Rail changes will help ease overcrowding

PUBLISHED: 13:03 31 May 2007 | UPDATED: 15:06 12 May 2010

I HAVE looked carefully at First Capital Connect s (FCC) proposals for alterations to the train timetable, and having commuted from Royston for more than 20 years, I welcome the proposed changes. They will go a long way towards meeting the objectives of

I HAVE looked carefully at First Capital Connect's (FCC) proposals for alterations to the train timetable, and having commuted from Royston for more than 20 years, I welcome the proposed changes.

They will go a long way towards meeting the objectives of reducing existing overcrowding and allowing for further growth in passenger numbers.

I am disappointed at the negative and, at times, distorted coverage of what FCC is proposing.

Firstly, the proposed timetable does not involve a significant increase in journey times, except for those willing to stand every evening.

In the morning, the changes are small: the 0728 and 0758 trains from Royston no longer stop, but there are alternative trains at 0732 and 0813 with similar journey times.

In the evening four trains no longer stop at Royston, but each has an alternative train reaching Royston in 44-46 minutes, and for those who prefer to sit down this will result in a quicker and more pleasant journey home, because we won't need to arrive 15 minutes before departure time to make sure of getting a seat.

Your report stated that the fastest journey in the new timetable will be 54 minutes and this just isn't true. I can count nine morning services and five evening services faster than that.

Secondly, the choice of trains from Royston has not been reduced.

For each train that no longer stops an alternative has been provided, and Ashwell commuters get considerably more choice, especially in the evening.

The consultation process is an opportunity to propose adjustments to the draft timetable before introduction.

But such proposals need to be realistic and a campaign to have stops reinstated on the 1815 train from King's Cross isn't facing facts.

FCC estimates an average of 220 standing passengers on this train and that can only be reduced by providing more seats or missing out stops.

The first option doesn't help Royston commuters because the Royston platform is too short for longer trains, and if the existing stops are retained then the train will continue to be overcrowded.

In the consultation process user groups should concentrate on the stopping patterns of the new trains, together with the existing 0713 and 0743 morning trains, where eliminating some of the proposed stops offers the prospect of further reductions in overcrowding and improvements to journey times.

MARK CHAPLIN

Green Drift

Royston

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