Train timetable off the rails for commuters

COMMUTERS are furious about planned train service cuts. A draft timetable, drawn up by First Capital Connect, was given to the Ashwell & Morden Rail Users Group. The timetable, proposed to start in December 2007, shows a significant deterioration in the s

COMMUTERS are furious about planned train service cuts.

A draft timetable, drawn up by First Capital Connect, was given to the Ashwell & Morden Rail Users Group.

The timetable, proposed to start in December 2007, shows a significant deterioration in the services from Letchworth, Baldock and Ashwell & Morden stations to London.

First Capital Connect plans to cut a fifth of the morning commuter trains. Ashwell & Morden and Baldock's 10 morning trains will reduce to eight while Letchworth GC trains will be reduced from 18 to 15.


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The fast service to London from Letchworth GC will also be reduced - from 10 trains to five.

Many of the trains have also seen reductions in carriages from eight to four, a measure that will anger commuters already standing for long distances on very over-crowded trains.

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The changes follow the loss of the fast morning service to London from Ashwell & Morden in December 2006, despite a hard-fought campaign by commuters who held a variety of protests and secured over 1,500 signatures on a petition.

Sarah Duckett, one of the campaign's organisers and an Ashwell & Morden commuter, said: "The proposed changes are astonishing. First Capital Connect keeps telling us that they are tackling over-crowding on the trains, but how will cutting services and carriages do that?

"There is already standing room only on most trains from Letchworth. We need more trains not less.

"Is this really about tackling over-crowding or is First Capital Connect reducing their costs to increase their profits?

"The degradation of our service is wholly unacceptable. We demand that First Capital Connect not only retains our level of service, but also puts more trains on the track."

First Capital Connect is holding an online forum for customers to give their feedback and ask questions of the directors.

The forum takes place from 9am until 11am on Friday, January 26. If you would like to have your say log on to www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk.

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