Rail misery continues

PUBLISHED: 11:38 18 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:50 06 May 2010

SIR – I wrote to the managing director of First Capital Connect over four weeks ago, but am still waiting for a response. I find this extremely unprofessional and wholly disrespectful. They claim they are doing their utmost to resolve the situation but ye

SIR - I wrote to the managing director of First Capital Connect over four weeks ago, but am still waiting for a response. I find this extremely unprofessional and wholly disrespectful.

They claim they are doing their utmost to resolve the situation but yet again I find myself sitting on a severely delayed train with no information and no idea as to when I may arrive in St Albans.

Whilst I appreciate the efforts of my local MP, Anne Main, I realise this is falling on deaf ears. Time and time again Anne, along with other MPs, as well as FCC's paying customers, have complained. However, all we hear is a lame "apology" and a promise that things will get better. They have not. And there is little sign they will.


Harpenden Road, St Albans

SIR - First Capital Connect commuters have endured unspeakable conditions for over two months, yet on January 4 I endured the ultimate bizarre journey.

The morning train (07.38 ex-Harpenden) was terminated at Kentish Town, despite the very sympathetic driver assuring passengers that an earlier defect with lighting in the front four cars had been solved. Then the full-to-overflowing evening train (18.41 ex-Farringdon) had no heating whatsoever in sub-zero temperatures! No apology was made.

In view of the increasing unreliability of the ageing 319 units, it is especially worrying that approval for the new Thameslink stock appears to have been been put back a year until autumn 2010. The brand new Electrostar trains are due to go to Southern when the new stock is built, and doubtless extensive driver training will start all over again.

At least costly and complex automatic train control in central London now seems to be in abeyance, possibly also putting an end to the merger with the King's Cross suburban services at St Pancras International. Radical decisions are needed fast.


Amberley Close, Harpenden

SIR - Every day I travel from Harpenden to London on First Capital Connect and have experienced first hand the pain of the last few months!

In my spare time I write poems, and wondered whether you'd publish this in your newspaper?

Dear Mr Fat Cat, First Capital Connect, I hope that your Christmas was all you'd expect...

A goose and some grouse, consumed with some cheer, whilst you thought of your income first week of new year.

As one of your customers (four hundred a month) I wanted to thank you for coming up trumps, and providing a service which must make you so proud, and makes all of your passengers cry out loud...


Now dear Mr Fat Cat I'm not generally irate, I don't moan or complain or allow things to grate, but your passengers are losing the ability to function, after what has been months now, one massive disruption!

My train today was, as usual, late, and rammed to the brim in a cattle cart state. As I stood in the pit of a businessman's arm, and a sneeze filled my hair with a snotty wet balm, I noticed around me the clear disarray: the affect of commuting, another long day.

To my right was a man, who looked around 50: lips droopy, eyes saggy, hands shaking distinctly...

To my left was a lady all sallow and grey: swearing and cursing another delay... And slowly I realised, we all look the same: bent, haggard, depressed in this concentration-camp train.

Arriving at work we are dead on our feet at a time when the economy needs our brains to compete. And every day, my stomach starts churning, the windows close in and my forehead starts burning, and I feel the bile rising at the back of my throat, and like I might hurl on a businessman's coat.

The thing is, Mr Fat, that I'm having a baby, and the journey each day only serves to make me think seriously of quitting, which I just can't afford, but it's a choice between that or distressed and distraught.

I know that you have us all under the thumb, as the service you offer is the only viable one, but please Mr Fat, consider your thinking, it's not only our pockets but our lives you're affecting.

And these people Mr Fat, they work very hard: they're tired and anxious and stressed as they are, and the last thing they need at the end of the day, is your stupid excuses about staff disarray. For the joy of your services, I'll watch four grand disappear, and wanted to thank you for a stinking new year.

Mr Fat, please make it your resolution to serve, your customers with the happiness and joy they deserve.



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