Sunday 1 September 2013

That's The Way NOT to Do It! [2]

 due to "operator incompetence" this blog 
    appeared briefly on Friday morning    

Firstly, come with fbb on a virtual walk from an evening train from London, out of Northampton station and across the road to the temporary westbound bus stops. See Friday's blog (read again)

We walk along the platform and up the footbridge steps ... 
... across the bridge and down the other side ...
... then along the platform ...
... and out via the "booking hall".
That much has been standard procedure for some time. But now things are much harder once the potential bus passenger gets outside the station. Firstly (and most importantly) there are no signs to bus stops or, for that matter, to the town centre.

The exit route is round the edge of the rebuilding site ...
... out onto the main road ...
... and then - nothing; not a sausage; not even a board saying "to the bus stops". The determined and observant may just spot the stop signs on the bridge ...
... and the "to town" facility is easy to get to if you guess correctly. In theory the "official" route to the westbound stop (layby on the left) is all the way over the bridge to the far side, across the pedestrian crossing ...
... and back up to the brow of the hill. In practice, most brave souls attempt the suicide dash across cones and traffic as shown in this simplified diagram.
click on the plan for a larger view

 Alan, our Northampton correspondent (and user of the westbound stops), writes:-

"I admit that no intending passenger should leave home without a detailed knowledge of what part DaFT, ATOC, RSSB, ORR, HRA, GBRF, COLAS, DB, NS, and the PDSA play in the modern privatised railway (Is there an app for it?) but the important point remains that during substantial road and building work and bus diversions inaccurate and inadequate information about onward travel was (and this afternoon still is) on display at Northampton railway station and none of the organisations involved, except Stagecoach, show any interest in helping travellers.

 "We already knew that getting these organisations with their "nothing to do with us" culture to co-operate on a Station Exit Plan was not going to be easy.

So Alan tried contacting London Midland, the go-ahead GoAhead company that runs the trains and the station. Here is the reply:-
From: "London Midland Customer Relations" 
Subject: Case Reference: LM-130805-00C1

Thank you for your email regarding the rebuilding work at Northampton station.

We actively engaged with community stakeholders prior to the commencement of this project to ensure the finished product is far more passenger friendly than the current station.

The bus access you have referred to in your letter is a matter for Northamptonshire County Council, as bus stop sites come under their remit. Regarding station access, I am unaware of Network Rail providing any sort of information document for this project. They are solely responsible for the railway infrastructure. The map you have attached is produced by National Rail (ie, the Association of Train Operating Companies) on behalf of London Midland.

So that's all right, then! 

Of course, even without the disruption and paucity of information, Alan's journey home to Duston was never easy. The current disintegrated schedule is:-

Train due to arrive from Euston at  1939 
Bus 22A to Duston passes station at 1943
Bus 9B to Duston passes station at 1944

Train due to arrive from Euston at 1949
Train due to arrive from Euston at  2011 
Bus 9B to Duston passes station at 2014
Bus 22A to Duston passes station at 2043
Bus 9B to Duston passes station at 2044

Train due to arrive from Euston at 2046
Train due to arrive from Euston at  2109 
Train due to arrive from Euston at 2113
Bus 9B to Duston passes station at 2114
Bus 22A to Duston passes station at 2143
Bus 9B to Duston passes station at 2144

Train due to arrive from Euston at 2146
Train due to arrive from Euston at  2206 
Bus 9B to Duston passes station at 2214
Bus 22A to Duston passes station at 2243
Bus 9B to Duston passes station at 2244

It seems that which ever way you look at it, you will have at least a half hour wait for a bus. And, of course, there are temporary shelters at the temporary stops? Don't be silly, "it's not under our remit, mate!"

Never mind eh? A week ago a huge crane arrived ...
... and removed the footbridge!
There it is - gone!

As our inquisitive readers ponder how to escape from the station now**, they may relax by watching this video of the new station in all its glory.
At least getting from the exit to the bus stops will be easier; but will there be any signs to show you the way?

** (From Alan) There is a new temporary footbridge at the far end of the platform. Because the electric string is back up to full height, (having been lowered to get under the road bridge) the steps are narrow and the gradient is about 1 in 4 it presents quite a challenge at the end of a long day. There are lifts which make rather alarming wheezing noises. 
Of course, this makes the station plans referred to in Friday's blog even more useless.
A little bit of excitement at sleepy Seaton yesterday. The Devon Air Ambulance landed right next to fbb towers ...
... collected its patient ...
... and flew off frighteningly close to fbb's head! Whether exercise or for real, it is comforting to know that such superb services are available, should they ever be needed. It makes local fund-raising efforts that much more meaningful.
 fbb's 1000th blog : Monday 2nd September 

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see from the video that someone has found a use for the IC225s from the East Coast Main Line.