National Rail Enquiries strikes again

It alleged that I couldn’t go by train from Aberystwyth to Oxford.

I’ve encountered this ‘quirk’ of the system before. It seems to have great difficulty with the concept of travelling from Aber to Birmingham and then changing onto the service that goes to Reading. So, as usual, I’ll have to ask the stupid search engine to search for two separate journeys. (Well, I end up doing that sort of thing a lot anyway, largely because it is such an unbelievably stupid search engine.)

For chrissakes, it’s not as though I’m asking for something complicated. I want to go from Aberystwyth to Oxford. It’s simple. There are railway stations in both places. A train leaves Aberystwyth at 7.30. I can do it with a single change of train. It takes less than 5 hours. But the ‘system’ said this journey does not exist.

….

OK, 15 minutes ago, it told me that the 7.30 journey didn’t exist, and I was so annoyed I wrote a longer version of the rant above. And now, on trying again, it is, in fact, there.

But it’s completely arbitrary. I do this search: Aberystwyth-Oxford (no restriction on changes or connections), weekday, departing at 7am.

First time, it gives me a single choice, departing at 17.35. (Note: there are trains out of Aber every 2 hours from 5am onwards on weekdays. And the trains from Brum to Oxford run twice an hour.)

Run it again, identical search: two choices, 7.30 (hurrah! at last!) or 9.25

Try it a third time? Back to the 17.35 option again.

(If I try a couple more times, I can probably get the ‘non-existent journey’ option at some point too. But I do have better things to do. I swear that I did get that screen first time out, though.)

Perfectly bizarre.

And they wonder why people don’t want to use public transport…

PS: do you think the trains are likely to be any better by 2012? (Groan. And I really wanted to see that insufferable smug git Seb Coe choking back the tears, too.)

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5 Responses to National Rail Enquiries strikes again

  1. tony says:

    Could be worse. Could be claiming you can’t get from Wales to England without taking a ferry, a passport, visa, border controls etc. Could be saying, “Where’s Aberystwyth? Place name not recognised.” (Could be saying, “Where’s Oxford? Place name not recognised.”)

    You just haven’t used your imagination, about what this computerised system might be capable of. And imagine what could be possible if it involved human beings and telephones. Assuming you could get past: If you wish to travel from Aberystwyth to somewhere else in Wales, press 1…

    Anyway: hope you get here OK. Some time this week.

  2. I’ve just learnt they’re going to have the softball and baseball in Regents Park – there goes our lovely peace for years! (And will they have finished with the Kings Cross road chaos by then? Wouldn’t care to bet on it!)

  3. Sharon says:

    I am fervently hoping that I won’t be working in London in 2012 (or any time after about 2009 when all the building works really kick in, for that matter). And if I am, I shall have to make early plans for my summer 2012 holiday to ensure that I’m as far away from the madness as is humanly possible.

    After watching the news about it, I’m really puzzled. Paris already has much of the facilities and the transport infrastructure. London has absolutely nothing, it’s all pretty plans on paper. But London gets the call over Paris. I don’t get it. Who slept with whom?

  4. Chris Williams says:

    There was a soundbite from Livingstone on the radio last night saying “Don’t worry – Londoners will only pay for 10% of the cost, and get all the insfrastructure” – to which I responded in the same way as the other 54 million of us who are paying for it.

    World Cups are better – they can be spread about a bit. Euro 96 in Sheffield was a fine party, for example.

  5. Chris Williams says:

    PS – I posted that one before I’d seen the news. Please don’t take offence, Londoners.

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