The station is an important stop on the commuter line between King's Cross and Cambridge as the majority of semi-fast services between London and Cambridge stop at Royston - one exception being the 'Cambridge Cruiser' fast services from London. It is also the last station before Cambridge with platforms capable of handling 8-car or 12-car trains. Therefore it is used by many commuters, not only from Royston but also from smaller stations north of Royston who transfer from stopping services to faster trains at the station.
The railway from London King's Cross to Royston was electrified in 1978. Class 312 electric trains from King's Cross terminated at Royston; passengers wishing to travel to Cambridge had to change to a connecting diesel multiple unit train. From 1988 the whole line from London to Cambridge was electrified, ending the need to change trains at Royston.
Trains to London King's Cross are either slow or semi-fast, departing at approximately half hour intervals. Slow services call at all major stations to King's Cross (not inner suburban-only stations), taking 62 minutes to arrive in London at an average of 43.5 mph (70.0 km/h) Semi-fast services call at only Baldock, Letchworth, Hitchin, Stevenage and Finsbury Park. During early morning peak-time there are some fast services running non-stop or stopping only at Letchworth, reaching London in under 40 minutes.
Two trains per hour also operate towards Cambridge. Slow trains call at all stations and take 26 minutes to arrive at Cambridge, operating at an average of 30.1 mph (48.4 km/h). Fast trains run non-stop to Cambridge, taking 17 minutes at an average of 46.0 mph (74.0 km/h). Some Cambridge-bound services continue to Ely and King's Lynn.