Sack First Capital Connect today - Union Says

PUBLISHED: 14:52 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 14:50 06 May 2010

A RAIL union has continued its onslaught on First Capital Connect (FCC) today, making another demand that the Government sacks the company. As reported by the Herts Advertiser yesterday, Transport Secretary Lord Andrew Adonis told FCC that it must get its

A RAIL union has continued its onslaught on First Capital Connect (FCC) today, making another demand that the Government sacks the company.

As reported by the Herts Advertiser yesterday, Transport Secretary Lord Andrew Adonis told FCC that it must get its service back to normal by the weekend.

But commuters faced yet another morning of chaos today due to a train from another operator breaking down on the line and power failures near Bedford.

Passengers are at breaking point after months of delays and cancellations due to the drivers' dispute over pay and the recent adverse weather conditions.

Although FCC had vowed to get back on track this week, commuters have continued to experience delays and many services are down to four carriages because ice damage on some trains has still not been repaired.

A spokesperson for FCC said that the majority of this week's problems have been out of their hands as they have involved Network Rail infrastructure and other operators.

But Union RMT has demanded that Lord Adonis sticks to his word and terminates the FCC franchise on the Thameslink line, which falls under parent company First Group.

It said that at least 38 services were either delayed, disrupted or running half of the carriages required this morning (Friday).

General secretary Bob Crow said: "Lord Adonis gave First Group a deadline of today to either shape up or ship out and they have blown it. The Government would now look ridiculous if they didn't take urgent and decisive action to end this franchise from hell.

"It's time to clear the First Group rip-off merchants off the tracks and get a properly resourced and staffed service in place under public ownership. First Group soaked up £140 million in public subsidies last year and creamed off over £90 million in profits. That is reward for failure on an epic scale and the time has come to give them the boot."

A Department for Transport spokesman said: "The Secretary of State has been clear that FCC need to improve their service very significantly and he is looking at all options open to him if they fail to do so.

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