Mounting cost of nightmare train trip
PUBLISHED: 11:47 28 February 2008 | UPDATED: 13:01 06 May 2010
ANGRY mother-of-two Kim Shand (pictured) had to pay more than £200 extra for a train journey because rail staff gave her wrong information – and now they are refusing to compensate her. Ms Shand, aged 39, of Thorpe Road, St Albans, who was travelling with
ANGRY mother-of-two Kim Shand (pictured) had to pay more than £200 extra for a train journey because rail staff gave her wrong information - and now they are refusing to compensate her.
Ms Shand, aged 39, of Thorpe Road, St Albans, who was travelling with her two children to visit her parents at half term, missed her connection from Kings Cross to Aberdeen after First Capital Connect (FCC) staff at St Albans City Station had advised her to catch a train to St Pancras without telling her it terminated at Hendon because of weekend engineering works.
But FCC has blamed her for missing the Aberdeen train, saying she should have checked the information boards at the station where she would have found out that the train stopped at Hendon and continued with a replacement bus.
A week prior to the journey, Ms Shand booked three through-tickets at St Albans Station to Aberdeen. FCC staff sold her a ticket for a train leaving St Albans at 9.18am and arriving at St Pancras International at 9.38am with plenty of time for her to get her connecting train from Kings Cross to Aberdeen at 10.30am.
But they did not tell her about weekend engineering works which are running until the end of March and this meant that her train would stop at Hendon station and from then on she would have to travel by replacement bus to St Pancras.
At Hendon, the bus refused to start and when she and her teenage son and daughter got on another, they opted to go to West Hampstead and then take the underground to Kings Cross to try to make up some of the lost time.
They arrived at Kings Cross 11 minutes after their train had left and staff told her she would have to buy another ticket to Aberdeen .
Having already spent £167.95 on tickets, Ms Shand, who works part-time as a cleaning supervisor, could not afford £187 for three more tickets so she rang her parents to borrow the money.
But staff told her a card payment could not be accepted over the phone so her parents had to drive to Aberdeen Station where they were told the price was £223.
After waiting for an hour for Kings Cross to get confirmation of the payment from Scotland, the family finally finally set off and arrived in Aberdeen at 9pm.
She said: "I will definitely be flying next time - I could have gone to Australia in the time it took me to get to Aberdeen by train."
A spokesperson for FCC admitted that the staff member who served Ms Shand did not know that the engineering works would affect the train timetable but still refused to accept responsibility for her missing her train.
She said they did everything possible on the day of travel to keep customers informed of the changes to the normal timetable, pointing out that when Ms Shand travelled, the information screens would have shown the 9.18am train would terminate at Hendon. The train which followed, the 9.33am, would have arrived at St Pancras in time which was why FCC was not liable for compensation.
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n Riddle of train which didn't exist - see page three.