Commuting to London from St Neots

Discussion in 'Trip Planning & Reports' started by Chelsea1230, 11 Apr 2015.

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  1. Chelsea1230

    Chelsea1230 New Member

    11 Apr 2015
    Hi all,

    Just after some advice really.
    We're looking to buy a house in St Neots (the new builds very near the station) and will be commuting into London.

    Does anyone currently do this commute and can share what it's like?
    Also if anyone can shed some light on what St Neots is like??

    Currently living in North London and scared about buying a house and doing a long commute :/

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  3. HLE 13

    HLE 13 Established Member

    1 Mar 2012
    I don't live there but St Neots has a pretty good service with extra express services in the peak which usually call Biggleswade/Stevenage then Kings Cross in the morning which are usually 12 car trains and in the evening the same trains are usually Hitchin only then St Neots together with the half hourly service in the off peak which is all stations to Hatfield then Potters Bar, Finsbury Park and Kings Cross and the all stations to Stevenage then Finsbury Park and Kings Cross I think St Neots is a reasonable place to commute from.
  4. ac6000cw

    ac6000cw Established Member

    10 May 2014
    Cambridge, UK
    I don't live there either (but have a relative who did in the past).

    It's a fairly nondescript middle-market small/medium size town, and I suspect most people who move there from other places do so for the same reasons as yourself - it's a cheaper place to live if you don't mind the commute to work (London and Cambridge being the main 'commuter' destinations from there I assume these days).

    If you don't own a car, the main east-west public transport is the X5 express bus service (Oxford to Cambridge via Milton Keynes and Bedford). In the same vein, if you are used to having easy access to public transport throughout the day (when living in a large urban area) it's going to be quite a culture shock how poor it can be 'out in the sticks' - like having very few or no buses after early evening to many villages (or even just one bus each way per week!), so going out in the evening to a nice pub in a nearby village can be difficult without your own wheels or spending a lot on taxis.

    Not wanting to put you off moving there, just trying point out a few things to think about - I moved to Cambridge after living in large conurbations (Birmingham/Bradford/Manchester) so I went through the some of the same 'adjustment' process many years ago.
    Last edited: 12 Apr 2015
  5. Mr_Plinge

    Mr_Plinge New Member

    12 Apr 2015
    I do live in St Neots, and I also commute into London by train.

    Train service -

    Punctuality - Mostly fine. Occasional big problems with overhead lines, points, and other big stuff, when the line is out of action for a few hours or more. More frequent niggles with cancelled trains because GNR seem to have insufficient drivers. The problem with St Neots, is that if anything big happens, then the only real solution is buses to Bedford, which takes GNR a while to sort out, and even longer to communicate with customers what is going on.

    Journey - Mostly fine. The fast services in the morning are pretty full (lots more people commute in from Huntingdon), so mid week you can struggle to get a seat on the 7:18. The later trains are a little bit less busy, or alternatively you can get on the slow trains which are virtually empty at St Neots. The trains are mostly OK, but maintenance doesn't seem to be GNR's strong point, so the heating tends to be off in the winter and on in the summer.

    Service - Mostly fine. A reasonable number of fast trains in the morning, but there is a big gap between the 6:37(?) and the 7:18. Half hourly fast trains from late afternoon, and an hourly fast service from 7pm until 11pm. Do not EVER catch the 19:10 in school holidays. It is the first off peak service, so is full of overtired children, and for some reason GNR use pre-war rolling stock on that service.

    St Neots -

    The town has changed for the better over the last five years, and is starting to emerge from the shadow of Huntingdon. Previously anything that was planned would take place in Huntingdon, the seat of the local district council. So the council is there, the police headquarters, the hospital, the cinema, etc, etc.

    With the growth in population, some developments are starting to spread to St Neots, for example a cinema opened last year.

    Public transport is shockingly bad in the town, and appears to be run by complete morons. For a town with many people commuting by train, there is no sensible bus service that links with the trains (the bus take 45 minutes to do a 2.5 mile journey, and is timed to miss the train by 1 minute). The last bus of the day, apart from the X5 service, is about 7pm, and there are no buses on Sundays.

    Facilities - As mentioned, a cinema opened last summer, accompanied with the usual chain restaurants. That was not a bad thing, as the quality of restaurants and pubs is not great. A nice big park in the centre of town, which doubles as the flood prevention scheme when it floods in winter.

    Schools, there used to be two secondary schools, a good one and a bad one. As they couldn't improve the bad one, they merged the two schools to create an average one (although the good kids still go to one campus, and the other kids still go to the other campus).

    High street - Good range of supermarkets, but the high street is mainly estate agents and charity shops. Enough to survive, but you wouldn't do any serious shopping.

    Surrounding towns/cities - Lots of people commute to Cambridge, and the traffic on the A428 can be horrendous in the morning and evening. And if anything happens on the A1, the town descends into gridlock. Bedford for a few better shops is not far away, Milton Keynes is 30 minutes by car. Welwyn Garden City and Peterborough up and down the train line.

    The thing anyone moving out of London would notice, is how early everything shuts. It is only recently that Waitrose extended its opening hours from a 6pm closing time to 8pm. M&S Simply Food still closes at 6.30pm. Drive through town at 6pm and there is nobody around.
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