Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Saying goodbye

Last rites 

What do you tell the clients and the public when you close a service?

Today, Wednesday, it was announced that the Wrexham and Shropshire Railway will be closing – this Friday evening coming.

This is a terrible shame. This was an imaginative little company that provided a service that was just not otherwise available, and in doing so ran as the most effectice, customer-satisfying railway company in the UK. That is was very nice, but the relevant fact has been that it just could not attract the income to balance its books. Result: closure.

I have been aware of the W&S's structural problems for some time – as has everyone else with an interest in railways in the UK – and wondering whether it would get through. Now when the news has come, it is no surprise.

Presumable those in charge at W&S made their final decision a few days ago. The first people to hear this would have probaby been financial interests. Next would come the staff, who possibly heard only yesterday – or maybe just this morning. Last of all, because that is how things go, would be the customers, the travellers, the punters.

Along the way (just before 0900 hrs this morning), the information was released to the media and to everyone on the company's mailing list.

What has this to do with Conductive Education?

Independent CE services have been closing for almost as long as they have been opening. How have they done this? Well or badly? Who knows? Like almost everything else done in Conductive Education this goes unreported – so nobody else benefits from past experience, plus or minus. When your turn comes, you have to make it up for yourself.

This coming year may well see further such closures. There is no way in which such a process is going to be pleasant, but it can be handled better – or worse.

For what use this might be as a starting point, here is the statement that W&S issued this morning. I leave it to you to substitute different names and words –

 Wrexham & Shropshire railway to cease operations on Friday 28th January 2011
It is with great regret that we announce that Wrexham & Shropshire will stop operating trains on Friday 28th January.
This very difficult decision has been taken following a full review of all possible alternatives, in which it was concluded that the business, which operates with no public subsidy, would not provide a return on investment.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your loyal and continued support. Without your assistance, our award winning service would not have been possible. We are very sorry that we have not been able to sustain it.
Until Friday 28th January trains will operate normally. The last train will be the 1830 from London Marylebone.
From Saturday 29th January, all Wrexham & Shropshire tickets already purchased will be valid on alternative routes into London Euston operated by Arriva Trains Wales, London Midland and Virgin Trains, and London Marylebone by Chiltern Railways.
If you have already purchased a Wrexham & Shropshire ticket for travel after 28th January, please click here for alternative travel arrangements.
If you have not yet booked a ticket for forthcoming travel, please be aware that you will need to book to travel with alternative train operators. You can book tickets for travel with other train companies via our sister company Chiltern Railways – please click here.
Our customer service centre will remain open to provide customer support. To contact them, email or telephone 0845 260 5200.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank you, our customers, for your loyal support.

Good luck. It might not be happening to you. Just in case it does, though. it could be easier amd more responsible to get something ready in advance for clients and for public release, rather that have to take time and give proper attention at the time, during the stress and rush of events.

Please keep Cyberspace tidy

One final duty. Please close down your website. Cyberspace is littered with the website sites of long- departed CE ventures. The do nobody any service.

If you wish to leave your own centre a fitting cyber-memorial, then amend the text accordingly, and indicate clearly that it is no longer in operation. And one final service, direct your visitors elsewhere.
Also on Facebook

And so Farewell...



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