Harpenden will see 35 per cent fewer services under interim timetable, says Thameslink commuters group

Harpenden Train Station. Picture: DANNY LOO

Harpenden Train Station. Picture: DANNY LOO - Credit: Picture: DANNY LOO

Is Thameslink heading towards a light at the end of the tunnel or inevitable derailment? Commuters and politicians have been responding to their new interim timetable, which comes into force on Sunday.

The Harpenden Thameslink Commuters group say there will be a 35 per cent reduction in the number of services which stop at the town between 6.30am and 8.30am compared to the timetable before May 20.

The group also claims there will be a 26 per cent reduction in trains stopping in the town between 4.30pm and 7pm compared to the pre-May 20 timetable.

Group leader Emily Ketchin said: “Delivery of the full May timetable would see key Harpenden services slashed by a third; the fact they still can’t say when services will get to even that level is another kick in the teeth for commuters.

“We cannot allow Thameslink’s current performance act as a smoke screen which allows them to implement those cuts.

“The rail industry and the Department of Transport need to recognise the mistakes made in the original timetable and restore Harpenden services to the level they were before the change. We are not second class commuters, we want a fair resolution.”

Under the interim timetable, there will be 22 services calling at St Albans between 6.30am and 8.30am and 18 services calling between 4.30pm and 7pm.

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Liberal Democrat Daisy Cooper said: “The current timetable is almost unrecognisable as it is, with incidents of delays, cancellations, and trains simply disappearing off the information board, so it’s near impossible for commuters to work out whether the new timetable will result in any changes or improvements.

“Passengers don’t have a shred of confidence left in Thameslink, so no-one will dare to believe that this third iteration of the ‘new’ timetable will improve things until we actually start to see trains turning up and running on time.”

A GTR spokesperson said: “We apologise to passengers for the disruption caused by the late approval of the May timetable.

“We have spent time replanning how we use our drivers and trains that will shortly give passengers a more robust and reliable service, prioritising peak-time trains and reducing gaps in the service where possible.

“We have announced a special compensation package that will entitle qualifying passengers affected by the disruption to a refund equivalent to the cost of one or four weeks’ travel.”