South-West trains..from Torquay to Southampton..Bristol. 16th April …19th April.
I booked a journey to see my son in Southampton and collect my daughter and baby granddaughter from Bristol…this is a summary of the chaotic journey.
16th April..Arrived on platform in Torquay to be told my train was cancelled..I was ten minutes early and was lucky the guard let me on the train that was just about to leave station, otherwise I would have been too late to get my connection from Newton Abbott to Westbury.
When on the Westbury train I was told over the train tannoy that the train was running late by 6 minutes..which would have been too late to get the connection to Southampton. I had left myself eight minutes, plenty of time to walk to next platform…less than 2 minutes was pushing it …fortunately the train made up most of the time and I did make the connection to Southampton, but only just and spent that part of the trip on tenterhooks.
Few minutes before arriving in Westbury was told the coach I was in would not reach the platform and to go forward to coaches C and D. Try that with a suitcase, two bags, a new hip and shoulder replacement making me very unsteady on my feet as train rocked to and fro…
On my return journey from Southampton to Bristol on 19th April I was told this train was also cancelled. I was told by guards that I ‘had’ to go as far as Westbury and get off.
A confused crowd of us, who were wanting to go on to Bristol, stood in Westbury waiting for guidance which eventually came after some time, when we were told to go to the outside where a coach was waiting. I had a suitcase and I’m in pain and disabled with arthritis so couldn’t use the stairs. I needed to use the lift, along with some other people with heavy luggage and also some elderly and disabled people.
By the time we got outside the coach was full and we were told there was no room for us and to go back on the platform.
I explained to the guard that my daughter and 4 month old baby were waiting in Bristol for me. That we were due to travel to Torquay, Devon together and that I had both tickets for our journey.
Luckily Rich, an excellent guard, took control and rang Bristol…spoke to Jo at the help desk there and got my daughter through the barriers and help to get on the train… pram, luggage, baby and all. Rich and Jo the only bright stars during my travels.
My daughter and I met up in Newton Abbot and travelled on to Torquay.
Both journeys were stressful and took longer then anticipated. If it were not for Rich at Westbury I don’t know what we, my daughter and I, would have done to get home. Apparently there were no through trains on that line to Bristol for several days.
As I waited at the various stations there were constant apologies for delays and cancellations to different destinations over the tannoy.
Having, on a previous journey on way to Bristol, been knocked unconscious and suffered frequent migraines for a year, after a heavy suitcase fell from the overhead luggage rack on to my head, I am none to keen on the to/from Southampton via Bristol train journey. I barely received an apology for that and no compensation.
As can be seen in the photo taken Wednesday the luggage rack is minuscule..enough for one small suitcase and bag. People had to leave heavy suitcases in the disabled bay. And when that gets full the luggage is put overhead, resulting in my injuries.
The train journey from and to Southampton/Bristol/Torquay is a nightmare.