First Capital Connect responds to earlier service delays and heating problems

FIRST Capital Connect customers suffered delays of up to 40 minutes this morning, due to overhead line problems at Bedford.

A spokesperson for FCC said: “This morning at 0429 a train coming into service out of Bedford sidings hit ice on the overhead power lines. This caused severe sparking and made the section trip out. It is also thought to have damaged the overhead power equipment on the train. Network Rail is responsible for keeping the overhead lines clear of ice and is investigating the issue. Their engineers had to isolate the section to remove the ice which clearly took some time.

“This meant that at the beginning of the day we had only trains that had been in service overnight or stabled elsewhere available for service. Furthermore, drivers who would also have taken services from Bedford to Cricklewood sidings to collect their train were also delayed. As a result there were a number of cancellations and delays of up to 40 minutes this morning.

“To help our customers, we arranged transport on Uno buses from St Albans to Hatfield for Great Northern services to King’s Cross and allowed Thameslink route car park season ticket holders to use the Great Northern station car parks at no further charge.

“We also kept people informed through our customer information systems and Twitter.

“With the exceptional cold weather, we understand how any problems with the heating in our 25 year old train fleet will be very unpleasant for our passengers so we have been checking any reported faults immediately – within 90 minutes by our engineers at Brighton, Bedford and Farringdon, Kentish Town. Customers can help by please making a note of the carriage number and reporting it to a member of staff or the FCC Twitter team @FirstCC.

“This morning’s delays were frustrating for all concerned and we apologise to our customers for their difficult journeys into work. Network Rail is exploring the issue of ice on the overhead power lines that led to the problem.”