Train operator Govia to visit Hertfordshire as county council calls for reliable timetable ending ‘misery’ for Great Northern and Thameslink rail users

Govia Railway Ltd, which runs the Great Northern service, is coming to Hertfordshire for talks.

Govia Railway Ltd, which runs the Great Northern service, is coming to Hertfordshire for talks. - Credit: Archant

Representatives from train operator Govia will be visiting Herts on Friday as the county council calls for a reliable timetable which will bring an end to the ‘misery’ rail users face when using Great Northern and Thameslink services.

Herts County Council’s cabinet member for transport, Derrick Ashley, has invited representatives from Govia and the Department for Transport to County Hall, Hertford, to discuss how a workable timetable can be put in place on services north of London.

Since the franchise was awarded two years ago, passengers have faced delays and cancellations to services that make it impossible to journey plan with any certainty.

Councillor Ashley said: “Tens of thousands of residents of Hertfordshire and other authorities north of London regularly use these services and for the past two years have endured appalling levels of service.

“Repeated last minute cancellations leave them inconvenienced, without compensation and unable to plan their journeys with any certainty.

“At the meeting on Friday we will call on Govia and the DfT to act in the interests of passengers and introduce a reliable timetable that will bring an end to the misery our rail users face on a near-daily basis.

“The failings of Govia’s Southern rail franchise have been well-publicised and I welcome the Association of British Commuters announcement this week that it will work to fund a judicial review into the Department of Transport’s failure to act to improve the situation.

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“With the government announcing a £20 million fund to tackle delays on Southern Rail services and Govia’s co-owner Go-Ahead announcing profits of nearly £100m last week, we want to know who has been picking up the tab for this disruption.”

A Great Northern and Thameslink spokesman said: “We appreciate that services have not been as good as they should be on Thameslink and Great Northern services and for this we apologise.

“We’re meeting with Hertfordshire County Council on Friday to discuss the recent performance challenges and the steps we’re taking to address these. The meeting is also an opportunity for us to outline a number of improvements to passenger services, including the introduction of our new fleet of Class 700, 387 and 717 trains and a host of station improvements across the county.”

The meeting will be attended by Stuart Cheshire, Thameslink’s passenger service director, and the new rail minister Paul Maynard MP has been invited.

Herts County Council’s campaign already has the backing of a number of local authorities including Central Bedfordshire Council, Luton Borough Council, and East Hertfordshire District Council.

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