Lincolnshire rail commuters say they have been left with limited and overcrowded transport options after East Midlands Railway temporarily cut almost 50 county services.
Many have hit out at the loss of train journeys on one of the most severely affected lines, between Lincoln and Newark Northgate.
East Midland Railway, taken over by by Dutch firm Abellio in 2019 with a promise of more seats at peak times, implemented a new timetable across its fleet in May.
Shortly after, passengers experienced a catalogue of last minute cancellations and disruption.
East Midlands Railway said the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, staff absences and the delayed delivery of trains was to blame.
On June 19, the company introduced cuts of around 15% to its timetable, in order to “fix underlying problems,” and “protect the most used services.”
Some 18 weekday services between Newark Northgate and Lincoln have been cut, and four Saturday services.
Also among the worst affected routes is the Nottingham/Lincoln/Grimsby line.
Some of those whose journeys have been impacted have reached out to The Lincolnite in frustration.
Steve Mason said: “There are a lot of train commuters being inconvenienced and left stranded as no replacement buses seem to have been ordered.
“Add to that, the filthy state of many of the carriages.”
@EastMidRailway Another packed train-standing room only from Lincoln to Newark Castle. Even your staff are onboard travelling today and can’t get a seat. SD not possible! We need our commuter trains back on! #EMRtrains #commute #EastMidlands
— Georgina May Clarke (@GeorginaMayCla3) June 24, 2021
But this is the commuter service between Lincoln and Nottingham how can you justify cancelling it? How am I to get home in time to put my child to bed?
— Alice Forward (@AliceCMForward) June 23, 2021
@EastMidRailway why on earth have you removed two of the main commuter trains from your timetable. I’m referring to the 16:34 and the 16:45 from Lincoln to newark castle and NNG respectively. These trains are always busy. How are we going to be safe on the remaining trains?
— Laura Walsh (@lulet99) June 18, 2021
The Lincolnite contacted East Midlands Railway to put commuters’ concerns to them.
The company said it plans to resume the full timetable of services in December.
It also addressed comments about the cleanliness of the carriages.
A spokesperson said: “In May we introduced a new timetable. Since its introduction it has become clear it is not performing as well as we, or our customers, expect.
“Due to the ongoing impact of covid, staff absences and the late delivery of trains, it has led to short notice cancellations and difficult journeys.
“We are very sorry for the disruption and inconvenience caused to our customers during this time.
“We are acting swiftly to implement changes which will improve performance and provide a reliable experience across our network.
“As a result, from Saturday, June 19, we introduced a temporary reduced regional timetable. This change will allow us to protect our most used services, such as summer services to Skegness and allow us to fix the underlying problems so we can reintroduce the full timetable.
“We will still run 85% of our normal timetable which equates to more than 460 trains per day.
“Amended timetables are now available online and we ask customers to check their journey on our website before setting off.”
Regarding cleanliness, the company said: “EMR has put in place many new measures so passengers can travel with confidence, these include enhanced monitoring, more cleaners, sourcing powerful disinfectant products and purchasing new specialist fogging cleaning equipment.
“If any customers spot something that’s not quite right please tell a member of staff or get in touch via our social media channels and we will fix them as quickly as possible.”