MP vows to take up railway rancour with ministers as train operator promises timetable ‘shake up’

Huntingdon Railway Station,

Huntingdon Railway Station, - Credit: Archant

Commuters are being urged to have their say on the train services which connect Huntingdonshire with London, described by some travellers as ‘appalling’.

Following pleas from passengers who have ‘reached the end of their tether’, the MP for Huntingdon, Jonathan Djanogly, is calling for change from the operator of the Great Northern rail service, which runs between Huntingdon, St Neots and London Kings Cross.

“Over the summer I received multiple complaints from constituents who have expressed their frustration at repeated train cancellations and delays,” Mr Djanogly said.

“I am no longer prepared just to accept Great Northern’s excuses at face value. If Great Northern is unable to provide a satisfactory service, then it is absolutely right that the franchise agreement should be reviewed by ministers.”

In a bid for improvement, the Conservative MP is asking rail passengers to share their travel misery after reports of months of delays caused by staff shortages and high sickness rates among employees.

Mr Djanogly will take the experiences to rail minister Paul Maynard after the closing date for comments - October 10 - to discuss “immediate service improvements”.

One commuter who has spoken out is Ninian Carter, of Berkley Street, in St Neots, who travels to the capital daily to work.

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Mr Carter told The Hunts Post: “Can somebody please tell me why the Great Northern rail service is so appalling without seemingly being punished or forced to improve in any way?

“For as long as I can remember my train has been late home every single day, not occasionally late, not now and again – all the time.”

It was revealed earlier this month that Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which manages Great Northern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express, was the worst performing rail operator in Britain over the months of April, May and June.

Only 76.1 per cent of its services during that period arrived at their destination within five minutes of the scheduled time, according to data published by the Office of Rail and Road.

Following the publication of the figures, GTR has announced a timetable shake-up that will improve services from Huntingdon and St Neots to central London, with an increase in the amount of trains on weekday mornings from 10 to 12, meaning that there could be four trains per hour at peak times by 2018.

A spokesman for GTR said: “We are sincerely sorry for any disruption passengers have experienced recently. We’re in the middle of a massive programme of change that has, we acknowledge, caused some cancellations. However, it’s very soon going to give our passengers new, air conditioned trains and in following years new and better services with greater capacity and we’re working flat out to recruit and train more drivers.”

?To contact Mr Djanogly with your experiences write to Jonathan Djanogly MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or e-mail: