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great northen logoShortly before the introduction of the winter timetable, which will see more trains serving Palmers Green, the operator of the Great Northern rail franchise, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), has been heavily criticised in a report by the House of Commons Transport Committee regarding the chaotic situation arising from the flawed implementation of timetable improvements in May.  Despite this, the Department for Transport (DfT) is not heeding calls for the service to be transferred to Transport for London.  However, it will require GTR to contribute £15m towards improvements in services for rail passengers.  The BBC is inviting passengers to suggest how this money should be spent.

The DfT justifies the decision to retain the contract as follows:

A termination of the franchise would cause further and undue disruption for passengers and is not an appropriate course of action.

This weekend sees the start of the winter timetable, when some of the extra services that GTR attempted to introduce in May will be restored.  The Great Northern timetables page on their website has links to downloadable timetables and some information about future changes.

The good news for Palmers Green residents is that on Mondays to Fridays the daytime and evening offpeak service will revert to four trains an hour, at consistent 15-minute frequencies.  The full timetable is available here.

On Saturday and Sundays there will still be a half-hourly service (in practice, a service consisting of intervals sometimes of half an hour, sometimes of an hour, depending on which trains are cancelled).  However, an improved weekend service is in prospect:

We are planning to introduce additions to the weekend service in May 2019 and further increases at future timetable changes. Further details will be shared once the final timetables have been determined and agreed with industry partners.

The FAQ section of the timetables page states that GTR has "enough" drivers and that at each depot a number of spare drivers are rostered each day.  Nevertheless, this does "not mean" that they "will not have cancellations due to a ‘lack of a drivers’".

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News media are reporting that the Department for Transport is drawing up plans to strip the operator of Great Northern rail services of its franchises if a new interim timetable does not improve reliability sufficiently.

govia train at palmers green

Govia Thameslink Railway: Truly a "crap" service

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) is due to introduce the interim timetable on 15th July.  The aim is to create timetables for Great Northern, Thameslink and Southern services that the company will be able to deliver, thus ending the chaotic situation which has reigned since the May timetable changes and has reportedly seen cancellation or severe delays affecting around 20,000 trains over a six-week period.  According to GTR, the interim timetable "prioritises peak-hours services and reduces service gaps" and is a "key stage in our work to provide a more reliable service to passengers over the coming months".

Though disruption of trains on the Hertford Loop, which serves Palmers Green, has been much less severe than on longer-distance services, the situation is hardly normal.  For instance, during last Friday's afternoon rush hour the sole GTR employee at Highbury and Islington was complaining over the PA system that he was not been provided with information about trains that were running, apologising for the "crap" service, suggesting that passengers should take photographs of the train indicator as evidence when submitting claims for compensation, and warning that there would be no Welwyn services for at least 80 minutes.

Currently Great Northern's website has timetables which have "been revised to show services we are planning to operate". The website warns that "There may be additional on-the-day alterations to Thameslink and Great Northern services; which we will advise you of as early as possible by updating Journey Planners and Live Departure Boards. It is essential that you visit nationalrail.co.uk and recheck your journey as close to your time of travel as possible.  If you are planning to travel on Saturdays or Sundays, please plan your journey by visiting nationalrail.co.uk and using the journey planner. Once again it is essential that you recheck your journey at nationalrail.co.uk as close to your time of travel as possible for on-the-day alterations."

As always, the most comprehensive explanation of what has gone wrong appears on the London Reconnections website.  This supports the claim by trade unionists that the DfT itself bears much of the blame for the chaos.  The same point was made to me by a GTR public relations officer who I met at the Bohem brewery opening party.  He was a strong defender of Govia and of privatised railways in general, but said that the number of civil servants employed by the DfT had been cut back so severely in recent years that the department was no longer capable of adequately exercising its functions - which implies that some of the blame attaches to the person in charge of the DfT, Chris Grayling.

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Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3946 04 Jul 2018 10:36
“The train has been delayed due to congestion caused by earlier delays”, so the announcer informed us as we waited at a south London station yesterday. What the earlier delays were caused by we were only left to postulate, but at least had lots of unexpected time to do so.

