Over the past two years extensive work has been carried out to ensure that Hatfield Station is fit for purpose to meet the growing demands of rail passengers.
The substantial package of improvements includes new station buildings with a significantly improved retail units, a new platform foot bridge with lifts, a new multi-storey car park, doubling the number of spaces, and a dedicated bus interchange.
The A1000 has been completely reconfigured to tie in with the station changes, providing new pedestrian and cycling facilities including cycle parking for more than 300 bikes, the removal of an unpopular subway and an enhanced central section to improve access to the station and surrounding area for pedestrians and cyclists.
The £12.5m scheme is the culmination of more than five years planning and has been delivered over the course of two years by Network Rail, Govia Thames Link Railway, and Hertfordshire County Council. It has been supported by Gascoyne Cecil Estates, which manages Hatfield House, Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council and Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
On Friday 18 March, representatives from train operator Great Northern, Hertfordshire County Council (HCC), Network Rail, the Department for Transport (DfT), Herfordshire LEP together with Lord Salisbury, owner of Hatfield House, joined together outside the new station entrance to celebrate the official completion of the work.
Lord Salisbury cut a ribbon and reminded his audience that his great great grandfather, the then Prime Minister and owner of Hatfield House opposite, once had his own train and platform at the station. The latest improvements, he said, would help with the redevelopment of Old Hatfield and in the rebranding of the newer town.
Lord Salisbury said: “This station has become a flagship for a new Hatfield. The reputation of this town hasn’t been as good as it deserves for some time now and the fact we have a fine new station will enormously influence the redevelopment of Old Hatfield and in the rebranding of Hatfield on the other side of the railway.”
Hertfordshire LEP Board Member John Dean said: “Now the residents of Hatfield have a train station they truly deserve. Not only is it fit for the needs of today’s and future rail passengers but it has been designed to be sympathetic to the surrounding environment. This is a redevelopment that we can be very proud of.”
Hatfield House, which has been a key supporter of the scheme along with Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership, marked the occasion by entering into a station partnership with Great Northern, as part of which its head gardener will adopt the flower beds at the front of the station. The agreement is with Gascoyne Cecil Estates, which manages Hatfield House for Lord Salisbury.
The new multi-storey car park has nearly doubled the number of spaces available for motorists at the station. Like the new retail entrance, it was designed with a local heritage feel and incorporates motifs from the grand entrance gate to Hatfield House across the road from the station. The car park reached the finals of the British Parking Awards’ in the Best New Car Park category.
Hatfield Station is owned by Network Rail and operated by Great Northern, which is part of Govia Thameslink Railway. The gates of Hatfield House, home of the 7th Marquess of Salisbury, are directly opposite the station.
There has been a station at Hatfield since 1850 but the present building dates from the 1950s when Hatfield was redeveloped as one of the post-war New Towns.