Thursday, January 18, 2007

Day 31 of Irish Rail Saga

And so Day 31 of trying to get a proper answer from Irish Rail on my issue continues. As I told you previously I got an email from the station master in Cork and this was followed up on Monday last by a call from him.

He asked for further details on the conductor and said that it was unacceptable. Which was great. He asked for a few more days to talk to his staff and then he would get back to me. And he did. And not with a great answer. In fact, here is the email:


I have investigated your complaint and I have spoken to the staffmembers involved. Once the signal is given to the train driver todepart from the station, nobody can board or attempt to board the train.The Conductor in question has informed me that it was the gentleman withthe TV that he was talking to and not you.

Thank you for bringing this matter to my notice, if you are traveling mytrain again please call to my office and make yourself known to me.

Hilary Twomey
Station Manager

and here is my response

firstly I would like to thank you for taking the time to investigate my issue and for speaking to your staff members about this. However I have to say that I am worried about the outcome you have outlined below. There are a number of issues that I would like addressed with regards to my complaint.

The first one is with regards to your conductor. From your reply below I can see that the conductor has indeed admitted to being abusive, but not towards myself. The fact that he was abusive to anyone is still an issue. Working in a customer service environment myself I can understand the need to keep a cool head and deal with customers, especially paying customers, in a dignified manner regardless of what is being said to you. The fact is that your conductor lost his head and I can admit that I felt very threatened by his behavior. This manner of dealing with the public really cannot be tolerated especially in a country which relies so heavily on tourism. I would like to know if there is any action against the conductor on this in case this situation should arise again (if indeed it has not already occurred). I can also state that the conductor did indeed address us all when he said that we would be lucky to board the next train and that he decided who got on the train or not.

The second issue is with regards the signal being given. I can clearly remember that prior to the train driver waving us to board the train no signal was given for the train to move. The signal was only given as we were approaching the train and indeed the driver did not move until the conductor advised us we were not boarding the train and asked the driver to move off. The issue also is that the conductor was on a mobile phone, company or personal I am unsure off, and was ignoring our pleas to board. There was plenty of time for us to board the train well before the first signal was given but as he was talking on the mobile he choose to ignore us and indeed only ended to call as we approached the train. If indeed he had turned around when he first saw us at the gates, and I know he did see us wave, and advised it was too late to board it may have been a different story but as he was on the phone he did not. I have been at the station, and other train stations in various countries, before and know that once the signal is given you cannot board. And I would not have attempted to in this case if I had seen the signal. Also as there was no time displayed at the station we had no means to clarify if we were late or not. My watch stated that I arrived at the station 2 minutes before departure time.

Another issue is with regards to your initial comment quoted here "I have never received your original e-mail,". Can you please investigate what happened with my original correspondence? I received the automatic response but if the initial email was not sent onto you I would like to know what happened it. Customers queries cannot be ignored. Please let me know what happened.

Finally with regards to traveling on the trains now. I have to admit that since that incident I have not used the Irish Rail service at all. I was less than happy with that incident and with the threatening behavior of that conductor I do not want to use a service that treats its customers like that or indeed come into contact with that conductor again. I have spoken with friends and acquaintances about this incident and most are horrified with it.

I trust that you will follow up on these issues and provide me an update on these. I feel that my complaint has not been satisfactorily dealt with and again I reiterate that just because the conductor was not talking to me this does not make it OK.



Lets see what happens...

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