True stories from the Great Railway Disaster

A weekly chronicle of the absurdities caused by the Government's privatisation programme; No 51: so you want the train to stop at your local station?
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RESIDENTS of King's Langley in Hertfordshire were annoyed when North London Railways reduced the number of trains stopping at their station during the late evening from two to one an hour. Local parish councillors met the rail company to seek an explanation. Councillor Paul Tucker said: "They refused to reinstate the service on two grounds: first, that customers travelling to Milton Keynes would resent the six minute delay and secondly because they would have to pay Railtrack more money to stop the train at the station than just run through it."

The councillors asked for more information about this, such as details of the company's customer research on which they based their assumptions and details of how much extra stops at the station would cost North London Railways. They were told this information could not be given to them because it was "commercial in confidence" and might prejudice a potential bidder for the line.

John Prime, a commuter from King's Langley, said that he and hundreds of others travel regularly through the station and none have heard any complaints from Milton Keynes passengers about the delay of stopping at King's Langley. He adds: "The logic of this argument, together with Railtrack's method of charging, seems to be that no train should ever stop until it reaches its final destination." Perhaps Mr Prime should keep this to himself, in case someone thinks it is a good idea.