Misery Continues for First Capital Connect Passengers

PUBLISHED: 11:02 12 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:50 06 May 2010

COMMUTERS continue to face delays on the Thameslink line even though the problems caused by the freezing weather have abated. The emergency timetable implemented when temperatures plummeted last week was replaced this morning (Tuesday) with the revised t

COMMUTERS continue to face delays on the Thameslink line even though the problems caused by the freezing weather have abated.

The emergency timetable implemented when temperatures plummeted last week was replaced this morning (Tuesday) with the revised timetable put into place on December 14 after a dispute with drivers erupted.

But on its website, First Capital Connect (FCC) informs passengers that there are still trains out of service due to the icy weather so the timetable does not include the extra services laid on at the beginning of January to help the situation.

It also warns customers that there is a risk some services will be shorter than advertised.

A severely-reduced timetable has been in place on the line since last week's snowfall and no trains run at all on Thursday.

Problems also worsened last night when the extra services FCC attempted to introduce in the evening peak were unable to operate due to overhead problems at St Pancras, which also meant trains were cancelled through central London.

Growing anger among commuters has been mounting and Bob Crow, general secretary of RMT (the national union of Rail, Maritime and Transport workers), also slammed the company this morning.

He said: "The continuing chaos on FCC and other parts of the rail network

is down to a shortage of operating staff, track crew and serviceable rolling stock. Those issues must be tackled as a matter of urgency in light of the events of the past week."

He added: "FCC has once again proven itself to be a complete disaster in terms of service delivery and the only solution to the continuing and repeated chaos on their franchise is to bring it back under public ownership with proper resources and staffing put in place to deliver for the travelling public."

The result of the ballot of drivers involved in the dispute over pay following a revised deal from FCC is due tomorrow (Wednesday).

The union ASLEF has advised them to accept it and this should result in the operator reverting back to its normal timetable after nearly three months of chaos caused by the drivers refusing to work any overtime or on rest days.


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