Harpenden Station to partially close in run up to Easter

FIRST Capital Connect (FCC) passengers parking at Harpenden railway station face a nightmare start to the week from Monday as the rail operator is closing 456 parking bays for resurfacing work.

FCC has recommended that people park in Luton or St Albans while resurfacing and relining work is carried out on the station’s east side car park during the school Easter break, from next Monday until April 13.

Four of the 456 parking bays are for drivers with disabilities.

But Harpenden resident Maria Moyses has slammed FCC and warned there will be “chaos” as the firm has given commuters just a few days’ notice of the temporary closure.

She said: “I am not impressed. This is the first I’ve heard about the closure and it’s just typical of the lack of communication by First Capital Connect with its customers.If we’d known about the closure a few weeks ago we could have made sensible plans.”

She added: “It will be absolute chaos, especially with everyone turning up on Monday for work, and not knowing about it. And what about people who have already paid a hefty amount for annual parking, will they be reimbursed if there aren’t any spaces?”

Maria, who commutes to London every day, added that she hadn’t noticed any signs about the pending closure. She rejected FCC’s advice of travelling on to Luton to park as it, “is a long way from home”.

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She asked why the company had not organised alternative parking closer to Harpenden railway station such as at a local council car park.

And she maintained the condition of the car park surface was, “no worse than roads throughout Herts”.

A spokesman for FCC said the work was being carried out in response to local feedback and that lighting would be improved and an additional 20 car parking spaces created as a result.

He said it was not practical to organise alternative parking at council-owned car parks.

FCC is working with Network Rail to improve both car parks at Harpenden, with parts of the west side, which has 245 spaces, to be resurfaced in late summer.

The spokesman went on: “The dates have been chosen to minimise disruption. To further help rail passengers, all Harpenden car park season tickets will be valid from Luton, Luton Airport Parkway and St Albans car parks.

“Rail season tickets from Harpenden will be valid on FCC services from Luton and Luton Airport Parkway.”

There will be no vehicular access to the east side car park during the work. Passengers can be dropped off and collected at Station Approach outside the main building’s entrance.

FCC service director Keith Jipps said: “We do apologise for any inconvenience this causes our customers but hope people agree the outcome will be better facilities for everyone.”

Martin Frobisher, Network Rail route managing director, said: “Many people making journeys from Harpenden travel to the station by car and this investment will improve the facilities for passengers.

“We will work together with First Capital Connect to ensure that this project is delivered with the least possible disruption to passengers.”