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PUBLISHED: 07:19 08 March 2007 | UPDATED: 15:01 12 May 2010

Rail-users demand answers from operator

Rail-users demand answers from operator

RAIL operator First Capital Connect is to meet with commuters over concerns that train services from Royston will be cut. First Capital Connect has carried out a survey to tackle overcrowding on trains at peak times and last month it submitted the study w

RAIL operator First Capital Connect is to meet with commuters over concerns that train services from Royston will be cut.

First Capital Connect has carried out a survey to tackle overcrowding on trains at peak times and last month it submitted the study with recommendations and proposals to the Department for Transport.

However, commuters are angry because they have not been consulted or had the chance to voice their concerns about potential changes to the timetable.

Howard de Souza, of the Royston Rail-User Group, said: "There are thousands of people who commute to London every day, but we are in a position of ignorance.

"We don't know what the recommendations are, how they will affect us or the time-frame because we were never consulted."

Mr de Souza said: "There is a problem and we understand there is a need to fix it. What we don't know is how the rail operator is going to fix it so we want our voices to be heard.

"In an ideal world I would like longer trains to stop at Letchworth, Royston and Cambridge to relieve the pressure on all trains at rush hour."

A spokesman for First Capital Connect said: "Several key Cambridge fast services endure unacceptable levels of crowding, and this is an area which we are determined to tackle.

"In conjunction with our consultants, First Capital Connect has submitted a report to the Department for Transport which outlines all aspects of the study undertaken to deal with this issue, together with proposals and recommendations that need to be developed further.

"But until the Department for Transport approves the study nothing can happen.

"Our aim is to have more seats and put on more trains and any services that will be cut will be those that are under-used.

"Any variation to the timetable will require the agreement of the Department for Transport. Once the department concurs that the timetable amendments have value, we will consult with representative stakeholder groups for further views before any decision is given to proceed.

"This arrangement does not normally involve individuals," he said.

Any changes will not be implemented until December at the earliest.

Royston's MP Oliver Heald was hoping this week to meet with First Capital Connect chief executive Elaine Holt.

He said: "I shall immediately table a series of Parliamentary questions to find out how long the Government estimates the process will take, when it aims to go out to consultation and exactly what the implications may be for North Herts' commuters.


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