But not as bad as my son’s recent journey to Exeter, where the human-packing was so efficient he was physically unable to put two feet on the ground and spent the whole journey with one foot on top of the other. (My daughter conversely took up in the cleaner’s cupboard.) A typical late afternoon trip to the south west they were informed. Young and fit, it seems things were not pretty for many other travellers not in such a category.

Having successfully battled through the 57 million ticket combinations to pay some apparently random journey fee it seems harsh to then have such additional barriers throw in the way of your rail trip.
PGC Webmaster's Avatar
PGC Webmaster posted a reply #3949 05 Jul 2018 00:27
The Mayor of London and his deputy mayor for transport, Heidi Alexander, are lobbying to take over the Moorgate services currently run by Govia Thameslink Railway under the Great Northern Metro name.

TfL’s record of running successful rail services in the capital shows that giving it control of GTR’s beleaguered routes out of Moorgate is a no-brainer.

“The Mayor has offered the immediate assistance of TfL staff to work with the DfT [Department for Transport] to make the franchise work better, ahead of TfL being ready to take over the entire service in 2020.”


See www.standard.co...79071.html for more details
Andrew Stedman's Avatar
Andrew Stedman posted a reply #3950 05 Jul 2018 07:44
I hesitate to say something nice about Great Northern, given the cancellations and appalling state of their trains, but the increased frequency on the Hertford Loop has generally worked well for me on my journey from Palmers Green to Highbury and Islington. I have been able to get a seat on most services, though I am in the fortunate position of travelling a bit after 9am weekdays. There also seems to have been a reduction in the number of half-length trains, a feature i found particularly annoying.

The half-hourly service at the weekends remains a disgrace,
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3955 05 Jul 2018 10:10
I don't like the new loop times so much. I get the early services between 0630 and 0700. I found the old 0632 and 0646 much better timed for me personally and especially the 0646 being a quick service - they're all 18 mins to H&I from PG now, all quicks removed.

I always get a seat though now, on the 0642 or 0651, which is nice. And we seem to escape the worst of the cancellations - though random ones are still happening.
Adrian Day's Avatar
Adrian Day posted a reply #3971 15 Jul 2018 23:33
The 'service' dropped to new depths today (Sunday 15th July). First day of the third new timetable in as many months. Palmers Green to Finsbury Park reduced to one an hour - but the 10.37 cancelled...so actually one every two hours. On my return the 20.00 at Finsbury Park showed as running - then 5 mins late...then delayed..then disappears - so next train 21.00 (guy on platform says they have no drivers). I've used PG station for 26 years and I'm reasonably sure this is the worst it's ever been.

Oh and the app which gives updated train times was only showing cancelled trains or tomorrow's trains - it couldn't show running trains. You couldn't make it up.
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #3972 16 Jul 2018 15:31
The interim timetable that started yesterday can be downloaded from www.greatnorthe..._gtr-e.pdf

The offpeak service through Palmers Green was increased to four trains an hour, at 15 minute intervals, in May. It has now reverted to three trains an hour, but instead of being spaced evenly the pattern is now 10 40 55 past the hour into Moorgate, in other words the trains at 25 past the hour have simply been deleted, leaing a 30 minute gap.





Judging from a fairly cursory glance, the evening offpeak pattern is the same.

And still there are cancellations!



In my view, this new timetable is simply not acceptable. At the very least we need an evenly spaced three trains an hour. And continuing cancellations just add insult to injury.

The message needs to be sent to the government that Govia must Go!

