Train capacity count is simple, but flawed

PUBLISHED: 15:30 28 June 2007 | UPDATED: 15:08 12 May 2010

THE method that Mr Partridge (Postbag, June 14) used to compare seating capacity provided in the existing and proposed train services, is simple but flawed. To begin with, much of the capacity counted by Mr Partridge in the existing service is taken up b

THE method that Mr Partridge (Postbag, June 14) used to compare seating capacity provided in the existing and proposed train services, is simple but flawed.

To begin with, much of the capacity counted by Mr Partridge in the existing service is taken up by Cambridge and Fen Line passengers, who won't be using the Royston trains in the new timetable.

This is what creates extra capacity for Royston commuters. It is most easily illustrated by the existing 0728 train, which Mr Partridge is counting as eight carriages, even though it has zero capacity for Royston passengers because all the seats are already taken when it leaves Cambridge.

The new timetable replaces the full 0728 with the 0732 train starting empty at Royston and I would like to know how this can be considered as anything other than an increase in capacity of eight carriages.

Furthermore, other existing capacity counted by Mr Partridge is also useless to Royston passengers because the trains are so slow, notably the 1722, 1752 and 1822 trains from King's Cross in the evening.

I have travelled on these trains a few times, and the number of passengers getting off at Royston rarely gets into double figures.

If they were relevant to the comparison then passengers would already be using them as alternatives to the overcrowded fast trains.

Finally, it is plain wrong for Mr Partridge to claim that two morning trains and four evening trains have been "cut".

Yes, there are Cambridge and Fen Line trains no longer stopping at Royston, but in every case a reasonable alternative has been provided, and in all but one of these cases that alternative is effectively additional capacity.

MARK CHAPLIN

Green Drift

Royston

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