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12 December 2011, 17:33
Commuter trains between Bedford and Brighton have been extended. The number of carriages has increased from 8 to 12 on four of the busiest trains making there an extra 2000 seats available.
Neil Middleton is the chairman of the Association of Public Transport Users and commutes between Harpenden and London everyday on the Thameslink. He says seating is a big problem:
"One of the big moans and groans I get from everybody is the lack of seats and particularly when your travelling from some stations like St Albans it can be very difficult to get a seat on the fast train because by time it gets there it is already full"
Platforms at Bedford, Harpenden and St Albans are amongst 41 that Network rail have had to extend to accommodate the longer trains. The power supplies and signalling has also had to be boosted.
Neil Middleton took the train into London this morning and was happy with the improved service:
"The train had seats on which i think was the big difference, the train I caught today normally is absolutely packed but today there were still people standing although there were a lot less and a lot more seats to sit at which is good news"
Andrew Long from the Bedford Commuters Association told Heart he was pleased that customers were finally benefiting from the improvements being made in the Thameslink Programme
"Any improvements that can be delivered along the route are greatly appreciated because passengers have had to put up with a lot of the disturbances by the Thameslink programme over the years"
Keith Jipps is the Customer Service Director of First Capital Connect:
“The Thameslink Programme has imposed some tough times on our customers with lots of track closures for engineering work but with the start of the new 12-carriage services we can finally see improvements coming on line.”
There are plans to extend more trains to 12 carriages by 2015 but at the moment it is only the following services:
06:58 Bedford to Brighton.
07:30 Bedford to Brighton
07:48 Bedford to Brighton
08:02 Brighton to Bedford
16:04 Brighton to Bedford
16:30 Brighton to Bedford
17:02 Brighton to Bedford
17:08 Bedford to Brighton