I love trains, but I am starting to get the feeling that the love isn’t mutual. When given the option of plane or train to Glasgow I didn’t even think once let along twice, trains just rock. The journey up was no bother at all, just five hours of chilling out while the world passed by. Oh and because it was Virgin train there were snacks and free wifi, I was a happy camper. But then the return journey happened, and life got painful.
The big problem with going between London and Glasgow by train is that there is a big country between them. So if there are any delays or problems pretty much anywhere in the main body of England it is pretty much guaranteed to have an effect on the Glasgow route.
When I arrived at Glasgow Central I was told that the train wasn’t there. For those that don’t travel by train often, the train being at the station is a key part of being able to get on it. Someone had jumped in front of a train in the midlands somewhere, which meant that our train was stuck. It finally arrived about an hour and a half late, which meant an hour and a half of waiting in the freezing cold station…not the most relaxing start to a journey. But hey ho, I was in no particular rush, and I patiently waited and finally hopped into the warm train.
We were then going fine until we got to Carlisle where someone had parked a freight train in the wrong place. Wrong place being the tracks that we wanted to go to. It took about another hour of sitting and waiting for the driver to be located and the train to be moved…I don’t know maybe he lost his keys or something.
The next thing to happen was the the train manager announced that after all that we were not actually going to go to London. Yep. Apparently with all the delays the routes into London were now overloaded and we would have to change at Milton Keynes…not exactly my first choice destination for 1am on a winters morning. Even though it was past midnight (we were meant to be in London at 10pm) me and the girl sitting across from me took it in our stride. We put iPods in and just waiting for the journey to happen. The same could not be said for the passenger I will from here on in call ‘the crazy Belgian’.
A lady ran up half the length of our carriage to get to the train manager, when she reached him she yelled ‘this delay is unacceptable I AM BELGIAN’. She went on to say that the train should go directly to London because SHE WAS BELGIAN, and that Richard Branson was doing all this because he hated Belgians. Then the piste de resistance she grabbed the train managers hand, held it on her breast and said that because of all this stress she was having a heart attack and was going to die.
Well, thankfully my iPod friend happened to be a cardiac nurse, and was quickly able to assess that the lady was actually just hot because she still had her coat on, and her heart was beating fast because she would not stop screaming BUT I AM BELGIAN at the train manager.
We eventually made it to London at about 2am, sadly I had my luggage with me otherwise it would have been the perfect time to get up in da clubs.
All of this I was fine with. None of it was Virgin Trains fault, and I now have a pretty solid I AM A BELGIAN routine to pull out at parties. But, and this is a fairly solid but, it has been over two months now and Virgin still hasn’t got back to me about a refund. Their policy is that if your train is delayed for over a certain period of time they will refund you the cost of the return journey. I told them all the information, sent it in online the night of the journey, and got a message saying it would be looked at within a month. Yeah right, two months down and still waiting.
It just pisses me off, because I was patient through the entire journey and gave them the benefit of the doubt that they were doing all they could. But now given the lack of contact and follow up I can only conclude that they don’t really give a feck about customer service. Regardless of how much I love trains, when I had to be up in Glasgow again last week I took a plane.