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  1. ITV Report

Rail chaos: 'You're in the dark as to when your children will arrive'

Commuters are facing daily disruptions to their journeys Credit: PA

There is mounting frustration among commuters who have been stung by the rail chaos affecting trains following the implementation of the Rail Plan 2020 timetable.

As politicians decide how to respond to the crisis enveloping Govia Thameslink Railway services and Northern, travellers are voicing their anger over the disruption.

For one frequent commuter on Thameslink Rail, who travels between Luton Airport Parkway and City Thameslink in central London, the changes are putting a strain on his whole family, as his children rely on the network to get to and from school.

Mark Sellers, who works as a solicitor, told ITV News "it creates tension for the whole family, both when you're going in, and when you're going home".

His children and their schoolmates - many of whom rely on the train network to get to and from school - have important exams at this time of year, so parents are having to drop them off earlier and earlier to ensure they make it on time.

On top of that, if parents are picking up their children, they often aren't given an indication of when their train will arrive.

"If the kids are coming back on a train, and it just shows as 'delayed', and no one at the station can help you, you may send messages on Twitter and they don't want to answer, you're in the dark as to when your children will arrive at the station," he said.

Thameslink has repeatedly Tweeted links to its "disruption information" and told passengers to plan their journey beforehand - which has not gone down well with some.

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Mark Sellers points out that "trains can be terminated earlier than your station," they can change destination without prior warning, and often they'll just disappear from the app or display boards.

"You cannot guarantee if the commute will be the usual hour or two hours - until the train turns up, you just don't know," he adds.

The problem for Mark and many more like him, is there just isn't any other choice than to "grin and bear it".

He noticed the deterioration of the service on the first weekday after the Rail Plan 2020 was implemented, on 21 May. He believes somebody should be held accountable for the decision to go ahead.

"Someone somewhere said Rail Plan 2020 was good to go. Why did they do that if they were clearly not ready?" he asked, adding: "The number of cancellations is huge."

"At the beginning it was total chaos," he said. "But now it seems to be planned chaos on the part of Thameslink."