Welwyn Hatfield commuters set to get month of free train travel

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps

Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps - Credit: Archant

Welwyn Hatfield commuters could be set for a month of free train travel following a meeting between Govia Thameslink Railway bosses and the Transport Secretary.

Chris Grayling met rail chiefs yesterday (June 27) after the borough’s MP Grant Shapps notified him of another series of cancellations along the Great Northern route.

Mr Shapps said in a Facebook post: “A compensation scheme will provide one month of free travel to my constituents.

“I made the point that plenty of people work part-time and/or don’t travel each day. The Secretary of State agreed that the scheme would therefore be extended to cover those who travel 3+ days a week.”

Mr Shapps told the Welwyn Hatfield Times that the scheme will provide free travel to those who have suffered the “transport nightmare”, adding full details will be released next month.

Asked whether Great Northern would provide a month’s free travel to Welwyn Hatfield commuters, a spokesman said: “Nothing has been announced yet. Until it is we cannot comment.”

Mr Shapps said that Chris Grayling also demanded the timetable be stabilised by July 15.

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“However, if this does not happen, then he will begin the steps to forcibly remove Govia’s franchise,” the MP added.

“With the May timetable change intended to add 7,000 carriages – and therefore a lot of extra trains to the network – I simply will not settle for fewer and slower services to/from Welwyn Hatfield.”

The Great Northern spokesman apologised for the continued disruption and said the operator is re-planning how trains and crew will be used for the interim timetable in July.

“We urge anyone delayed by 15 minutes or more to apply for compensation,” he added. “This can be claimed against the original timetable and there is enhanced compensation for season ticket holders.”

The Department for Transport has been contacted for comment.