A new train timetable is due in central Hertfordshire, including Stevenage, next week.

The company behind Thameslink and Great Northern said it wants to "rebuild" the railway post-pandemic, and is set to introduce more commuter trains to central London from Sunday, May 15.

But the organisers of a petition to bring back fast trains between Stevenage, Knebworth, Welwyn and the capital said there is more that needs to be done to encourage Hertfordshire home-workers back into their London offices.

%image(15610903, type="article-full", alt="Angie Doll, of Thameslink: "The new timetable from Sunday, May 15 is the starting point for rebuilding our railway"")

Angie Doll, chief operating officer of Govia Thameslink Railway, said: "The new timetable from Sunday, May 15 is the starting point for rebuilding our railway, to help our customers get where they want to go while reflecting new travel patterns which have changed significantly, particularly on weekdays.

"Our priority is to support passengers by running reliable services, working closely with our stakeholders to support the economic recovery of both local and regional rail."

%image(15610905, type="article-full", alt="A new peak-time Thameslink train will connect Welwyn Garden City with London Blackfriars and Sevenoaks, Kent")

At peak times, the new timetable features up to 10 Great Northern trains per hour between London Moorgate and Welwyn Garden City/Stevenage at peak times.

Two peak-time services will run between Welwyn Garden City and Sevenoaks, Kent, through Hertfordshire and central London.

Throughout the day, Thameslink will run two stopping trains per hour between London King's Cross and Cambridge. This means services at Meldreth, Foxton and Shepreth will increase from one to two departures per hour.

%image(15610908, type="article-full", alt="Commuters may benefit from more cross-London trains through Blackfriars")

As well as a boost to the commuter timetable, the number of long-distance trains from Stevenage is set to increase.

Lumo, which was launched by FirstGroup in October 2021, said three - rather than the existing two - trains will depart Stevenage for London King's Cross on weekdays. There is no change to the northbound timetable.

On Saturdays, there is set to be an increase from one to two northbound Lumo trains between Stevenage and Edinburgh, with three southbound services to London.

The company's Sunday timetable will feature three departures from Stevenage in both directions - to London and Edinburgh.

%image(15610909, type="article-full", alt="Lumo is set to run more trains between Stevenage and Edinburgh (pictured) on weekends, starting Sunday, May 15")

%image(15610912, type="article-full", alt="More Lumo trains are set to run between London King's Cross, Stevenage and Edinburgh from May 15")

%image(15610913, type="article-full", alt="Campaigners want to see fast trains introduced between Knebworth (pictured), Welwyn North and London")

The organisers of a Change.org petition would like to see fast trains from Knebworth and Welwyn North in the near future.

A Bring Back the Fast Trains spokesperson said: "For people who have to commute into London for work, the journey time has doubled since last February.

"Obviously, this made sense while everyone was working remotely, but companies and the government are now pushing to have people back in person.

"It’s pretty depressing to be spending more than two hours travelling each day, when it used to be faster.

"Many people moved here because the commute time worked well, and they wouldn’t have moved if they’ had known it would be 40 mins to get to London."

They added: "The increased frequency of trains cross-London will be great as it will be easier to get to Farringdon or City Thameslink, and also to stop at St Pancras for anyone who needs King's Cross."

In response to the petition, a Great Northern and Thameslink spokesperson said the firm will keep reviewing the need for a fast train.

They said: "Following a sustained period with significantly lower passenger numbers, the railway has seen large losses in revenue over the course of the pandemic and it is clear people will continue to work from home more regularly in the future.

"The busiest morning train leaves Knebworth with fewer than half its seats taken, and when new cross-London Thameslink services start on May 16 from Welwyn Garden City, there are likely to be even fewer people boarding that train further up the line."

Elsewhere in Hertfordshire, the number of Thameslink trains departing St Albans City in the direction of London is set to roughly double.

Southern is set to run an hourly train between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction, via Shepherd's Bush, on weekdays. The route will extend south to East Croydon on weekends.

Greater Anglia said it will run a half-hourly Stansted Express service between London Liverpool Street and Stansted Airport, with extra peak-time trains.