Work got you busy? Need a breather? Try what South Western Railway do

Today the 1712 South Western Railway service from Fareham to Portsmouth Harbour was delayed.

I know!

Imagine, a train delayed in Britain — unheard of! Especially an SWR, they’re such a punctual company.

Anyway, the 1712 wasn’t their only delayed service this evening.

Oh no.

Many delayed services. So many. Let’s just say, there was lots of disruption on the network tonight.

A tree had fallen down.

There were puddles on the line.

A wheel had fallen off.

The catering cart had run out of coffee.

All these reasons.

So many more.

One very busy SWR social media team.

Because I’ve done a whole day’s work (arrived on time, too) and just want to get home, I quickly tire of being delayed. I see no reason in it, especially when I’m only told that the train is delayed.

Well, why is it delayed?

Furthermore, why is it always delayed?

(The 1712 never arrives at 1712.)

So I waited 4 minutes and tweeted SWR.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 20.11.40

5 minutes to my 2nd tweet.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 20.12.44

8 minutes to my 3rd tweet.

By this time the delayed 1718 had arrived going to Portsmouth & Southsea. I’d caught that.


7 minutes to my 4th tweet.

Although I’m on a train, it’s a matter of principle now.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 20.12.49

(I missed off an ‘r’ and it still bugs me)

5 minutes to my 5th tweet.

By now the train with its wheels off was ahead of us. We were stopped between Cosham and Hilsea.


2 minutes later, they reply:

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 20.13.04

Well, bullshit because the service that arrived before it was the 1718. (I’ve only just thought of this.)

I took 6 minutes to respond because I was in the quiet carriage and my phone was on silent.

By this time we were moving again but crawling and stopping because the train on rollerskates (as the driver said) could only go 5mph.

Screen Shot 2018-01-24 at 20.13.15

It took SWR 3 minutes to say:


It took me 3 minutes to respond reasonably:

screen-shot-2018-01-24-at-20-13-20.pngSo there you have it!

Work got you busy, don’t do all of it. Do some of it. Do a little bit, just enough to make yourself look busy, see?


And there’s me, been doing it wrong all these years.

What ^RN (I assume that’s their name) should’ve done on their 2nd tweet was reiterated the apology. Maybe sent me to the claim form because of the growing delay. Not told me about her workload. Personally, I don’t give a shit about how busy ^RN is or has been, or ever will be. Because I have busy days at work too and does ^RN give a shit? No. Do you? No *. Because at the end of the day we all live in our own little timelines and bubbles, and sometimes we just want to get home and be in them. If we can’t get home then we want to know why.

Had I been ^RN I would’ve apologised after I got the final tweet. It would’ve given me the final word and it would’ve tried to better resolve the situation. I would’ve thought: I have made a genuine mistake and my reason for making this mistake hasn’t been accepted well and this person is clearly unamused. They pay a small fortune for a season ticket so they’re an actual, committed customer. Should probably keep them sweet.

I would’ve said:

I apologise for the service you have received this evening and I have escalated your comments to management. Your service is experiencing severe disruption tonight and you may seek a claim [here] ^TJ

I’d probably have it saved somewhere so I could cut and paste it, especially if I was prone to provoking customers.

I’d then ‘heads up’ a manager or whoever. “Possible complaint, probably not.” Then that would’ve been that.

Easy street.

I would’ve done my job.

After all has been said and told, I got in around 7 (I left work at 430). I’ve eaten. I’ve written this. I need to go to bed soon because I’ve got a train to catch in the morning.

I can’t wait.

I’m so looking forward to it that it’s too much for words.

*  I realise I’m a week and a half into a job after leaving Portsmouth Water in August but I’m using my memory. I remember the 1712 and work quite vividly.

NOTE: I do not recognise the leeway afforded to train companies that allows them to say they’re on time when they’re not. Such leeways are only afforded to those who are shit at their jobs.

I’d hoped South Western Railway would’ve been better than South West Trains.

They’re not.

Goodnight and be kind!

To ^Rn maybe seek a role in some other, less busy, environment. Or else do what I always did in customer service and apologise. Apologise. Just apologise. Answer their query and apologise. Don’t provoke. Don’t get drawn into whatever’s happening in the customer’s brain. Apologise.

Of course, this apology has to be sincere. If it’s face to face, for example, then you can’t be popping gum whilst giving it.

I’ll stop now or I won’t, ever.

Goodnight xx


Tomos James

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