Royston and South Cambs rail users call on Govia to deliver after ‘broken promises’

PUBLISHED: 17:01 13 July 2018

Commuters waiting in line for a replacement bus at Royston. Picture: Tim Holmes

Commuters waiting in line for a replacement bus at Royston. Picture: Tim Holmes

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Rail user groups in our area have said they are waiting to see if the new interim timetable published by Govia Thameslink Railway on Friday will be adhered to, after a “string of broken promises” since May’s schedule overhaul.

Deserted Meldreth station car park. Picture: Susan van de VenDeserted Meldreth station car park. Picture: Susan van de Ven

Govia said their new timetable is “designed to provide a more reliable service” following issues including cancelled trains, staff shortages and a lack of information caused by the May timetable.

The new interim timetable, which GTR has deemed part of its ‘recovery plan’, is set to be rolled out on Sunday.

Edward Carder, who is the chair of Royston & Villages Rail Users Group and has been lobbying for changes since the overhaul was announced, told this paper he had concerns about the new schedule.

He said: “On the interim timetable there is a problem for working parents getting home from London around 4pm – we haven’t been given the stop we requested on the 16:12 and the slow train that allowed a connection at Ashwell on the 16:12 has been removed in the interim timetable.

“Peak services to and from Cambridge and through the villages are also rather limited. Otherwise we are reserving judgment to see whether GTR can actually deliver the interim timetable in practice. Since May it has been a string of broken promises.”

Services between Royston and Cambridge will no longer have gaps of more than an hour, according to the new timetable.

Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group chair Susan van de Ven said: “It looks like the three peak time gaps that have made commuting from our stations impossible have been addressed in this timetable – so that’s good news.

“If the timetable is actually adhered to, then people should once again be able to get out of the villages to work. However confidence has gone totally out the window with endless cancellations, and plenty of people have just given up even trying, so reliability will be everything.

“Good luck to everyone who has anything to do with getting this awful mess sorted.”

There is a public meeting organised by Royston & Villages, Ashwell & Morden and Letchworth rail user groups on Thursday next week.

North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald and senior Govia staff are due to attend the meeting which takes place at Brotherhood Hall in Letchworth’s Gernon Road, starting at 6.45pm.

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