We're keeping trains running between Hertford North and Stevenage for six extra months
We will continue running trains between Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage until December this year and not this May as previously advertised.
The extension has been made possible by the re-phasing of a new Thameslink service, in which only one of the two new half-hourly Cambridge – Brighton trains will now be introduced in May and the other in December. This leaves space to turn around trains from the Hertford Loop at Stevenage station, in the existing platforms.
However, a temporary bus service will have to be introduced from December 2018 to overcome the late delivery of new infrastructure at the station and facilitate our RailPlan20/20 modernisation of the network which will give much-needed extra services.
The first phase of the RailPlan20/20 transformation begins in May this year with a new direct Thameslink service via Hitchin and Stevenage across central London between Cambridge, Gatwick and Brighton, and Peterborough, Gatwick and Horsham. It will also deliver more frequent off-peak services between Hertford North and Moorgate.
By December, commuters from Hitchin and Stevenage will have 50% more fast trains to King’s Cross as well as the new Thameslink services across central London stopping at Farringdon (for Crossrail and Heathrow), and London Bridge (for Canary Wharf).
The rail industry is also working together to finalise the plan for reinstating a full train service between Stevenage and Hertford North, via Watton-at-Stone. Network Rail is aiming to complete a fifth platform and 1.5 miles of new electrified line at Stevenage to enable train services to be resumed in 2021 and is looking to accelerate this into 2020.
- As part of our improvements to the timetable, services from Watton-at-Stone and Hertford North to Moorgate will double to two trains per hour in the off-peak – currently only one train per hour
- There will be an hourly peak service from Watton-at-Stone to Stevenage (this is a reduction from the current half hourly peak service but is unavoidable until a new line, signalling and platform are built at Stevenage, where these trains will be able to turn around. There will be no change in the hourly off peak service to Stevenage)
- A rail replacement bus service will begin between Stevenage, Watton-at-Stone and Hertford North from Monday – Saturday. There will be one train per hour along this section on Sundays. Rail services from Watton-at-Stone and Hertford North to Moorgate will continue.
- There will be a bus service between Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage to replace the rail service between those two points and another bus between Stevenage and Hertford North, to connect with trains to and from Moorgate, in London. Watton-at-Stone is an unstaffed station with few facilities for those with accessibility needs; Hertford North has lifts and is staffed. When the buses are introduced, passengers travelling from Hertford North to Stevenage will be advised to transfer onto the rail replacement bus at Hertford North, not Watton-at Stone.