Passenger slams Christmas rail services
Bridgwater Mercury: 3 January 2007
DISGRUNTLED rail passengers in Bridgwater were left without much Christmas cheer after numerous services were cancelled during the festive period.
Passengers travelling from Bridgwater Railway Station faced train cancellations
Last minute cancellation of trains through Bridgwater on a number of First Great Western trains during Christmas left many journey's disrupted.
But the cancellations only added to the misery for passengers who were also forced to endure a 48-hour Christmas stoppage as all rail services were suspended late on Christmas Eve, not resuming until the day after Boxing Day.
Passenger Stephen Bale, from Bridgwater, was one of those caught up in the delays as a result of last minute cancellations.
Stephen said: "I was trying to get a train down to Cornwall to visit my girlfriend on Christmas Eve - but I nearly didn't get there.
"The first two services I tried to catch from Bridgwater to Taunton were both cancelled, with no explanations given.
"I eventually managed to get on a train to Taunton and then found the subsequent train to Cornwall was delayed by another half-an-hour. It was a nightmare."
For Stephen, getting back on Boxing Day proved even more difficult when the rail network effectively shut down for 48-hours during Christmas Day and Boxing Day.
He added: "I was angry because there were no trains running at all on Boxing Day and I had to make it back to Bridgwater for work the following day.
"The railway service over the Christmas period was a disgrace."
Adrian Booth, spokesman for First Great Western, said: "We have had two issues which have been affecting services. The first is the lack availability of trains and this is coupled with the lack of availability of staff.
"Unfortunately we have been unable to cover some absences and vacancies on some key services. We would like to apologise to anyone affected and look forward to normal service being resumed as quickly as possible."
Regular Rail User, Bridgwater
FGW are very good at apologising, but not so good at hiring more staff or sourcing more trains. Maybe someone should explain to them that they are judged by deeds, not words?