A Meeting with GTR!

Short version:

We had a meeting last week with the team from GTR that built the timetable. They travelled to Baldock (by train!) to meet with us. We touched on all the complaints mentioned in the Oliver Heald post, but as this was the timetable team we focused mainly on timetabling issues. The team made it clear that the plan remains to deliver the May 2018 timetable in full and that this crisis would not lead to any permanent reduction in Baldock Services.

Separately we are also planning to have a social / drinks meet in the coming weeks (date TBC).

Long Version:

Our meeting with the team was to gain clarity on whether the current chaos would lead to a further timetable reshuffle and whether we would need to campaign further in light of this. We covered the timetables Baldock SHOULD have gotten if trainmageddon hadn’t happened; the train time table post July 15th and what we can expect going forward (into 2019 and beyond).

A brief history - the consultation:

Prior to the Save Baldock Trains campaign the proposed timetable for Baldock was as follows: Peak: 2 Trains per hour semi-fast. 2 stopper Trains per hour. (4 trains) Off Peak: Two stopping Trains per hour. (2 trains, No fast trains)

After the consultation:

We successfully lobbied for 2 additional Trains stopping at Baldock. This gave us the following which was meant to be implemented following May 2018 (with one of the trains added in phase two coming December 2019): Peak: 2 semi-fast trains per hour through the Thameslink tunnel . Two trains per hour to kings cross and 2 stopping Trains. (5 trains on peak starting May – and a 6th to be added in December 2018) Off peak: 2 semi fast trains and 2 stopping (3 trains off peak starting May - and a 4th to be added December 2018)

So what’s actually happening?

So far GTR staff are not being allowed to comment on who is to blame but it seems to boil down to a combination of late delivery of the timetable from Network Rail and driver training issues. The important message for Baldock is that the goal of GTR remains the delivery of that May 2018 timetable.

The plan as we understand it is to introduce a new timetable starting July 15th. Its likely that peak travellers will notice little change, perhaps even a better service, whilst off-peak will have less trains (but we are told they will be much more reliable as a result). This timetable is essentially a 'diet' version of the May 2018 timetable, but with them having admitted it can’t be delivered and so cutting back to a deliverable service level.

There will then be the gradual phasing in of additional services until the full May 2018 timetable is achieved (5 trains at peak from Baldock). When exactly this happens remains unclear.

We realise this isn’t exactly 'great news', but we think it’s better than a total rethink given that every town on route in shouting as loud as they can at GTR. We pushed very hard on whether there was likely to be a re-think due to MPs campaigning on behalf of other stations etc and whilst nothing is ever certain, we were told that this was in no way the plan several times during our meeting.

A social / drinks you say?

We would like to arrange a no agenda drinks in a Baldock pub. The reasons are threefold:

1. It’s always good to know people who want to go to the Parcel Yard when trains are bust and you can't get home. 2. We are a small group and occasionally we could use some help (less than 10 people delivered nearly 10,000 leaflets when we ran our campaign). This is purely voluntary - if you come and have a beer then nobody will pressure you into helping in future. 3. In the process of doing this we have learned a reasonable amount about what’s going on along our route and are happy to share this face to face and answer any questions that we can.

Date TBC - will be posted to the group as an announcement shortly. As usual please ask any questions you have in the comments