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Rail user's 'hellish' daily commute
A disgruntled rail user has said he is considering moving out of Sussex to avoid his hellish daily commute.
IT worker Garth Walters, who lives in Haywards Heath, pays £4,888- a-year to travel to London for work.
A year ago he moved out of Brighton hoping that the Mid Sussex town would ease his commuting woes.
But after 12 months of what he describes as late services, graffiti-covered carriages, packed peak-hour trains and broken seats, the 41-year-old is planning to move again.
He said: “The service has got worse since First Capital Connect took over. All they have really done is painted the carriages a different colour.
“I despise them so much that I’m thinking of moving out again.”
Mr Walters described how his daily commute begins any time between 7.30am and 9am – depending on what time he is due at work.
He steps on to the already packed train and shuffles to a comfortable position for the journey to the capital.
He added: “The trains are so old that in the winter the doors sometimes freeze shut. It’s ridiculous.
“They will very rarely be on time and I can end up changing two or more times to avoid certain services.
“Then there’s the graffiti, it’s everywhere and looks awful.”
He describes his journey home as frustratingly similar.
He added: “First Capital Connect still seem to run a number of four-car trains in peak times when most platforms can at least accommodate eight car trains.
“I think it’s ridiculous, I pay £94 a week. They just seem happy to take our money and then forget about everything else.”
A spokesman for First Capital Connect said that the company shared passengers’ frustration about graffiti adding that a recent surge in attacks has been costing them £10,000 a week to remove.
He added: “Most of our trains are indeed old and many parts in our toilets are obsolete which makes finding replacement parts another challenge, which is why the picture shows a toilet out of order for so long.
“We have added over 12,000 seats a day to the Thameslink route by increasing the number of trains in our fleet by 47% during our franchise.
“Obviously many of these are the old style but 26 trains are new air-conditioned Electrostars.
“We have also more than halved the number of four-carriage trains we run in the rush hour.
“The standards of our cleaning contractor is being looked at closely but trains that are nearly 30 years old will never look as fresh as more modern stock.”
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