Saturday, 5 January 2019

Reaching a Milestone

I've never understood why so many people like travelling  by car. You need to pay so much attention to the road ahead that you miss anything of interest along the way. Even if you do see something interesting, by the time you've found somewhere to stop safely you are so far away that you can't be bothered to get out ad walk back to have a closer look.

You see so much more from the bus, but even if you can get off nearby you're then faced with a potentially long wait for the next bus to come along and rescue you after your curiosity has been satisfied. Cycling is the way to do it and over the years I've noticed and been able to investigate so many things on the roadside that I could never have done travelling any other way.

Take milestones. The need for them largely disappeared with the coming of motorised transport and few, if any, new ones have been erected since. Distances have even disappeared from signposts now that its no longer necessary for travellers to calculate whether they have the time - or the energy - to reach their destinations safely.

But many of the old milestones are still there and over the years I've taken a fair few photos of them. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and with varying degrees of information for the traveller. Take the two I found on a bike ride during a few days away in the West Riding of Yorkshire near Sedbergh over New Year.

Quite a lot of information on this. It identifies the road (Sedbergh & Kirkby Stephen) as well as the location (Cautley) plus, of course, the distances to (and from) each end of the road. Unusually, the lettering is picked out in red rather than black, although whether this is original or a modern incarnation I don't know.

The other, which I found on the road from Sedbergh to Dent is minimalist in the extreme and one of a series that stretch at least as far as Dent. The "1" obviously means "one mile" whereas "S" must stand for "Sedbergh"  Unlike the first example no distance to the other end of the road is shown. Perhaps the village of Dent - about 7 miles further on - wasn't considered significant enough to warrant people being told how far away it was.  Yorkshiremen are notorious for not wanting to incur unnescessary expenditure but whoever made these surely couldn't have pared costs any further!

Friday, 30 November 2018

Not a Lot Going On

Not a lot going on at the moment, so here are two photos of Goole Docks in 1979 uncovered duirng the never-ending colour slide to digital conversion project.

                                             Lorry fans will love the Foden on this one.

Monday, 29 October 2018

I was going to stop, but. . . .

I ended my 10-part series of blog posts on my battle with the railways over Delay Repay compensation by declaring victory (read again here) but lamenting that I was still out of pocket following not being able to use the non-refundable tickets I'd bought and paid for for a journey to Peterborough.  I said, however, that a few more Delay Repay claims might put that right.

I was going to stop writing about Delay Repay after that, but little did I know what Trans Pennine Express had in store for me.
When my first claim, for a delayed journey to Lincoln back in July, was wrongly refused and I had to resort both to an appeal and to get watchdog Transport Focus involved, Trans Pennine refunded me not just the 50% of my fare to which I was entitled but the whole 100%.  There was no explanation for their generosity and I assumed they were just feeling guilty about wrongly refusing me in the first place.

But this morning, what should arrive through the post - all the way from First Group (TPE's parent company) in Aberdeen - but another cheque for the same amount!  The first cheque had been accompanied by the usual grovelling letter of apology for the "inconvenience" I suffered (!) but this one had nothing more than a remittance advice slip asking me to "please use the attached cheque to clear the following outstanding items" and the reference number of my claim.

So for a 53 minute delay to my arrival in Lincoln, for which I'd claimed £9.23  I've now been awarded £36.90 from Trans Pennine.  

The only downside is I now feel mildly annoyed when my trains arrive on time!

Monday, 22 October 2018

Compensation: Episode 10 Victory!

In my previous post I wrote that of the four Delay Repay claims made to the railways this year two had been settled, one wrongly refused and another "pending".

The pending claim was from Trans Pennine. I'd bought a ticket (actually two tickets, split at Sheffield) for a journey from Lancaster to Lincoln. An incident on the  direct between Manchester and Sheffield saw me having to divert via Leeds and consequently arrive at Lincoln 53 minutes late.

Trans Pennine's computer (I'm convinced claims are initially processed by computer) rejected my claim because it hadn't been programmed to take account of the line closure and diversion. Despite the fact that I had bought Advance Purchase tickets, restricted to certain trains, it came up with a route it "thought" I had taken and on which I would not have been delayed.  

I had to send two emails to the Customer Services Team and refer the matter to Transport Focus before I could get a human being to investigate, but when they did they agreed I was right and refunded not just the 50% of the ticket price I was entitled to but the whole 100%. Mind you, I haven't received the cheque yet as it takes them three weeks to issue one (do they have many claims, I wonder?) but I'm claiming it as a double success!

Since then, I have had to make yet another claim, this time from Virgin Trains.  My journey to Liverpool on October 3rd was disrupted when the Virgin train to Wigan arrived late in Lancaster and then sat there for 15 minutes whilst a "faulty door" was sorted out. This meant I  missed my connection onto the fast train to Liverpool and had to follow behind on the stopper. Even then I wouldn't have been entitled to compensation had not the stopper itself been delayed. It arrived only 3 minutes late, but that was 32 minutes after I should have been there.

Under the Delay Repay rules, a delay of over 30 minutes entitles you to 25% of your return fare which only amounted to £3.42  but I've become so engrossed in the Delay Repay process that I claimed anyway - and was rewarded with a cheque for £6.83 - double what I was entitled to!

So with Northern sending me a free return ticket when I only asked for a single and both Trans Pennine and Virgin sending me double the amount I was entitled to, whilst Arriva Trains Wales paid up the right amount promptly,  I'm going to ignore the £2.20 that Northern cheated me out of at York and declare total victory!

But I'm also going to have to ignore the £30 or so that I paid for non-refundable Advance Tickets to Peterborough and back in September but was unable to use.  Oh well, a few more Delay Repay claims should put that right!