Great Northern/Govia - Keep the evening fast trains to Royston and Letchworth after 19:12
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Under the proposed 2018 timetable Great Northern (run by Govia Thameslink Railways) are planning a massive downgrade in the service to Royston and Letchworth.
The big problems are:
- There will be no fast trains to Royston and Letchworth from Kings Cross after 19:12 (the trains will instead run non-stop to Cambridge). The replacement will be a train from St Pancras that takes 49 minutes instead of 36 minutes (to Royston). For someone commuting every day that's an extra 48 hours on the train a year.
- There will be no trains starting at Royston in the morning. The 07:32 and 08:34 will be replaced by trains starting at Cambridge. For commuters from Royston & Ashwell, these are the only trains on which you can get a seat (especially with the new trains that, ridiculously, have fewer seats).
- Letchworth will also lose all the stops on the Kings Lynn origin fast trains in the morning - so no sub-30 minute trains into London in the morning from Letchworth but trains taking 40 minutes or more.
- Both stations will lose the fast trains at 09:05/09:15, 09:35/09:45 and 10:05/10:15, replaced with a slower semi-fast service taking 40-50 minutes.
The train service is a vital resource for our towns, our prosperity depends on it and we all plan our lives and buy our homes based on it. This is especially true with the need for affordable housing in commuting distance of London.
Thank you for reading and please sign the petition.
Edward Carder & John Moore, Royston & Villages Rail Users Group
Leanne Stott & Stephen Rose, Letchworth Rail Users Group
- Chief Executive Officer Govia Thameslink Railway
- Secretary of state for transport
Chris Grayling MP
- MP for Northeast Herts
Sir Oliver Heald MP
- Govia Thameslink Railway
GTR Timetable Consultation
GTR 2018 Timetable Consultation
East Side Offices
Kings Cross Station
By hand and by email to email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org
27 July 2017
Dear Mr Horton
Great Northern/Govia - Keep the evening fast trains to Royston and Letchworth after 19:12 and restore the morning trains starting from Royston
We the undersigned are writing to express our objections to the proposed 2018 timetable for the service between Royston, Letchworth Garden City and London and why we think it represents an unacceptable degradation to the service.
As you are aware, Royston is in large part a commuter town. Publicly available data indicate that the number of commuters is increasing year on year, increasing by over 20% in the last 5 years (approximately 250,000 passenger journeys, Office of Rail and Road Statistics), yet you propose a significant reduction in the service. This is on top of the introduction of new rolling stock earlier this year, which has fewer seats and has rendered all of the peak fast services from Royston standing room only, when previously one could get a seat most days. The changes listed below are particularly unacceptable, likely to further harm the service, and we would ask that you reverse them. We would also ask in relation to each change we highlight that you provide:
A. Your reasoning for the change; and
B. The statistical analysis of capacity and any other relevant data analysis you have done;
so that we may challenge the matter further if you do not make the changes requested.
1. Changes to evening fast service
The new timetable proposes that the last fast service to Royston and Letchworth from Kings Cross (or indeed, any London station) will be at 19:12. At present the last fast service is at 23:44 from Kings Cross. This is a change of some four and a half hours. The current fast services take approximately 36 minutes. You are instead proposing to replace the service with two hourly services from St Pancras taking 49 minutes. This is 36% longer. This is an unacceptable reduction in service at a peak time. Commuters take these fast trains home. The total change to travel time for a person using these trains on working days over the year will be just over 48 hours, the equivalent of two whole additional days spent on the train.
We can see no sensible justification for the change, as you are still running the same trains from London Kings Cross, but non-stop to Cambridge, saving only a few minutes. Your change is against the legitimate expectations of commuters from intermediate stations and you should reverse it, continuing to stop the trains at Royston and Letchworth.
2. Changes to morning services
As highlighted above, the effect of your recent introduction of new rolling stock has been to render it impossible to get a seat on the fast trains from Royston to Kings Cross in the mornings (the trains that generally run at 59 minutes and 29 minutes past the hour). The effect is that a significant number of other commuters have switched to the two trains that start at Royston, the 07:32 and 07:34, to ensure we can get a seat. We note that as part of the changes, you are now proposing to do away with these trains starting at Royston and instead run all trains from Cambridge (except one train at 05:18).
We are deeply concerned that the effect will be to mean that it is impossible to get a seat in the morning on any train from Royston or the intermediate station South of it. Please reverse this decision and reinstate the trains starting at Royston.
3. Next steps
Please consider this letter and petition as part of your public consultation. We expect it to be given the same weight as individual contributions from each of us.
We have also copied this letter to the local MP, Sir Oliver Heald MP, the Secretary of State for Transport, Chris Grayling MP and the Royston Crow Newspaper, as we consider that this is an interest of considerable local importance, affecting the wellbeing of a good portion of the local population and the local economy.
Finally, we would note the very poor standard of the communication around the public consultation. There was only a single poster at Royston Station with no actual information. There were no tannoy announcements to highlight the consultation (as there were in the first phase of the public consultation). The web tool available for passengers to understand the changes to their journey was confusing, requiring separate searches for London Kings Cross and St Pancras to be amalgamated to gain a final picture. Most concerningly, a member of the Royston Rail Users Group was hounded from the station by one of your staff whilst handing out information leaflets to the public in an effort to address the information vacuum left by your company. Please take this as a formal complaint in that regard.
The poverty of the information provided by your company resulted in us only launching our petition on 22 July. We have thus been able to gather this number of signatures in 6 days. We will keep the petition open to gather the full extent of the concern in the local community and provide a further, updated copy to you in due course.
The Royston Rail Users Group looks forward to participating fully in discussions with you to resolve the obvious problems with the timetable.
Dr Edward Carder, Royston Rail Users Group on behalf of the
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