I decided to travel from
Sandbach to Crewe and back in order to sample the class 319's,
replacing the class 323's on the Manchester-Crewe services. This
was day 2, day 1 being bustituted. The revised service now includes
Liverpool-Manchester Airport-Crewe, running alternately with
I liked the 323's, they
were quick and fairly comfortable and I wasn't too pleased that
they were being replaced by southern cast-offs, not that Northern
will care. There was a long queue at the ticket office because
one lady had lots of questions so I tried to use the ticket machine.
I selected the ticket and it went through its routine until it
came for payment when it stalled. Then it said "transaction
interrupted cancelling..." then "this machine is out
of service". Last year, Northern introduced car park payment
machines at Sandbach which frequently fail and are extremely
slow in operation (see below) and this can mean walking up and
down the car parks to find a working machine. On at least two
occasions none of them worked so what happens, do I get "fined"
for having no ticket or do I simply not travel? The machines
will not accept cash so if you don't have a credit card or mobile
phone (some people don't!) then you can't travel if you arrive
by car. Parking costs £3 per day whereas a day return to
Crewe costs me £2! A complaint to Northern took months
for a response and it was basically - tough!
the lack of ticket, again, do I risk a penalty or not bother
travelling, either way it has now come down to photographing
the screens as a possible defence? The 319's? Well if my journey
on 319 378 was anything to go by they are simply awful, the noise
was incredible, the seats were absolutely filthy and the interior
smelled, they appear as clapped-out hand-me-downs from the South
where mostly new stock is being provided. Returning on 319 448
was a little bit better but in the coach I was in all the seat
edges were frayed and it too smelled.