By Adam Langleben,
Last night myself and Labour councillors called for action to improve the poor standard of Thameslink services in Barnet. This was rejected by all Conservative councillors.
In my motion to last night's Environment Committee, I raised issues including the imminent closure of ticket offices at New Barnet, Cricklewood and Mill Hill Broadway, four carriage trains running at rush hour and step free access at Mill Hill Broadway, as well as other issues, and asked the Conservative run council administration to support my call for improvement by writing to train operator, Govia, and the Secretary of State for Transport.
The Conservative councillors all voted against this motion to improve the worst rail service in the country, rated 26 out of 26 by the National Rail Passenger Survey. Sadly when I asked Mill Hill councillor John Hart, who I know is all too aware of the problem, to respond, he stated that it is his right not to respond to my question… Take from that what you will.
My motion was simple, it said this:
Recent surveys have shown that Thameslink and Great Northern, which operate rail services through Barnet, are among the most unpopular railway lines in the country with some of the highest levels of delays and cancellations. In addition to this, Govia has recently announced a consultation on the future of its ticket office operations at Mill Hill Broadway, Cricklewood and New Barnet stations, with a view towards a closure of those offices. I therefore call:
1. On the Committee to write to the train operator, Govia Thameslink Railway, to demand improvements and to invite a representative to attend an Environment Committee meeting.
2. I also call on the Committee to write to the Department of Transport urging them to speed up the planned transfer of London’s suburban rail services to Transport for London.
3. That the committee resolve that the London Borough of Barnet are against all ticket office closures or reduction in operating hours of those services, and that the Chair of this committee and Leader of the Council will make these representations to Govia Thameslink Railway on behalf of the authority.
4. On the Chair of the Committee to write to the Department for Transport, TfL and Govia Thameslink Railway to state this authority’s view that Cricklewood and Hendon Thameslink stations be upgraded at the earliest possible opportunity to allow for 12 car trains to stop and alight at the stations to secure their long term viability and to ensure the best possible service for the residents of our borough.
5. For this committee to back the local campaign for Step Free Access at Mill Hill Broadway station by writing to the Secretary of State for Transport calling for Mill Hill Broadway to be added to the next list of works for step free access and also refer this to the planning department to secure any financial contributions for such access from the dozens of developers building in the borough who are currently being left off the hook by this borough.
6. For the Chair of the Committee to write to Govia Thameslink Railway, copying in the Secretary of State for Transport and the Mayor of London stating that this committee believes that it is completely unacceptable for four car trains to be running and servicing stations in Barnet during peak hours of operation. Such operations reduce the productivity of London and does our city a disservice.
7. For the London Borough of Barnet to send a copy of these resolutions to the Department for Transport asking for penalty’s and fines to be issued against Govia Thameslink Railway should they fail to adequately resolve these issues.
As a daily user of the Thameslink service myself I know how shocking it is. This service runs through our backyard and for many is the primary mode of transport for their commute. The infrequency of the trains, the daily delays, the cattle train squish. It cannot be safe to have so many people crammed into such a small train.
My ask of the Tories was simple. Do they aspire for the highest quality transport service for our residents or are they on the side of the worst rail franchise operator in the country which is making millions in profit on the back of our resident’s daily misery? They failed to adequately answer my seven simple asks and I am certain that other users of the service will be appalled.
The council have now missed the chance to take part in the consultation to save our ticket offices but it is not too late for the public. I urge all users of the service to fill in the consultation before the deadline of 13th March at
And also to write to your Conservative councillor asking them to support the seven simple asks.
Labour Councillor for West Hendon ward
Councillor Adam Langleben is a regular user of Thameslink. Guest blogs are always welcome at The Barnet Eye.
The most imminent thing is asking people to fill in the consultation on ticket office closures. Deadline is 13th March. http://www.rmt.org.uk/campaigns/rail/keep-ticket-offices-open-govia/