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I went along to the 'Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair at the Bluebell Railway in West Sussex on Saturday.

This is my wife's bingo day, and I had to compromise by taking her on Friday afternoon instead. I won £80 !!!.
Although she is no fan whatsoever of model railways etc, she said on return that she had really enjoyed her day, despite Southern Railways screwing up the start.

We arrived at our station to see that our train from Portsmouth to Victoria had been 'cancelled'. It appears it was due to the fact that the train would not start - no jump leads?.
No spare trains?. This was 9am.

We were told to catch the next train and change at Littlehampton. This would have got us into Haywards Heath at the same time as the hourly bus service left, and it was a two minute walk from the station. (11:09 Hrs).
On the train, we asked the guard if there was an alternative. He looked up the timetable from his hand held unit, and said to change at Barnham, and then Three Bridges, this would get us in at 10:50Hrs.

On arriving at Barnham, the illuminated board on the platform stated that the next train was in 15 mins. Two minutes later, a train pulls in, and the platform tannoy garbles out a message. I was trying to obey the platform sign, but was being overruled by my wife who has much better hearing that the train was stopping at Three Bridges. This was confirmed by other people. I have no idea where this train came from as it was not listed.

We proceeded at non stop speed to the first stop at Horsham. On arrival, we just sat there for about ten minutes when an announcement over the tannoy stated that they were connecting some extra coaches. Three minutes later they announced that the train would not stop at Three Bridges as it was now delayed.
This caused an exodus of people who were now standing bewildered on the platform.
I asked a railwayman nearby when the next train was, and he shouted across two platforms to say 'hold the train' there are some passengers. We then had to bolt up a flight of stairs and down the other side to the encouraging shouts of the other guy.
We then had a 15 min. wait at Three Bridges for the train to Haywards Heath. We arrived at 11:35 an Hour late. A journey that should have taken 1 Hr 6 Mins with one change, took 2 hours and three changes.

So thank you Southern Rail for putting yourselves first, and to hell with the customer.

One thing of interest did come from our roundabout trip, and that is we found a station that is actually in a tunnel. The train stopped in the dark, and we suddenly realised a door had opened. Peering through the window into the dark, we saw that there was actually a platform. The station was Balcombe.

Back to the 'Bluebell'. They had a large number of stalls, some were in large tents on the top field, and others on the platforms of the station.
There was a good selection of items to purchase ranging from really old to brand new discounted items.
I use old Hornby points and point motors on my layout, and I managed to find three points, and three point motors from different dealers for a total cost of £6. And the motors worked perfect.
I also got four second hand Gresley teaks for £6 each.
All in all, it was a very enjoyable day.

I have got quite a few photographs, but I am having trouble with my ISP which needs sorting. Will download some as soon as possible.

AlanB
 

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QUOTE (alanb @ 20 Jul 2008, 14:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>So thank you Southern Rail for putting yourselves first, and to hell with the customer.
AlanB

Reminds me of a journey several years ago by Virgin Cross Country between Edinburgh and Bournemouth, which saves changing in London with luggage and three small children. Delayed an hour between Oxford and Reading because a Freightliner train, too long for all passing loops, had broken down. Suffice to say, Virgin terminated the train at Southampton to keep their delays to a minimum. Still, at least we got reasonable compensation.

Well done on the £80, btw.

mal
 

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QUOTE (alanb @ 20 Jul 2008, 14:05) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I went along to the 'Toy & Rail Collectors' Fair at the Bluebell Railway in West Sussex on Saturday.

We arrived at our station to see that our train from Portsmouth to Victoria had been 'cancelled'. It appears it was due to the fact that the train would not start - no jump leads?.
No spare trains?. This was 9am.

We were told to catch the next train and change at Littlehampton. This would have got us into Haywards Heath at the same time as the hourly bus service left, and it was a two minute walk from the station. (11:09 Hrs).
On the train, we asked the guard if there was an alternative. He looked up the timetable from his hand held unit, and said to change at Barnham, and then Three Bridges, this would get us in at 10:50Hrs.

On arriving at Barnham, the illuminated board on the platform stated that the next train was in 15 mins. Two minutes later, a train pulls in, and the platform tannoy garbles out a message. I was trying to obey the platform sign, but was being overruled by my wife who has much better hearing that the train was stopping at Three Bridges. This was confirmed by other people. I have no idea where this train came from as it was not listed.

We proceeded at non stop speed to the first stop at Horsham. On arrival, we just sat there for about ten minutes when an announcement over the tannoy stated that they were connecting some extra coaches. Three minutes later they announced that the train would not stop at Three Bridges as it was now delayed.
This caused an exodus of people who were now standing bewildered on the platform.
I asked a railwayman nearby when the next train was, and he shouted across two platforms to say 'hold the train' there are some passengers. We then had to bolt up a flight of stairs and down the other side to the encouraging shouts of the other guy.
We then had a 15 min. wait at Three Bridges for the train to Haywards Heath. We arrived at 11:35 an Hour late. A journey that should have taken 1 Hr 6 Mins with one change, took 2 hours and three changes.

So thank you Southern Rail for putting yourselves first, and to hell with the customer (......... etc

AlanB
Hi Alan
Please copy and paste, as I have done with the above, into the Southern trains 'contact us' site Southern Trains but add the info of where you boarded the train.
Hopefully you'll get a response and perhaps a refund or similar
 
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