On World Electric Vehicle (EV) Day, Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) – the UK’s biggest rail franchise – welcomed Secretary of State Grant Shapps to open rail’s largest dedicated EV charging hub at Hatfield station, which features a total of 27 charging points.

The installation marks a milestone in a wide-ranging station improvements programme being undertaken by GTR, which encompasses more than 230 stations and over 1,000 individual projects. The programme aims to enhance the overall journey experience by making stations smarter, safer, more comfortable and more environmentally sustainable. Much of the work has been suggested by local passenger and community groups.

In partnership with Pod Point, a leading provider of EV charging infrastructure, Hatfield’s new hub has been opened to meet the increasing consumer demand for electric vehicles, whilst also demonstrating the company’s commitment to sustainability. The EV installation at Hatfield will see a 150 per cent increase in public EV charging devices in the Welwyn Hatfield district.

The charging points will provide additional accessibility and convenience for customers using the Great Northern and Thameslink station and as part of the project, 12 new charging points have also been installed at Haywards Heath train station.

These locations were chosen as a result of a heat-mapping exercise conducted by the rail operator, which revealed EV ownership and sales ‘hot spots’ around the UK. With an increasing number of people switching to electric vehicles, Govia Thameslink Railway is responding to local demand by providing greater access to charging infrastructure. The new charging points are in addition to the existing 114 in place across the GTR network, which have all undergone improvements as part of the project.

Tom Moran, Managing Director for Thameslink and Great Northern, explained: “We’re delighted to officially unveil our new EV charging hub at Hatfield station. This is part of a much wider programme of works to improve station facilities at every station across the GTR network and give a better experience to our passengers.

“We have over 1,000 improvement projects happening across our network and many will help improve the sustainability of our stations, especially as our local communities seek out options for the greenest forms of travel.”

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “We’re taking great strides towards our goal of having one of the best electric vehicle infrastructure networks in the world. This means a network for current and future electric vehicle drivers that is affordable, reliable, accessible and secure.

“Today’s landmark announcement ticks all those boxes and will make journeys on road and rail much greener for local residents, commuters and businesses.”

Erik Fairbairn, Founder and CEO, Pod Point, adds: “We are delighted to be working with Govia Thameslink Railway on this landmark EV charging installation. Our continued partnership with GTR is making it easier for drivers to choose electric and will help accelerate adoption. We see the GTR EV charging hubs at Hatfield and Haywards Heath as a blueprint for EV charging across the rail industry. It offers connected electrified transport for all UK commuters and for the millions of drivers without off-street parking it provides a viable and convenient alternative to domestic or workplace charging.”

A dedicated Station Improvements web page is now available for GTR passengers and local communities to easily access information on what’s happening at their station to improve ambiance, experience and sustainability.