Saturday, 7 April 2007

Brain Dump Saturday 2 - c2c Go Off The Rails

Last Monday evening, I spent ninety minutes in a tube train, stuck, between Upton Park and East Ham. My journey home took double its usual length and we had to walk from the train to East Ham station.

Now, you might think I'm going to have a go at London Underground. Well, you'd be wrong. The driver, other staff on the train and those who helped us off the train were a credit to their uniform, universally polite and helpful in dealing with a train full of tired and angry passengers. I don't know who they were - I aim to find out - because they deserve praise for their actions.

So, too, of course do the British Transport Police personnel who helped us off the train and down the tracks.

Now, I could vent my spleen at the passengers on the C2C train who chose to get out, walk along the tracks, putting their own lives at risk and forcing London Underground to turn off the power on the District Line, stopping my train and eight others and delaying thousands of people. Well, their actions were irresponsible and reckless but if you're stuck for over two hours with no information and no sign of anyone coming to help you, the option to do something to help yourself becomes pretty strong. In fact, I think someone in my Tube carriage got out and walked before we were all evacuated.

No, the responsibility for last Monday's fiasco lies fairly and squarely with the management (if you can call them that) of C2C (City to Coast or Crap to Catastrophic if you want) railways. Their total abdication of responsibility and involvement in last Monday's event is a damning indictment of the "virtue" of privatisation. It was the public company and its staff that performed while the private company's efforts were lamentable.

So, what do I think should happen ?

1) ALL compensation claims submitted to London Underground arising from this incident should be paid for by C2C.

2) The senior management of C2C should tour every tube station between Moorgate and Upney and publicly apologise to every customer.

3) I'm no fan of the Tory "law and order" platform but instances like this make me wonder whether the stocks and rotten fruit might be overdue a return.

To say nothing and hope it goes away is inexcusable. I hope there will be a full inquiry and its findings will be made public. I intend to ask under Freedom of Information for any documents pertaining to last Monday's events.

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