Stranded At Berney Arms

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pitdiver

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Found this article in the EDP Remind me not to go to Berney Arms

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/why_thi...n_didn_t_show_up_at_the_berney_arms_1_4527189


When your train does not turn up as scheduled, it can be an immensely frustrating experience - but it does not normally necessitate an emergency call-out and a lifeboat rescue.

Yet that was the fate of the Coyle family, after a day trip to explore the area around Berney Arms, on the edge of Breydon Water.Robert and Emily Coyle, their three-month-old son Daniel and three-year-old daughter Eleanor had travelled out to the remote spot on Sunday by train.

But when they returned to the stop to catch the service home, they found that it had been diverted away from the stop. With the area only reachable by river, or via a long walk back to Yarmouth or Reedham, they had to rely on a lifeboat to get them home, finally returning home at 9.30pm – 12 hours after they had left.

Abellio Greater Anglia, which runs the service, has apologised to the family. It said a points failure meant services had been diverted via Acle and that it was investigating the incident...
 
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Tetchytyke

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...and that's what you get when you route your help point to National Rail Enquiries in India, rather than someone in control who knows what's going on.
 

Bletchleyite

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...and that's what you get when you route your help point to National Rail Enquiries in India, rather than someone in control who knows what's going on.

Quite. It is nonsensical for them to go anywhere other than the TOC control centre.

I've had this enough times in the past pre-RTT and the likes. Standing on Burscough Junction station - "where is the train?" - "Are you sure that is the name of the station, sir?"

Grr. Call centres are not suitable for this purpose. Or if they want to use them in that way there should be three buttons "timetable enquiry", "where's my train" and "emergency" - the former calling NRES, the middle calling TOC Control and refusing timetable enquiries, and the latter calling 999.

Would it be feasible to install PIS at Berney Arms? If it's got a Help Point it's clearly got infrastructure for it.

As for the family perhaps they will have learnt to be more prepared - for instance carrying enough water to walk out if they had needed to.
 
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Bungle965

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I agree with the above, having the help point go to some far flung destination is far from ideal. I think that instead it should be send through to control as said, or even just customer services for the TOC. They would have more of an idea of what to do than someone in India. I pretty sure Scotrail has adopted this policy and when somone uses their help point it goes through to customer services.
Sam
 

Bantamzen

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Interesting one this. I agree with the comments above regarding the help points, they should be routed directly to the TOCs control centre to allow for the swiftest resolution. However the decision to use the lifeboat service to get this family away confuses me. I know it's an isolated spot, but surely the farm / pub has at least some limited road access so once the TOC were aware of the situation a taxi or some other vehicle could have been dispatched to pick them up, even if the first part of their journey be in the opposite direction i.e. heading towards Great Yarmouth?

As for the family themselves, whilst I have every sympathy for them being stranded through no fault of their own, it does highlight the problems that can occur when people travel to the more remote areas of the country without being fully prepared. I know it seems easy to say with hindsight, but knowing that only one service that day could take them home, I can't help feeling they should at least have thought about the possibility of being stranded and have at least a plan to get some other help (from the farm, or pub if it was open) should things go wrong. It's an all too common thing that happens up here in Yorkshire, people head for long walks in the Dales / Moors and either underestimate the length of time it will take, or do not carry what they might need if things don't go to plan (as they often don't).
 

Tetchytyke

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I know it seems easy to say with hindsight, but knowing that only one service that day could take them home, I can't help feeling they should at least have thought about the possibility of being stranded and have at least a plan to get some other help

They took reasonable steps to get help- they used the enormous bright green button marked "help point". The problem was that the help provided by NRES- that the train would be along soon, don't worry- was completely and utterly wrong. And, after being wrong for several hours, NRES then turned round and said "tough". Of course, being in India, there isn't much else they can say.

It's not like they were caught at the top of Pen-y-Ghent in a snow shower wearing flipflops, they were on a railway station with a help facility.

The bill for the Coastguard should be sent to Abellio Greater Anglia.
 
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Bletchleyite

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In this instance yes, but as the station has no road access had they turned up and seen a PIS showing "Cancelled" they should have been in the position to walk to the nearest road for a taxi at railway expense, or not gone there at all.
 

Tetchytyke

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they should have been in the position to walk to the nearest road for a taxi at railway expense, or not gone there at all.

No, Abellio Greater Anglia should have sorted the matter out just as the police were able to. The boat across the river was probably the quickest and most sensible solution. The bill should be going to Abellio. The fact the police and the RNLI had to sort out Abellio's failure is shameful.

