Letter: Right kind of train

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Roger Hill, in praising SNCF, suggests that a similar service would not be provided to rail passengers in similar circumstances in Britain (letter, 23 January).

Recently, when I was travelling from London to Edinburgh, the train was delayed by over three hours by a trackside fire and later by difficulties with a level crossing. The GNER staff were excellent. Regular announcements were made, complimentary refreshments were served and passengers were provided with mobile phones. Passengers with children were relocated to first-class seats. Arrangements were made for people with onward connections.

On my return journey the next evening the train was delayed for over an hour because of a person on the track. Again, regular announcements and apologies for the delay were made. Complimentary refreshments were distributed and mobile phones allocated. Complex arrangements were made for connections, which meant that several other trains were held to ensure that passengers did not miss their last trains home. For one overseas passenger, in a distressed condition, an additional stop and a complimentary car were provided so that she could catch her last flight home from Luton airport.

Being British, I still wrote to GNER to complain. Within a week I received a full apology and explanation, together with pounds 80 worth of travel vouchers. All very impressive. The British public can still occasionally receive excellent service, although I accept that the same might not have happened with another company.

PETER PENDLE

Epping, Essex

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