St Albans poet pens piece about Thameslink rail fare increase

PUBLISHED: 13:00 03 January 2018 | UPDATED: 13:00 03 January 2018

A piece of artwork Claire made for 'Commuter Waltz'. Image: Claire Pinney.

A piece of artwork Claire made for 'Commuter Waltz'. Image: Claire Pinney.


A St Albans commuter has penned a poem protesting about conditions on Govia Thameslink services from St Albans.

A Thameslink train at BlackfriarsA Thameslink train at Blackfriars

Claire Pinney’s piece, entitled Commuter Waltz, tells the story of a traveller who sneaks into first class with a standard ticket to avoid crowded carriages.

The poem was published in Claire’s Poetry Comic No 1, and coincides with a government-mandated 3.3 per cent ticket price increase on Thameslink services.

She said: “It’s borne out of the frustration and the ongoing things I see and experience, such as the cost and not being able to get a seat unless you go on a slow train.

“It would be nice if some of the eight-coach trains were 12-coach. The new trains have been built with no hooks to hang on to.

A Thameslink train at BlackfriarsA Thameslink train at Blackfriars

“It’s too late now because they have already built the trains, but I do not see the point in having tables on a commuter train.”

Claire, who works as an administrator in Westminster, said: “The problem is the ongoing cost when it’s not particularly a pleasant experience.

“It’s mega expensive unless you have a fantastic job in the city.”

She wrote the poem a couple of years ago, and admits Thameslink services have improved since then.

The government has increased season tickets and anytime fares by 3.6 per cent, in line with inflation.

Revenue from ticket sales goes to the Department of Transport.

The increase on Thameslink’s non-regulated tickets has reduced the overall increase to an average of 3.33 per cent.

A Thameslink spokesperson said: “As we continue to modernise the railway to give passengers faster, more frequent, more reliable journeys, fares on Thameslink services will rise by less than the rate of inflation, by an average of 3.33 per cent.

“Passengers from St Albans will this year benefit from a significant increase in the number of services and carriages into London with the introduction of our new May timetable.”

The Rail Delivery Group, which works with rail operators and National Rail, says 97p from every pound spent on tickets goes into improving services.

The Group promised “dramatic” improvements on the Thameslink network over the next 18 months.

To buy the comic and find out more about Claire visit

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I should probably have taken the hint! Walking out into the garden recently an unprecedented flock of thirty or more crows raucously greeted me from the treetops at the bottom of my garden. Cawing and croaking these big, black birds clung clumsily to the top most branches and twigs, jostling and flapping to stay balanced in a constant flurry of feathers. There is always something ominous about crows – they are after all carrion crows, the vultures of the bird world – always watching for scraps and weakness that might mean their next meal.

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