Rail times woe 'will be addressed'

ANGRY rail commuters have been reassured their concerns over an unpopular new timetable will be addressed – but not until June 2005 at the earliest.Harwich MP Ivan Henderson wrote to Tim Clarke, managing director of train operator One, after being inundated with complaints from Tendring passengers who found their journey times to London or Colchester had increased after the new timetable came into force on December 12.

ANGRY rail commuters have been reassured their concerns over an unpopular new timetable will be addressed - but not until June 2005 at the earliest.

Harwich MP Ivan Henderson wrote to Tim Clarke, managing director of train operator One, after being inundated with complaints from Tendring passengers who found their journey times to London or Colchester had increased after the new timetable came into force on December 12.

The lack of peak-hour through-trains to and from Walton on the Naze and London Liverpool Street was a particular issue, although the company has also received complaints from other frustrated users across Essex.

Mr Henderson said: “I've no problems with public meetings but my constituents require their concerns to be made known to the rail operator immediately.


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“I have brought their concerns to the attention of One and their response indicates that they are aware of the difficulties which exist and they will be seeking to address them.”

Anne Scott-Horne, of Alresford, who commutes to Canary Wharf via Stratford, has also complained about the new schedule which has increased her working day by nearly an hour.

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She explained her evening journey was particularly difficult because there was no train to get her home leaving before 17.46.

“My day has now extended approximately 50 minutes just so One can introduce some exciting new journeys for the odd day tripper,” she said.

In his reply to Mr Henderson, Mr Clarke said: “The major timetable change we've implemented includes many improvements and the majority of passengers should benefit from these changes. However some passengers find the timetable less convenient.

“We have put in place a process to review all aspects of the timetable. Where there is a genuine case of customer demand or inconvenience, and where it is practical operationally to do so, we will adjust and improve the timetable either in June or next December.

“If there are any really simple changes they might be possible earlier … but that is unlikely in most cases.”

He added that recent problems with the service had been due to measures outside the company's control, such as vandalism or suicides on the line, but plans had been put into place to try to overcome unforeseen difficulties, such as additional driver training.

Last night a spokeswoman for One Great Eastern confirmed all feedback and complaints from passengers was being collated by the company's customer relations team.

“Their comments will be passed on to the relevant parts of the business and we will look to see if we can make any tweaks when the timetable next changes in June 2005 - if we can respond positively we will.”

She added that One station managers held weekly “meet the manager” sessions at stations across the Eastern network which worried passengers could attend to raise issues.

In October the EADT reported that Witham commuters feared further chaos and overcrowding with the loss of a morning peak hour train from their town to London Liverpool Street.

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