Fast evening services calling at Letchworth and Royston to be restored

PUBLISHED: 14:56 14 September 2018 | UPDATED: 14:56 14 September 2018

Evening Cambridge Flyer stops on the Great Northern line are to be reinstated at Letchworth and Royston. Great Northern  Picture: Nick Gill

Evening Cambridge Flyer stops on the Great Northern line are to be reinstated at Letchworth and Royston. Great Northern Picture: Nick Gill

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Fast evening services calling at Letchworth and Royston on the Great Northern line are to be restored, it has been announced today.

‘Cambridge flyer’ stops between London King’s Cross and Cambridge past 19.12 were removed in the May timetable but, after lobbying from the rail user groups, they will be reinstated from December 10.

In a joint statement, Leanne Stott and Stephen Rose of Letchworth Rail Users Group, Edward Carder of Royston & Villages RUG and Lee Shufflebottom of Ashwell & Morden RUG said: “We are delighted to announce the forthcoming restoration of all the fast evening services after 19.12 to both Letchworth and Royston. From December 10 all the Cambridge flyers from London King’s Cross will call at both stations.

“For Letchworth in particular, this achieves our top priority goal of restoring a reliable, fast evening service comparable to the one lost in May 2018.

“Hundreds of Letchworth residents, including shift workers in London’s emergency services and in the media industries, depend on these services.

“It was intended to retain these services during the timetable redesign but, to our frustration, this could not be achieved at launch.

“For Royston the stop on the 20.42 departure from King’s Cross will be restored. The changes mean our stations are no longer the disproportionate losers on the Cambridge branch from the new timetable.

“It also provides much improved later evening service for Baldock, Ashwell & Morden and the South Cambs villages, from reliable connections as Letchworth and Royston.”

The changes do require the departure times of the trains from King’s Cross to be retimed by three minutes to .09 and .39 past the hour after 19.12.

The retiming of the flyers will also improve the running time of the northbound Thameslink services by a few minutes in the evening.

The statement continued: “This work is the fruit of our ongoing work over the last 14 months with the timetable team at Govia Thameslink Railway.

“We would like to thank Phil Hutchinson and Jane Cobb and their team in particular for the very significant work they have done with us to achieve this. We have also had great support from our local MPs, Sir Oliver Heald and Heidi Allen.

“We hope it illustrates what can be achieved from constructive collaborative working between rail user groups on the Cambridge branch, in partnership with GTR and other stakeholders.

“Our work with GTR and our lobbying continues to fulfil the other promises made by GTR at our public meeting in Letchworth on July 19 and we are optimistic of further progress in the coming months.

“This includes a number of changes GTR is progressing designed to reduce overcrowding of peak trains and help travellers in the shoulders of the peaks.

“In the meantime, we hope that these changes will bring some much-needed cheer to our station passengers, who have suffered so much in recent months.

“Finally, we are pleased that GTR is intending that the second hourly Thameslink service will be implemented from May 2019, providing further much needed capacity for our stations and many of the other stations on the line, especially in the morning peak.

“In each peak this means an additional three trains in each direction. We will continue to lobby the Department for Transport and Network Rail with the help of our MPs to ensure that these additional services are delivered without any further delay.”

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