‘Our appalling Great Northern and Thameslink trains must be improved’

Welwyn Garden City train station

Welwyn Garden City train station - Credit: Archant

Train bosses must improve services faster as they are still “appalling”, Hertfordshire’s key transport politician has urged.

Govia representatives gave an update on progress since serious summer disruption to a County Hall committee yesterday, but left transport portfolio holder Derrick Ashley unimpressed.

He said after the meeting: “While we welcome their apologies to passengers, who they admit deserve better, we again heard many of the same old assurances that issues are being addressed and train services will improve.

“I am concerned that this is more promise of jam tomorrow when thousands of residents of Hertfordshire and other authorities north of London continue to endure appalling levels of service, without compensation and unable to plan their journeys with any certainty.

“We will monitor Govia’s performance and to put pressure on the Government and Department for Transport to hold the company to account.”

Stuart Cheshire, service director for Govia’s Great Northern Route, which serves Welwyn Garden City and Hatfield, said today: “I’m sincerely sorry that passengers have not been receiving the service they deserve.

“While we had over nine out of 10 trains arriving on time yesterday and almost as many today, we have been beset by wet leaves, crushed onto rails by passing trains into a slippery Teflon-like substance, and also signal problems, which Network Rail is trying to address.

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“We explained to councillors why there are also occasional cancellations caused by drivers being taken off duty to learn to drive new trains, as we start to replace 75 per cent of trains with new air-conditioned carriages.”