Strike called off – but is misery over on the First Capital Connect line?

Posted On 15 Jan 2010 at 8:41 pm

First Capital Connect says it hopes to return to a “significantly improved service” from Monday after strike action was called off.

The Brighton to Bedford line has been beset with difficulties after drivers staged unofficial action, refusing to work overtime and Sundays.

This week, the weather caused even more problems and in rush hour on Monday just two trains an hour were running to Brighton.

However, after members of the Aslef union voted to accept a pay deal yesterday, the operator is optimistic things will now improve and has issued a new timetable for Monday.

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Lord Adonis told the House of Lords yesterday: “I am only too well aware of the substandard service that has been offered by First Capital Connect in recent months. This is a matter of acute concern to me and my department.”

He told BBC London today the company has been providing “a very substandard service on the Bedford to Brighton line over recent months”.

“They’ve got to bring about significant improvements on that route. I will look at all options open to me if they fail to do so.”

First Capital Connect said in a statement: “We fully acknowledge that the service provided by First Capital Connect on the Thameslink route on both Friday and, particularly, Monday, was not acceptable.

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“We had planned to run an improved timetable this week offering 80% of a full timetable as we continually seek to improve the service.

“However we were unable to do so owing to rolling stock being unavailable as a result of breakdowns caused by the weather conditions.”

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