Thameslink rapped for lack of communication over lack of southbound services from St Albans rail station

St Albans City Station

St Albans City Station - Credit: Archant

Lack of information about the cancellation of southbound services from St Albans City Station next weekend has infuriated a would-be passenger who had planned a reunion with an old friend at St Pancras.

No trains will run between St Albans City and St Pancras from 11.15pm next Friday, June 19, until services restart on Monday, June 22, while Network Rail engineering work is being carried out. No trains will run from St Albans to Blackfriars on Sunday, June 21.

Lyn Hill, who lives in Jersey Farm, only stumbled on the station closure by chance when she called in to renew her Railcard and decided that while she was there, she would get her ticket to St Pancras next Saturday where she is due to meet an old friend whom she hasn’t seen for many years.

There were no signs up in the station about the closure so she bought a ticket for next Saturday and was given a receipt. It was only when she asked the times of the service that day that another employee was called over who told her that there would not be any trains running

Lyn said: “There was nothing on the computer and I could have gone out with my ticket without knowing. Only when I asked the times of the trains was I told that there wouldn’t be any trains that day.”

Although train operators Thameslink are running replacement buses, four of which each hour are described as ‘fast’, she pointed out that it would take an hour at least to get to St Pancras compared with the 20 minutes on the train.

Lyn said: “There were no big signs to tell me no trains were going up to London. I think it is awful. People are going to be absolutely flummoxed if they are going on holiday and arrive at the station to find there are no trains.”

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She was told that she would eventually get a refund on her ticket and is now considering going to Hatfield to get a train to King’s Cross rather than get a bus from St Albans.

The closure is to enable work to be carried out on a multi-million pound investment programme to include new sidings at Cricklewood for Thameslink’s replacement fleet of trains arriving next year and upgrades to sections of railway track, signalling and overhead power supplies.

Roger Perkins, for Thameslink, said: “We sincerely apologise that one of our members of staff did not, on this occasion, warn a customer of the engineering work taking place when selling a ticket.

“We have processes in place to alert colleagues across the business of such changes but in this case they appear to have failed and we are investigating why.

“Three months in advance of the work, anyone using our website journey planner or that of National Rail Enquiries would have been automatically alerted to the changes and we have had posters up at our stations since 25 May. We are also publishing tweets, leaflets and making driver announcements.”

He added: “This lady would still be able to complete her journey using one of the many buses we will be operating, however, she is right to expect to be told about alterations and may return her ticket for a refund at St Albans station.”