Complaint to Northern Rail well handled

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fowler9

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Last Wednesday, 02/03, I was on the last train out of Lime Street to Oxford Road. At West Allerton the doors did not release and I was carried on to South Parkway and given the time there was no other public transport available to take me home resulting in a mile and a half walk home since I had no cash for a taxi and there are no cash points in the area.

When I got home I made a complaint to Northern Rail which was acknowledged within 24 hours. A week later I got a nice letter (Standard wording but nice none the less) along with a voucher for 2 free days travel anywhere on the Northern Rail network.

Just wanted to share this as I work in a complaints department myself and I think it is nice to see such a department working well. The voucher helped of course but just getting the apology was nice. :D
 
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Anvil1984

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Last Wednesday, 02/03, I was on the last train out of Lime Street to Oxford Road. At West Allerton the doors did not release and I was carried on to South Parkway and given the time there was no other public transport available to take me home resulting in a mile and a half walk home since I had no cash for a taxi and there are no cash points in the area.

When I got home I made a complaint to Northern Rail which was acknowledged within 24 hours. A week later I got a nice letter (Standard wording but nice none the less) along with a voucher for 2 free days travel anywhere on the Northern Rail network.

Just wanted to share this as I work in a complaints department myself and I think it is nice to see such a department working well. The voucher helped of course but just getting the apology was nice. :D

GoOD to hear them getting good feedback especially as they are currently fighting for their railway careers. Arriva Rail North Customer Service jobs have been advertised at the Carillion call centre in South Yorkshire.. Looks like they are being outsourced unfortunately the only people being told anything at the moment are managers
 

fowler9

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GoOD to hear them getting good feedback especially as they are currently fighting for their railway careers. Arriva Rail North Customer Service jobs have been advertised at the Carillion call centre in South Yorkshire.. Looks like they are being outsourced unfortunately the only people being told anything at the moment are managers

Sad to hear people are looking at loosing their jobs, I assumed most would transfer over.
 

Anvil1984

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Sad to hear people are looking at loosing their jobs, I assumed most would transfer over.

From what I've heard (as nothings been fomally announced) they have to try and get another job inside Northern Rail before 1st April, get TUPEd to Carillion and have to commute to Sheffield every day (current department is in Leeds) and lose railway service record and non contract perks OR if they don't want to commute find a job somewhere else. Oh and they only found out their jobs were being outsourced when someone saw Carillion advertising online
 
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ainsworth74

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Arriva Rail North Customer Service jobs have been advertised at the Carillion call centre in South Yorkshire.. Looks like they are being outsourced unfortunately the only people being told anything at the moment are managers

Outsourced Customer Service does not work and leads to a much worse experience for the passenger so I hope this is either not the case or will be reversed rapidly!
 

fowler9

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From what I've heard (as nothings been fomally announced) they have to try and get another job inside Northern Rail before 1st April, get TUPEd to Carillion and have to commute to Sheffield every day (current department is in Leeds) and lose railway service record and non contract perks OR if they don't want to commute find a job somewhere else. Oh and they only found out their jobs were being outsourced when someone saw Carillion advertising online

Very sad to hear indeed. Although without wanting to say too much since I work for a joint venture involving Carillion I am not surprised in the slightest.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Outsourced Customer Service does not work and leads to a much worse experience for the passenger so I hope this is either not the case or will be reversed rapidly!

Have to agree with that.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Without wanting to sound selfish in light of the above info will my travel vouchers be worth anything after the first of April? If not then so be it.
 

ainsworth74

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As far as I'm aware nobody knows for sure. I would hope that they would remain valid but equally the new operator may decide not to honour them.
 

6Gman

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Last Wednesday, 02/03, I was on the last train out of Lime Street to Oxford Road. At West Allerton the doors did not release and I was carried on to South Parkway and given the time there was no other public transport available to take me home resulting in a mile and a half walk home since I had no cash for a taxi and there are no cash points in the area.

When I got home I made a complaint to Northern Rail which was acknowledged within 24 hours. A week later I got a nice letter (Standard wording but nice none the less) along with a voucher for 2 free days travel anywhere on the Northern Rail network.

Just wanted to share this as I work in a complaints department myself and I think it is nice to see such a department working well. The voucher helped of course but just getting the apology was nice. :D

Hardly generous. I got 4 days travel for complaining about lack of staff at Mcr Vic one Bank Holiday!

