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In praise of First Hull Trains and their Customer Service…

Last week seems so long ago now, there is one less Monnery in the world, I have discovered how amazing Air Conditioning is, Alastair Cook has scored a few runs, all of these are important but I want to tell you a tale about how First Hull Trains dealt with my travel issues on Friday afternoon. Hat-tip folks, they dealt with it amazingly well.

So my sister got married on Saturday, this meant of course that the family had to come from far and wide to get to the wedding in Hull. I had my train tickets for the Kings Cross to Hull section of the journey, but also had the tickets for my other sister and husband as I bought them all at the same time so that we’d have reserved seating together. All well and good. I go to the railway station here in plenty of time and get my ticket into London. I notice that going towards Shoeburyness there were severe delays but they said on the London route all was well.

So I get on the choo choo, we get to Westcliff and we wait and we wait and we wait, we go up to Chalkwell and the same thing happens. My Hull train was at 13:48 and my train into West Ham was due in at 12:35, giving me ample time to get through London. At this point I’m starting to get annoyed and we get to Leigh-on-Sea and after another long delay, boom the train was cancelled. Apparently overhead wires had gone down between Pitsea and Benfleet and trains were having to share one line. The issue was what really happened is they kept the Shoeburyness bound trains going and just cancelled the London bound trains. Shit.

Now I won’t rag too hard on c2c for this because after living here for many years, the service has pretty much always been exemplary but on the one day I needed it to be actually working then it let me down. Sod’s law and all that. It was annoying mostly as I had other people’s tickets so I wasn’t just screwing me, I was screwing others. Those members of my family spoke to Hull Trains at Kings Cross and they advised that my sister and brother-in-law wait for me and they would sort things when I got there. I was ok about this but annoyed that their travel plans were disrupted by me.

So anyway eventually c2c put on another train that went around the Tilbury Loop and I would finally get to West Ham. I got to West Ham after my train to Hull had left from Kings Cross. So I was relatively relaxed as I couldn’t do much but then my sister text me to say that I needed to get my ticket stamped that it had been delayed. You freaking what? I of course did not have this and at this point had pretty much resigned myself to having to fork out for three new tickets as I couldn’t ask them to pay knowing it wasn’t at all their fault.

Upon finally arriving at Kings Cross my sister said she had spoken to someone who had basically said we’d need new tickets, apparently he was also rude and a jerk. Go figure. So anyway as the guy who had ordered the tickets I went up to the help desk and spoke to a young lady called Emma and I’ll tell you anyone who may read this from First Hull Trains – this young lady was absolutely brilliant. I told her the story, she saw on her computer that c2c had been having significant delays and basically told us that she would speak to the inspector/guard on the train and would get us on the next train and to come back 15 mins before the train was due to leave and she would take us there and inform the inspector/guard that our tickets were valid (despite being for a specific earlier train).

We came back and she took our tickets, wrote all over them that these tickets were now valid for the 15:48 because of delays on c2c and that the guard Paul knew about them. We got on the train and when Paul came round he asked if we were the three who Emma had told him about, we said yes, he clipped our tickets and got on his way.

I just wanted to note how good the service was and how much difference having someone sensible doing your customer service is. I didn’t speak to the guy my sister did (she doesn’t know his name – so whoever was on the Hull Trains customer service desk at around 13:30 on Friday 25th July) and she was quite upset but when I got there and spoke to Emma, I couldn’t praise her enough. It had been an extremely stressful morning and I was ticking but she listened, understood it wasn’t my fault and in turn did everything possible to make my ongoing journey as stress free as possible.

It says something when you get such good customer service that I feel compelled to blog about it but yet there was a tonne of stress going through not only myself but the other people who were travelling with me and within a few minutes she defused it totally.

So good job Emma and good job First Hull Trains.

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