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Travel problems

Wouter Oet
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Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2700

<rant>

Today I am travelling from Amsterdam to a relatively small town Apeldoorn (in the Netherlands) with the train. The train leaves on time but after the second stop the machinist leaves for the day and is no replacement. So the train doesn't leave. Then we all spot another train in the same direction. Of course we have to figure this out our self because there was no announcement. Now I'm sitting in that train and the next problem is a fact. There is no heating! It's -7 Celsius and there is no freaking heating!
</rant>

Anyone of you encountered something similar?


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Please correct my English.
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
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Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14428
    
  23

As you know here in the Netherlands there are a lot of problems with the trains, and many people and also the government have voiced their dissatisfaction about this already many times. Especially when something happens in Utrecht, which is in the middle of the Netherlands, the whole train system quickly falls into a state of chaos.

Recently there was a fire in the control center in Utrecht and the whole train system collapsed. I had to go from Amsterdam to Rotterdam. Fortunately there was a colleague that could take me by car to Gouda, and I'd go then from Gouda to Rotterdam by train. The website of the railways didn't show any problems beteween Gouda and Rotterdam. So, after more than an hour I arrived at Gouda, and all the information signs there were empty, and there were a number of trains standing still. I asked someone from the railways if there was a train going to Rotterdam and he said he had been there for two hours already and didn't know anything. Eventually I called up my colleague and he was so nice to bring me by car from Gouda to Rotterdam.

What I found most annoying of the situation is that there was no information whatsoever. Not even a single notice that the trains aren't running.

Later, in the news, people from the government were upset because apparently a few years ago they spent € 10 million on a backup system for cases like this. But it did not work, because the power supply for the backup system is in the same building as the main control room, so because of the fire the backup system also failed!

Whenever the weather is out of the ordinary (too hot, too cold, too wet... and the Netherlands has a mild climate with no real extreme weather), you can count on problems with the railways. The past years there were also problems in the fall when the trees shed their leaves - the leaves fall on the tracks, causing the trains to slip, which causes wear on the wheels of the trains so that the wheels become "square", leading to lots of delays and problems.

Your situation sounds bizarre! The machinist just went home and left the train full of passengers?!

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Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18987
    
    8

Well, heck. Even the regional train system in the San Francisco area publishes its outages on Twitter. I'm surprised to hear of such disorganization in the Netherlands.
Frank Silbermann
Ranch Hand

Joined: Jun 06, 2002
Posts: 1390
Jesper de Jong wrote: The machinist just went home and left the train full of passengers?!
This sort of thing may be enabled by trade unionism supported by a Labor government.

I'm sure permission to go home at the end of a shift (without regard for whether the next machinist has arrived) is written into their negotiated labor contract.
Wouter Oet
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2700

I understand his position but it was quite annoying. Usually I don't complain about the NS (the company that managers the trains, short for Nederlandse Spoorwegen) because my connection is quite good but this was just weird.
Wouter Oet
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2700

I guess the NS is having more heating problems than I thought because just now I sat in an unheated wagon. Luckily the next wagon was heated.
Peter Rooke
Ranch Hand

Joined: Oct 21, 2004
Posts: 805

You should try British Fail (Rail) - then you would know about bad service and high prices

Its kind of funny as every year we get snow in the UK, and every year everything breaks down.
This year the UK govenment have been "surprised" that its started to snow in December.
Wonder if this happens in other countries?


Regards Pete
Paul Sturrock
Bartender

Joined: Apr 14, 2004
Posts: 10336

Frank Silbermann wrote:
Jesper de Jong wrote: The machinist just went home and left the train full of passengers?!
This sort of thing may be enabled by trade unionism supported by a Labor government.

I'm sure permission to go home at the end of a shift (without regard for whether the next machinist has arrived) is written into their negotiated labor contract.


Regardless of how it got there who in their right minds would sign a contract that had completely open ended work hours? Given this is Europe, the working time directive probably trumps any contracted hours clause anyway.


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Vikrant Pandit
Ranch Hand

Joined: Mar 27, 2006
Posts: 245
And I thought nothing can get worse than Indian Railways....


Vikrant Pandit
Maneesh Godbole
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Jul 26, 2007
Posts: 10535
    
    9

Peter Rooke wrote:You should try British Fail (Rail) - then you would know about bad service and high prices

Doesn't UK have Virgin Railways? I remember reading about it somewhere. Are they bad too?


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Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
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Joined: Aug 16, 2005
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  23

This weekend again major problems with the railways because of the winter weather. Despite the fact that on the 10th of October they had a special practice day to prepare for such circumstances. Even the employees of the railways are dissatisfied about it.
Arun Kumarr
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 16, 2005
Posts: 513

I'm surprised. A country featuring in the top 10 HDI value having train commuting issues.


