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Rail industry confirms new summer 2019 timetable
1,000 extra services per week to be added, benefiting passengers across the country
Changes are part of a long-term improvement plan to make trains more frequent and enable new journeys, while prioritising punctuality and reliability.
Introducing ambitious improvements for passengers presents a significant challenge and the industry is working together to focus on implementing lessons learned from summer 2018 to strengthen timetabling, visible through the effective winter timetable change last December
Train companies and Network Rail will work together to closely monitor the introduction of the new timetable and respond rapidly to any disruption.
The rail industry has confirmed the summer 2019 timetable change, which will come into effect from 19 May.
Over 1,000 extra train services are being added as rail companies continue to deliver their long-term plan to change and improve. Overall, 6,400 additional services are expected to be added between 2017 and the early 2020s, delivering more frequent trains for passengers and better connecting towns and cities across the country.
Putting a thousand more services onto one of Europe’s most congested railways presents a significant challenge and, across the country, hundreds of rail planners and engineers have been working hard over many months to implement these improvements effectively.
Having learned the lessons from last year’s disruptive summer timetable change, a cross-industry task force has carefully examined the railway’s preparedness across the country and new services are only being introduced where there is high confidence that the necessary infrastructure, staffing plans and new trains will be ready. Network Rail has also bolstered its timetable team.
This cross-industry approach was used ahead of the winter timetable change in December, which saw punctuality and reliability improve, and train companies and Network Rail are again making the delivery of punctual, reliable services their absolute priority while they increase capacity on the railway.
Every year, the national timetable is routinely changed twice – for the summer (in May) and for the winter (in December) – to meet the needs of travellers by allowing services to reflect seasonal variations and to enable new services to be introduced following investment in infrastructure and new trains.
There is usually a small impact on punctuality following timetable changes as rail staff and passengers get used to new train times. The industry will continue to work together over the coming months, however, to prepare for the change and adopt a range of contingency plans should any disruption occur. When the new timetable is introduced, Network Rail and operators will work closely together to monitor services and respond as quickly as possible to any disruption.
Customers in many parts of the country will see more local services introduced to their network, alongside a more gradual approach adopted in other areas, with planned improvements introduced over time. This means that some services which were previously expected this summer will be introduced later, ensuring a reliable service that passengers can have confidence in.
Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, which represents the rail industry, said: “As part of our long-term plan to deliver a step-change in rail services, thousands of extra trains and new carriages are coming on track in the coming years, making journeys better and boosting the economy. However, improving the railway for tomorrow cannot come at the expense of running a reliable railway today. The scale of our ambition to improve means that this is a significant challenge and while there may be some teething problems, train operators and Network Rail have worked together to carefully assess where new services can be introduced without impacting reliability."
He continued “Many parts of the country are set to benefit this summer from a better service, but where introducing improvements puts reliability at risk, we are rightly taking a more cautious approach.”
The railway is seeing the biggest investment since the Victorian era, with train operating companies introducing 7,000 brand new carriages – equivalent to upgrading half of the country’s train fleet old for new – and hundreds more fully refurbished trains, supporting 6,400 extra services a week by the early 2020s.
Improvements being made in the summer 2019 timetable include:
Train companies making improvements in 2019 More information
CrossCountry Extra weekend trains between Exeter and Bristol and Exeter and Birmingham - 4 trains per hour (tph) to 5tph on Saturdays and 2tph to 3tph on Sundays
c2c New additional fast trains from Southend to central London taking that service from 4tph to 5tph
South Western Railway Morning peak:
• 2x additional Reading to Waterloo services
• 1x additional Ascot to Reading service
• 1x additional Windsor to London
• 1x additional Hounslow to London
• 2x additional Waterloo to Farham (via Ascot) services
• 1x additional Waterloo to Windsor service
• 2x additional Reading to Ascot services
• 2x additional fast Portsmouth to Waterloo services in the morning peak and an additional evening peak service to Guildford/Haslemere
• New half-hourly service between Farnham and Guildford
• Extra later evening services from Waterloo to Salisbury and Waterloo to Portsmouth
• On Sundays, there will be a new Salisbury to Reading (via Basingstoke) service
• On the south coast, there will be some additional services between Weymouth/Poole/Southampton and Waterloo during peak times
• Extra weekday and weekend services from Yeovil to Waterloo calling at Castle Cary, Bruton and Frome
Govia Thameslink Railway An additional train each hour will run direct between Brighton and Cambridge, with two direct trains per hour now running each way. At rush hour this will add 36 carriages and around 2,000 extra seats from these towns into London
Greater Anglia Four Norwich in 90/Ipswich in 60 services
East Midlands Trains Some journey time improvements on a small number of peak time services
Scotrail • Additional Sunday services between Glasgow, Fort William and Mallaig
• Faster journeys between Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Dunblane and Alloa
Southeastern Faster journeys on the Maidstone East line
West Midlands Railway & London Northwestern Railway • More direct services from local stations to London, the West Midlands and the North West
• More early, late and weekend services
Chiltern Railways Joining two existing services together to create a direct service between London and Stratford-upon-Avon, doubling the number of weekday services
Northern On top of 2,000 extra services having been added since 2017:
• Direct services between Chester and Leeds
• Faster services between Middlesbrough and Newcastle
Great Western Railway • An extra morning service between Cheltenham and London and London and Cheltenham in the evening
• Extra weekday services between Exeter, Plymouth and Penzance, increasing Cornish mainline frequency to every 30 minutes during core hours
Transport for Wales New services between Liverpool Lime Street and Chester via Runcorn – 1 tph every day, with peak time extensions to Wrexham General
TfL Rail Additional services out of Liverpool Street and Paddington stations
This article first appeared on www.focustransport.org
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