Train operator apologises as commuters are ‘crammed like cattle’ following cancelled services

Train operator London Midland has promised to review the way its service alterations are managed and communicated at key stations following passenger uproar earlier this week.

Friday, 14th November 2014, 1:33 pm
Library image: Crowded trains

On Wednesday evening several of the company’s train services from London Euston through to Dacorum stations and beyond were cancelled, due to planned engineering works.

Many customers hoping to travel out of the capital on London Midland services took to social media to vent their frustrations.

One caught in the chaos posted on Twitter: “Well done @LondonMidland. Once again passengers stranded at Euston this late because you’ve put on a 4carriage service for ur busiest train!”, while another tweeted: “@LondonMidland 4 carriages on the 22.44 from Euston yet again. Crammed in like cattle.. #disgraceful service !!!”

One commuter, Geoff Cummins, was intending to travel to Hemel Hempstead on the 22.24 service during the disruption.

In an email to the chief executive of London Midland Patrick Verwer – shared with the Gazette – he said: “There was no train, no announcement, no explanation and no apology. The train just disappeared, as did the 23.04 and the 23.24.

“Apparently these trains have either vapourised or been stolen as, on the evening, the company simply ignored their timetabled existence and no one at London Euston was able to account for them.

“Thousands of people stood curiously on the concourse, staring at the board and scratching their heads in confusion at the roaring silence that came by way of explanation.”

Mr Cummins went on to commend the train’s manager and conductor for dealing with the dilemma but slammed the company for its handling of the situation.

London Midland spokesman Francis Thomas said: “The reason there were fewer trains in use on Wednesday is due to planned engineering works carried out by Network Rail, which were publicised in advance and details of which could be found on our website and smartphone app.

“It did mean that more people had to travel in one train, and we are sorry passengers felt they had an uncomfortable journey.

“The key thing for us to do is review how this was managed and communicated by staff at Euston station, which is not managed by London Midland but on our behalf by Network Rail.”

The line into and out of London Euston will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, December 27 and 28 of this year as part of ongoing improvements to the line at Watford.

In previous closures which took place over the summer, rail replacement coaches were provided from Hemel Hemsptead station, where the line closure began.

The work will continue in 2015.