New Govia boss pledges to fix ‘unacceptable’ train service

08th November 2018

Govia Thameslink Railway’s new boss has pledged to fix the “unacceptable” train service following a meeting with Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps.

As the revised December timetable looms, Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps met Govia CEO Patrick Verwer on Tuesday, November 6, to “demand” urgent improvements to the service.

Mr Shapps said: “Following the shambolic introduction of the May timetable by Govia Thameslink Railway, residents of Welwyn Hatfield have suffered an unacceptable service with fewer scheduled trains and more cancellations.

The MP hailed the meeting constructive and insists he “made it very clear that the current service is untenable and nothing less than a huge improvement will be acceptable”.

He added: “The newly released December timetable, with additional services from Welwyn Garden City, goes some way to repairing the damage inflicted by GTR but not nearly far enough.

“I won’t rest until the service is back to where it was before May’s disastrous time table changes and, as such, demanded a follow-up meeting on November 19.”

He continued: “Although it’s encouraging that the new CEO is coming back to see me with further proposals, I remain concerned that services will not match pre-May levels.”

Mr Shapps said he is also still “pushing hard” for Oyster to be introduced along the line and is “hopeful” that there will be a long term solution that works for the people of Welwyn Hatfield.

A Govia spokesman said: “We were pleased that Mr Shapps was able to accept our invitation for an introductory meeting with our new CEO, which we both found constructive.

“This December we will be completing the May timetable, introducing some additional peak and off-peak services at Welwyn Garden City.

“Compared to services a year ago, the May timetable gives Welwyn Garden City more carriages and the space to carry 5,000 more passengers on morning peak services to Kings Cross St Pancras, while there is more than double the capacity for Potters Bar and Hatfield passengers.”

There will be three additional peak services and “many” off-peak, according to Govia.