Monday, 2 February 2009

Disaster unrecovered

This morning, I woke up to the biggest snowfall we've seen in this part of England for the last 6 years.   Being a Monday morning, the firs thing I thought I'd do was check to see whether the trains were running onshedule for commute into work.   So I tried to log in to South West Trains website.   It was down.   No user friendly error message greeted me.   Just "error in application \SWTrains".

So I tried the National Rail website.   Same thing.   No user friendly message, just some technical mumbo jumbo about "No suitable nodes are available to serve your request".   I checked a few other (non-rail related) sites.   Everything was working fine.   It was just the two rail sites I most needed.

Could it be that both sites happened to have an error on the same day?   That seems unlikely.   What seems more likely is that neither site could cope with the volume of people checking in to see if they were going to get to work this morning.

It seems that South West Trains and National Rail have failed in their most basic mission - to provide information to their customers when they most needed it.

I wonder what that will do for their customer satisfaction ratings?