The TM was convinced she had missed the train and apparently didn't change this opinion when it was explained that the train hadn't been missed but had not arrived due to a severe delay. I'm not entirely sure what his actions would have been if he hadn't have held this belief or why he held this belief. However it does seem that even if he knew the train was delayed, it is VT policy that she couldnt have boarded it, which makes the TM now almost irrelevent in this story. I've therefore no 'beef' with the TM but plenty of 'beef' with VT policyShe did the right thing in this case by looking for a member of VT staff. The staff member also gave the correct advice. The ticket office at New Street is run by Virgin Trains so she will have spoken to a VT employee.
With the greatest of respect, none of us know whether the Train Manager knew about the specific delay or not. Similarly, it may be that he genuinely believed what he believed, or perhaps even was trying to explain the Advance ticket terms, but did not choose the correct way of phrasing what he wanted to say thus causing a miscommunication.
I think you misinterpreted my point. I am saying that from this thread it sounds like it is VT policy to NOT allow service, therefore it is appropriate that my greivence is with VT themselves and not the original TM who, frustrating as it may be, was simply following his rulebook.I contest the comment that it sounds like it is VT's policy to allow travel on the service.
This does seem entirely counterproductive though. I'm not sure what this restriction is supposed to acheive?This is not strictly correct. You are not agreeing to travel at a particular time, you are agreeing to travel on a particular service. By your wording, if the train was late the ticket is made invalid. By the correct wording, you are agreeing to travel on a particular service which is timetabled to depart, but which in reality may not necessarily depart, at the time given. If the train is late, so are you - if the train is early, so are you. It is this level of inflexibility that is the reason why Advance tickets are so cheap, as they are designed to manage demand and loadings (which I realise in this specific case may not appear to be obvious!) and so rely on trains, not times, being specified.
Significant delay on the railways is, despite peoples moaning, reasonably rare. I personally travel on Advance Purchase tickets myself reasonably often and have never found myself in a similar position, significant delays like this are rare enough that I've always been able to board the booked service.
Therefore it seems unlikely that the purpose of such a 'rule' is to reduce the attractiveness of Advance purchase fares and justify the lower cost. This is already well catered for by removing the passengers choice to select different trains in times when the service is running, as it does the vast majority of the time, perfectly.
But to restrict the choice to mitigate delay when there are service disruptions? I don't see how anyone - TOC or passenger - benefits from such a thing. On a high frequency service operation - trains run to Euston every 20 minutes - there is no real need for a passenger to be significantly delayed unless there is a major issue en-route. There will always be another train shortly after if there is a problem with the original train. In this particular case the delay was caused by something over 100 miles North of Birmingham, it was just unfortunate she'd booked a ticket on the one train an hour that came all the way from Scotland. 99% of the normal travelling public would never consider that sort of thing.
With such a high frequency service the TOC can easily mitigate the effect of such delays and the detrimental effect it has on passengers - they can simply permit travel on the next train they operate. Not the next train irrespective of TOC, but the next one they operate.
Who 'wins' from the decision to hold the customer at New Street (or anywhere) for an hour, during which time two further services departed for the destination on the ticket?
Infact this is an interesting one! I've just checked my next VT ticket. Annoyingly I appear to have done the same thing again and selected the xx:10 service, so it's coming from Scotland. But this time my destination is London International CIV with a further onward connection to Thalys. I do hope we don't have a similar situation It would turn into quite a nightmare if I did.