Longer train journeys, but more frequent service from St Albans and Harpenden into London

Thameslink train

Thameslink train - Credit: Archant

Trains from St Albans and Harpenden into London will take longer after Thameslink timetable changes, but passengers will have a shorter wait at the platform.

The new timetable has introduced more fast trains, going directly into London, which will take five minutes longer than previously.

St Albans resident Martin Gee said: “All trains going from St Albans to London are increasing journey times by 20 per cent.

“It’s quite frustrating in terms of service.

“Fast trains are 17 minutes. All new timetables seem to put them at 22 to 23 minutes. It’s not great.

“We have got this wonderful service with really well-designed trains and the timetable schedule is just adding more time you’re standing on a train, which is just insane really. It’s very disappointing.”

Martin pointed out that evening trains are running with normal length journeys, and only morning trains are affected by the timetable changes.

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A spokesman for GTR (Govia Thameslink Railway) said: “There will be 20 per cent more fast trains at Harpenden and St Albans meaning passengers won’t have to wait so long for the next service in the new timetable and those trains will also be mostly 12 carriages long, creating much more space and capacity for our commuters.

“Furthermore, anyone travelling beyond St Pancras will find their journey to Blackfriars takes just nine minutes compared to what takes up to 12 minutes today.”

The spokesman explained that as passenger numbers have doubled over the past 14 years, Network Rail has been reviewing journey lengths, and trains will stop for longer at stations where more passengers get on and off.

He said: “The resulting timetable is designed to ensure that every train is realistically able to arrive in the heart of London at its scheduled time.

“This will become critical with the introduction next year of automatic train operation and high frequency services of up to 24 trains per hour at peak times.

“Our planned weekday timetable is included in this latest phase of our 2018 timetable consultation, so we are being fully transparent about our planned future services and will do our best to improve on these journey times during its continued development.”

Neil Middleton, from the Association of Public Transport Users, said: “It is important to encourage everyone to make their own submission – and to express where their preference is – a seat (or even to be standing but not pressed up against everybody) or a quicker journey.

“Personally, my preference is the seat or more comfortable stand – at least I can do something then – other than ‘admire’ someone’s armpit.”