Commuters angry at direct train loss

COMMUTERS who travel from north Essex to London's Docklands are angry at a train operator's decision to axe the only direct train they can catch.A group of commuters who work in offices on the Canary Wharf development catch the Great Eastern 6.

COMMUTERS who travel from north Essex to London's Docklands are angry at a train operator's decision to axe the only direct train they can catch.

A group of commuters who work in offices on the Canary Wharf development catch the Great Eastern 6.32am Clacton to Stratford service, getting on the train at stations along the Clacton to Colchester branch line.

It is the only direct train on the branch line that gets to Stratford in time for commuters to get to their offices for an 8.30am start.

First Great Eastern have scrapped the service because some stations do not have long enough platforms to accommodate its new sliding door trains.


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It suggests commuters catch a train 40 minutes earlier and change at Colchester to get to Stratford in time to get connecting services to Canary Wharf to get to work on time.

Anne Scott-Horne, who travels from Alresford to HSBC at Canary Wharf, has written to First Great Eastern to compalin.

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She said: "There is a vast number of people now working at Canary Wharf and the few trains that do stop there are dangerously overcrowded; in fact legally we do not allow animals to travel in such conditions; so to stop trains that do call there is extremely bad planning and management.

"This is totally unacceptable not just for me but for the many passengers that have to endure fare increases way above inflation for a "service" that is becoming less efficient."

One of Ms Scott-Horne's colleagues, Deborah Nichol, who travels from Wivenhoe to Stratford, said: "Canary Wharf is a burgeoning area and there appears to be no strategic plan in place to deal with the increasing demand for an improved rail service. I suspect the people who plan our timetables have never commuted in their life. And the question we all ask is just what happens to all the money from our fares?

"I have been commuting for over 20 years and quite frankly the service is the worst it has ever been."

A First Great Eastern spokeswoman said the service has been scrapped because of the introduction of new sliding door trains, which are 12 carriages long. Some of the stations, including Alresford do not have long enough platforms to accommodate the new trains and so they are not allowed to stop there.

She said the Strategic Rail Authority will not allow First Great Eastern to stop any slam door trains at eight-coach platforms like Alresford.

First Great Eastern told a meeting of the Walton-on-Naze, Frinton-on-Sea, Kirby Cross and Thorpe-le-Soken Rail Users' Association the company is seeking dispensation from the Health and Safety Executive for selective door opening on lines in the area.

First Great Eastern is currently considering taking legal action against the SRA after it failed to be shortlisted for the bidding to run the Greater Anglia franchise to manage all trains from East Anglia into Liverpool Street.

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