Off-peak train size set to double

PUBLISHED: 10:31 28 November 2008 | UPDATED: 13:46 06 May 2010

FCC is doubling the length of the first off-peak train service leaving St Albans for London when new winter timetables are introduced next month. The 9.34pm fast train to St Pancras has always suffered overcrowding and FCC admits that the extra carriages

FCC is doubling the length of the first off-peak train service leaving St Albans for London when new winter timetables are introduced next month.

The 9.34pm fast train to St Pancras has always suffered overcrowding and FCC admits that the extra carriages will come as a welcome relief to customers.

Other Thameslink route services may leave a minute or two earlier or later but there are also a number of more significant changes as well as engineering work in Central London every late weekday evening and most weekends.

Details can be found on the new timetables which will be available from this weekend at stations along the route and on the website www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk

Some services that would have run to Moorgate are being diverted to City Thameslink and Blackfriars and others that would have gone to those stations are running into Moorgate instead. Evening peak departures from Moorgate are being more evenly spaced.

FCC is advising customers without a convenient direct service to Barbican or Moorgate to change at Farringdon and take the tube, for which their tickets will be valid.

A spokesperson explained that the alterations were necessary to accommodate major changes being made by East Midlands Trains and Southern Railway as a result of their franchise commitments and to make the closure of the Thameslink route Farringdon to Moorgate branch line on March 22 fit in with their timetables which will not change again until May.

He added: "The branch line has to close permanently so that work can begin building platforms at Farringdon and Blackfriars to take 50 per cent longer, 12-carriage trains.

"This is part of the Thameslink Programme which is introducing new trains, stations and upgraded track and signalling to address overcrowding."

In addition the Thameslink route will be closed between London Bridge/Herne Hill and St Pancras from 10.30pm to 4.30am Mondays to Fridays and almost every weekend from December 14 through next year and beyond for Network Rail work to be carried out.

Two trains an hour will run from Radlett into St Pancras at the weekend while the work is being carried out. FCC tickets will be valid across London on the tube and when the underground is not running, there will be a replacement bus service.

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