The Blog of
Nadine Dorries
Letter to Lord Adonis
Posted Thursday, 14 January 2010 at 14:39

This is the letter that I have sent to Lord Adonis, Secretary of State for Transport:



'Dear Andrew,


I am sure you are aware of the situation that has been unfolding involving First Capital Connect and even though the situation may have now reached some form of resolution, following on from the vote result yesterday, I think it may be time to look at the future role of First Capital Connect.


I have been contacted by many angry constituents, who travel on a daily basis on the Bedford to Brighton line, regarding the debacle that became worse by the day and had an increasingly negative impact on their lives.


While there are certain aspects of the situation that could not be immediately rectified there are others that, after three months of disruption and complaints, could not be excused.

An example of this being the constant changing of timetables: from temporary, to emergency and, at times, completely ad hoc. This was made worse by poor and inaccurate communication of such changes.


One constituent checked the FCC website on 9th January 2010 to see that FCC had returned to 4 trains per hour, returning to the regular timetabled service i.e. until 1.30 am. Upon arriving at a local station it was discovered that trains had been cancelled and that those running included additional stops and therefore a longer journey. The level of communication was appalling as often even station managers had no clue as to what was happening.


I wish to raise the question as to whether First Capital Connect should lose their franchise as many of my constituents have lost faith in them to provide the services that they are supposed to. In the very least it would appear necessary for First Capital Connect to have a financial penalty imposed upon them, in order to set a precedent to other operators who may consider treating its customers in such a manner, and to prevent the practice of under-employing the necessary number of trained drivers required.


It is impossible to quantify or to emphasise the distress First Capital Connect have caused to all of my commuting constituents, I am amongst them, or how frustrating it has been as an MP to have been totally unable to do anything, other than raise the issue over and over again, achieving zero result.


It appears that ASLEF silently used the frustration and disrupted lives of all commuters to their own ends without regard or respect for the damage and distress they caused. If First Capital Connect had deployed appropriate recruitment and retention practices ASLEF could never have held us over the barrel in this manner.


I look forward to a speedy response and a decision as to how First Capital Connect are to be held account for the last three months of commuting hell.





Contact Nadine
Nadine Dorries MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
via e-mail at:
or Telephone on 020 7219 5928

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