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17 December 2013, 14:20 | Updated: 17 December 2013, 14:23
First Capital Connect is advising passengers on the Great Northern route to travel home early and seek alternative transport as severe disruption continues to affect its services between London King’s Cross and Moorgate and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn.
Network Rail has issued the following apology:
Phil Verster, Route Managing Director for Network Rail, said: “We apologise for the disruption to passengers. This was due to a fault in the signalling system between Alexandra Palace and New Barnet. Our engineers have been out on site since early this morning and are working to fix the problems as soon as possible. An investigation into the root causes of the failures is also under way.”
First Capital Connect Customer Service Director Keith Jipps said: “It has been a very frustrating day for our passengers and staff. We have done our best to help but the signalling system also knocked out many of our station information and online systems which made a difficult situation even harder. We brought in buses, sent out extra staff to stations and arranged for our passengers to be able to use their tickets on other operators’ services. However, the severe impact of this large signal failure could not be avoided. In recognition of the extremely difficult journeys our passengers have had to endure this morning, we have increased the compensation we normally offer so that it covers the full fare if they were delayed by 30 minutes or more, rather than the 50% normally offered for delays between 30 minutes and an hour.
The continued failure of the signal system means our evening service is bound to be affected even if repairs are finished soon and we are recommending our passengers seek alternative transport and travel home early. We have lifted all our evening peak restrictions and declassified first class.”
This morning, at 0105, there was a major signal failure between New Barnet and Alexandra Palace which blocked this section of the East Coast Main Line.
As a result of this, First Capital Connect has, for the most part, been unable to run trains between Alexandra Palace and Potters Bar and has had to thin out our service across all routes into King's Cross and Moorgate.
Almost all trains have had to run around the Hertford loop, via Hertford North, which has significantly reduced the number of services FCC can run both long distance and locally around the loop as well as extend journey times for passengers on trains from Peterborough and Cambridge.
Limited signalling has been restored on occasions by FCC is still running a very limited service and trains will continue to be severely disrupted until further notice.
There are no trains between Welwyn Garden City and Stevenage. Replacement buses will run between Stevenage, all stations to Potters Bar then Cockfosters (for Tube connections to central London) and vice versa. Customers travelling to/from stations between Finsbury Park and Potters Bar should use local bus and tube services to complete their journey.
First Capital Connect rail tickets can be used on:
Greater Anglia services between Cambridge, Hertford East, Enfield Town and London
Thameslink route services between Bedford and central London (car park season ticket holders will be able to park in our station car parks there)
London Underground services and London buses via all reasonable routes
Uno buses between Hatfield and St Albans
Metroline route 84 buses between St Albans and Potters Bar
Buses between Luton and Hitchin
If passengers do find they have to pay for an alternative timetabled public transport not listed above they can reclaim this via FCC’s online customer relations contact form or customer comment cards in stations.
FCC has also arranged for car park season ticket holders to be able to park in our station car parks on the Thameslink route.
Passengers can claim delay repay at www.firstcapitalconnect.co.uk/delayrepay