Newest Review: ... After making the journey I double checked online (I also contacted someone from Northern Rail customer services) who confirmed that as m... more
Member Name: NapoleonX
Advantages: Possibly better than the Overpriced Buses.
Disadvantages: Overpriced, Underfunded, Broken Down, Illogical placing of rolling stock, Non existent customer care
Northern Rail (Formerly Metro) Operating out of Leeds for West Yorkshire is probably the most abysmal train service in the UK.
I have lived and worked in Leeds, Bradford and Halifax over the past decade and it has to be said that the service was bad to begin with and it has remained bad. In fact it has never been even satisfactory whichever company had the franchise.
The rolling stock is decades old, it is slowly being replaced, very very very slowly, however the new carriages are hardly comfortable with the seats being too narrow and an extremely annoying computer sending out public service announcements every two minutes. It also beggars belief that the new rolling stock is centred on the least crowded, parts of the network, while those trains that are full to bursting are still stuck with two carriages of crap, often packed so full that I reckon they are a hundred or two hundred over safe capacity. I speak of course of the Poppleton Line, it serves a number of commuter villages for Leeds and it's usage is increasing exponentially while the transport service remains the same and probably even declines as the trains are more likely to break down than actually leave.
A lot of the staff are surly jobsworths. Although I don't tar everyone with that brush, I have travelled with several conductors on my route home who all strive to provide the highest quality service, and I have not a bad word to say about them. There are good people in any organisation. However I have also witnessed behaviour amounting to cynicism, arrogance, and even racism amongst certain of the staff.
I don't know if Northern are in ownership of Leeds Station, but whoever are, they should shoot themselves. The station had a billion pound upgrade into a grey concrete and steel monstrosity that shuts out all natural light. It never fails to depress me when I approach. It is the most horrible building I have ever known. Not only that it is frequently filthy and acoustically appalling meaning you can be deafened by a large train even if you are 10/15 platforms away.
If I might illustrate just how bad travel in West Yorkshire is. I once made a journey from Halifax to Bradford by train.
A journey that took me 8 hours.
Let me reiterate that. In 8 hours I could travel from London to Edinburgh by car. In 8 hours I could fly halfway around the world. I have even walked from Bradford to Halifax before now in just over 6 hours.
A simple train took longer to ferry me from one town to another than the time it would have taken me to walk, and this is a good 15 miles.
Oh, and the prices are so expensive I was actually priced onto the roads (at least until my scooter was stolen).
If you wish to travel beyond 11.30 at night, say, after a few drinks. Forget it, you'll be getting a taxi for £20. Because despite it's claim to be a 24 hour city, Leeds Transport is far more conservative with its hours.
Despite all that, if you need public transport then the trains are probably your best bet, if only because the buses in the county are, incredibly, even worse.
Summary: Northern have as much talent in running trains as Osama Bin Laden has in Stand Up Comedy
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