Sir: The privatisation of InterCity rail links is resulting in an interesting redefinition of customer service.
On Wednesday 26 June, passengers between London St Pancras and Sheffield on the Midland Main Line, were subject to a two-hour delay and a resulting journey time of four and a half hours. On this occasion the public address system was not used to inform passengers of any rights they may possess from the privatised company in relation to a Passenger Charter, compensation or redress.
On Thursday 27 June, passengers on the 1630 train from London, through Sheffield to Leeds, were subject to a 20-minute delay until the train was stopped at Derby to allow the 1715 train from St Pancras to Sheffield to pass the now substantially delayed earlier train which was running on reduced power.
As a consequence of this action, the 1630 was 35 minutes late into Sheffield but, presumably, the l715 arrived on time. As a consequence, the privatised company could claim that only one train in this particular period on 27 June had been delayed.
However, the passengers on the 1630 who were treated as second-class citizens were subjected to a much more substantial delay than would otherwise have been the case.
Privatisation may have resulted in free tea and coffee on the Midland Main Line, but it has not resulted in an improved service to passengers who are obviously mere pawns in a pretence of improvement designed to mislead those gullible enough to think that privatisation equals putting the consumers' interests first.
MP for Sheffield Brightside (Lab)