Government plans could halve Stevenage train service


- Credit: Archant

A train service which travels through Stevenage could be halved under recently-released government plans.

The Department for Transport (DfT) has issued an invitation to businesses interested in taking over the InterCity East Coast rail service.

The plans stipulate that the chosen contractor must provide at least 16 northbound and southbound trains through Stevenage a day – almost half of the current number of 30 each way.

Leader of Stevenage Borough Council (SBC) Sharon Taylor says she is collaborating with the Chief Executive of Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) and the Local Enterprise Partnership to write a letter of protest to the DfT.

She said: “These changes would not be acceptable for the people of our town. Our trains already get packed to the doors with commuters and this will benefit no-one. These changes would have a huge impact on our local economy and I will be working with the County Council to avert such a disaster.”

Rob Smith, deputy director of HCC’s environment department, said: “The minimum service specified at Stevenage in the Invitation To Tender for the East Coast Main Line is significantly less than the current level of provision.

“We intend to seek support from the local authorities and the (LEP) for a letter to the DofT expressing our disappointment at this. We have also been working with the bidding train operators to demonstrate the benefits of stopping at Stevenage.

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“Intercity services are vital to Hertfordshire and to Stevenage in particular as an important business centre and one of the LEP’s three growth areas in the county.”

The DofT declined to comment at the time of the Comet going to print.