SAVE BALDOCK TRAINS? HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
THIS IS NOT A FUNNY COMPLAINT. THIS IS SERIOUS (a big thank you to DCR for acting as a host)
There is a consultation process underway that outlines proposals for changes to our local train service (due to come into place in 2018). The proposal for Baldock is a significantly reduced service!
Quick disclaimer before we start: This is my interpretation on the proposed timetable; the documents provided to describe the changes are VERY opaque (a sceptic might assume this is deliberate). I‘m more than open to Govia Thameslink getting in touch if they feel this to be false or inaccurate (I’m on twitter and Facebook, or use DCR), but I have done my best to be as accurate as possible and I’ve attended one of the information sessions to ask questions.
THE SHORT VERSION WITH JUST THE IMPORTANT BITS:
- – The current timetable proposal removes ALL fast trains to Baldock outside of peak hours.
- – This includes ALL weekend and after 7pm on weekdays (the 19.21 being a popular commuter train).
- – At the same time the council wants to build thousands of homes! 3,000+ extra homes at the same time as a downgrade to train services is a disaster for the community.
- – It’s likely that the newer trains will have 30% less seating than the current models
- – It’s a consultation – so you CAN have an influence.
Long story short – it’s very hard to map the current service to how they describe it in the consultation document (making the document confusing.. perhaps to limit complaints..?).
The consultation document states there are two routes that run through Baldock – the stopping route, and the fast route. The document also states that the fast route currently has no trains to Baldock after peak-hours, yet on weekdays there is a 7.21pm train that takes 32 minutes, a 20.52pm train that takes 39 minutes and a 21.52 that takes 39 minutes. According to both the consultation Excel file and the PDF, these trains seem to be purely figments of my imagination.
For now, in order to map current service to the proposal, it’s helpful think of our service as broken down into 3 routes:
- – The stopping services (referred to as TL7 in the consultation)
- – The on-peak fast service (referred to as GN2 in the consultation)
- – The off-peak and weekend fast service (All mention completely missing from the consultation)
No matter how many routes we have now, the consultation document mentions only two routes from Baldock. Great Northern are promoting this as an improvement as both these routes appear to have more frequent trains than currently (The fact a WHOLE route seems to have vanished is highly misleading)
1. Cambridge Stopping Service (The Slow Train)
Now stopping at St Pancras not Kings Cross and running through central London. – The consultation calls this: Thameslink Mainline Route TL7.
This represents almost no change to existing service – there will be one additional train at peak. (NB: At the meeting the team told me that the above table is incorrect – there are 2 slow trains per hour Monday – Saturday evenings not 1 as the above suggests).
2. Cambridge local (The Fast Train)
Terminates at Kings Cross. The consultation calls this: Great Northern Mainline Route GN2:
There will be additional services on this route during peak hours, 2 in the morning (a 3 hour window, so 1 every 1.5 hours) and 1 in the evening (another 3 hour window). As for off –peak… well the consultation suggests there was never was off-peak trains on this route, so it’s either wrong and they are all cancelled or…
3? : Cambridge Semi Fast?
So what happened to our evening and off peak trains? They have just vanished according to the document. There is however a semi-fast service proposed that doesnt stop at Baldock (called TL6). For now, given there is no specific place to feedback on changes the consultation is pretending dont exist, I’m proposing that everyone from Baldock complains in both the feedback boxes for GN2 and TL6 (insisting that route ‘Thameslink Mainline Route TL6’ be made to stop at Baldock.)
A couple of extra peak trains but not enough to even cope with a tenth of the new houses, THERE ARE NO FAST TRAINS AFTER 7PM OR AT THE WEEKEND, ONLY THE SLOW TRAINS ARE AVAILABLE. The reduced seating on the trains means even the extra service probably represents a reduced number of seats. This is BEFORE an extra 1000 commuters show up from the new builds.
Comment on New trains:
There are also new trains rolling out on our route. The good news is that these have air conditioning. The bad news is that all that cold air seems to take up space that used to be filled with seats. Some of the newer 8 car trains have less seating than the current models (nearly 30%). It’s unclear which models Baldock will get, but it’s likely to see a reduction in seats!
In short the situation is this: Your comfortable seat on the fast train is looking likely to be transformed into standing up on a packed slow train (and as this happens in 2018, you will almost certainly be paying more for the privilege.). When combined with the proposed extra homes the damage to Baldock as a commuter hub could be catastrophic.
WHAT CAN I DO?
Complete the consultation:
The link is here: http://www.thameslinkrailway.com/your-journey/timetable-consultation Mention the loss of off peak fast services in under all three routes discussed above. Don’t forget to comment on TL6 as well as the two lines that mention Baldock.
Attend the consultations with the Timetable Team:
Most of these have passed, but when I met the team them promised to come to Baldock at a date as yet unannounced.
Make people in authority accountable:
Tweet or write to our MP @oliverhealdmp ([email protected]) – email preferred as Oliver has a policy of not responding to tweets, tweet local political parties (@Labour4NHDC, @NHDCLibDems), local councillors, anyone that is supposedly there to serve our community.
Join us at SAVE BALDOCK TRAINS on Facebook and Twitter:
Find the Facebook page here
Hit the button to follow us on Twitter Follow @SvBaldockTrains
Tweet/ Facebook / tell people down the pub / get in touch if you want to help. The more responses the consultation gets, the less likely they are to ignore us. I’m paying for a few Facebook adverts myself to help get the word out.
Last but by no means least, PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION BELOW. This will send an email to Govia Thameslink from your email address. A suggested text is provided but you can change it. Your details will NOT appear here (just your forename, the first letter of your surname and town in the list below) and will not be shared with third parties under any circumstances. In fact, I will not use your email address or name in any way at all. I just want your voice to be heard.
Save Baldock Trains
This petition is now closed.
End date: Dec 08, 2016
Signatures collected: 1
Below, some of the latest signatories. Thank you.
|1||steven s.||Baldock||Oct 31, 2016|
Who am I?
My name is Dan and I have only relatively recently moved to Baldock. We moved here because of family ties to the area and to provide a happy place for my 3 month old son to grow up. I barely see him as it is with the commute and so any extension to that is quite honestly devastating (I often get the 19.21 which seems to be getting cut). I’m not trying to do this anonymously so I’m happy to talk – if you have any interest in helping then please get in touch. I draw the line at photographs of me looking sad outside of train stations though.