Chiltern station staff claiming to have no way to contact control?

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Gagravarr

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Last night, I was planning to travel on the last Chiltern railways service to get me home. (Exact route withheld for now, to protect the apparently guilty). Got to the station about 10 minutes before the train was due, to discover it had been cancelled. There was one later train, which didn't get us all the way home. Spoke to the very helpful and apologetic member of station staff there, who made us a cup of tea, made some phone calls, and said that either we'd be able to get a bus or otherwise the staff at the terminating station would be able to book us a taxi. After a fair wait for the later train, took that to the final stop.

When we got to the final stop for the train, we went into the station building and asked the Chiltern Railways staff member there how to get to our final destination. He was most unhelpful, initially saying "tough, you missed the last service", then when we reminded him about the cancellation of the earlier service, still basically said "tough, nothing to do with me". He claimed to have no number with which to phone anyone else in Chiltern, claimed to have no taxi vouchers, refused to give his name (he had a Chiltern Railways badge on but with a gap where you might expect a name to be printed), and generally refused to help. Being late on a Saturday night, the Chiltern Railways customer services number just hung up when we pressed the option for them on the menu. The help point on the station only went through to National Rail Enquiries who said they couldn't do anything, had no numbers for Chiltern, and who's sole vaguely helpful contribution was to give us the number of a local taxi firm.

Could it plausibly be the case that a manned and open Chiltern Station, with staff on duty wearing Chiltern name badges, would have members of staff with no way to contact anyone else in the company, no other phone numbers we could use, no taxi vouchers and no ability to help?

And in case it happens again, is there something else we could've done beyond ringing a taxi, paying for it ourselves, and putting in a complaint to Chiltern when they re-open their customer services number tomorrow? (I tried ringing them today, as the NRE help point told me to, but apparently they're not open so it still hangs up when you pick customer services in the phone menu...)
 
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Mag_seven

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He was most unhelpful, initially saying "tough, you missed the last service", then when we reminded him about the cancellation of the earlier service, still basically said "tough, nothing to do with me". He claimed to have no number with which to phone anyone else in Chiltern, claimed to have no taxi vouchers, refused to give his name (he had a Chiltern Railways badge on but with a gap where you might expect a name to be printed), and generally refused to help.

What shocking customer service.
 

najaB

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Could it plausibly be the case that a manned and open Chiltern Station, with staff on duty wearing Chiltern name badges, would have members of staff with no way to contact anyone else in the company, no other phone numbers we could use, no taxi vouchers and no ability to help?
I would be very surprised if that was the case. If for no other reason than they would need to be able to contact someone if, for example, the power went out or a sinkhole appeared in the middle of the station forecourt!
 

Gagravarr

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The staff in question was initially stood behind the information counter by the barriers, and was wearing what looked like a Chiltern Railways logo'd name badge just with a blank white area where I'd have expected their name to be. They didn't happen to mention their employment status, so I don't know if they were agency staff or not. Name badge and attire looked much like what I'd seen other Chiltern staff wearing earlier in the day!
 

Clip

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You may aswell name the stations as even Marylebone has had the barriers left open that late at night and I doubt most of the others would have them closed either.
 

DaveNewcastle

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I can't comment on the specifics of your incident for as long as there are no identifying facts, but I will mention a comparable situation which, coincidentally, may correspond very closely with your report.
There is a station (exact station 'withheld for now, to protect the apparently' helpful) in a city which, late at night, can be staffed by only a security officer. Wearing hi-viz over a suit, with ID provided by the station's TOC, (s)he does not have access to the TOC's control, is very helpful to passengers, helpful to train crew (to the extent of giving some ideosyncratic and unuseable gestures during train dispatch which look more like a 'goodbye wave' than any meaningful protocol), and is, in his/her own way, a great asset to the Company and a friend and advisor to passengers.
But despite all that, he/she remains security staff.
 
