LONDON – Virgin Trains has drafted in extra staff this weekend to handle compensation claims following a spate of delays and cancellations caused by problems with Network Rail’s infrastructure on the West Coast Main Line.
Passengers on the line between London and Scotland have suffered delays and cancellations in the past week due to a string of problems, from power failures to cracked rails and a plane crash on the track.
The failure of overhead lines near Wembley on Tuesday could be blamed on an insulator rod, which was incorrectly installed two years ago and came apart.
Problems at Bletchley, Buckinghamshire on Monday were the result of a snapped cable, and an incident at Watford Junction the day before was caused by a loose wire which got caught up in the overhead line mechanism.
Both these faults were described as rare.
The company is inviting its passengers caught up in the severe disruption over the last week to claim compensation as soon as possible. Thousands have already received compensation forms.
This week the customer relations team has handled three times the usual number of phone calls, mostly from frustrated passengers.
Head of customer relations, Matt Bradley said: “We are sorry that our passengers have had such a tough time. I have a fantastic team of very dedicated people, and they are working to ensure passengers get suitable compensation. We’ll be working through the weekend to help customers who have been as frustrated as us by the disruption.
“All claims will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis with the Passenger’s Charter used as a guide to the minimum compensation arrangements. We will offer above that level, where appropriate, in recognition of the extreme inconvenience experienced since last Friday.”
Passengers should either download a claim form online from http://feedback.virgintrains.co.uk/img/Comments_form.pdf or pick up one from any of their stations and then send it to the freepost address shown with details of the journey(s) and enclosing the relevant ticket(s).
Virgin Trains will also be paying compensation to customers who were delayed following the light plane crash in Staffordshire on January 2, despite this being an incident outside the direct control of the rail industry.