Petition calls for improvements to Thameslink rail service

Thameslink commuters can expect delays of up to 35 minutes due to an earlier problem at West Hampste

Thameslink commuters can expect delays of up to 35 minutes due to an earlier problem at West Hampstead - Credit: Archant

An online petition calling for train bosses to improve their service has gained more than 3,000 signatures following a week of travel misery.

The campaign, addressed to the Department for Transport, claims that the current service operated by Govia Thameslink Railway is ‘unsatisfactory’.

It states that commuters are met with ‘staff shortages, broken down trains and signal failure’ every day and argues that because delays often just fall short of the 30 minute limit to reclaim a fare, commuters are not fairly reimbursed.

Last week commuters had to endure repeated delays and cancellations after two burst water mains in the Clerkenwell Tunnel between Farringdon and St Pancras the previous weekend, caused huge flooding.

When The Herts Advertiser went to print, the total number of signatures stood at 3,073.

Peter Kaser, of Hazelwood Drive in St Albans, said he signed the epetition after being “fed up with how noticeably poor” the service has been since September, when Govia took over the Thameslink franchise from First Capital Connect.

He said: “I commute daily from home to Blackfriars and since Govia took over, it appears not a day goes by without some issues, some more major than others.

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“I have had to change the train I catch because Govia keep cancelling or reducing the size of the train and rather than catching a fast train, I now catch a semi-fast one where I’m more likely to get a seat.”

He added that during last week’s flooding chaos, he was forced to travel into London from Watford which added an hour to his journey at both ends.

When he travelled in from St Albans last Thursday he said the station was so busy commuters were made to wait in the booking hall and slowly let on to the platform.

Because of short-formation trains he said the service has not improved this week with “already busy trains turning into cattle wagons”.

He went on: “Govia need to improve how they handle situations. A small problem seems to have knock-on effects that they are unable to cope with.

“Whilst the flooding was not their fault, it was their task to manage their trains, staff and any emergency timetable and buses. It is also their responsibility to keep the trains well-maintained.”

The petition, created by Sophie Klimt, is due to end on March 30.