Mixed response to proposed Govia train timetable changes for North Herts and South Cambs Great Northern services

There has been a mixed response to timetable changes proposed by Govia, which now has Class 387 trai

There has been a mixed response to timetable changes proposed by Govia, which now has Class 387 trains such as the one above in service. Picture: Govia - Credit: Archant

Changes to Great Northerm rail services through North Herts and South Cambs up to Cambridge have been met by a mixed response since revised proposals were announced last week.

Great Northern operator Govia Thameslink released the new plans for the 2018 timetable following phase one of its consultation – which ran from September to December.

Positives for passengers under the new plan include that Shepreth, Meldreth and Foxton will now have half-hourly trains throughout the day to both London and Cambridge, as opposed to the hourly services they currently have.

Chair of the Meldreth, Shepreth and Foxton Rail User Group Susan van de Ven said: “For small stations like ours, the introduction of twice-hourly trains is extremely welcome and should make rail travel a very appealing alternative to driving, to the two Cambridge stations, as well as south.”

Ashwell & Morden station in Odsey will now boast five non-stop trains to London King’s Cross between 6.29am and 8.29am on weekdays, as well as six non-stop trains back between 4.42pm and 7.12pm – however this has sparked concern for parking at this, and other, smaller stations.

Mrs van de Ven added: “I wish we were also seeing proposals to upgrade the small stations as transport interchanges, because now is the time.

“Car and cycle parking arrangements, drop-off points, public transport links to stations, disabled access, waiting shelters on all platforms – these things demand action as the train service develops. We have been pressing the rail industry and the district and county councils on all these matters and will continue to do so.”

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However, Reed resident Edwin Kilby – who was a regular commuter on the trains up until last year, and now uses the trains for leisure activities – has concerns over how Royston will fare.

He told the Crow: “Royston is not doing well out of this.

“Evening off-peak fast services – the sorts of trains you take if you have been to London for an evening out – will no longer stop here, instead running fast to Cambridge. We’ll also have to settle for semi-fast trains adding nearly 15 minutes to journeys.

“Royston is an expanding town with lots of leisure train users and this isn’t the first time train companies have tried to treat it as an unimportant backwater which gets in the way of the Cambridge express.

“If Royston loses its fast services it will never get them back, and it could be the thin end of the wedge for peak trains too.”

Comments on Govia’s revised plans are invited by July 27. Weekend timetables are expected later this year.

To find out more and see the new 2018 timetables see transformingrail.com and transformingrail.com/download-timetables.

You can send comments to gtr.timetableconsultation@gtrailway.com.