Rail group threatens legal action

By James HoreFED up rail users who claim they have been forced to stand for long parts of their journeys are considering taking legal action against train company One.

By James Hore

FED up rail users who claim they have been forced to stand for long parts of their journeys are considering taking legal action against train company One.

Passengers have become increasingly fed up with their daily commute to London following timetable changes introduced in December.

Now the Witham and Braintree Rail Users' Association is seeking legal advice to see if action against One is an option.

Association members claimed headcounts of passengers having to stand were consistently above the suitable levels.

Its vice-chairman Rod Lane said: “There are more people standing for long parts of their journey, which is against the whole concept of the rail franchise.

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“There are people having to stand from Witham and Chelmsford into London. These are people who are paying £2,800 a year for their season pass out of their taxable income.

“Trains are getting there on time, but we have to stand for longer periods so that is not a good thing before you start work and then of course there is the return journey and the possibility there will not be a seat.”

The association has called for the old timetables to be reinstated and has said it will be pressing the point when it meets Braintree MP Alan Hurst next month.

But One said the latest timetable changes were a direct response to passenger demands.

A spokesman added: “One has listened to customers' feedback about the new timetable and responded by making some alterations to services from February 7. These changes have been welcomed by the majority of passengers and have solved some of the issues raised.

“However, we are continuing to listen to our customers views and may be able to make further changes in June and December, where practical and necessary.

“However, we are fulfilling our contractual requirements laid down by the Strategic Rail Authority and the new timetable has lead to improved performance and more trains running on time since December.

“We are sorry if the Witham and Braintree Rail Users' Association still have some concerns about the timetable and we would encourage them to maintain a dialogue with us to help us address their concerns.”

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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