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Gagravarr

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Since it sounds like naming and shaming is appropriate in this situation, the problematic station is Chiltern's shiny new Oxford Parkway. Exact details were:

Oxford to Bicester Village off-peak day return, outbound via bus to Oxford Parkway then train went fine

Returned to Bicester Village (formerly Bicester town) at about 11.25pm for the 23:37, which is the last one with an official rail replacement bus connection back to Oxford, and discovered it was canceled. Got the delayed 00:10 instead, arrived into Oxford Parkway late at 00:37
 

Tetchytyke

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It is fairly likely that the member of staff didn't have contact. I've had a similar situation at Aylesbury late on a Sunday evening, where the driver misread the timetable and left 15 minutes early. The only staff about were cleaners and security staff and the Help Point put me through to a lovely person in India who couldn't spell Aylesbury.

Keep the taxi receipt and send a complaint and Delay Repay claim in.
 

Quakkerillo

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I think that something went wrong with the temporary timetables due to engineering work. On normal days, it would've been a 23:31 as per timetable 115.
However, on that date, 1T71 was retimed, with some extra stops due to an event at Wembley, as per this PDF. https://www.chilternrailways.co.uk/...ndon-HighWycombe-OxfordParkway-Birmingham.pdf

When I go on to look at realtimetrains, such a train din't just not run, it never existed.
Opentraintimes however tells me: "Cancelled with code PG", which stands for "Planned cancellation by Train Operator including Bank Holiday schedules"

So it was a retimed service on a special timetable, but a planned cancellation as well. So I don't know where it went wrong, but if the employee at Oxford pwy was under the impression of it being an actually planned cancellation, I can understand a bit better some reluctance. However, I think Chiltern messed up here on two occasions (retiming vs planned cancellation, and the staff member being unhelpful).
 

Gagravarr

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When I'd asked the national rail enquiries website earlier for the last train from Bicester Village to Oxford, maybe about 5pm, it had shown the 23:37 as being the last one. When we got back to the station in Bicester, the board was showing 23:37 as existing but canceled due to staff shortage. So, if it was either a last minute cancellation, or a long planned one that they'd forgotten to enter into the system until the last minute!

I've just spoken with Chiltern Customer Services, who are going to investigate and get back to me in a few days. They did say that their staff should have a phone number to ring for problems they can't deal with, so I wasn't being unreasonable in expecting one! They didn't sound all that surprised that the help point wasn't very helpful though...
 

Nora93

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Both 1T71 and 2R75 were uncovered due to a lack of traincrew to cover the additional turns. They were then processed as planned cancellations pre-22:00 on Friday 17 June.

1A72 also did not run due to a lack of train crew to cover the additional turn.

Furthermore, the Banbury ICC was non contactable due to NR working on the telephone lines and forgetting to notify anyone in advance. It also knocked out the radio comms between Marylebone and Banbury ICC. The Duty Control Manager was only contactable on his personal mobile. Saturday evening was a struggle to say the least.
 

Bletchleyite

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Well, that's a mess.

If they knew about them far enough in advance for them to be planned cancellations, they should instead have bustituted/taxi-stituted in the timetable. Cancelling last trains without replacement is not clever; while passengers should technically check before they travel, stranding people in that way on local services where people tend to know the timetable is not funny.
 

Nora93

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Neil,

As an example, there was an excess of some 26 passengers for Bicester Village and Oxford Parkway who were unable to board 1T73 at Wembley Stadium. They were then placed on 1U74 and a bus was arranged to convey them from Bicester North. There were arrangements in place but with the telephone lines and comms to / from the ICC being down then there ended being an information void for some locations and a small number of staff who are contracted in from external sources.
 

CyrusWuff

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When I'd asked the national rail enquiries website earlier for the last train from Bicester Village to Oxford, maybe about 5pm, it had shown the 23:37 as being the last one. When we got back to the station in Bicester, the board was showing 23:37 as existing but canceled due to staff shortage. So, if it was either a last minute cancellation, or a long planned one that they'd forgotten to enter into the system until the last minute!

Just to clarify, where a cancellation is known about in advance (in this case due to no driver), the TOC has to provide that information to Network Rail by 22:00 the day before for it to be reflected in the base plan for the following day. This should then be reflected in the various information systems that take a daily feed.
 
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