CrossCountry Trains: The 14:07 from Manchester to Hell

DCR is grateful to Dennis Snape for sending us his letter to CrossCountry Trains. It appears that Dennis was not entirely satisfied with every aspect of his recent rail journey from Manchester.  Actually, Dennis wasn’t satisfied with ANY aspect of his rail journey.  Dennis thought he was heading to Bristol but actually, he was going to Hell….

Dear Customer Relations,

Now stick with me on this one because its a cracker. On Thursday 5th April 2013 I arrived at Manchester Piccadilly Station (or Broadmoor1 as it’s known locally). I was booked on one of your services to Bristol.  It was the 14:07.  Getting to the train was a challenge due to the useless Network Rail staff.  At one point, I even considered asking a pigeon where my train was.

Finally, after navigating through 6 walking abortions (youths I believe they call them) I managed to get to Platform 4 although my train was at the bottom end so by the time I got there I’d already walked halfway to Stockport.2 I was even going to stand at the top of the platform to see if anyone would sponsor me for a charity walk down to the train.

I now understand why you call your company CrossCountry because when I boarded the train it resembled a small field.  The carpet looked like it had been cleaned with 7 angry pitbulls and then glossed over with Giraffe shit.

I only had a small suitcase but some kind person had decided to smuggle 14 Romanian immigrants in his luggage and stacked the 5 suitcases (which were the same size as a small village) at each end of the train  Thankfully, one of the train cleaners at Manchester helped me locate a safe place for my suitcase.  The train manager made some sort of announcement, but your PA system was so poor it sounded like someone having a fight and an orgasm at the same time. 

Eventually though,  the train departed and surely I thought my day could not get any worse.

But I was wrong.

I had someone opposite me talking on his phone so loud it sounded like a shit radio show, and there were 2 throwbacks behind me who kept kicking the back of my seat with the same force as a small meteorite. I bought a cup of coffee from the onboard shop and only had to re-mortgage my house to afford it.   However, when I drank the coffee I was far from impressed.   I can only imagine that it was the same cup used to change the train’s oil filter earlier that day.  I also purchased a biscuit which slowly disintegrated when I opened the wrapper.  No doubt the onboard staff had decided to play a 5 a side football match with it.

I then had the the pleasure of your onboard toilet, which was so badly flooded I thought it was a wet room.  May I suggest that you put life jackets on the wall just in case anyone drowns in there.  The toilet paper instantly evaporated as soon as it came into contact with anything solid – in this case my hands and the mirror was so badly damaged it looked like I’d had a minor stroke. 

When I flushed the toilet it was so loud I thought a black hole had formed and was going to slowly suck the whole world into it.

I eventually walked back to my seat although the aisle-way was so narrow that 4 people had their faces smashed in by my elbow.  Then I found that the reservation system had decided to work and my seat was now reserved.  I left my case in the carriage as I was now developing depression and I walked throughout the train trying to find a seat.  Could this seat  be reserved?  Reserved from somewhere that didn’t even exist?  It had now turned into a crap gameshow but eventually I found a seat and once I had dislocated both my legs to fit into it, I had a wonderful view of a coffee-splattered plastic wall.  At one point, I even found myself counting the coffee spots.

Eventually I approached my destination,  popped my legs back into their sockets and went to fetch my case.  Getting to it developed into yet another challenge as someone thought it would be a fantastic idea to park a pram the size as a Ford Focus diagonally across the aisle-way, but finally, I got my case and ended possibly the worse journey I’ve ever had. 

May I suggest that if Scotland Yard ever want to torture terrorist suspects, they simply threaten them with one of your train journeys. 

They’ll be sure to spill the beans.

So, that’s all I’ve got to say and I wont be using your service again.  I’m even considering starting a petition to get the word TRAIN removed from the dictionary.

I look forward to your reply which I imagine will be at least 3 years away.

Thank You.

Dennis Snape

On the subject of train operators, you really should read Alistair Coleman’s short but hilarious letter to South West Trains about being taken ill on a journey from Fleet to to London Waterloo.

  1. For American readers: Broadmoor Hospital is a high-security psychiatric hospital at Crowthorne in Berkshire, England. It is the oldest of the three high-security psychiatric hospitals in England. It is basically a prison for the criminally insane. Not the sort of place you want to go for your holidays 

  2. For American readers: Stockport is a large town which is actually 7 miles south-east of Manchester Piccadilly Station. It is best known for its huge Victorian brick viaduct, over which Dennis’s train would have passed had he been travelling to Birmingham instead of Bristol 

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