(Don't a lot of taxis take cards these days incidentally?)
 

richw

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Outsourced Customer Service does not work and leads to a much worse experience for the passenger so I hope this is either not the case or will be reversed rapidly!

I understand Virgin are bringing back in house (kind of). They have ended the contract with the outsourcer based in Plymouth and are taking it into their Virgin Money call centres.
 

ainsworth74

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I understand Virgin are bringing back in house (kind of). They have ended the contract with the outsourcer based in Plymouth and are taking it into their Virgin Money call centres.

Yes I've heard that also and to be honest anything that's even remotely closer to being back in house will be an improvement on the current arrangement!
 

fowler9

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Hardly generous. I got 4 days travel for complaining about lack of staff at Mcr Vic one Bank Holiday!

(Don't a lot of taxis take cards these days incidentally?)

Good point, ha ha. If my vouchers aren't valid after the end of the month it won't make much difference though. To be honest even if the vouchers aren't valid past the end of the month I'd rather have the free travel than try and claim back taxi fair. The £5 won't get me as far as the voucher.
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I understand Virgin are bringing back in house (kind of). They have ended the contract with the outsourcer based in Plymouth and are taking it into their Virgin Money call centres.

Do Virgin run their own call centre or is that outsourced? I know even when my brother worked for them loads of the staff were agency anyway.
 

323235

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I find it highly unlikely that they would not be honoured, I don't believe Arriva could stop you using them if they still have validity given franchise transfer has conditions attached , to the average joe it will still be Northern just with different colours.
 

richw

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Do Virgin run their own call centre or is that outsourced? I know even when my brother worked for them loads of the staff were agency anyway.
They run their own call centres, but whether that's using agency staff I don't know, but probably not, unless they're long term agency due to the regulations in finance can't just bring in agency staff. My employer took on some agency workers and they had to go through 3 weeks of training before touching a phone to keep the regulator happy.
 

crehld

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Allow me to also add my satisfaction for Northern's response to my complaint.

Following a claim for a delay of one hour last week I have come home this evening to find a letter which contains RTVs for twice what I was entitled to (by my reckoning), along with recognition that Northern have applied discretion in my case to go above and beyond their passengers' charter (they had no reason to as it was a simple claim for a delay with no sob story attached) and a tailored apology recognizing that because of the delay to my journey I was not able to make the most of my day out, which clearly demonstrates they paid close attention to my complaint and claim for compensation.

Very satisfied and a marked improvement on previous correspondence I've had with Northern. I hope this is indicative of the future (although claims of outsourcing are worrying).
 
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David Emmott

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given the time there was no other public transport available to take me home resulting in a mile and a half walk home since I had no cash for a taxi and there are no cash points in the area.

There is a cash machine at Parkway, but of course it might have been out of action. You're right that they are few and far between in that area though.
 

800001

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They run their own call centres, but whether that's using agency staff I don't know, but probably not, unless they're long term agency due to the regulations in finance can't just bring in agency staff. My employer took on some agency workers and they had to go through 3 weeks of training before touching a phone to keep the regulator happy.


Virgin East Coast are bring there contact centre back in house, employed by them. In the region of 100 full time equivalent positions, applications for the jobs closed last Sunday. It will be based in the Virgin Money building at Gosforth.
 

krus_aragon

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It will be based in the Virgin Money building at Gosforth.
Which is interesting, given that Virgin only hold a 10% stake in East Coast. Is this Virgin Group's contribution to the partnership: Stagecoach cause the delays and Virgin handle the complaints? :P

On a saner note, as it's Virgin's reputation on the line, it makes sense that they'd be proactive in defending it.
 

BurtonM

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Re: Virgin - I think the 'arrangement' being referred to is the VTWC habit of 'ignore complaint, send RTVs'...
 

HMS Ark Royal

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Last Wednesday, 02/03, I was on the last train out of Lime Street to Oxford Road. At West Allerton the doors did not release and I was carried on to South Parkway and given the time there was no other public transport available to take me home resulting in a mile and a half walk home since I had no cash for a taxi and there are no cash points in the area.

Odd that the doors did not release - wonder if its related to the 319 door issues recently
 

aformeruser

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Would have been a 142/150/156 not a 319.

Did the OP remember to press the door open button when it was illuminated?

