Govia Thameslink Railway has responded to claims made by the chair of the Welwyn Garden City Rail Users Group, that train services to and from London have been cut back.

Group chair Malcolm Cowan said that railway users are being left behind by the lack of services, claiming that hundreds of passengers have been unable to board trains, forcing them to wait an hour for the next service.

"A couple of weeks ago, there were no trains for much of the evening, either fast or slow, to Welwyn Garden City," he continued. 

"Passengers had to travel to Stevenage and find their own way back."

Mr Cowan believes Government cost-cutting, a lack of fast services and adjustments not being made for major events are to blame, and he hopes to meet with GTR soon to discuss his concerns.

"Over the last year or two, services have been thinned out at weekends, despite weekends being the time when more people travel than before the pandemic, yet trains are down to half the previous service," he said.

"I hope to meet senior people at GTR in the near future to press these points again.

"We deserve much better. Our local stations are the only ones not to have got improvements from the Thameslink upgrades of a few years ago."

Govia Thameslink have hit back, telling the Welwyn Hatfield Times that it has "not reduced trains", and cited the narrowing of the tracks over the Welwyn Viaduct as the reason for a supposed lack of fast services.

"Govia Thameslink Railway has not reduced trains in its weekend timetable at Welwyn Garden City although recent industrial action and, possibly, engineering work has affected the service," said a spokesman.

"GTR runs four Great Northern trains every hour to London at Welwyn Garden City – two faster services into King’s Cross and two stopping trains to Moorgate.

"In the morning and evening peaks, the Thameslink upgrade has given passengers at the station two extra Thameslink trains every hour to St Pancras International, London Blackfriars and beyond.

"The change that has been made is after 21:27pm Monday to Saturday, when the service to King’s Cross drops to one train an hour to match demand at this time of day.

"It was difficult to stop fast trains at Welwyn Garden City because the four tracks narrow to two at Welwyn Viaduct and this would delay services up and down the busy East Coast Mainline."

Jenny Saunders, customer services director at Govia Thameslink added: "Our normal timetable has enough trains for customers at Welwyn Garden City and we added extra fast rush-hour trains at the time of the Thameslink upgrade.  

"Regrettably, we did reduce the service for nine days recently when members of the train drivers’ union ASLEF weren’t working overtime as part of the ongoing industrial dispute.

"We know this led to delays and many uncomfortable journeys and we’re very sorry. This is a national issue which the industry is working hard to resolve."