Southern Railway has announced it will restore 63 more services to the timetable, including the full West London Line timetable and 34 West Coastway services to destinations such as Hove, Bognor, Barnham and Worthing next Monday (October 24).
A further 46 services will follow on October 31 when services between Brighton and Southampton and Hastings and Ashford will return. This will complete the restoration of all Southern services removed as part of the revised timetable introduced earlier this year.
Charles Horton, chief executive of GTR, Southern’s parent company, said: “I’m delighted for our passengers that we will be restoring more services to the timetable. This is what our passengers deserve and I thank them for their patience during what has been a difficult time for everyone. Clearly the industrial relations issues we have are, regrettably, continuing, but we are pressing ahead with our plans and are committed to delivering a better service for everyone.“
GTR has also announced that 33 Gatwick Express services will not return until December 12 as part of autumn leaf-fall arrangements. In line with the rest of the industry, GTR is taking steps to better manage the impact of leaf-fall seasonal conditions on passenger services and is leaving these services out until the end of autumn which it says will help reduce congestion and reactionary delays on the busy Brighton mainline route.
During the leaf-fall period, with challenging slippery rail conditions, trains take longer to reach their destinations, leading to congestion, cancellations and delays. In recognition of this from Monday 24th October until Friday 9th December, weekday Southern and Gatwick Express trains arriving or departing from London Victoria or London Bridge may have their journey times extended by between one and three minutes. Weekday Thameslink trains on the busy Brighton mainline from Three Bridges to Brighton and from Brighton to London Bridge will also have their journey times extended by up to three minutes. These changes will result in more reliable journey times, giving greater certainty for passengers.
Charles Horton said: “Challenging conditions during the autumn mean that train services across the country become vulnerable to poor weather and slippery rails, compromising performance and certainty for passengers. We, like other train operators in the UK, are taking steps to reduce the risk of disruption during the period.”
Details on changes to train times are now in the National Rail journey planner. Customers can visit www.nationalrail.co.uk to plan their journey. More details on autumn can be found at www.nationalrail.co.uk/leaf-fall
Research and trials conducted last autumn showed that the added constraints of the redevelopment of London Bridge magnified the effects of the leaf fall season and resulting disruption and reactionary delays. The complexity of the network meant these delays quickly spread across the network affecting services into and out of our London terminals. As result it was clear we needed to take a wider approach in our autumn plan this year.
Extending journey times during the leaf-fall period is also an approach taken by other operators including: Chiltern, London Midland and South West Trains.
To find out more about the leaf fall and its effect on railway go to www.networkrail.co.uk/timetables-and-travel/delays-explained/leaves/