I'm sure a regular user would be aware of how the door controls work on the various DMUs used. Most people try pressing the buttons after a bit even if the illumination doesn't come on - they don't know if the guard is taking a long time to release the doors or if the illumination has failed, both can occur on Northern services.

I'm guessing it wasn't a quietish 2 car Pacer, otherwise the guard would probably have noticed one set of doors wasn't working.
 

David Emmott

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Not any more there isn't...

That's bad. It took them long enough to install a ticket machine. About which I could rant here but it might be off topic. Although as it concerns Northern Rail, maybe I will.
My daughter had booked tickets online to be picked up at South Parkway; we got there to find the machine out of action (a staff member was attending to it at the time. He said that unfortunatly the ticket office staff couldn't issue the ticket because they were run by Merseyrail, not Northern: we needed to go to West Allerton (the next station down the line, which confusingly is branded Merseyrail but run by Northern - how would anyone but a geek know this?). Fortunately the man in the booking office there was very courteous and helpful, but also amused that he was being asked to do this when, according to him anyway, Parkway had exactly the same software and so could have done it.
Incidentally does anyone know if it is possible to buy through bus-rail tickets at John Lennon Airport? As far as I know you can buy them to the airport from any National Rail station; but unwitting passengers arriving from a flight will probably end up buying a (£2.20) bus ticket to Parkway plus an additional rail ticket, unless there are facilities for (and clear information about) through booking.
 

sheff1

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Outsourced Customer Service does not work and leads to a much worse experience for the passenger so I hope this is either not the case or will be reversed rapidly!

I take it then that Southern's Customer Service is outsourced as they are, by a very long way, the most useless TOC CS I have ever dealt with.
 

fowler9

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There is a cash machine at Parkway, but of course it might have been out of action. You're right that they are few and far between in that area though.

Not any more there isn't. It has been removed. As has the entire Barclays bank near West Allerton Station.
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Odd that the doors did not release - wonder if its related to the 319 door issues recently

Not on a 142.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Would have been a 142/150/156 not a 319.

Did the OP remember to press the door open button when it was illuminated?

Yes I remembered to press the button. I am 41 years old, a train buff and remember when they first started using these sheds on the route. :D
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That's bad. It took them long enough to install a ticket machine. About which I could rant here but it might be off topic. Although as it concerns Northern Rail, maybe I will.
My daughter had booked tickets online to be picked up at South Parkway; we got there to find the machine out of action (a staff member was attending to it at the time. He said that unfortunatly the ticket office staff couldn't issue the ticket because they were run by Merseyrail, not Northern: we needed to go to West Allerton (the next station down the line, which confusingly is branded Merseyrail but run by Northern - how would anyone but a geek know this?). Fortunately the man in the booking office there was very courteous and helpful, but also amused that he was being asked to do this when, according to him anyway, Parkway had exactly the same software and so could have done it.
Incidentally does anyone know if it is possible to buy through bus-rail tickets at John Lennon Airport? As far as I know you can buy them to the airport from any National Rail station; but unwitting passengers arriving from a flight will probably end up buying a (£2.20) bus ticket to Parkway plus an additional rail ticket, unless there are facilities for (and clear information about) through booking.

The staff at West Allerton are Northern Rail and are really good, it is pretty much at the end of my road. As far as I now there is no facility at John Lennon Airport to buy a train ticket with plus bus. Worth asking at the information desk under the bridge between departures and arrivals though. The staff at South Parkway are really nice to, main down side for me are the lack of toilet facilities for a station that is very busy at times. :D
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After a further polite e mail to Northern Rail received another polite and prompt response telling me that my vouchers would indeed be valid until the expiry date next March, 2017. I really can not fault them on their response to my complaint. It was first class, which is something Northern don't have. Ha ha.
 
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aformeruser

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South Parkway does have toilets but they are hidden and not free to use.

There is a Northern TVM in the Arrivals area of Liverpool Airport.
 

fowler9

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South Parkway does have toilets but they are hidden and not free to use.

There is a Northern TVM in the Arrivals area of Liverpool Airport.

Didn't realise about the Northern TVM at Liverpool Airport. The toilets at South Parkway are free and I wouldn't say they are hidden. There are however only three of them and being superloos it is a bit of a slow turnaround if someone just used one as they are self cleaning,
 
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