‘Commuters face paying more for a worse service’

Rail passengers face a hike in rail fares for a worse service, it was claimed this week.

Tuesday, 21st August 2012, 4:00 pm

Trade union the RMT has spoken out following delays over the contract to build a new fleet for the Thameslink route, which runs from Bedford to Brighton via London.

The contract was originally signed in June 2011 but no new trains have been built yet, despite commuters facing a 6.6 per cent increase in rail fares from Bedford from January.

It is claimed that the decision to hand the contract to German firm Siemens, rather than British firm Bombardier, will affect up to 10,000 British employees, and that Bombardier would have already had trains ready for use.

An RMT spokesman said: “From January passengers will be kicked in the teeth. With a six per cent increase on their fares to travel on rail carriages that should have been replace years ago. They will be paying more for a worse service.

“Thameslink’s own contract to run the route is up next year anyway, so there’s no pressure on them to get on with this.

“This is down to a government who signed this deal with Siemens.”

They added: “We will continue to batter away at this government, who awarded this contract in June last year which still hasn’t managed to put a single carriage on the tracks.

“If Bombardier had been awarded the contract then there would already be new trains on the tracks.”

The Thameslink route is currently run by First Capital Connect. Stops include Flitwick, Harlington, Leagrave and both Luton stations.

A spokesman for the Department For Transport said: “We are making progress with Siemens and their consortium and expect to reach financial close by early autumn.”