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Christophe Verré
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 24, 2005
Posts: 14688
    
  16

Maneesh Godbole wrote:Doesn't UK have Virgin Railways? I remember reading about it somewhere. Are they bad too?

Bad ? There are pictures of Richard Branson everywhere.


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Christophe Verré
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 24, 2005
Posts: 14688
    
  16

Jesper de Jong wrote:This weekend again major problems with the railways because of the winter weather. Despite the fact that on the 10th of October they had a special practice day to prepare for such circumstances. Even the employees of the railways are dissatisfied about it.

I can't read scrambled German
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14428
    
  23

Christophe Verré wrote:I can't read scrambled German

Are you insulting my native language?!
Christophe Verré
Sheriff

Joined: Nov 24, 2005
Posts: 14688
    
  16

Jesper de Jong wrote:Are you insulting my native language?!

Of course not I was amazed at how Deutschlikish it looks. I bet "Waarom" means "Why"
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 490
    
    1
Wouter Oet wrote:Anyone of you encountered something similar?


I am traveling daily from Duivendrecht to Putten, and I have never had much problems.

Anyway, it beats driving a lease car, for a few reasons but the most import one is that I bike to the station for an hour too, so it gives me exercise!
Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14428
    
  23

Today we had a lot of snowfall in the afternoon in the west of the Netherlands and it was a total disaster again - not only with the trains, but also on the roads.

At about 13:30 two managers walked around on the floor of the office telling everybody that they might want to go home and work from home. I stayed a while longer and went to the train station at 14:15. All the information panels were empty, and they kept on announcing "There are problems because of the bad weather, please look at the information panels". After waiting for more than an hour I went back to the office. At 16:00 I made another try. Still the same. About an hour later a train arrived, but a very short one, completely stuffed full with people, so nobody could get in. I went to eat something in a nearby restaurant and at about 18:30 I finally got into a train from Amsterdam to Utrecht. In Utrecht fortunately I fairly quickly got into a train that was supposed to go to Rotterdam. But then that train stood still for more than half an hour because of lack of personnel - there was no train driver! I was finally home at 20:15.

Ok, there was a lot of snow today, but every time that there's a little out of the ordinary weather the train system completely breaks down here. I wish the train company would really prepare themselves better for situations like this. They say they try to be prepared, but every time chaos breaks loose despite their claimed efforts.
Paul Clapham
Bartender

Joined: Oct 14, 2005
Posts: 18987
    
    8

Jesper de Jong wrote:
Christophe Verré wrote:I can't read scrambled German

Are you insulting my native language?!


The actual English expression to do that would be "Double Dutch", and if you need more anti-Dutch expressions you can find them here.
Steve Luke
Bartender

Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 4181
    
  21

I am visiting N. Ireland (Belfast to be specific) and am supposed to be on my way home - but the snow hit. It looks like it snowed 1/2 and inch at worst here and the roads were wet, or slushy at their worst. But both Belfast airports closed. Tried to re-schedule for tomorrow but it would cost an additional $1000 to get get my connecting flight. After all it is a pretty busy travel weekend so close to the holidays. Add to that - my cell phone doesn't work, the hotel wifi was too slow to be used, and I had to go through 3 Ethernet cables from the front desk until I finally got one that would work. This made re-scheduling flights a pane in the bottom :-(

After the frustration I had the opportunity to wander over Belfast. It is a really nice city - it is beautiful covered with a tiny bit of white covering things. It makes it easy to get into the Christmas spirit. I am also hoping to get a bus down to Dublin tomorrow, so though I would like to be home, there is some good things :-)


Steve
Stephan van Hulst
Bartender

Joined: Sep 20, 2010
Posts: 3649
    
  17

I must say though, even if a lot of Dutch like to complain about the NS, I think we really don't have it that bad. We have a big railway system, and there are few places in our country that are badly accessible. I think few countries have a railway system as complex as ours.

Every now and then, I have to travel between Alkmaar and Enschede, which is a three hour trip. It's a very smooth connection, and I rarely have reason to complain.

Most of the problems are caused by ProRail, the company that takes care of the actual tracks.
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 490
    
    1
Jesper de Jong wrote:Today we had a lot of snowfall in the afternoon in the west of the Netherlands.


Yes, like 30 cm of snow. And for sheer coincidence, I had a day of! Pffff, I would be so lucky! I had to take days of since I had to claim them before 1 January.
Jan de Boer
Ranch Hand

Joined: Dec 10, 2010
Posts: 490
    
    1
Paul Clapham wrote:
Jesper de Jong wrote:
Christophe Verré wrote:I can't read scrambled German

Are you insulting my native language?!


