Royston and South Cambs rail user groups respond to new interim timetable

PUBLISHED: 17:01 18 July 2018

The interim timetable has started to ease pressures for commuters. Picture: Jason Flynn

The interim timetable has started to ease pressures for commuters. Picture: Jason Flynn

Archant

Commuters in Royston and surrounding villages have begun to see the effects of Govia Thameslink’s interim timetable this week, which has seen a decline in cancelled and delayed services.

Commuters in Royston and surrounding villages have begun to see the effects of Govia Thameslink’s interim timetable this week.

The interim timetable was rolled out on Sunday to “mark a signifcant stage in the recovery plan” following weeks of disruption on their services.

Royston and Villages Rail User Group chair Edward Carder, in a joint statement with Leanne Stott from the Letchworth Rail Users Group, said: “We cautiously welcome early sings of stabilisations to the peaks of the interim timetable after eight weeks of chaos for commuters.

“There are however inherent problems with the July timetable – and indeed the overall structure of the ‘May’ timetable for stations in our area. These need addressing, so there is a comparable level of service to that provided before May 20.

“In particular the current timetable is inadequate for shift workers, working parents and evening travellers.

“We continue to work with Govia and our MP to achieve this on behalf of our members.”

Chair of Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group Susan van de Ven said: ““It’s very early days and we’ll have to see if reliability can be reestablished in the coming weeks.

“The first couple of days saw the cancellation of the 7:46 (Foxton) to London, a key commuter service. Affected passengers have already suffered eight weeks of commuting hell and have no patience left for further cancellations.

“On the return journey from London, the timetable itself has a key gap that thwarts the opportunity to catch a faster service to Royston and then connect to the villages. GTR will need to address this.

“Between the villages and Cambridge, there have been a few cancellations but otherwise an OK service – let’s hope it stabilises.

“There’s not been a chance yet to see how weekend services will perform - these are important too. On Sunday an 11pm cancellation from King’s Cross saw passengers still finding their way home at 2am. Given that credibility has been so thoroughly eroded over the past two months, experiences like this will push people away from rail travel.

“We’ve heard more from people frustrated in their attempts to claim compensation. Some have been financially penalised for late arrival at work, through no fault of their own - something which has got to be factored into compensation schemes.

“We’ve also had offers of assistance for people seeking to claim compensation, by local residents with expertise to bring to bear.

“We’re encouraging people to continue writing to us with their concerns and grievances. We are collating all feedback to send on to GTR, our MP Heidi Allen, and the Department for Transport. Please contact us at railusergroup@gmail.com.

“Coincidentally, from the July 29, the Royston-Melbourn-Shepreth-Foxton-Cambridge 26 commercial bus service will be brought into the Guided Busway network, with a direct service through key stops in Cambridge including Addenbrooke’s, and Cambridge and Cambridge North Stations.”

A GTR spokesman said: “The introduction of the interim timetable to give more reliability to Thameslink and Great Northern has gone well.

“Service levels and driver availability have improved and we are running a more reliable service in the peak hours.

“While overall the picture has improved, some signalling and engineering works have impacted services.

“At this important stage of the rollout plan we have begun operating 200 more daily services towards the 400 extra trains promised in the May timetable change.”

There’s a Royston, Letchworth and Ashwell Rail Users Group public meeting with North East Herts MP Sir Oliver Heald and Govia representatives at Brotherhood Hall in Letchworth at 6.45pm tomorrow evening.

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