[Thanks to Garry Humphries for bringing this to my attention]
Adrian Day's Avatar
Adrian Day posted a reply #3973 16 Jul 2018 21:55
The much trumpeted improvements have melted away - we're worse off than before.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3974 17 Jul 2018 13:17
Frankly guys I wonder if you’re peddling “fake news” because if you look at the public position of the operator and the latest results from the major shareholder of the JV you will see that (and here I lift word for word):
• Govia has extensive experience running complex and challenging rail operations, managing significant change programmes,
• Go-Ahead (that's the majority shareholder in the JV) is a high quality transport operator with an industry leading position in the bus and rail sectors
• Good first half performance; full year expectations increase, due to one-off rail benefits
• Rail division results ahead of expectations for the half year – reported operating profit of £40.3m (H1’17: £26.6m), including one-off rail benefits
• Progress in all three Group strategic objectives: protect and grow the core, win new bus and rail contracts and develop for future transport needs
• During the period we have delivered improvements to support our strategy and deliver benefits to passengers.
• Our established bus and rail businesses continue to demonstrate the value private companies bring through the delivery of customer-focused public-sector transport services
• We are confident that our strategy will continue to deliver value to customers, colleagues, society and shareholders over the long-term

So that’s OK then.

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great northen logoGovia Thameslink Railway has published a report on the third phase of its Monday-to-Friday fugture timetables consultation, along with complete Monday-to-Friday timetables.  The first improvements to service frequency will be introduced on Sunday 20th May, but it appears that we will now have to wait until December 2019 before frequencies reach those promised in the consultations:

"The timetables we consulted on are the “end position” – originally this was December 2018 but due to the phasing, announced in late 2017, the final timetable will be introduced by December 2019."

The new timetables come with a caveat:  they are only "intended as a guide and we may need to make changes".

Four trains an hour off peak

From May the off peak daytime and evening service to and from Palmers Green will be increased to four trains an hour, at 15 minute intervals.  Two of of these will be all stations Moorgate to Hertford North, the other two will be Moorgate to Watton at Stone, missing out Crews Hill and Bayford - thus those two stations will actually see a decrease in offpeak trains.  One train an hour will run as far as Stevenage until December, when it will be replaced by a bus service from Watton at Stone.

New connections at Finsbury Park

From May it will be possible to change at Finsbury Park onto Thameslink services serving St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink, Blackfriars and London Bridge.  If the National Rail journey planner is to be believed, these trains will run from Platform 2 at Finsbury Park, while Moorgate trains will call at Platform 1 - therefore, changing trains will be very easy.  However, the service will not be particularly frequent - two to three trains an hour.  There will be easy connections (same platform) at St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thamelink and Blackfriars) to Thameslink services to various south London destinations and to Gatwick Airport and the South Coast.

Grange Park services

A controversial issue during the consultations has been the proposed frequency of trains serving Grange Park.  The consultation report includes the following:

"You said:  Campaign to increase services at Grange Park

"We're doing:  Unfortunately this is not possible at this stage. The current level of service will be maintained during the peak. Off peak there will be an increase from 3 tph to 4 tph."

New trains

class 717 trainWe'll have to put up with the current very scruffy trains for some months yet.

"The new 717 trains will provide a metro-style layout with more capacity, improved reliability, air conditioning and passenger information systems that can be remotely updated to provide real-time travel information. These trains will be introduced towards the end of 2018 and by May 2019 will provide much needed capacity on the route."

Word is that the new trains are likely to have rather hard, longitudinal seats, but in other ways they will clearly be a big improvement.  And they will certainly be much smarter externally.  (I really don't think it's good enough for Govia not to have repainted the trains that they inherited from First Capital Connect.  Just compare them with the smartly refurbished trains dating from the same time that London Overground run between Liverpool Street and Cheshunt/Chingford.)

What's next?

The newly publshed timetables carry a prominent warning on every page:  "Major changes during this timetable, check before you travel".  So they may not be an entirely reliable guide to what will actually happen.  As anyone using Palmers Green station will be only too aware, there are still frequent cancellations - mainly at weekends - due to a shortage of drivers and in spite of GTR's claim to be running the largest ever driver training programme.  So four trains an hour off peak might turn out to be overambitious at this stage - let's hope not.

GTR are promising to publish an "update on the feedback on the weekend consultation" in June.  In early September they will be reviewing the May 2018 timetable and updating on "any changes required", and at the end of September they promise to have the new December 2018 timetable included in National Rail Enquiries journey planners.

A couple of months ago GTR were promising us four trains an hour on Saturdays from May.  There's no sign of that in the Journey Planner as yet, so we'll have to wait and see...

