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Thameslink Railway Line: Industrial Disputes

Volume 501: debated on Wednesday 2 December 2009

To ask the Minister of State, Department for Transport what the outcomes are of his Department's monitoring of the effects on train services of First Capital Connect train drivers choosing to work only their contracted hours; what assessment he has made of the effects of such action on routes other than the Bedford to Brighton route; how many other routes have been affected to date; what steps he is taking to resolve the situation; and what assessment he has made of the extent to which First Capital Connect can deliver on its franchise requirements while such action persists. (303263)

[holding answer 1 December 2009]: Officials at the Department for Transport are ensuring that the amended timetables that First Capital Connect is operating look to protect the first and last services of the day for all First Capital Connect routes; provide a balanced service during the day; and provide replacement bus services where appropriate. First Capital Connect is obliged to reinstate trains when resources are available and this is happening when possible.

No assessment has been made of the effects of the action on other routes, but there is a notable increase in passengers using First Capital Connect services on the Great Northern route during peak periods. In addition, First Capital Connect has arranged for its tickets to be valid on Southern services between Brighton, Sutton, Wimbledon and intermediate stations to Victoria, as well as on Stagecoach South West Trains services between Wimbledon and Waterloo.

First Capital Connect Thameslink tickets can also be used on the Tramlink services and on London underground and buses on all reasonable routes. Further, on the Great Northern route, First Capital Connect will when necessary arrange for their passengers to be able to use the East Coast services between Peterborough and London.

First Capital Connect is in negotiation with the unions to resolve this matter and all parties are urged to resolve this unacceptable situation.

The Department for Transport is monitoring First Capital Connect's ability to deliver their franchise requirements in accordance with their contractual commitments and we will take appropriate action to ensure compliance.