New ticket gates at Harpenden railway station

FIRST Capital Connect hopes to clamp down on fare evasion and beef up security by installing new ticket gates at Harpenden railway station.

While a spokesman for the company declined to say how much the project cost, he said the new gate lines, one on platform four next to the existing booking hall and another on platform one about 35 metres south of the footbridge, were expected to “go live this coming spring.”

Superintendent Paul Brogden from British Transport Police said: “There is a high correlation between ticketless travel and crime; basically most criminals don’t buy tickets.

“Having gate lines in place will help reduce crime on the network and protect law-abiding passengers as well as helping to ensure that fare-paying-passengers do not have to subsidise those who refuse to buy tickets. It is a welcome development.”

FCC customer services director Michelle Smart said: “New gates will improve security for Harpenden and all our customers on board Thameslink route services. People who don’t buy tickets cost the rail industry �400 million a year – money that we as train operators would like to invest in our service. Disruption will be kept to a minimum during the work.”

A curious Herts Advertiser reader contacted the paper for details of brickwork unearthed in the initial phase of construction on platform four, but the FCC spokesman said contractors had confirmed it was “of no historical importance” and work would continue.

The ticket gates will take up about 10 parking spaces in the main car park near platform one, which has a capacity for about 540 vehicles, and a further six spaces are needed during the work for a site compound in an area furthest away from the entrance.

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Seven spaces will be added mid-February at the site of the existing entrance to platform one.

FCC and Network Rail are looking at the feasibility of resurfacing and marking out spaces in the main car park, to replace lost spaces.