Welwyn Garden City train timetable warning

PUBLISHED: 16:15 13 July 2017

Welwyn Garden City train station

Welwyn Garden City train station

Archant

Train journey times between Welwyn Hatfield and London will soon be longer if bosses get their way, a critical councillor has warned.

Lib Dem councillor Malcolm Cowan has slammed train operator Govia’s proposed new timetable, published in the second stage of its consultation for the long-awaited £6billion Thameslink Programme, on course for completion next year.

Councillor Cowan has pointed out that under the proposals, journeys from Welwyn Garden City to London King’s Cross will be scheduled to take between 30 and 35 minutes, although now they take between 20 and 27 minutes.

He said: “ln the previous round of consultation I pointed out how badly Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield would be faring compared with other less-used stations, and the borough council endorsed most of my comments, but nothing has changed. We now have real draft timetables and it is clear Govia have taken no notice.

“This is just not good enough. Passengers should look at the proposals and make their protests.”

Other disadvantages for Welwyn Hatfield under the proposed changes include the loss of direct trains to Peterborough, which will force passengers to change twice to reach York, Newcastle, or Edinburgh.

With all northbound trains due to terminate at Cambridge, Councillor Cowan claimed any blockage of the Hitchin to Royston branch could seriously disrupt services.

Councillor Cowan also pointed out that other Govia stations such as Baldock and Harpenden will get extra fast trains to London, unlike Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield.

Mary Lowe of the Hatfield Association of Rail Travellers said: “Overall, when the timetable is working as planned, it looks to be good for most Hatfield travellers, however there may be things we have missed, so please take a look and see what it means for you.”

Her group will be discussing the consultation with passengers at Hatfield Station from 5pm to 8.30pm today.

A Govia Great Northern spokesman said: “We have done our very best to accommodate the needs of passengers across the network and stress this is a consultation exercise - the biggest we’ve ever run - and we urge people to give us their views, good and bad.”

The consultation at transformingrail.com ends on July 27.

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