Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Dodgy Detail At Denby Dale (2)

But First, The Pie
A pie even features on the village name board.
But fbb revealed yesterday that Denby Dale Pies are not made in Denby Dale.
You might pick up an old postcard ...
... showing a pie from 1928.
The Village even has a Pie Hall, which doesn't appear to sell pies, only Zumba.
Is a Zumba as nice as a pie?

But maybe a copy of this book will explain all.
It tells the story pf the ten giant pies that have been made over the years, and by "giant" we usually mean "gigantic" ...
... but never looking like this. An early pie turned rotten as it stood in the hot summer sun, and a later pie caused a riot as village folk scrambled January-sale style to get their fill. The most recent pie was baked to celebrate the millennium ...
... although, in common with most people, they celebrated one year early! [There was never a year 0, so the start of the new millennium was on the 1st January 2001, NOT 1st January 2000. fbb celebrated properly (in 2001) with a nice cup of tea.]

All this talk if pies is making him hungry, to let's get back to the trains.

By Northern Rail to Denby Dale

And there is a problem with this blog. Sheffield correspondent Roy told your chubby blogger the answer right at the beginning of his report; namely that there were no trains at Denby Dale Station on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st January.

But let's pretend fbb did NOT know and decided to visit an old chum who lived in the Pie Village who had offered to make the chubby one a nice meat and tater pie for Sunday Lunch. Assume fbb was based in his former home town of Sheffield and intended to travel by train.

Because fbb likes full information and does not want to buy a ticket, he searches for what he needs to know.
A search for "timetables" brings 54 options, anything which mentions "timetables", most of which is totally irrelevant.

But eventually, after a struggle, fbb did find a list of timetables. He was excited to note that some of them actually mentioned a temporary version for engineering works.
The good news (apparently) was that there was no such highlight on the table for the Sheffield to Huddersfield line (via Denby Dale).
There it is, the current timetable; "current" meaning that fbb would expect the service to be running as advertised. He need look no further, innocent fool!
The 1149 looks ideal, with a backup schedule 50 minutes later.

But a wary passenger, travelling on a Sunday, might choose to double check. There is a link to "news" - i.e. things that a new.
The newest new news concerned a strike ten days previously - nothing about any engineering work.

Then your confused blogger found this page.
Why Preston gets two headlines and Huddersfield gets nowt is unclear. About every 20 seconds a really, really annoying blob kept popping up.
It interrupted searches approx 40 times. Even if you poked the "X" it would disappear for a while, then return. Awful! As a result of this intrusion, fbb would NEVER download the App.

But, after a tedious battle with the web designers who, we must presume, never travel by train or, if they do, never use the Northern Rail web site, there was some achievement

At last, we get a proper timetable for the line, showing bus connections from Penistone.
The 1149 now gets to Denby Dale at 1254, so all right for fbb's imaginary meat and tater pie.

Now before Mr Picky Anonymous tells fbb he is making a fuss about nothing, remember this. Many of fbb's chums are equal in decrepitude to him. They are frightened of train travel, especially at weekends; they don't understand the interwebnet and even if they do "log on" they would struggle with the Northern Rail (that's Arriva) web site.

Why do the rail companies make it so hard to find the times of trains? Surely this should always be the "home page"? Journey planners are OK if you understand how they work and you can travel EXACTLY when the confuser wants to you to. There is pressure, pressure, pressure to buy a ticket and on several occasions fbb's chums have bought tickets on-line that are more expensive than they could have obtained, with a booking clerk's advice, from their local station.

And because you cannot buy a ticket on-line without choosing a train, folk can think (often erroneously) that they can only travel on that particular train.

Tomorrow we check out how well the revised timetable is advertised at Denby Dale station.

 Next Denby Dale blog : Thursday 25th January 


  1. Andrew Kleissner24 January 2018 at 08:07

    I agree with a lot that you say - "hidden" timetables and journey planners which imply that you can only travel on specified services (and also the near-impossibility of discovering ticketing restrictions). There's also the issue of cheaper fares, often to be had by "splitting" journeys - but few people know that.

    But actually I think NR's site isn't bad at flagging up their engineering works - the box you mention is writ large on the Home Page and gives details of all engineering works (sorry, "improvement works"). Also, if you look up each individual station you get an easy link to the relevant full timetables and at least a note that there may be engineering works (not ideal, I agree).

    I think the issue is that folk like you and me think in terms of "Ah, a Penistone - Denby Dale trip comes under Sheffield to Huddersfield" and want to look up the timetable. But most folk think "I want to go from A to B at a specific time". I can't speak for Northern Rail but I do know that on other TOC websites any engineering works are automatically factored into the results that show up. So, while it may appear bizarre that a recent Sunday journey from Cardiff to London took over 4 hours and arrived into Marylebone, it was at least correct.

    By the way, that little "download this app" pop-up didn't appear for me.

  2. Maybe the App trap only appears if you are using a phone - which I was as everybody keep telling me "that we all use our phones now". Whilst it is perfectly possible to design a website that looks and works EXACTLY the same on a laptop as on a phone (e.g. GoTimetble!!!), the visual presetation i oftn different.

    My guess is that if you asked users if they would like a well designed uncluttered timetable page to a journey planner there would be a huge vote for the timetable.

    People like to know what the options are if something goes wrong.

  3. I wonder though, whether "fbb's chums [who] are equal in decrepitude to him. They are frightened of train travel" would use Northern Rail's website? OK, if they are in the area they might know the name of the operator, but if they don't wouldn't they go via Google? Having just done that, the first 4 entries are for, then Northern Railway, followed by National Rail, and WY Metro.

    But then, what do I know? I'm either "Mr Mr Picky Anonymous" and therefore not welcome to contribute, or someone who happens to have a different view to FBB, depending on which side of the screen I figuratively sit.

    I'd better make this my last visit to the Blog, but I can probably predict tomorrow's, next week's and next month's content anyway...

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