IN response to the letter last week ‘Poorer service’, which refers to changes to our train timetable from December 9, the 6.40am from Huntingdon that is being withdrawn was introduced in December 2010 as a temporary measure to make full use of the extra train carriages we had acquired at that time for future 12 carriage services.
Now First Capital Connect has longer platforms at Sandy, Biggleswade, Arlesey and Finsbury Park we are able to use those carriages to lengthen two long-standing Peterborough to King's Cross services (the 6.47 and 7.50 - currently the 7.51 - from Huntingdon) from eight to 12 carriages. This benefits more people, including commuters at Hitchin and Stevenage where these services call. The first of these services is currently considerably crowded by the time they reach Stevenage.
The train that "leaves earlier and takes longer" leaves two minutes earlier and arrives in London at the same time so that we can pick up passengers at Biggleswade.
Your correspondent refers to a gap of 40 minutes between trains but there is another train from Huntingdon just seven minutes later with a journey time only four minutes longer. This is one of the trains that will be lengthened to 12 carriages (and also calls at St Neots and Sandy).
Overall, Huntingdon and St Neots have 250 more peak hour seats each day as a result of the changes and Sandy 500 more.
Your correspondent is quite correct - we do need more trains to resource more 12-carriage services and the Department for Transport has not yet awarded the contract for these. However, in the meantime we must make best use of the resources we have to benefit the biggest number of people possible.
First Capital Connect