FIRST Capital Connect, the rail company serving this area, has again run roughshod over Huntingdon and St Neots commuters in order to please customers elsewhere. The company s plan to tackle overcrowding is to have the same number of trains stopping at mo
FIRST Capital Connect, the rail company serving this area, has again run roughshod over Huntingdon and St Neots commuters in order to please customers elsewhere. The company's plan to tackle overcrowding is to have the same number of trains stopping at more stations.
The result is slower journey times to and from Huntingdon and St Neots. The extra minutes may not add up to much on their own, but they are part of a pattern. Our train services have steadily deteriorated. The winners are commuters in the Stevenage and Hitchin areas. We are the losers.
We lost the late fast night train back from London some years ago, on privatisation. The trains to Huntingdon were then extended to Peterborough to benefit Peterborough travellers, or rather to get more revenue for the train company. Result: more overcrowding and discomfort for Huntingdon passengers.
Now FCC, having taken over the franchise, plans pretty much to eliminate the fast trains to and from Huntingdon and Peterborough. Just one evening peak time train gets in quicker, the rest are slower. And, if extra stops are added, with more passengers for those stops, will our journey be any more comfortable?
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Their leaflet Do You Mind If I Sit Here? is laid out to make it look as though there are more trains. But read the small print.
This is on top of the travel restrictions on cheap tickets, which were said to be aimed at overcrowding. But the most serious problem was on the Cambridge route, so why should we get dragged in? It was a money-raising measure in disguise.
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Also, in a few cases the number of carriages has been cut, creating artificial overcrowding. So FCC's plans to put extra carriages back are not quite such a big deal.
Is there some reason we are being picked upon? Surely it cannot be because the areas that have benefited have a lot of marginal Parliamentary seats. Perish the thought.
FCC says it will take a long time to get more trains. But why are they starting now? It has been obvious for years that more trains are needed.
Huntingdon was once well served by the railway system. Now we are being let down again.
H ANDERSON, The Old Rectory, Hamerton