Train commuters face earlier start

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City commuters are facing earlier starts if they want to get into work on time, following changes to the train timetable.

Chiltern Railways has removed one of the most popular peak hour services with Thame and Haddenham Parkway passengers, and has replaced it with a train which is slower and arrives in Marylebone later.

Since the new timetable came into operation earlier this month Nick Walker, chairman of the North Chiltern Rail Users Group, says it has been a mixed blessing.

“The early morning servcie prior to 7am is fine,” he said. “But after 7am we’re unhappy with the loss of the 7.19am which was a fast train that only stopped at Princes Risborough, and got into London just after 8am.”

The direct replacement for this train is the 7.28am which is slower, does not stop at Risborough, contains ‘suburban seating’ with no tables and could be overcrowded from Beaconsfield onwards, and does not get into London until 8.19am.

Mr Walker, who lives in Haddenham and commutes to London, said: “There is considerable public disquiet about it. We’ve been in touch with Chiltern Railways and we made observations at the consultation process but they have not conceded to our concerns.. We hope they will make some adjustments because a lot of people are now having to catch the earlier 7.06am train to get into work on time.

“This has affected people who have childcare arrangements. There are also people who moved here because the servcie into London was so good, and now it has changed, and they are not happy about it.”

A statement from the Customer Services team at Chiltern Railways said the new timetable will be kept under review and will be adjusted as appropriate to reflect customer demand and feedback once the service and passenger numbers have settled down in the new year.

The statement said the company has invested in 26 more carriages over the past two years, with more due in 2012; and Thame and Haddenham Parkway continues to have a train into London on average every 20 minutes at peak times with one being non-stop, one with two stops and one with four stops.