Monday 11 January 2010

First Capital Connect - How bad can a company be?

Yet again the hard pressed commuters of Mill Hill are suffering. It seems that First Capital Connect have discovered a new excuse for not being able to run a service. This time, it seems the snow has damaged their trains. There are two aspects of this I don't get. Firstly, these trains have been running since the mid 1980's. How on earth can they suddenly be susceptible to snow? Strange as it may seem, it has snowed in the last 25 years. Secondly, having used Thameslink since the line was first opened, I do actually remember when these trains were first introduced under British Rail. They all went wrong then,the first time its nowed. The excuse "The wrong type of snow". They said that the filters couldn't deal with fine snow. These were quickly replaced with more expensive filters that did the job.Could it be that First Capital Connect have gone back to using the cheap filters that caused the initial problem?

A quick look at the Thameslink website revealed this message

Customer information: Monday 11 January 2010, 18:23

Due to the weather we regret we can offer only a severely limited service today but there are 8 extra services this evening northbound from London and 4 services out of London on the Wimbledon/Sutton loop. Buses are in operation to alleviate overcrowding
Surely the time has come for the Government to say to First Group that "enough is enough". They make a handsome profit running this service, which is redistributed to shareholders. If the line was taken back into public hands, then the money could be spent on upgrading the service. First have completely undermined the argument that privatised companies can run a train service more efficiently than a nationalised company. British Rail ran the service for years and we never had the mayhem we've had in the last few months then. The only measure First Capital Connect works on as a company is to deliver huge dividend to shareholders and huge renumeration packages to the directors such as Moir Lockhead.

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