Saturday, January 23, 2016

Trying to get a train to Nairn - a remarkable disconnect!

It is one of those timetable anomalies that has been around for some time now and I suppose we just grow to accept these things. Perhaps someone has tried lobbying their MSP or councillor about it - if you have please let us know the result. 

Anyway the London train gets in to Inverness at 20.06 in the evening, yes there sometimes can be problems, but that is the time publicised and this observer has used that service a couple of times recently and it was on time. Incredibly a train for Nairn leaves just before the London service arrives - it goes at 20.04. Haven't the train companies noticed this? If they have do they care? How does this help the vision of carbon reduction in the Highlands? Unless you want to haul yourself and your luggage round to the bus station you have to rely on someone picking you up or wait around until the 21.33 departure. See the extracts below from Scotrail timetables. 
Nairn Train leaves at 20.04 - two minutes before the London train arrives
Surely this could be tweaked by a couple of minutes to enable people to have a fighting chance of stepping off the London train and on to one for Nairn, Forres or Elgin; that's as far as that 20.04 service goes and you could almost think it was designed for people who had just come off the train from the south - potential there perhaps Scotrail - a few more paying customers on seats? Maybe it is because the services are run by different companies and that is it, no need to connect - not a joined up railway but a stitched up one since the days of privatisation. 

Click to enlarge - London service arrives Inverness 20.06

It's crazy - can anything be done? In fact it's so crazy this observer has to pinch himself and make sure he is not hallucinating and that these timetables are real and this is not simply a bad dream of a travel dystopia.

We have a plethora of representatives at various levels of government perhaps they can all simultaneously get their teeth into this? 


Unknown said...

If you check the bus timetables you will find that there are no busses for about an hour and a half either. I have been caught out by this before, but the bar in the station is open!

Anonymous said...

The rail companies, like most utilities are not easy to sway. Renationalise them all.

Rock Island Line said...

....and don't get me started on the fare structure

Anonymous said...

Public transport in the UK is very much a token gesture to being an alternative to the car. Try taking your bike on the train so you can cycle to your final destination, or as has been highlighted why don't timetables look at unifying the service not just with trains but also with busses. And then there's the ticket cost and the lack of services of an evening, weekend and during public holidays

Some areas of the Highlands are now reliant on the Post Bus as their only form of public transport and even then it's not available everyday and it's future is in doubt. A sad state of affairs, still as long as we get new roads built

Anonymous said...

Mr Gurn, you answer your own questions with your questions, "Haven't the train companies noticed this? If they have do they care?". I suspect they don't care.

In the dark and distant past I remember when they used to hold the train back so folk could make the connection, that doesn't happen now because train companies get fined for every minute they are late at their destinations.

But you're right, why can't they just tweak the time so the Inverness - Elgin train leaves a couple of minutes later?

Anonymous said...

joined up thinking and Britain do not go together (and no its not a plug at independence or eu referendums!!! :) )

Anonymous said...

They will just tell you it is not a connecting service. Its the same with the 20:22 from Nairn to Inverness, they rescheduled its by a couple of minutes and it is now NOT a connecting service for the sleeper which leaves at 20:44. But to be fair they will and do hold trains run by their own company or supply alternative transport.

Graisg said...

Yes the not waiting for another company's service is another thing that needs to be looked at. I remember the service from Nairn that gets in before the London train departs being late one morning - not terribly late but enough to see the London train depart as it entered Inverness station.
Scotrail arranged a minibus, within 20 minutes there were 14 of us that had missed that connection on the way down the A9. We stopped for a coffee at House of Bruar and even with that were in Edinburgh before that London train arrived and this observer rejoined the train there. All a bit mad really.

Anonymous said...

The answer i received from Scotrail on this every same issue:

Our Ref:SR/151120/BBBY

Dear John

Thank you for your email on 20 November 2015.

I was concerned to learn that our timetable between Inverness and Elgin does not suit your particular requirements.

When planning our services, we do try to meet the needs of all our customers in the most effective way. Inevitably, our timetable will be a balance between improved journey times and opportunities and revised scheduling to match changing customer requirements. In making our timetable planning decisions, we examine many factors such as passenger flows and types of customers travelling such as business, commuters and leisure customers. Our schedules are designed to meet the needs of as many of these as we can but unfortunately it does mean that much as we should like to do so, we cannot satisfy everyone.

I can advise I have forwarded your suggestion to the relevant train planning manager.

Thank you for contacting ScotRail.

Yours sincerely

Gwen McInnes

Customer Relations