A Christmas Tale – part 1


A trip on the Santa Fe Railroad in 1954. Film from the Travel Film Archive via YouTube.

Podroznik is preparing a series of educational films for whoever is brave enough to step into Juliusz Engelhardt’s shoes. The Passenger Train is one of his choices. USA railroads may not have run their trains particularly fast in the 1950s, but they certainly knew how to look after their passengers.

The real test of the sincerity of company’s commitment to providing the best possible customer service to its passengers is not when things are running smoothly, but when they have become derailed. Sadly as passengers on PKP InterCity have long known, the best customer care courses in the world are useless unless they are backed up by the appropriate procedures and staff empowerment.

I recall flying on British Airways just after the company had spent several million pounds on training its staff in customer care. There was a bomb scare at Heathrow and my plane departed some four hours late. During the flight I pressed the button to ask the stewardess for another bottle of wine and she practically barked at me, What do you want? Just one bad experience, and I have never thought of the world’s favourite airline in the same way again.

2 Responses to “A Christmas Tale – part 1”

  1. Joe Monty Says:

    Great clip. I took the California Zephyr to San Fancisco with my parents in 1962 and the film captures the quality of service, and the overall experience. Unfortunately a few years later the railroads were trying to get out of the passenger business, and surly crews, malfunctioning, dirty equipment and delays became the order of the day, until AMTRAK took over, and axed 2/3 of service into a barely functioning system. Looks like PKP is performing the same exercise to discourage passengers and get out of the business.

  2. Gavin Whitelaw Says:

    Looks like PKP is performing the same exercise to discourage passengers and get out of the business.

    As British Railways did in the 1960s and 70s!!

    The customer base IS out there, to misquote a line from Field of Dreams, “Build a service and the passengers will come.”

    I know for a fact that GOOD PKP managers (who WERE improving the customer experience) have been forced to resign so that favoured managers who sit on their grube tylki can ruin the system!!

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