Right then, let's start again! AFAIAC, there are three major problems within the LM network: 1) The minimal ticket checking and revenue collecting that is done 2) Their communication system 3) The staff making the rules up as they go along. So, what are the problems and how can we sort them out to turn them around Let's start with the ticket checking and revenue collecting. Now yes, while I go on and on about how The Chase Line, which we all know it is possibly London Midland's poorest relationship route, it does happen on other parts of their network as well. Just because a guard is doing more as far as safety is concerned, it still is not right that they should 'shirk' their other responsibilities as a guard. So how do we combat this? Well, one possible solution is to add more revenue inspectors to their trains, this is a system that does happen during the early morning peak rush between Rugeley TV and Walsall and I have seen East Midlands Trains doing this as well from time to time but there is a downfall to this and that is that this will cost too much money and the manpower could be used on other parts of the network so that is not feasible. Another solution would be to have someone independant from the TOC go through the train and go 'data collecting', checking how many people are on the train, how many people get off, how many get on and whether they have a ticket or not and then produce these results to the TOC in question to compare. However, this is not a viable question because there would possibly not be the time or the resources available for this to happen. I am not saying it is the majority who do get on the train with a valid ticket to travel, it is the minority that see fit to get on the train without a travel and then get off the train without paying. This isn't a problem at the 'bigger' stations because there are either ticket barriers or there are staff at the gates to stop them and then send them to a place where they can get a ticket. So maybe the solution to stop this is either instal ticket barriers at all stations or have a man at the entrance/exit of a station with a ticket machine to deter people. The latter seems to be a ploy that Northern Rail apply to their staffed stations (I have only seen this happen at Cheadle Hulme so it might not happen at all stations) but could it be a resource that LM could apply? IMO, no. The simple fact is that they might not have the manpower to do this and again, money comes into the factor as well So unfortunately, this seems to be a solution that is never going to be resolved because the solutions are being outweighed by the starting factors. To impliment these, you would need the money to do so but you cannot get the money because it simply isn't being collected to do so Now, onto their communications system and IMO, their poorest part of that seems to be the problem of relaying information to their passengers. Now, it is all very well and good relaying information via twitter or youbook or facetube but what about those those that either don't or cannot access the internet? What about those that are stuck at the station? London Midland seem to have invested a lot of money into new machines where you can speak to someone on the other end of the line but these have downfalls. For a start, these people on the other end of LM ones say that they work for London Midland whereas others around the company say National Rail Enquiries when they answer, a quick call to LM confirmed that these staff don't work for LM. They also give out the wrong information, IIRC, I remember at least two situations within the last year whereby I have used LM ones and they have given wrong information time after time after time and then I find out off of someone else, that I have been lied to or given the incorrect information and that includes when these new machines have been installed. Sometimes the lines on them are so bad that you might not hear any information and they just hang up on you so this seems to have been a very bad investment for LM. Another problem seems to be communicating problems with timetable information or throughout the network For example, let's take what happened on the 28th of October with myself and my brother. We were down at Watford Junction and the announcement comes over 'the train approaching blah blah blah is the 16:00 service to Crewe and Birmingham NS calling at blah blah blah, this train is formed of eight coaches'. It comes in and the HB says Birm'ham and only turns up as four coaches. Some people ask is this the train to Crewe, the guard says yes. Some ask is this the train to Birmingham, the guard says yes. Everyone piles on and then as the train is leaving, he gets on the tannoy and says that the train was for Birmingham New Street only calling at blah blah blah, any passengers travelling to Crewe, you need to get off at Northampton and ask the staff there. We get off at Northampton and the platform staff do not know either and it is only after everyone checks the boards, we find it is on P4/5 (can't remember which one) with no explanation offered as to why the train was there and not with it's tag team partner. A quick e-mail to LM itself and even they cannot answer it (I cannot remember the full details of the reply back but it basically said that they could not give a reason why this happened). Now you would have thought, being one of the top four TOCs in the England, with EC, VT and XC, they would have a reasonable communcations system so how do you combat this? Another solution would possibly be to change the automated announcement to manual announcements on the station that give, if it is possible, real-time updates as to what is happening. This sounds reasonable but the factors to go against it would be resources and, the all important one, money. LM seem to have invested a lot of money on their stations with the installing of these computer announcements that to switch them back to the manual option, that would respresent a catastrophic loss. Most of the time though, some of their boards don't even work. I use, as an example again, the boards at Rugeley Town have been installed now for about a year and most of that time, they are just standing there saying 'there is an error with this board, please call......' ands that is a situation repeated down to Walsall, mainly at Hednesford, Cannock and Landywood. So this is a situation that is not going to be able to resolve itself Now we come onto the final point I wish to make, their guards 'making up the rules' as they go along and the main problem that we have with this is the fact that their trains leave early from stations. Now, at staffed stations, this doesn't seem to be that bad a problem because the despatcher either holds their hands up/shine a light/wave a flag/A.N. Other at the 30/40 seconds before departure, the doors will close in their usual 'slow way' and then the despatcher will repeat and then the guard will close their door and the train leaves about 5 seconds before departure time so that we can slightly forgive. It is at unstaffed stations that we have problems because guards will leave anything from 30 seconds to up to 2 minutes early, and that is after the procedure has been completed and an announcement has gone out roughly three minutes before the departure time to say what time the train leaves. So how do you combat this problem? Well, the simplest of the solutions is to stick a member of staff at the unstaffed stations to deter this from happening, a solution that works at staffed stations but, however, this is not going to happen because of resources, manpower and the cost factor again. There is though, a much simpler solution which can deter this from happening and this is a solution which can be implimented, it is a solution that is not going to cost any more money and will work in stopping this from happening; the security cameras These cameras are for the police but, IIRC, they are streamed through to the TOCs as well, at head office I think, because it aides prosectution in criminal activity so surely, they could use it to check on the times that their guards depart trains, they could put the timing against their timetables and if they leave early, face disciplinary action. That way, IMO, that could deter one of the three problems. So now, I ask you all in a calm and conserted way, I have brought forward the problems and possible solutions in detail, how would you solve it?