Travelling by train. Some find it difficult to talk about. Others find it difficult to do. And in both categories today is Tom Harwood, replacement teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who has decided that he does not have to take any notice of warnings posted all around London’s Euston station telling passengers that gates to platforms will be closed two minutes before departure.
Behold the face of arrogant stupidity
In the Allegedly Good Old Days of BR, it was one minute, but with newer trains, with their automatic doors, having to be closed up before the Right Away is given, the rule was changed to two minutes. Harwood turned up less than two minutes before his train to Manchester departed. The gate had been closed. His pleading fell on deaf ears. He was, it seems, a lousy pleader. So he had a very public mardy strop.
“Outrageous that [Virgin Trains] closed the gates two minutes before departure. Very shoddy. I will not be booking with them again” he blubbered. So Virgin Trains responded to him. “Hey Tom, we do have to close the barriers to trains at Euston two minutes before departure and this is advertised around the station too”. So did he now understand?
You jest: for a Fawkes goon, reality really is a state of mind. VT reiterated the policy - not confined to this operator, please note - but that only set Harwood off. “Shit excuse lads. Your advertised departure time is simply not true in any meaningful sense of the word [Yes it is - it’s the time the train departs]. This is like advertising the price of a fare and only after your customer has agreed to pay saying ‘oh no actually technically this doesn’t include our boarding fee.’” No it isn’t. He loused up. But someone else did it and ran away.
And he still wasn’t happy, so decided to invent something else not to like. “Incredibly poor customer service for a smirking guard to stand by an open train door not letting people on. Pretty shameful stuff”. Bullshit. The Train Manager (note correct title) would have been making sure he was OK to close up, prior to the Right Away being given.
But Harwood knew better. So back he came. “Why do passengers need to know when they’re departing? Surely the only thing they need to know is when to board and when they arrive”. VT tried to let him down gently. "You couldn't operate a railway without letting people know when they're departing, Tom”. OUCH!
Having been Pwned by the VT Twitter feed, he decided to show the world how much he doesn’t know about rail travel. “The wonderful thing about privatisation is next time I can choose to not book with Virgin. Back when the state did this to people (far more often and severely) they had nowhere to turn”. Far more often my arse - he’s just lying. And book with someone else? Thought that one through, have you, Tom?
You can go from London to Manchester with other operators, but you’ll have to change trains and it will take you a lot longer. And don’t think that the First/Trenitalia operation that will replace VT will do anything differently. Or any other inter-city operator.
As Ross McCafferty put it, “Tom Harwood is possibly the only person tragic enough to get roasted by the Virgin Trains Twitter account”. If he keeps on throwing a mardy strop every time he fouls up, he’ll run out of train operators to kick off about. What a complete clown.
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