Saturday, April 02, 2011

Ghost Station

We have a great airport on our doorsteps - still known as Teesside Airport to most people despite the best efforts of the owners to change it to Durham Tees Valley.  10 minutes walk in the other direction takes me to a railway station with a reasonably frequent service that goes past the airport on its way to Darlington.  The airport has a railway station too - ideal you might think.  Think again.  Trains stop there once in each direction on Saturdays and now on Sundays too.  For the rest of the week the trains hurtle through without stopping.
The Train arrives, 75 minues late.
Yesterday a small group of enthusiasts made the effort to get to the airport, unfortunately having to do it by car, in order to catch the train back home and publicise this absurd situation. The local press turned up, both Gazette and Northern Echo, but the train didn't!.  A phone call to customer services elicited the information that there was a problem on the track and it hadn't yet left Bishop Auckland.  So why no announcement over the tannoi?  Presumably because they didn't expect anyone being on the station!  There was an announcement at the next station down the track.  Eventually the train which should have come through after ours hurtled towards us.  Would it stop and pick us up?  No chance - it carried straight on through, with its passengers looking slightly bemused to see a group of people on the platform being ignored.
Several phone calls later and we were told ours was on its way, finally arriving 75 minutes late.  The press photographers had long since gone to their next assignment, taking with them shots of an empty track.
If we are ever to get people out of cars onto public transport we have to sort out the lunacy that allows a service to stop so infrequently that the conductor says he's never before had to find that station on his machine and when a train is delayed makes sure that the other one stops to pick people up.


Anonymous said...

Agree with some of this story but did you not know its going back to Teesside airport shortly and many times did the leading parties labour and Tories had to be told Durham tees valley wont work but did not listen.

Anonymous said...

It's one of several examples of 'parliamentary trains', lines or stations that are kept open with only a token service to avoid having to go through the legal complications of a formal closure.