Commuters' fears over rail service

PUBLISHED: 12:46 24 May 2007 | UPDATED: 15:06 12 May 2010

FIRST Capital Connect has begun a consultation period when the future of rail services from Royston to London will be decided. After completing a capacity study on train services from Cambridge to London, the rail company is now asking passengers for feed

FIRST Capital Connect has begun a consultation period when the future of rail services from Royston to London will be decided.

After completing a capacity study on train services from Cambridge to London, the rail company is now asking passengers for feedback on new draft timetables.

However, rail-user groups fear the feedback given will not be enough to stop services from Royston being changed significantly, and that in particular there will be no fast services between Royston and London King's Cross.

Howard de Souza of the Royston rail-user group said: "The penalty we are paying is in the service.

"The overcrowding issue may have been addressed, but we will be given slower trains and our choice will be limited."

Two services an hour are currently available from Royston to King's Cross, the fastest taking 48 minutes. But under the new proposals the fastest service will be 54 minutes.

Ashwell and Morden station is also affected.

Member of the Ashwell and Morden rail-users group Sarah Duckett said: "We are sacrificing speed for seats. Our services will be slowed down.

"Cambridge is benefiting from this, but we are unhappy with losing the speed of our services."

Ashwell and Morden lost its 7.03am service last year, and now looks set to lose the 8.03am.

The purpose of the Cambridge and Peterborough Capacity Study, which was jointly funded by First Capital Connect and the Department for Transport (DfT), was to find ways of reducing overcrowding on the routes.

The study was approved by the DfT last December, and now the company is in the process of implementing the changes.

Mr de Souza said: "The 6.15pm King's Cross to Cambridge service will no longer stop at Royston.

"This may well offer seats for everyone going to Cambridge, but it us who will suffer."

Managing Director of First Capital Connect Elaine Holt has agreed to meet people from the Royston area to discuss the changes.

The meeting will take place on June 12 at 7pm. A venue is yet to be confirmed.

- Barriers being installed at Royston railway station are set to go live on June 1.

It is hoped that the barriers, similar to those found at London Underground stations, will help reduce First Capital Connect's 60,000 fare-dodgers annually across the service.

A spokesman from First Capital Connect said: "The barriers are being set up across the area, and will be similar to ones already in Stevenage."

The staffed barriers will include a wide aisle for people with luggage or buggies.

The gate to leave platform two will be open and staffed.

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