Of course if NRES had told them trains were cancelled at 1pm rather than after 5pm, maybe they would have been able to walk back to civilisation.
 

broadgage

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The RNLI do not charge for their services, so there is no question of sending the bill to either the TOC or to network rail.
I feel that under the circumstances, that the TOC or network rail should make a generous donation to the lifeboat fund.

And yes the whole episode does illustrate the near uselessness of the "help" points that are connected to India.

I have had a few negative experiences when using a help point. Any enquiry as to "what has happened to the train" seems to be answered by either "it will be there soon" or "it has already served that station"

Whilst in retrospect the carrying of water and sun block would have been advisable, should one really have to carry survival supplies for a UK train journey ?
 

Bantamzen

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They took reasonable steps to get help- they used the enormous bright green button marked "help point". The problem was that the help provided by NRES- that the train would be along soon, don't worry- was completely and utterly wrong. And, after being wrong for several hours, NRES then turned round and said "tough". Of course, being in India, there isn't much else they can say.

It's not like they were caught at the top of Pen-y-Ghent in a snow shower wearing flipflops, they were on a railway station with a help facility.

The bill for the Coastguard should be sent to Abellio Greater Anglia.

I agree about the poor performance of the help point, but this station is very isolated with a very limited service. You don't have to be stuck half way up a mountain to get into trouble. From a personal perspective, if planning to go somewhere like this I always have in mind that things don't always go to plan.

broadgage said:
Whilst in retrospect the carrying of water and sun block would have been advisable, should one really have to carry survival supplies for a UK train journey ?

If travelling to / from a very isolated station, with very limited service, one should at least consider the possibility that things can and do go wrong. We are not talking about an artic survival kit, but enough water, food and in this case sun block, as well as perhaps a map of the area & compass would make sense. Just because it's a nice flat part of the world doesn't mean that you will never end up in trouble.
 

infobleep

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My limited experience of using help points over the years as usually ended in failure. As in I couldn't ever hey hold of someone or they were unable to help.

I find I get help best during commuter rush hour when I guess I could also speak to a member of station staff!

Sent from my SM-G925F using Tapatalk
 

hulabaloo

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TOC's twitter accounts are the fastest and best way of getting help from my experience. Depends which one though I guess.
 

2HAP

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What was wrong with flagging down a passing grockle and getting a lift on a boat. Other than that, walk. It's only 3 miles either direction to civilization. I speak from experience, having walked from GY to Reedham before now.
 

Baxenden Bank

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Total failure by the rail industry!

The passengers job is to get themselves to the station in good time. They did that - 30 minutes early.

They used the help point as instructed.

They waited patiently, being at the station for 3 hours and 20 minutes before 'phoning the police.

Just how much equipment do the righteous posters on this thread expect a family with 2 small kids to carry with them? Do you really expect, a probably already tired 3 year old to walk back to Great Yarmouth (and a parent to carry a 3 month old), or Reedham, or to go and stand by the nearest main road and flag down a passing bus late on a Sunday afternoon? How much additional water should they carry?

Berney Arms is served by road, it is just a private road and rough surfaced. A taxi can get there if necessary. A minibus can get there if necessary.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
...and that's what you get when you route your help point to National Rail Enquiries in India, rather than someone in control who knows what's going on.

Surely the fact that the call is answered in India (or Scotland) is not relevant, it is the lack of communication between the call centre, Network Rail and Abellio.

The contractual agreements between the three should be good enough to ensure that issues raised through a help point are appropriately handled and responded to.
 
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duncanp

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Does anyone know if the pub at Berney Arms station is still operational?

Was thinking of taking a trip there sometime this summer, but looking on-line it seems that its' future is in doubt, with it possibly being converted into a private house.
 

Bungle965

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Does anyone know if the pub at Berney Arms station is still operational?

Was thinking of taking a trip there sometime this summer, but looking on-line it seems that its' future is in doubt, with it possibly being converted into a private house.

I remember that it was indeed open when I visited last summer, I believe that they were only opening when it was summer if I remember correctly.
Sam
 

Baxenden Bank

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...... I know it's an isolated spot, but surely the farm / pub has at least some limited road access so once the TOC were aware of the situation a taxi or some other vehicle could have been dispatched to pick them up, even if the first part of their journey be in the opposite direction i.e. heading towards Great Yarmouth?

I know it seems easy to say with hindsight, but knowing that only one service that day could take them home, I can't help feeling they should at least have thought about the possibility of being stranded and have at least a plan to get some other help (from the farm, or pub if it was open) should things go wrong.

