I find myself back where I have been previously. I use Chiltern Mainline very infrequently but not through choice. However, as I write this I find myself on a Mainline train, sat in the Business Zone (trying to look like I mean business but probably just looking like I mean to go to sleep). However, like two years ago, I have already encountered items worth noting.
I journeyed in from Chelmsford to London Liverpool Street, a regular journey for me and one that excellent staff and colleagues assist me with to great humour and willingness. It keeps me going back time after time and means I complain a lot less. A quick(ish) taxi across London and I arrive at London Marylebone with time to spare.
Once I had made it into the station up the surprisingly steep entrance ramp, I popped along to the information point, where I made myself known to Bob (not his real name). I explained I wasn’t pre-booked, that sometimes you do only get 20 minutes notice of when you can shoot out the door and that I would dearly love (exaggeration, I know) to go to Kidderminster.
To his credit, he leapt into action and when I returned from a quick pit stop, he told me all was arranged and he’d be assisting me on to the train when it was available for boarding – which he did, with great politeness and efficiency (a credit to Chiltern).
All did not stop there though – it transpires that the wheelchair accessible coach does not line up with the platform at Kidderminster. Because of this, the guard and Bob were unsure of what to do. The easiest solution, they suggested, was for me to move down a couple of carriages at Stourbridge Junction and that way be able to get off the train at Kidderminster with minimal fuss. Kudos for the simplest thinking, saving me a taxi journey (which I hate) and means that I will land bang on time.
This was customer service, pure and simple.
After a fairly quick 2 hr journey, I arrived at Stourbridge, where the station staff were quick to assist me off the train and run down the platform with me to assist me on to another coach. Even the lifts were in operation at Kidderminster when I arrived.
That’s what train travel is about – the system working, even when I have to work with it.