Commuters hit out at timetable changes

A NEW winter rail timetable due to come into force in December has caused consternation among fed-up commuters who claim they will not be able to get to work on time.

A NEW winter rail timetable due to come into force in December has caused consternation among fed-up commuters who claim they will not be able to get to work on time.

Rail operator One Great Eastern is coming under increasing pressure to change its proposed timetable alterations to London, which comes into effect on December 12.

But last night, a spokesman for One insisted they had "gone past the point of no return" and the timetable was now set in stone.

As reported by the EADT last week, rail user groups have already labelled the changes an "affront to common sense" because they believe they will lead to further overcrowding and misery for commuters into the capital.

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Now, one woman who led a revolt against similar changes last year has stepped into the row claiming the operator has failed to consult passengers.

Anne Scott-Horne said One had not taken account of the growing number of people working in Canary Wharf and who therefore need to stop-off at Stratford, East London, to catch the Docklands Light Railway.

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In a letter to the operator the HSBC investment banker said she currently caught 6.48am from Alresford and changed at Wivenhoe for the 6.57am, which arrived at Stratford at 7.57am.

But she claimed that under the changes she would have to wait an extra seven minutes at Wivenhoe before arriving at Stratford at 8.09am – too late for her 8.30am start at Canary Wharf.

She added: "I appreciate you are stopping another train at Stratford, which is badly needed, ie the 7.15am from Clacton, which arrives at Stratford at 8.39am, but this again is too late for a 9am start at Canary Wharf where the vast majority of people alighting at Stratford are heading for.

"You seem to have missed the point that the vast majority of people start work at either 8.30 or


She said she would have to ask her employers to change her working hours again and catch an earlier train, making her days longer.

"Why is it the train companies never think to ask the commuters their needs before altering the timetables and why indeed do they need to be changed at all?" she asked.

"Please take into account the needs of your paying customers before changing the timetables and I hope you will reconsider your proposed changes."

But a spokesman for One, which consulted with passenger groups on certain aspects of the changes, said they had to look at the punctuality and reliability of the route when drawing up the timetable.

"It's always difficult for us to cater for everyone's travel needs, but most people go into London Liverpool Street and that has to be our main attention.

"Overall, we have more stops at Stratford than ever before. There are infrastructure limitations getting into Stratford so often, but we will continue to monitor the customer feedback."

Meanwhile, John Smock, chairman of the Tendring coastal rail user group, Ontrack, has drawn up a report to be considered by Frinton and Walton Town Council on Thursday.

In it, he criticises "service reductions" along the Clacton and Walton line. His group held a public meeting about the issues last week and last night, he said: "Those attending felt infuriated, frustrated, resignedly sick and tired of changes."

"There are no real improvements for an area which has rapid population growth."

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