Links

Timetables page on Rail Plan 2020 website - with links to the Consultation Report, Route Info Sheets and Monday-to-Friday timetables

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N Morris's Avatar
N Morris posted a reply #3762 05 Apr 2018 10:35
Thanks for the info update. I've done a quick comparison of the current v proposed Monday - Friday departures from PG to central London between 7am - 9am and there has been no improvement to frequency as yet. There are still only 12 trains for commuters to catch in this 2 hour window. Not quite a metro service yet! Hopefully the future timetable changes will increase frequencies further and reduce some of the long wait times between trains.

I've listed the departure times below along with the waiting time until the next train.

Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3777 05 Apr 2018 17:13
Neil Morris’ analysis suggests an odd approach by the train co: ultimately double the midday service to 6 trains and hour yet keep the crammed peak morning rush hours service at 6 trains per hour. Perhaps they hope the move to all six car trains will help safely fit in the majority who are not supporting “baby on board” badges. Getting so many trains (remember plus Welwyn line) in and out again of dead-end Moorgate always struck me as some challenge.

I’m curious about the 12 month training programme to produce all the drivers for the original planned 6 trains per hour from May 18, now to be December 19. Did they ever exist; will they now drive trains elsewhere or merely drink tea in some glass case for drivers waiting for trains? Let’s see if there’s ever a “train cancelled due to lack of drivers” post May. As if.
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #3778 05 Apr 2018 22:36
The rush hour service uses all the trains currently available, they can't increase it until the new fleet arrives, which will have more trains. But the date for these new trains appears to have slipped somewhat.

As regards drivers, I've heard that some train operating companies are infamous for poaching drivers that have been trained at the expense of another company. They can afford to pay higher salaries because they haven't had to fork out for the training. It's a dog-eat-dog world in the exciting land of privatised railways.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3779 06 Apr 2018 09:14
Thanks Basil. Good to know that the next time I miss a connection / meeting / concert / some other due to a duff service, I can be heartened in the knowledge that the market is never wrong.
James Brown's Avatar
James Brown posted a reply #3822 10 May 2018 12:27
Looking at the new PG timetable, it looks like we'll be getting the same number of peak trains, but there are fewer that will miss out any stations en route to London – which means we'll be facing longer journeys on busier trains. Does this tally with other people's interpretation?
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3824 10 May 2018 16:56
I reckon the journeys will not be any longer.

There’s an excellent link on Bowes and Bounds supplied by Richard Matz on May 7 which highlights the new trains being built in Germany, all 25 of them, each with more space than the current stock, but with less of it being seated. Air con and wi fi! Just have to hope they are also building some drivers at the same time.
N Morris's Avatar
N Morris posted a reply #3832 16 May 2018 14:38
I've checked the new timetable during morning hours of 7am - 9am. Journeys from Palmers Green to Finsbury Park (for the sake of argument) will take 12 - 14 minutes.
1 out of 4 trains skips Hornsey and Harringay which takes 13 minutes.
1 out of 4 trains skips Bowes Park and that journey is 12 minutes.

Currently the journey from PG to Finsbury takes between 10 - 13 minutes, with 2 trains early in the period taking 6 and 7 minutes respectively by virtue of going straight to Finsbury Park from PG.

So there is a slight extension on the journey time under the new timetable.

Here is the link to the blog Karl referred to in his earlier post paulbigland.blo...ate-lines/

Note the new trains can travel at higher speed, have quicker acceleration and better braking and GTR said that will allow some minutes to shaved off the present timetable in the future.
Colin Younger's Avatar
Colin Younger posted a reply #3833 16 May 2018 18:41
It's just be drawn to my attention that assuming I've read it correctly from 28 Oct to 2 December PG will be on the Sunday bus replacement "service" between Stevenage and Ally Pally and vice-versa. I don't recall an explanation for this. Inset days for driver training? Leaves on the line? Trees being felled?

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dot matrix indicator at finsbury parkFinsbury Park to St Pancras via East Croydon and Purley?
Photo courtesy of the 1London Blog
Thameslink train services providing direct services between Great Northern stations and Gatwick Airport via Finsbury Park are due to start in May, but as of 26th February a "preview" service has been running..

