First Capital Connect boss faces passenger gripes online

Chris Cornthwaite, First Capital Connect's commercial director

Chris Cornthwaite, First Capital Connect's commercial director - Credit: Archant

Lack of up-to-date information, train frequency and a shortage of Sunday services were just some of the bugbears rail passengers revealed last week.

First Capital Connect train passes through Welwyn North Station

First Capital Connect train passes through Welwyn North Station - Credit: Archant

First Capital Connect (FCC) consumer director, Chris Cornthwaite, faced a barrage of complaints when he fielded queries from fed-up commuters.

The firm runs train services throughout the area, including Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and Potters Bar.

One passenger, David Ashley, asked: “Why is it that the information boards at Welwyn Garden City station are not in sync with the information provided by National Rail Enquiries?”

He added: “Only when the arrival time as passed will the information boards reflect the delay.

“Considering this information is obviously available, why does this discrepancy in information exist?”

Answering Mr Ashley’s enquiry, Mr Cornthwaite said: “Many thanks for your observations.

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“We will review with our Customer Information Team to understand why this is happening and to rectify where appropriate.”

And Mr Ashley also bemoaned having to spend £4,000 on a season ticket, only to have to get rail replacement services on Sundays until the end of March. FCC blamed the policy on power supply upgrade work and track renewals.

Another passenger, who gave their name simply as GW, called for a review into “the very poor service offered to the commuters from Watton-at-Stone station”.

And Shane James complained that FCC had “cancelled trains due to a member of train crew being unavailable”.

He added: “I travel extensively around the UK by train and your trains are cancelled quite a lot for this.

“Is it because you don’t have enough drivers or do your staff just fancy the day off?”

Mr Cornthwaite said the firm had “already recruited over 100 additional drivers” a move he hoped would “reduce the impact of this issue in the future”.

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