Train service is rapidly heading downhill

I ECHO the comments of H Anderson (Letters, November 7) who rightly points out the deterioration of our London-bound rail service, while the operator, First Capital Connect, repeatedly claims it is improving the service. One poster claims that it is spen

I ECHO the comments of H Anderson (Letters, November 7) who rightly points out the deterioration of our London-bound rail service, while the operator, First Capital Connect, repeatedly claims it is improving the service.

One poster claims that it is spending £15 million on station improvements, which seems to me an outrageous amount of money just to paint everything pink and purple.

I complained to FCC when the services plummeted with the revision of the timetable in May 2007, only to be told that improvements were under way and should be completed in 18 months.

I suggested that they revert to the old timetable in the meantime, but was told that the rolling stock was required for the commuters from Letchworth. As I don't live in Letchworth, this was of little comfort to me.

I now have to take the all-stopping train to arrive in London for 8.30am, along with a number of others who like myself do not relish the prospect of standing up on a swaying fast train for at least 45 minutes. This puts out commuters from Sandy, Biggleswade, Arlesey, Hitchin and Stevenage, who now find the stopping trains even more overcrowded.

Platforms at Peterborough, St Neots and Kings Cross are all easily long enough to take a 12-coach train, and even if it were to overhang Huntingdon at each end, a simple announcement would get around the problem.

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The one thing that H Anderson does not mention is that another small town is presently being built alongside St Neots station. You can see it clearly from the bridge between the platforms. Naturally, the train company will be oblivious to all this activity right beside the station, and it will come as a complete surprise to them when these one and two-bedroom starter homes all get sold to people who want to commute to London. After all, you wouldn't buy a flat there for the shopping facilities of St Neots, nor for the view of the B1428.

And the Government wonders why people want to drive their cars everywhere despite the duty constantly creeping up on petrol and diesel.

LAWRENCE ALLWRIGHT, Barringer Way, St Neots

* Editor's note: HM Railway Inspectorate will not allow trains longer than the platforms they are serving unless doors can be opened selectively, as with the "regional Eurostar" rolling stock used by GNER. In any case, Huntingdon's platforms 2 and 3 are quite long enough to accommodate 12-car trains, as they have been on-and-off since the early 1990s. FCC is aware of the Loves Farm development - the developers will be paying for a footbridge and lifts at the station.

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