Meet the directors
10th March 2010
The forum gives you the opportunity to post questions to our senior team and get instant answers. Thank you for taking part.
We hold 'Meet the Directors' sessions on a monthly basis at various stations on our network.
Use the form below to find a question in the forum.
Question number 133
From Miss Frumps AlotQ
Why do your new trains wobble so much- and why don't they have enough seats or standing room for such a busy route?
The 377s are built correctly for the infrastructure and any perceived wobble factor would be within permitted tolerances. We have 5000 more seats than this time last year but the fact is that we are a busy commuter route with a finite number of carriages available. There are no more trains to be able to put on the tracks. The DfT are tendering for new trains and these should be available from 2014.
Question number 132
From Mr Flitwick CommuterQ
I have noticed platform lengthening at most FCC Thameslink stations, but so far nothing has happened at Flitwick. Could you confirm what plans there are to extend the platforms there to accommodate 12-car trains?
All platforms at Flitwick are due to be extended to 12 car length. The programme is phased over this year and 2011 for the lengthening work to be completed.
Question number 131
From Mr Peter SkuceQ
I read in the latest issue of Modern Railways a suggestion to modernise the Great Eastern Class 321 EMU trains at National Express East Anglia by replacing the existing Brush TM2141C DC motors that are located in the MSO vehicle with AC three phase asynchronous motors in each driving end vehicle. This would further improve reliability and also provide even faster acceleration from station stops. A mechanical overhaul and interior refurbishment (including installing an RVAR wheelchair accessible toilet in one Trailer vehicle and a normal toilet would fit in the other vehicle plus 2+2 seating in Standard Class and twelve seats in the 2+1 layout in First Class) could take place on the First Capital Connect Class 321 trains around 2013 would enable the necessary work to take place.
Our 321 fleet has an excellent reliabilit performance and was awarded the best in class for mid-life EMUs for 2009.
Question number 130
From Mr Jordan DiasQ
Post-matches at the Emirates Stadium, the schedule ex-Finsbury Park becomes very pot luck. Whilst obviously it is good that you are doing some extra services, there is such variance between midweek and weekend games and no consistency between weekend games. An example is that often after weekend games you run an extra WGC service, which departs minutes before the scheduled service!
Could you advise more widely what extra services you plan to run?
Thanks for your enquiry
This is quite an interesting topic.
What we can do midweeks is often quite different to what we can do on Saturdays, which is different again to what we can do on Sundays.
I suppose that I'm trying to demonstrate that the variety of circumstances in terms of day of match plus kick off time overlaid against the normal service which applies (or the amended service if engineering work is involved at the weekend) means that it is very hard to keep a consistent football based service.
It's also s*d's law that the first post-match service that turns up is normally a single unit which is part of the usual timetable and can't be strengthened because of where it calls, or because no other EMU's are available at the time required.
Howeverr, we do try and run extra services amongst the normal service as best we can, and also strengthen advertised services where we are able to do so. So although it's not a perfectly football service for Arsenal it is almost the best that we can do under the circumstances.
Why dont' we advertise in advance? - often we're not entirely sure what we will be able to operate additionally that far ahead, but on-screen detail on the day should be accurate once the service is up and running.
All the best
Question number 129
From Mr Baldock CommuterQ
I refer to answers to my earlier questions no 20, no 1 and no 7
Your response to no 20 was very positive! Thank you.
Regarding Question 7
I said " .... the 17.53 is getting busy and there are no spare seats, no spare luggage racks and it is starting to feel more like the old 18.45! "
You responded with "The loading data shows that there is crowding on the rear unit of the 17:53 King's Cross to Royston, however seats are available towards the front of the train."
I don't know when your data was collected. There used to be free seats at the front but most of the time all seats are taken. I do walk to the front of train and there is standing at every entrance. The only free seats are in First Class and the three unused driver seats!
I then asked "However the question is - what are you planning to do about this? Could the train be extended to 12 carriages? At the moment Letchworth, Baldock and Ashwell are 8-carriage lengths. Could you run a 12-carriage train so that the back 4 (or front 4) carriage doors do not open (or the back 2 and front 2)? Trains operate in such a fashion on Southern Railways!"
You reponded with "Unfortunately our existing units are not fitted with selective door operation, however this will be fitted to the new Thameslink trains. We are working with DfT to provide extra capacity and adjust stopping patterns to reduce crowding on the Great Northern route. "
Please can you confirm if the intention is for these trains with selective door openings (SDO) to work on the Great Northern line. If these trains with SDO are operating on the Great Northern lines would you be able to use SDO at Baldock and Ashwell Stations?
In question 1 you made the statement "There is no plan to create island platforms at Letchworth in the foreseeable future. Equally, there are no plans to increase either Baldock or Ashwell to accommodate 12-cars.... Consequently, only Cambridge, Royston and Letchworth will be able to deal with 12-cars on the Hitchin Branch once the GN outer platform extension work is concluded."
This seems to imply that we won't be seeing 12-carriage trains stopping at Baldock stations. The implications (and my fear is) that being you will run fast 12-carriage trains calling Letchworth, Royston and Cambridge and Baldock and Ashwell will be left with slow and semi-slow service
Thank you for your question.
The data was from 12 separate occasions, however I will visit King's Cross to monitor loadings on the 17:53 King's Cross to Royston service.
At this stage the Thameslink timetable specification for the Great Northern route is not complete. It is therefore too early to speculate which trains will call at Baldock and Ashwell in the future.