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Katherine train station is usually closed. Those wishing to book a train journey have no other choice but Travel North. It does not make much of a difference, as it is Travel North that runs the train station.
Last year my experiences with Travel North were not all positive. I got the impression that I was dealing with a monopolist, with a focus on quantity rather than quality.
And yes, there is a bit of hope indeed. Travel North now even has a true train specialist named Helena.
I beg your pardon? If things were this easy I'd call using my own mobile. I come to visit a specialist if things get a bit more difficult. This lady obviously
She just announces The train does not stop in Port Augusta.
I do beg your pardon? With full conviction she shows me a tourist brochure with the short list of major train stations. Port Augusta is not on the list, so according to her logic the train does not stop there.
Sigh. I feel hopeless now. Is this the one and only train specialist in Katherine? Last year a booking here was tough to do, but successful in the end. During the past year the knowledge level has reached new depths at Travel North. Here things go worse instead of improving.
Wouldn't it be nice if a train specialist
Now, she happens to be busy at this moment. The Ghan is to arrive soon, this is rush hour in Katherine. Her boss Werner is waiting for her. Would it be possible for me to come back later? Helena, the train specialist of Katherine, heads for the train station. The business of the lucrative masses call. One single, difficult passenger like me is second priority to her.
My story on the discounted upgrade, based on a travel pass, passes her completely unnoticed. At the phone she happily asks for the full fare rate of a sleeper. So the given rate is way to high, double of what it should be.
Yesterday repeats itself, just with a new subject.
But at the train station you will find us again, she rambles, with the typical arrogance of a monopolist. Yes lady, I know, that is why I'll arrange it in the train, not at the train station.
For a brief moment she seems to realise that she did a bad job in listening to me, once again. Obviously it is way outside here frame of thought that I'll bypass her monopoly. But, soon the indifference takes over. She seems to be relieved that she can't do anything more for me. Well, have a nice day and sweet dreams.
It is so fantastic to do business with folk that
I will send a list of all train stations to Helena. Unfortunately, I do not have a list of discount upgrades from seater to sleeper. So she will have to do some work herself in getting one. And it will be her job too to improve her skills in listening and helping customers. Hopefully it will be a bit easier next year to book a train bed in Katherine.