The actual English expression to do that would be "Double Dutch", and if you need more anti-Dutch expressions you can find them here.


Ah I consider that a compliment. We were competitors and they hate each-other. You hated us (in the 17th century), and have these expression, because we were so good.
Pat Farrell
Rancher

Joined: Aug 11, 2007
Posts: 4659
    
    5

This happened just days ago. We had a tiny bit of snow. New alert: it snows in Baltimore in the winter, every year.

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/national/run_no_way_train_w3K1vjRumhSCQfdgedGijK

When TV reporter Stephen Tschida tweeted that message on a stalled New York-bound Amtrak train, he had no idea how long -- and cold -- a night it would be on the train ride from hell. Tschida and the 400 other passengers on board Train 188 got stuck between Baltimore and Philadelphia for almost eight hours overnight into yesterday morning with little heat, little power and little provisions.



Jesper de Jong
Java Cowboy
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Aug 16, 2005
Posts: 14428
    
  23

I got a VPN connection working to my computer at work so that I can work from home today!

My brother was supposed to fly from London to Amsterdam yesterday, but he couldn't because London Heathrow is closed...

This morning on the news they said that the railways are now dealing with the repair of 700 broken train units. Fortunately I don't have to on the road or by train today...
Steve Luke
Bartender

Joined: Jan 28, 2003
Posts: 4181
    
  21

This is day 4 of my trying to get home. There will be a day 5 . This time it was i blame my travel agent - American Express Travel. After waiting on hold for 4 hours yesterday to get a hold of an agent I got a flight home for today from Dublin direct to Philly (cost an extra 2000 euro but I was not going to accept anything going through London). Only, they issued a paper ticket not an e-ticket. That meant I couldn't use it to board the plane without the physical paper ticket (not one I could print out from a printer, but one printed by USAir). Needless to say I didn't have one, and USAir didn't catch it until I was boarding the plane. Too late to do anything about.

Why would they issue a paper ticket? Why would USAir even make that possible? Why didn't USAir catch it when I was checking in? The business part of this trip lasted 3 days, the travel part was 1 to get out and will be at least 5 to get back.
Wouter Oet
Saloon Keeper

Joined: Oct 25, 2008
Posts: 2700

Here we go again:

Today I had to travel from Gouda (where the cheese comes from) to Apeldoorn (both in the Netherlands). I only had to make one connection in Amersfoort. It happens from time to time that I miss that connection due to the train being late. Normally I don't have any problems with that, it's a complex logistical operation (we have one of the busiest train networks in the world) so that can happen. But what happened today annoys the hell out of me. We were walking from one train to the other at the other side of the platform. The other train just closes it doors while people where still pressing the "open" button and then it just drives of. That really annoys me.

Next train: half an hour later (luckily I've had some previous encounters with the NS (train company) and took a train earlier).
Kaustubh G Sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 13, 2010
Posts: 1281

Yup there are lot of similar problem you'll face when you travel by train in asia... Well honestly quite big problems...

CHINA



INDIA


Fianlly

PAKISTAN



No Kaustubh No Fun, Know Kaustubh Know Fun..
Kaustubh G Sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 13, 2010
Posts: 1281

Vikrant Pandit wrote:And I thought nothing can get worse than Indian Railways....





Indian Railways has more than 64,015 kilometres (39,777 mi)[5] of track and 6,909 stations. It has the world's fourth largest railway network after those of the United States, Russia and China.[5] The railways traverse the length and breadth of the country and carry over 20 million passengers and 2 million tons of freight daily.[6][7] It is one of the world's largest commercial or utility employers, with more than 1.6 million employees.[6][8] As to rolling stock, IR owns over 200,000 (freight) wagons, 50,000 coaches and 8,000 locomotives.[6]
Railways were first introduced to India in 1853. By 1947, the year of India's independence, there were forty-two rail systems. In 1951 the systems were nationalised as one unit, becoming one of the largest networks in the world. IR operates both long distance and suburban rail systems on a multi-gauge network of broad, metre and narrow gauges. It also owns locomotive and coach production facilities.
Alejandro Casarrubias
Greenhorn

Joined: Sep 21, 2006
Posts: 12

You must try mexico city subway!!!




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Kaustubh G Sharma
Ranch Hand

Joined: May 13, 2010
Posts: 1281

Alejandro Casarrubias wrote:You must try mexico city subway!!!





HAHAHAHAHA FINALLY MEXICO WINS THE TITLE
 
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subject: Travel problems