Commuters from Welwyn Hatfield met with Government Rail Minister Andrew Jones and secured a number of pledges aimed at improving services.

Among the promises he made was an investigation into putting up suicide fences at Hatfield’s station.

Rail users from Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield, Welham Green and Brookmans Park all attended the meeting with the Transport Minister.

In the long term, the Minister acknowledged that the new 717 trains change everything.

These new trains could clear the way for smaller stations to get 4 trains per hour. This would be an increase from the current 2 trains per hour service that was reduced after the May 2018 timetable change.

The representative from Welham Green and Brookmans Park Rail User Group, Michael Guerra, commented: “Passengers have been voting with their feet and, those who can, have moved to using Potters Bar and Hatfield stations where there are more trains than Welham Green and Brookmans Park.

“They cannot depend on a reliable evening off-peak… the service is not considered sufficiently reliable.”

Mary Lowe added: “The Hatfield Association of Rail Travellers was very pleased to have the opportunity to raise issues, such as recent experiences with service recovery after incidents, and continued poor provision of information to staff and passengers, when these occur.”

The meeting was organised by Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps.

He said: “It was encouraging to hear the Minister respond to the groups’ queries and commit to working with both the train operator and the rail user groups going forward.”

Users had demanded a face-to-face meeting with Mr Jones to thrash out the many issues that continue to plague rail services to and from Welwyn Hatfield.

Among issues discussed were poor train performance, lack of communication with passengers and a reduction in services to smaller stations.

Andrew Jones said he was committed to working with the train operator on improvements, including new protocol to put in place when there are cancellations.

Mr Shapps added: “Commitment alone is not enough. The Rail Minister must follow this up with substantive action.”

The MP concluded the meeting by thanking the Minister for his department’s work on the Additional Compensation Scheme which has benefitted many commuters.