Hitchin and Harpenden parliamentary candidates vow to improve train services
PUBLISHED: 16:28 10 December 2019 | UPDATED: 16:28 10 December 2019
Commuters spoke to Hitchin and Harpenden parliamentary candidates to find out what they would do to improve rail services if elected.
The Hitchin Rail Commuters Campaign group and Harpenden Thameslink Commuters Group invited Conservative parliamentary candidate Bim Afolami, Liberal Democrat candidate Sam Collins and Labour candidate Kay Tart to speak about how they would address the problems faced by commuters.
Both groups have been campaigning for improvements to train services through Hitchin and Harpenden after changes to the timetable in May 2018, which led to fewer trains stopping at both stations.
Lib Dem candidate Sam Collins described the existing train services as "inadequate", and said: "What's happened since May 2018 has frankly been a joke. We have been disregarded, ignored and overlooked.
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"Both stations have suffered a massively detrimental change in our services - it hasn't got back to the level it was before May 2018, and even then the service was OK but it wasn't exactly adequate.
"How many of us have been sat at Finsbury Park for ages waiting for nothing to happen with no announcements? And in Harpenden there are just overcrowded trains, overcrowded platforms. If I'm elected it's going to be right up there on my list of priorities because I'm going to be commuting as well. I will be fighting for the best possible train services for our towns."
Labour candidate Kay Tart said: "Since the timetable change we've had some really severe issues. It's rail users, station staff and train staff who are bearing the brunt of this issue, and they know best what the issues are and potentially what the solutions are.
"I would be working with local commuter groups, representing their concerns and taking them to the Department for Transport to try to implement change.
"In Hitchin I plan to be working very closely with the county council on opening up the London-bound platform at the station, which I think will have a massive impact both on parking and on pedestrian access to the station."
Conservative candidate Bim Afolami was approached by Jon Cooke and Tom Salmond from the commuters group, but declined to participate.
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