‘There was a glitch’ – Commuters left confused as trains ‘disappear’ amid Great Northern’s timetable update
PUBLISHED: 07:51 22 May 2017 | UPDATED: 15:38 22 May 2017
Commuters were left confused as two train timetables giving different information were both available this morning – with some services apparently going ‘missing’.
Govia Thameslink – which operates the Great Northern line – had both old and new PDF timetables on its website side by side as a new timetable was introduced this morning, while some trains were inexplicably left off National Rail’s online journey planners and station customer noticeboards.
The result was mass confusion over which information to believe, with commuters left unsure when London-bound trains are actually running from towns such as Baldock and Hitchin.
Great Northern’s Twitter feed responded to many messages this morning with variants on ‘this issue is being investigated’ – before updating at 7.40am to say the apparently missing services had ‘now been reinstated’, and that ‘we apologise for any confusion’.
When contacted by this paper this morning, a Great Northern spokesman confirmed that there had been ‘an issue with our website’, later adding: “There was a glitch with online National Rail journey planners this morning that removed these trains.
“They were put back in manually and we are looking at exactly what happened.
“We are sorry for the concern this would have caused passengers, who should be reassured that the trains are still running.”
More than a few commuters had got the impression that trains had been cut, with four services from Hitchin to London King’s Cross between 7.30am and 8am apparently reduced to just one, at 7.36am – a change confirmed to callers to Great Northern customer serices yesterday.
Amid the confusion this morning over the apparent cuts, Mika Giddings tweeted: “Apparently it’s not a mistake, they’ve gotten rid of two busiest trains used by majority of Baldock commuters. No posters at station!”
She then added: “Hold on – the PDF timetable on the GN website says that the trains haven’t been knocked out, times changed slightly. What’s going on?”
Hitchin commuter Chris Zetter told this paper: “A few peak trains have disappeared just on Monday, May 22.
“At Hitchin, these trains normally call at 7.51am, 7.55am and 8.06am. These trains are no longer calling at Hitchin and other stations on Monday according to National Rail Enquiries, but are listed on the new timetables on Great Northern website.
“So either the trains aren’t running – which will cause a lot of disruption for people who normally commute at that time and Great Northern have published incorrect timetables or haven’t taken time to inform people – or the trains are running, but National Rail have incorrect information about them.
“Myself and others have contacted Great Northern for information, and they have confirmed the trains ‘appear’ not to be running they haven’t explained why their own timetables are wrong or why the trains wouldn’t run this Monday.”
After the error was fixed and the missing services ‘reinstated’, Hitchin’s Simon Byron quipped: “It says a lot that cancelling three rush hour trains from Hitchin was a stupid decision we assumed they were capable of.”