Calls for Minister to resign over ‘Meltdown Monday’ faced by Bedford commuters

New Thameslink train. Photo by Peter Alvey
New Thameslink train. Photo by Peter Alvey

“Meltdown Monday” hit rail commuters this week, when a huge overhaul of train timetables failed to go smoothly.

MP Mohammad Yasin is calling for the resignation of Transport Minister Chris Grayling over what he described as “chaos”.

And mayor Dave Hodgson branded the first day of the timetables as “Meltdown Monday” after one of the first rail-replacement buses broke down, leaving some commuters relying on a rail-
replacement-bus-replacement bus to get them to work.

Mr Yasin said: “This government are failing on rail.

“Rail-users in Bedford pay a fortune to travel to work, and shouldn’t have to factor in 
‘logistical challenges’ that ought to have been planned for.

“The overcrowding and poor service we all feared was evident on the very first day of the new timetable.”

Major changes took effect on two separate routes which serve Bedford.

The controversial decision to end peak-time trains between Bedford and Luton began, leaving commuters using slower services run by Govia Thameslink.

And the latter company also had a major timetable change, including ‘express’ services which only stop twice between Bedford and London.

The arrival of the new timetables was hit by a number of delays and cancellations.

Mayor of Bedford Dave Hodgson said: “Even if these changes run as they are supposed to, they represent a massive downgrade in rail service by the government.

“Yet to add insult to injury, with peak intercity trains stripped away, the remaining services got off to a disastrous start. Rail users are dreading at least two-and-a-half years of disruption, and the chaos of Meltdown Monday will only have deepened their fears.”

The Department for Transport was unable to confirm how many delays and cancellations occurred on Monday.

A spokesman said: “We know passengers have experienced disruption during the biggest change to rail timetables in a generation as we introduce new services to give passengers faster journeys and more seats.”