Off the rails on buses

PUBLISHED: 12:05 04 May 2006 | UPDATED: 10:06 06 May 2010

Is it possible for our new train company, First Capital Connect, to lose its passengers in transit? Their train drivers are highly experienced and know the road but as a frequent rail traveller myself, late at night or at weekends, you are often liable to

Is it possible for our new train company, First Capital Connect, to lose its passengers in transit? Their train drivers are highly experienced and know the road but as a frequent rail traveller myself, late at night or at weekends, you are often liable to be turfed off the train and shepherded onto a bus or coach, while rail engineering work takes place between stations.

Your bus driver can be someone drafted in from afar, with only minimal road knowledge of North Herts, Bedfordshire and Cambridge. The early hours of Sunday morning prompted my opening question.

At 1.50am I was rudely woken by the sound of a large vehicle, diesel revving loudly, in my quiet, residential street, Lancaster Road, Hitchin. The street is full of parked cars either side, but to my amazement, gingerly reversing backwards, trying to avoid an expensive body swipe, is a huge double-deck bus, lighting up the locality like an ocean liner.

Odd, I thought, Lancaster Road has never been on a bus route and certainly not at this ungodly hour. The rail replacement bus is full of well, you would not say late-night party revellers enjoying themselves, but anxious, bemused and tired passengers, faces pressed to the windows wondering where on earth their clueless driver has transported them. It seemed he was either lost or had taken a wrong turn and having got stuck at a dead end junction, then had to reverse a quarter of a mile back to Bedford Road and try again for Cambridge or Peterborough. I pitied those poor rail passengers; they would have lost a lot of sleep that night. So did I, two hours in fact, and the following morning I went on the Internet to email First Capital Connect to complain. I should have known better. My computer told me the FCC site could not be found.

First (worst?) Capital Connect, lost in the night and still missing in daylight!

ROGER CARVELL, Lancaster Road, Hitchin


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