The problem is, the TOC were probably not aware of the problem. The family only had the ability to contact NRES who did not recognise the need to pass on the issue to Abellio.

According to RTT, on Sunday there are trains every 2 hours in either direction. Arriving from Great Yarmouth at 0824 and similar, returning to Great Yarmouth at 0801 and similar. Assuming full pre-planning took place I would allow for a maximum 2 hour wait, not several hours. If it was last Sunday, and as hot as it was here, I would have been quite de-hydrated by the time that lifeboat finally arrived.
 

D1009

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Does anyone know if the pub at Berney Arms station is still operational?

Was thinking of taking a trip there sometime this summer, but looking on-line it seems that its' future is in doubt, with it possibly being converted into a private house.
Planning permission for that was refused in Sept 2015. It's up for sale as a pub and has been "under offer" for at least a couple of months.

http://www.twgaze.co.uk/licensed-tr...price=200000&tenuretype=1&submit=submit#block
 
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pitdiver

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I think it could be said that the Berney Arms Pub is now a no goer. I have seen a video report showing it been vandalised and has also been set fire to. It looks in a sorry state. It's a very difficult premise to operate as the trade is very seasonal as can be imagined. From a personal point of view I think the chances of it reopening in the short term are very zero
 

hounddog

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The problem is, the TOC were probably not aware of the problem. .

If they were even remotely competent they'd be aware of a *potential* problem as soon as the trains were diverted away. They would have made sure *their* helpline was aware (the fact that it's outsourced is irrelevant) and would have had a contingency plan to deal with anyone waiting at the station.
 

dk1

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Mobile phone signal is good at Berney Arms as civilisation exists just across Breydon Water. Perhaps they will think twice about going again especially with such young children. These things happen though.
 

duncanp

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Thanks for the update about the Berney Arms pub. Will just have to assume that it is closed. However I will check and report back if it does happen to be open.

Have booked a return trip from London on 4th June, and will walk along the River Yare to Reedham.

Any recommendations for good pubs in Reedham?
 

bramling

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Total failure by the rail industry!

The passengers job is to get themselves to the station in good time. They did that - 30 minutes early.

They used the help point as instructed.

They waited patiently, being at the station for 3 hours and 20 minutes before 'phoning the police.

Just how much equipment do the righteous posters on this thread expect a family with 2 small kids to carry with them? Do you really expect, a probably already tired 3 year old to walk back to Great Yarmouth (and a parent to carry a 3 month old), or Reedham, or to go and stand by the nearest main road and flag down a passing bus late on a Sunday afternoon? How much additional water should they carry?

Berney Arms is served by road, it is just a private road and rough surfaced. A taxi can get there if necessary. A minibus can get there if necessary.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---


Surely the fact that the call is answered in India (or Scotland) is not relevant, it is the lack of communication between the call centre, Network Rail and Abellio.

The contractual agreements between the three should be good enough to ensure that issues raised through a help point are appropriately handled and responded to.

I can see two sides to it.

On the one hand, yes the TOC should have some kind of plan in place knowing that a cancellation at Berney Arms could well leave people stranded.

However, equally I think it's reasonable that if you choose to go somewhere remote from other transport options, you have to consider what might happen if the train doesn't turn up. I keep meaning to visit Berney Arms to photograph the platform, even before reading about this I was planning to alight there, then when finished walk back to either Great Yarmouth or Reedham.

Same applies for some of the remote stations in Scotland - it's definitely good practice to have some form of plan in mind if things don't work out. One can always be unlucky and something go wrong with the train service.
 

Greenback

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To my mind it's entirely reasonable to expect that a train will run to the published timetable, even on a Sunday, and that a TOC will provide adequate facilities to inform and assist their passengers when things go wrong.

It's always good to understand that things can and do go wrong, but I don't the people in question did anything out of place. AGA, in contrast, have some questions to answer about the Help Point. It should go to their Control, or at least an in house communication team who know what is happening. In this case the Help Point was no help at all, and that is a sad indictment of the industry.
 

LordCreed

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However, equally I think it's reasonable that if you choose to go somewhere remote from other transport options, you have to consider what might happen if the train doesn't turn up.

Is it not reasonable to expect the TOC to get you from A to B, regardless of if the train is cancelled or not? Why should a passenger have to plan (and pay for) additional transport options?

I feel at times too much blame is placed on the passengers, and not the companies operating a service.
 
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