Naked commuters protest at cuts in their fast services

PUBLISHED: 11:05 30 November 2006 | UPDATED: 11:17 06 May 2010

Protestors brave the cold at Ashwell station

Protestors brave the cold at Ashwell station

NAKED protesters braved the biting cold at Ashwell and Morden station after First Capital Connect announced plans to cut their fast train service to London. With customised newspapers spelling out Save Our Fast Train and only a bowler hat, socks and sho

NAKED protesters braved the biting cold at Ashwell and Morden station after First Capital Connect announced plans to cut their fast train service to London.

With customised newspapers spelling out "Save Our Fast Train" and only a bowler hat, socks and shoes for warmth, the male commuters showed they meant business.

The campaign has been organised by the Ashwell and Morden Rail User Group.

Sarah Duckett, an Ashwell and Morden commuter and the campaign's spokesperson, believes that the loss of the fast train service will have a direct impact on quality of life in the area and is annoyed at the lack of prior consultation.

She said: "The train company has told us they want to reduce overcrowding but, in reality, all that will happen is that commuters will catch a slow train to Letchworth and pick up the fast service from there."

The rural community is concerned at the downgrading of services and believe they are being discriminated against in favour of urban centres like Cambridge.

The commuting campaigners are urging First Capital Connect to reconsider. They have written to local MPs Oliver Heald and Andrew Lansley asking for their support and are currently organising a petition.

Some commuters have already started travelling from other towns like Letchworth and Stevenage that are under more pressure from the large volume of rail users, parking and traffic.

Early birds in Baldock have been complaining as their area is also affected by the removal of the service.

Les Wilsher, 47, of Baldock said: "The 7:07 fast train doesn't stop at Baldock any more, but it stops at Letchworth. People get on the 7:01 slow train and change at Letchworth. Therefore, this hasn't solved the problem; all they've done is move it across from Baldock to Letchworth."

When questioned about removing services and moving the congestion to another town, Robert Beahan of First Capital Connect said: "There are still frequent services, but unfortunately overcrowding is an issue to be tackled and sometimes we need to make these decisions.

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