Rail dispute

PUBLISHED: 11:03 17 December 2009 | UPDATED: 14:47 06 May 2010

SIR – Removing First Capital Connect s franchise would achieve very little as another franchisee would be just as bad – witness Govia, who had the Thameslink franchise before FCC. However there is a better option – allow East Midlands Trains to operate tr

SIR - Removing First Capital Connect's franchise would achieve very little as another franchisee would be just as bad - witness Govia, who had the Thameslink franchise before FCC. However there is a better option - allow East Midlands Trains to operate trains into St Pancras in direct competition.

The East Midlands franchise is inherently more reliable and the modern diesels can outperform FCC's electric trains as they are able to use the 110mph fast lines all the way into St Pancras.

Moreover, the change onto the Metropolitan/Circle lines to Moorgate at the St Pancras mainline station is virtually seamless, just down the short escalator and a very short walk - far better than the present arrangement at Farringdon. Even passengers for Farringdon would benefit, not to mention passengers for the Westbound Metropolitan/Circle and the West End.

A few years ago, BAA proposed a direct link from Heathrow into Moorgate. Due to its impending closure, they were offered the former taxi rank to the west of St Pancras station instead.

This option would expand capacity and provide an even quicker underground interchange.

The East Midlands franchise receives a subsidy. This could be phased out completely if the Bedford-London part of the journey were to be incorporated with its own, i.e. a Leicester or Kettering to St Pancras service, or even a Derby/Nottingham service calling at stations between Bedford and St Albans.

Billions of pounds of further savings could also be made by abandoning Phase 2 of the Thameslink project, the section from Blackfriars to London Bridge.

Perhaps Mrs Anne Main would like to persuade her party to consider these options should they gain power next year.

They keep telling us about how they would like to offer choice so perhaps they can start here, particularly as it was them that allowed Moorgate to go after years of promises.

Thameslink is allegedly one of the country's most unpopular rail routes and many passengers would like to vote with their feet accordingly.

PAUL JOHNSTON

Down Edge, Redbourn


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