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Passenger fury over train cuts.

Byline: By Guy Basnett

Rail passenger groups last night accused GNER of leaving commuters in the dark after two rush-hour trains were dropped from timetables.

The peak-time services, linking Newcastle to London, were cut to allow more trains to travel through York during the Royal Ascot racing.

Passenger groups say GNER, which runs the East Coast Mainline franchise, had failed to inform passengers of the temporary alterations.

But the firm insist posters detailing the changes were on display.

Out of five Newcastle Central to London King's Cross services between 4.30pm and 6.30pm, two trains ( the 1655 and 1810 ( have been cut.

A spokesman for the Rail Passengers Council in the North-East said: "We weren't aware they had made some changes to trains from Newcastle.

"And when I was at the station recently I didn't see anything about trains missing from the timetable.

"It is our view that the more information you put out the better. People will always be more understanding if they know what's going on."

The spokesman said he understood the need to remove trains from service to ensure they could be diverted to cope with Ascot racegoers.

The alterations will be in place until the end of the event, on Saturday.

Peter Groves, secretary of the Alnmouth Rail User Group, said: "A lack of information given to passengers is a general problem we have been trying to tackle.

"It has improved but we still think more can be done."

A spokesman for GNER apologised to passengers for any inconvenience caused by the changes but said they were necessary during the event.

The spokesman said: "With 40,000 people arriving at York on each of the five Royal Ascot race days, we are experiencing considerably higher demand than usual for travel to and from the city.

"As a result, we have introduced a revised timetable for the duration of the Royal Ascot festival, including two additional trains from Newcastle to cater for racegoers.

"Unfortunately this has meant some other, more lightly used services have been re-timed and in a very small number of cases withdrawn to free up trains to operate the Ascot specials.

"We have posters advising of the timetable changes on display in both the travel centre and on the station concourse at Newcastle Central Station."
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Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:Jun 16, 2005
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