What new Great Northern timetable means for Biggleswade commuters

Govia Thameslink has released its May 2018 timetable after making changes to help appease concerns o

Govia Thameslink has released its May 2018 timetable after making changes to help appease concerns of rail user groups in North Herts and Central Beds. Picture: Govia Thameslink - Credit: Archant

Rail operator Govia Thameslink has released its May 2018 timetable after making changes to help appease concerns of rail user groups.

Great Northern services will now run from Biggleswade to London St Pancras every half an hour, but the majority will not stop at stations between Stevenage and Finsbury Park.

Hitchin Rail User Group chairman Roger Smith said: “The new Thameslink timetable is good news for passengers from Arlesey and Biggleswade to London St Pancras, but not for those travelling to a Hertfordshire station beyond Stevenage.

“There will no longer be a through service from Biggleswade or Arlesey to stations between Knebworth and Potters Bar. Changing at Stevenage will entail a wait of just five minutes northbound but 23 minutes southbound during the morning peak.”

All the new Thameslink services across London to Gatwick Airport and Horsham except the 4.54am service will run non-stop between Stevenage and Finsbury Park, every half an hour between the 4.54am from Biggleswade until the 11.46pm back from St Pancras.

On weekday evenings the current service from King’s Cross reverts to an hourly slow service. The five non-stop peak services from King’s Cross to Biggleswade and the one-stop service at 12.01am are replaced by a half-hourly service between 4.36pm and 8.06pm – except 7.06pm – and hourly to 11.06pm.

A Govia Thameslink spokesman said: “We have listened to passengers and done our best to accommodate as many requests as possible while still creating a service that works within the constraints of a complex timetable and puts capacity where it’s most needed.”

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Biggleswade deputy mayor Madeline Russell, who used to commute to London, also raised concerns about trains terminating at St Pancras.

She said: “The most striking point for me is that 75 per cent of the trains from Biggleswade will now go into St Pancras rather than King’s Cross.

“There are currently a few trains a day doing this and I travelled on one last week. I found that the new platform which these trains will use is underground but, to get to the Underground, you have to ascend two flights of escalators, cross the main concourse, go down another escalator and walk through to the concourse at the back of King’s Cross.

“You then have quite a long walk further to get to most of the platforms. Not good if you are infirm or have luggage to cope with.”

In response, the Govia spokesman said: “There are still trains running to King’s Cross, which has a shorter connection with the Underground, and the new routes across central London through St Pancras International will give residents a link to Crossrail at Farringdon for connections to Heathrow, access to the South Bank at Blackfriars for the Tate Modern, Globe and National theatres, a stop at the new station at London Bridge for The Shard and a direct link to Gatwick Airport.”

You can look at the new timetable at railplan2020.com/timetable.

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