The service is very limited - three trains a day in each direction on Mondays to Fridays only, all between the morning and evening peaks.  They run between Peterborough in the north and Brighton or Horsham in the south, but of interest to Palmers Green people is the fact that they all serve Finsbury Park.

Southbound trains run from Finsbury Park through a new tunnel to the Thameslink part of St Pancras International (they don't call at Kings Cross) and thence via Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars to London Bridge. They then continue via East Croydon and Gatwick Airport to their ultimate destinations.

These initial services have very long amounts of "padding" built into the timetable (eg a 17 minute wait at London Bridge), so won't be speeding up anyone's journeys.

You can read about the first day of operation on the Diamond Geezer and 1London blogs.

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imageStarting on Friday 23rd February the Night Overground service from New Cross Gate to Dalston Junction will be extended to Canonbury and Highbury & Islington.  At Highbury passengers can catch a Night Tube on the Victoria Line and change at Finsbury Park onto the Piccadilly Line.  To reach Palmers Green is then just a matter of taking the N29 from Wood Green - they run every 7-8 minutes and the journey time in the early hours is very short.

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Starting on 20 May there will be an increase in the offpeak frequency of trains serving Palmers Green on Mondays to Saturdays. In response to enquiries from Dave Cockle of the Enfield Transport Users Group, Govia Thameslink Railway have confirmed that the offpeak frequency on the Hertford Loop will be increased from three to four trains an hour except on Sundays, when it will remain at two trains an hour.

We do not yet know how late into the evenings this increased frequency will apply and what the stopping pattern will be.

great northern train at palmers green stationGovia have been operating the class 313s since 2014, bult they are still in First Capital Connect livery and look very scruffyStarting on 20 May there will be an increase in the offpeak frequency of trains serving Palmers Green on Mondays to Saturdays.

class 315 interiorBy PeterSkuce (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
TfL took over the very similar class 315s in 2015 and they have all since been fully refurbished.
In response to enquiries from Dave Cockle of the Enfield Transport Users Group, Govia Thameslink Railway have confirmed that the offpeak frequency on the Hertford Loop will be increased from three to four trains an hour except on Sundays, when it will remain at two trains an hour.

We do not yet know how late into the evenings this increased frequency will apply and what the stopping pattern will be.

The new timetable will be reflected in online travel planning apps and websites from 23rd or 24th February.

Starting in December the Monday to Friday offpeak frequency is due to increase to six trains an hour.  December is also the date that new six-car trains will enter service on the Great Northern Metro services, replacing class 313 three-car trains that date from 1976.

The new trains will undoubtedly be very smartly turned out, unlike the class 313s in their current condition.  But just because trains are old, it doesn't mean that they are inevitably dirty and uncared for - to see what's possible take a trip on TfL Rail between Liverpool Street and Shenfield.  The almost identical looking class 315s, only three years younger, have been refurbished inside and out and the windows aren't permanently smeared with traces of water.

Once the class 313s have gone, it will be possible to replace the antiquated signalling between Drayton Park and Moorgate, which should improve reliability and give the potential for a further increase in frequency.

For earlier information and discussion about the planned December 2018 timetable, see this article and related comments.

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Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3624 13 Feb 2018 16:24
Any good news is good news. Let’s take it. It would be nice to belief the changes will also see station names down to Finsbury Park (and back) will be made clear for those who don’t know the stops off by heart.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3653 27 Feb 2018 21:00
Considering potential for incremental high street trade opportunity (a real hot UK-wide topic): The DOT puts average daily car trips through PG high street at 12,065. Most will naturally be on their way from somewhere to somewhere else, not even registering where they are between end points. PG train station has 1.913m in / out’s pa. On the basis Sunday rail travel is pretty much a write off, that’s an average of 6130 people 6 days per week, more than 50% of the car equivalent, and the majority doubtless being PGers. Based on the intent of the new timetable and the 32% increase in London households now being planned for, that's only going to go in one direction. It’s much easier to stop, park and shop when on two legs rather than on four wheels. Has anyone ever received, seen or otherwise heard of across the board marketing efforts to catch this ultra-local, really-should-be-captive, business - and one that looks like its certain to be on an upward trajectory (unlike passing cars)?

