Save Baldock Trains |

Save Baldock Trains

SAVE BALDOCK TRAINS? HERE IS WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:

 
This is not a funny complaint, this is deadly serious. A big thank you to DCR for acting as our 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!

 

UPDATE:

The train company have announced that they made some mistakes and have updated their documents. The below has been updated to reflect the changes. The errors affected ONLY the on-peak, the loss of fast off-peak trains is unchanged. All the problems mentioned in the short version below remain as serious as before. We have also added some sample answers and information explaining which questions in the consultation are relevant.
 

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! 3500+ 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.

 

THE DETAILS:

 

Current Service:

 
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 three routes that run through Baldock – the stopping route, and two fast routes (one of which will only stop at Baldock on-peak). The website also doesn’t take into account journey times in its comparison tool, this means it shows no change to Baldock in the evenings despite all the fast trains being cancelled. Currently 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 – these will all take 56 minutes under the proposed changes.

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 all-day and weekend fast service (referred to as TL6 in the consultation)

 

 New Service:

 

1. Cambridge Stopping Service (The slow train)

The consultation calls this: Thameslink Mainline Route TL7.
tl7

What’s changing?

This represents almost no change to existing service – there will be one additional train at peak and one extra train off-peak (but this replaces our current fast train, so overall service is worse). The train also joins the Thameslink route – one of the most delayed train routes in the country.
 

Which question do I complete in the consultation?

The relevant question for TL7 is number 27 (see below for a sample answer).
 
 

2. Cambridge local (The on-peak fast train)

The consultation calls this: Great Northern Mainline Route GN2.

GN2 timetable

What’s changing?

There are no off-peak fast trains on this route! Between this and the route below (TL6) there will be 1 extra train during peak hours (for a potential doubling of the commuters..) but no services off-peak.
 

Which question do I complete in the consultation?

The relevant question for GN2 is number 83. Focus on the fact that this route should be extended to provide services outside of peak hours.
 
 

2. Cambridge Semi-Fast(The all day fast train)

The consultation calls this: Great Northern Mainline Route TL6:

tl6

What’s changing?

We are being removed from this service off-peak! To add insult to injury, as you can see from the image above this route runs fast trains into London all day and all weekend, but these services will now drive straight through Baldock! This represents a huge loss to our town and community.
 

Which question do I complete in the consultation?

The relevant question for TL6 is number 26. Focus on the fact that its crazy to drive the train through Baldock and yet not stop there – especially at a time when Baldock is doubling in size.
 

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!
 

CONCLUSION:

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 5000 commuters show up from the new builds.
 
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 be alarmed by the number of questions – you only need to complete the ones that affect Baldock. Also don’t forget question 87 (any other comments).
 

Sample answer Provided by a local resident

“I am very worried about this proposal. The services for Baldock will be much slower than the ones we currently have. Baldock and its residents rely on the semi-fast service into London- both for commuting and for leisure purposes (a number of our friends work shifts and will be seriously impacted by the reduced speed off-peak). I moved to Baldock to start a family with my husband and we chose Baldock specifically for its links into London. We both regularly commute (and often travel back from Kings Cross later than peak time) and we use the train every weekend to travel into London. There are many families like us in Baldock and you would be negatively impacting on our quality of life, not to mention reducing some peoples ability to get to work. This proposal reduces Baldock to the same status as Ashwell & Morden. But we have 5 x the number of passengers.

In addition to this, there are plans to build an additional 3,500 homes in the area (http://www.north-herts.gov.uk/home/planning/planning-policy/local-plan/proposed-submission-local-plan-2011-2031) which will no doubt by marketed to commuters. This is likely to more than double the number of journeys per day.”
 

Help us spread the word:

We have 10,000 leaflets that we are distributing both at the station and through the letterbox. We meet regularly in the Cock Pub (check our Facebook for details) and appreciate any and all help we can get getting the message out.
 

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.
 

 And finally…

Join us at SAVE BALDOCK TRAINS on Facebook and Twitter:
Find the Facebook page here
Hit the button to follow us on Twitter
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.