Recently, I had a journey with EMR go wrong because of a train breakdown. Only shortly beyond Sheffield station, we had to turn back, and the journey was delayed by around an hour. When I came to claim compensation for the delay, the process was straightforward thanks to having PDF copies of the tickets. It also was very prompt with the money going back into my PayPal account. Though the journey had not been the best, the customer service afterwards cannot be faulted.
The RMT dispute with the English train operators has ended while other negotiations continue. The legislation for minimum service levels is coming into effect too. However, the ongoing ASLEF actions continue and more could follow. How things will look around Christmas and New Year remains to be seen. There is more hope than this time year, though.
Here is a brighter place on the web to go looking: Sardinia’s Green Train. The website is in Italian, but we have translation tools for the likes of that these days. The routes go through a scenic sun-blessed island in the Mediterranean that may offer a much-needed mid-winter escape.
There now appears to be some hope in the RMT dispute with train companies in England, but the ASLEF action is ongoing. In early December, there will be strikes affecting operators as follows:
2023-12-02: EMR & LNER
2023-12-03: Avanti West Coast, Chiltern, Great Northern, Thameslink, LNWR & West Midlands Trains
2023-12-05: c2c & Greater Anglia
2023-12-06: Southeastern, Southern, Gatwick Express & SWR
2023-12-07: CrossCountry & GWR
2023-12-08: Northern & TransPennine Express
Additionally, there is a general overtime ban in place from 2023-12-01 to 2023-12-09, inclusive.
During the summer, it seemed as if most train station ticket offices were set to close. Today, the government abandoned this in the face of public opposition. This is much needed good news and proves that a government seemingly hell-bent on being unpopular does follow the public will at times. If this could be extended to other matters, life might feel a little better than it does right now. As things stand, a change of government still is much needed.
Recently found Busbud, a website for booking express coach and rail services in different countries. Canada is its home country, but coverage includes US and UK, among numerous other places. With all the diversity around the world, this has to be useful for anyone finding their way around it all.
This website may be about public transport from an everyday point of view, but there are those who embark on rail holidays too. Dedicated providers include Rail Discoveries, Great Rail Journeys, Ffestiniog Travel and Rail Europe. Other non-specialists like Inn Travel may be able to help too.
The Virgin Trains brand has not been tarnished by recent troubles on the West Coast Mainline or the travails of the recent pandemic. Still, their non-operation of trains in the U.K. is a loss. However, they still sell train tickets via apps on Android and iOS under the Virgin Trains Ticketing brand. There are no booking fees, and you can collect points for flights and other goodies through Virgin Red.
Update: Some missteps with ticket buying have meant refunds that were processed with the same kind of efficiency that I found when doing the same with Virgin Trains. Some practices never get relinquished, it seems.
This is a little something that I found via Twitter: a ticket booking website for train journeys across France, Italy, Netherlands, Luxemburg, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Hungary. It is called Save a Train and has been going since 2016. However, plans to include USA, Canada, Spain, Poland, Russia, Japan, Australia and Czechia in 2021 appear not to have happened yet, and one of those is compromised since 2022 in any case. Otherwise, the recent pandemic will not have helped.
On Friday, Transport for Greater Manchester was notified with 24 hours notice that Little Gem was ceasing trading, letting a lot of bus contracts without service. Thankfully, this does not include services 391 and 392 between Macclesfield and Stockport since these have passed to Go Goodwins. Otherwise, there is a deal of disruption until things get sorted at the start of May, even if other services still operate and may offer alternatives. Hopefully, the introduction of the Bee Network avoids this kind of thing.