A letter to Northern Rail

Dear Northern Rail,

I have been using your trains for several years now. For a time I used Transpennine Express, which was fine, but since a station opened in Buckshaw Village I’ve been using Northern Rail. It has not always been a pleasant experience. Some of the trains have been rather tired, a bit worn and draughty (much like myself) and there have been times when the trains have been parlously late, the service less than satisfactory. There’s been a swath of (doubtless necessary) engineering work. I am sure I told you about those things at the time.

What I haven’t told you about is all the times the service has run perfectly, picking me up and setting me down exactly where I want to be at just about the time I want to be there. Sure, in the morning the train is generally a couple of minutes late and in the evening too, but a couple of minutes can be the time needed to purchase a ticket and in the context of an end to end journey of around an hour and fifteen minutes a couple of minutes here and there are barely worth mentioning. I could lose that, or gain it, by walking a little faster or slower to and from the station. Let’s just say the trains largely run on time.

I haven’t mentioned how the train carriages are improving, the upholstery being replaced, the old carriages replaced by new. I haven’t mentioned all the times the train carriages have been spotlessly clean, the temperature just about perfect. I might have mentioned overcrowding but I probably haven’t mentioned that I always get a seat, morning and evening and that the trains are as comfortable as you can expect a train to be.

And I haven’t mentioned before how unfailingly decent the people who work on the trains are. How there is always a smile, often a kind word, and whilst I imagine that checking tickets and dealing with the doors and grumbles and missed connections is perhaps not the most satisfying work one can do, this never deters the men and women who walk the aisles hour after hour, checking and smiling and being kind and humorous, doing a great job.

Thank you, Northern Rail. Thank you to every person who has made an effort to make so many journeys go smoothly, to get people to their destinations on time and without incident. Thank you to every conductor who has carried out their job with a smile, to the cleaners who make the scruffy mess generated by disinterested travellers go away. Thank you to the drivers for their attention to safety and the smooth ride which makes looking out of the window at the passing scenery a relaxing pleasure. Thank you to everyone who has worked behind the scenes doing whatever it is they do that contributes towards a good quality, if often underappreciated service.

Thank you.

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