History of WGC Station

Welwyn Garden City train station opened in its current location in 1926, six years after the foundation of Welwyn Garden City itself. On this page we are going to tell you more about the history and heritage of WGC station.

In 1920, a single-platform ‘halt’ station, especially for Welwyn Garden City, was opened on the Luton branch to provide a link to Hatfield and London. It was slightly North of the current station.

As Welwyn Garden City grew, the 1920 halt soon became inadequate. The current four-platform station on the main line was opened by Neville Chamberlain, future Prime Minister, in October 1926.

‘Welwyn Garden City, A Greatly Improved Train Service to King’s Cross’. c1930’s

Designed by the town’s architect Louis de Soissons to match the red brick neo-Georgian style of WGC, the station building survived until the Howard Shopping Centre was built in the late 1980s. The station booking office moved to its present location on the first floor of the Howard Centre.

The original WGC station building

On the main line from London Kings Cross to Aberdeen, this station has seen some of the most famous trains over the years, including the Flying Scotsman which has become a regular ‘visitor’.

Following a railway accident in WGC in 1935, the signalling system had extra safeguards added, known as Welwyn Control. This was adopted nationally, carrying the name Welwyn to all parts of the rail network.

The heavy suburban traffic on this line justified its electrification from London in 1976, as far as Royston in 1977, eventually extending to Cambridge in 1988. Separately, Intercity electrification to Edinburgh was completed in 1991. Currently the station serves around 2.8 million passengers every year.

Welwyn Garden City station was semi-refurbished during 2007, with improved lighting, new bus-shelter-style waiting rooms and improved toilets on each platform island. The refurbishments also saw the installation of ticket gates. The station cafe on Platforms 1 and 2 is now the well-loved Frank’s Café.

A more recent refurbishment included major works on the footbridge and steps down to the east side of the station, repainting, and further toilet and waiting room improvements. In 2018 we added to these improvements by starting to green the station by maintaining existing beds, adding new beds and planters. The waiting room on platforms 3 and 4 now houses archive posters and other historical material gathered by All Aboarders for the added enjoyment of passengers.

Heritage posters in the refurbished waiting room – Jan 2021
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