Anger grows over Huntingdon and St Neots rail disruption
- Credit: Archant
Rail passengers from Huntingdon and St Neots stations are fuming at the continuing disruption to journeys to London a fortnight after massive overhaul of timetables.
Passengers have complained about services being cancelled and late running which they say has made travel impossible to plan and there has been a call for Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which runs the Great Northern trains which call at Huntingdon and St Neots, to go back to the old timetable until it is able to sort the problem out.
GTR, which has apologised, has cut 230 trains from the timetable to make the service more reliable.
Anne Hall, who commutes from St Neots, said: “This morning (Monday) back to work to discover that the first train was rumoured to be at 06.03 from St Neots and the one which I caught was at 06.59 to Kings Cross where they had managed to lose four carriages. A good job I managed to get on it.
“There was nothing else showing until around 8.30.
“I dread trying to get home this evening. It is much worse than the first week. If it is so unworkable why can’t they go back to the old timetable until they get it sorted out. It is appalling, commuters are extremely angry.”
Mrs Hall, who has been critical of GTR’s service, went for a trip on the legendary Flying Scotsman which ran to time but did not get home until 3am because of cancelled trains and delays to a bus replacement.
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Shift worker Frank Hope accused GTR of having a “gung-ho” attitude towards bringing in the new timetable and that the situation should be addressed.
Mr Hope, a Transport for London worker, said: “When you have done an eight hour shift you don’t want to be waiting an hour and a half to get a train home.”
A couple from Huntingdon were sent to Bedford by taxi so they could get to London.
A Govia Thameslink spokesperson said: “May’s new timetable was part of the biggest change to services for decades, introducing 400 extra services and providing longer trains to address the doubling of passengers on our network in just 16 years.
“We always said it would be challenging and we apologise sincerely for the significant disruption being experienced by passengers. Delayed approval of the timetable led to an unexpected need to substantially adjust our plans and resources in an unexpectedly short time-frame.
“We are working with industry colleagues to introduce changes that will progressively deliver improvement. In the meantime, we have removed around 230 trains from the Thameslink and Great Northern timetables this week so there are fewer unplanned cancellations, allowing passengers to arrange their journeys with greater confidence.
“This amounts to 6 per cent of the 3,600 daily journeys across the GTR network. Additionally, we have buses to cover some service gaps – these are also showing in online journey planners such as National Rail Enquiries. However, as normal we ask passengers to check before they travel.”