One Source Dec 19 Deputy Director

Tower Hamlets Dec 19 Updated 600

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Council to consider judicial review challenge over train timetable changes

St Albans City and District Council is to look at the possibility of a judicial review challenge over the introduction of a new timetable for the Thameslink train line.

The investigation into potential legal action will be led by the local authority’s Portfolio Holder for Planning, Cllr Mary Maynard.

The move is a part of a package of measures supported by St Albans’ councillors, who have called on the Government to make urgent improvements to the train line following what the council claimed was a “disastrous” overhaul of the timetable.

They have asked Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Transport, to reinstate axed peak-hour trains from Harpenden on the Thameslink line.

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The minister has been urged to make major changes to the system for compensating passengers for poor services. This would include allowing passengers to claim a refund when they are unable to board overcrowded trains.

The councillors also agreed to raise concerns about health and safety risks to passengers with franchise holder Govia Thameslink Railway.

This follows injury to two people during a stampede for a train at Harpenden rail station as well as complaints about overcrowded platforms and carriages, St Albans said.

The actions were agreed by councillors on the all-party Planning, Resources, Housing and Commercial Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 7 June.

Chair Cllr Roma Mills said: “Govia promised a once-in-a-generation timetable change that would transform the Thameslink line.

“The unanimous view of the committee is that that this has been completely disastrous. This District’s tens of thousands of rail commuters, particularly those who use Harpenden rail station, have suffered terribly.

“There are continuous delays, cancellations, poor communications, overcrowding and other serious safety issues. As a matter of urgency, we want the Government to take action to sort out the mess.”

Cllr Mills added: “I have written to both the Minister for Transport and Govia with a series of demands and will also be raising the issue of a judicial review to see if this new timetable, which appears to have been imposed without a proper public consultation, is lawful.”

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