Train passenger chaos blamed on Government
Somerset County Gazette: 1st January 2008
By Phil Hill
TRAIN commuters trying to get home to Taunton are facing long waits at Bristol, a transport campaigner has claimed.
David Redgewell, of Campaign for Better Transport for South West England - formerly Transport 2000 - said 70 passengers were turned away from the 5.53pm to Taunton at Bristol Temple Meads on Friday, December 21.
He reckons things will get worse once people go back to work next week.
"A two-car unit turned up and that's never going to handle the level of passengers," said Mr Redgewell.
"As well as the 70 people left at Bristol, there would have been others trying to get on at other stations on the way to Taunton, creating real problems."
The passengers later boarded the 6.22pm eight-car high-speed train.
Mr Redgewell said the problem was caused by the Government, not train operator First Great Western.
He added: "The Department for Transport allocates the rolling stock and they've just allocated more resources to Scotland, the North of England and East Midlands, taking rolling stock away from the South-West.
"It's unacceptable. They need to allocate more resource to the South-West."
Taunton MP Jeremy Browne is taking up the issue with the Government.
He said: "If the Government is encouraging people to use trains to help the environment and ease road congestion, then there must be enough carriages and fares need to be affordable.
"More people are catching trains in our area and they deserve a comfortable and affordable service.
"When Parliament reconvenes next week, I'll be asking transport ministers why there is insufficient rolling stock in Somerset to meet passenger demand."