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Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) have launched the third and final phase of their consultations over new timetables to be introduced in May 2018.  The latest proposals will come as a disappointment for passengers using Palmers Green and other stations on the Hertford Loop, as the planned increase from two to four trains an hour on Sundays is no longer being offered. The online survey form mainly asks questions that are of little relevance to people using trains for weekend leisure purposes.

While phase two of the consultation related to weekday trains, the third phase sees GTR consulting about weekend timetables.  I've summarised their proposals for the Hertford Loop in the box below.

Proposed weekend services on the Hertford Loop

 

Saturdays

On Saturdays the service would be similar to the planned new weekend offpeak service, ie for Palmers Green six trains an hour. There would be four all-stations trains an hour (though only two of them would stop at Bayford and Crews Hill) and two semi-fast trains, not stopping at Bayford, Crews Hill, Grange Park, Bowes Park, Hornsey and Harringay.

GN4.1 Stevenage to Moorgate via Hertford North

  • Stevenage, Watton-at-Stone, Hertford North, Cuffley, Gordon Hill, Enfield Chase, Winchmore Hill, Palmers Green, Alexandra Palace, Finsbury Park, Drayton Park, Highbury & Islington, Essex Road, Old Street and Moorgate.
  • Proposed frequency: 2 trains per hour (every 30 minutes)

GN4.2 Hertford North to Moorgate

  • Hertford North, Bayford*, Cuffley, Crews Hill*, Gordon Hill, Enfield Chase, Grange Park, Winchmore Hill, Palmers Green, Bowes Park, Alexandra Palace, Hornsey, Harringay, Finsbury Park, Drayton Park, Highbury & Islington, Essex Road, Old Street and Moorgate.
  • Proposed frequency: 4 trains an hour, every 12-18 minutes (but only 2 trains an hour would serve Bayford and Crews Hill)

Sundays

The service would be the same as now - two trains an hour stopping at all stations.

GN4.1 Stevenage to Moorgate via Hertford North

  • Stevenage, Watton-at-Stone, Hertford North, Bayford, Cuffley, Crews Hill, Gordon Hill, Enfield Chase, Grange Park, Winchmore Hill, Palmers Green, Bowes Park, Alexandra Palace, Hornsey, Harringay, Finsbury Park, Drayton Park, Highbury & Islington, Essex Road, Old Street and Moorgate.
  • Proposed frequency: 2 trains per hour (every 30 minutes)

In their initial consultation document issued in 2016 GTR stated that they were proposing to double the Sunday service to 4 trains per hour.

What the 2016 consultation said

great northen metro timetable improvements 2018

A short report on the phase 1 consultation outcomes was published in June 2017, incorporating some Emerging Recommendations. One of the recommendations was to implement "Great Northern Metro frequency improvements throughout the day on Welwyn Garden City and Hertford North routes".  Now, without justifying it or even mentioning it, GTR have dropped the decision to improve the frequency of Sunday services on the Hertford Loop.

Two trains an hour is not the "true metro service" that we were promised in 2016, if that is taken to mean a service that runs often enough for people to go along to the station without first consulting a timetable. And a high probability of finding a seat outside the peak commuting times (as GTR themselves say in their promotional video, "You can't squeeze a quart into a pint pot").

Unfortunately (or perhaps by design) the online questionnaire asks questions which are essentially irrelevant for most weekend passengers, who may not make regular journeys on a Sunday, but would greatly benefit from a turn up and go Metro service;

  • How has your journey been affected?
  • Is your new journey a lot more convenient/slightly more convenient/not much different/slightly less convenient/a lot less convenient?
  • What impact would the proposed changes have on your weekend routine?

There is nothing to ask whether or not you are happy with the proposals or have any alternative suggestions, apart from the final question: "Have you any other feedback?"

Consultation Links

The Hertford Loop services are only a small element of the GTR timetable consultation, which covers services branded Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express and a geographical area stretching from Bedfordshire to the south coast.

