Capital Connect response

SIR – Re: Train chaos (Comet December 7, 2006). Capacity during peak times is a key issue for First Capital Connect. We are limited in what options we can adopt to improve travelling trains in peak periods as the route cannot take many, if any, more train

SIR - Re: Train chaos (Comet December 7, 2006). Capacity during peak times is a key issue for First Capital Connect. We are limited in what options we can adopt to improve travelling trains in peak periods as the route cannot take many, if any, more trains.

Mr Walker raised the issue of First Capital Connect services and the stations at which we stop. We have made some alterations to the timetable which came into force this week. The changes, affecting Ashwell and Morden and Baldock, are a response to the overcrowding on the 06.45 departure from Cambridge, and although customers may see this change as a decline in the timetable, we believe that it is of benefit to the majority of customers on the route. We have also introduced another limited stop service from Royston which also serves Ashwell and Morden and Royston.

By introducing an extra train we are trying to spread demand across the two services and alleviate the current situation where everybody is trying to get on the same train.

Mr Walker also raised the issue of our off peak restrictions. First Capital Connect introduced the restrictions to proactively manage the demand for the popular evening peak services. By giving priority to season ticket holders and customers who have purchased full fare standard day and open return tickets, passenger numbers on the evening peak trains are reduced, resulting in a more comfortable journey.


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Our trains are operating with the maximum number of carriages available and, with the network at full capacity it is not possible at present to run more trains. We will continue to look at other ways of introducing more capacity on all parts of our network. In fact, we are currently carrying out a study looking at capacity in the Cambridge and Peterborough areas. Whilst funding for any changes is not certain, we hope that we will be able to introduce some additional capacity along this route to reduce the extreme overcrowding on some fast services.

Mr Walker's suspicion that First Capital Connect has plans to transfer fleet to the Thameslink route is not true. Due to the dual power requirements and limited clearances on the Thameslink line, none of the types of train that operate through Stevenage are compatible.

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Robert Beahan

Communications Officer

First Capital Connect

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