.

    What iced the cake though was they eventually capitulated and gave me a First Class return ticket to anywhere on their network at any time. The vicious cycle continued though, as when I went to claim it, the counter operator refused to recognise my voucher.

    Oh the irony as I typed out yet another letter of complaint whilst conversing with an operator who understood all of my words, but not the way I said them.

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