The deadline for responses is noon on 20 December 2017

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Andrew Stedman's Avatar
Andrew Stedman posted a reply #3414 07 Dec 2017 09:02
Have completed their survey today - thanks for highlighting the changes, and indeed lack of changes on a Sunday for Palmers Green, which is surely not acceptable both in terms of the existing over crowding on some Sunday services already, and the convenience a more frequent service would bring, particularly if connecting with other infrequent services at Kings Cross St Pancras. We all need to make our voices heard. This is an opportunity to bring about change, and if we don't speak now then we will be condemned to suffer 30 minute gaps between services for the foreseeable future.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3421 12 Dec 2017 14:27
Maybe I've always got lucky but in 8 years of living in the area and using either Bowes Park or Palmers Green stations, I've never seen anything close to an over-crowded Sunday train (i.e. standing/no seats).

If trains aren't standing room only, they aren't overcrowded and there isn't demonstrable need for more services.
John Phillips's Avatar
John Phillips posted a reply #3429 14 Dec 2017 11:11
Yes, Dave you've been very lucky. I now do not travel on Sundays as I have missed my connection at Euston so many times through cancelled trains which means the service is, in effect, an hourly one.
I am not surprised at Govia reneging on their promise. It's typical of their attitude to their customers. The tragedy is that the line was not handed over to The Overground like the Chingford line which is now vastly improved.
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3431 14 Dec 2017 13:35
presumably it wasn't handed over because it's not a solely london suburban line, goes right out to farthest north hertfordshire.
Basil Clarke's Avatar
Basil Clarke posted a reply #3432 14 Dec 2017 16:48

David Eden wrote: presumably it wasn't handed over because it's not a solely london suburban line, goes right out to farthest north hertfordshire.


TfL already run services to Shenfield and Cheshunt, and the Elizabeth Line will go all the way to Reading. Not sure how that compares with Stevenage in terms of distance from the GLA boundary, but Reading is well outside London.

At one time it looked as if services might well be transferred, but then there was a reshuffle in the Department for Transport and Chris Grayling became SoS. He wrote to Boris Johnson saying that he couldn't permit a transfer to TfL because there was a risk that a Labour Mayor might be elected.



This letter even led to a Conservative MP, whose constituents would have benefited from a TfL takeover, demanding that Grayling be sacked. Unfortunately, he's still there.

For more information see www.palmersgree...ffers#2487 and www.londonrecon...tion-died/
David Eden's Avatar
David Eden posted a reply #3433 15 Dec 2017 10:31
Shenfield and Cheshunt are both on the cusp of the M25. Whilst indeed not London suburban, they're on the doorstep still.

Lizzy line is a fairly unique exception, it's not comparable as a line serving a terminal station, however Reading to Paddington is the same distance as Letchworth to Moorgate, if looking a little more like for like.

Remember that letter, wasn't sure what CG was worrying about in particular, we've got a London Mayor now and his transport strategy is so limp wristed it wouldn't make much difference if TfL ran a outer-suburban line as far as I can see. Biggest problem and disruption remains Trade Union action which Khan is an ineffective dealing with as Boris was.
Karl Brown's Avatar
Karl Brown posted a reply #3435 15 Dec 2017 16:36
We also long ago gave up travelling local over ground on Sundays such was the never ending shambolic and typically hourly service. Multiply that experience up quite a few times and it may explain why the Sunday trains are not rammed. Doubtless as well as the unnecessary inconvenience there will be some adverse impact on local businesses too.
And only yesterday a mid-day train was cancelled due to a “lack of a driver” as i sat at Highbury. Six trains an hour next year looks like some stretch.
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Karl Brown posted a reply #3458 02 Jan 2018 08:51
Basil posted a government letter highlighting the wish to keep rail services, such as the one serving PG, "out of the clutches of a ... Labour Mayor". So never mind what may be optimal for the rail user, instead let’s determine strategy based on party political benefit. Interestingly the posted letter came from the same Chris Grayling who has been pressured to resign only last week by an extremely transport-savvy peer including on the basis that he put “party before politics” when addressing the failed East coast main line franchise holding. A position taken not for the first time it would seem.