- Summer timetable also significantly boosts weekend service across Beds, Herts, Cambs and north Kent
Thameslink commuters on the route between Cambridge and Brighton will benefit from 2,000 extra seats to and from the capital at peak times in the morning and evening through a new summer timetable.
Mondays to Fridays from 20 May, Thameslink will be doubling the frequency of the new Cambridge-Brighton cross-London service so that two trains an hour will run in each direction.
The extra trains will run for most of the day, giving passengers on the route from Cambridge, via Hitchin and Stevenage, new half-hourly services to and from Gatwick, as well as central London.
In total, 31 additional services will run on weekdays, 13 of them in the peak and 29 of them on Thameslink with two extra off-peak services on Gatwick Express.
Weekend Thameslink trains also receive a significant boost with 180 extra services on Saturday and 100 extra on Sunday. These are a combination of reinstated services (such as on the Bedford Main Line which returns to four trains per hour), new trains including Cambridge to Brighton on Saturdays and Cambridge to Gatwick on Sundays and a doubling of the trains from Rainham via Dartford and Greenwich both Saturday and Sunday.
In direct response to customer requests, some weekday peak services will also make additional stops at places such as Preston Park on Gatwick Express, Hassocks on Southern and Knebworth and Letchworth on Thameslink.
GTR Chief Executive Patrick Verwer said: “Thameslink’s new service between Cambridge and Brighton has been really well received by passengers. By doubling its frequency we’ll create seats for 2,000 more commuters each morning and evening and provide a further boost to the economies of these two important cities.
“Leisure travellers will love the new service too: we’ll have half-hourly trains from the Cambridge route direct to London and Gatwick, and Thameslink will be much better at the weekends.
“We already have 400 more services a day than this time last year and punctuality on GTR is the best it has been for four-and-a-half years with almost nine out of 10 trains arriving on time last month.”
Southern and Gatwick services are already running at intended levels so there are few changes.
Passengers should check online at National Rail Enquiries for full details.
Summer Timetable Summary - effective from 19 May 2019
An extra hourly Thameslink service will run between Cambridge and Brighton, adding to the hourly service introduced last year. This will provide a 30 minute service direct between the two cities calling at Royston, Ashwell & Morden*, Baldock, Letchworth Garden City, Hitchin, Stevenage, Finsbury Park, London St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Hassocks* and Preston Park*.
From Cambridge the service will run hourly between 0525 and 1824 and from Brighton between 0538 and 1838, providing additional carriages to and from London on these lines. An additional 0713 Kings Cross to Cambridge Thameslink service will also run, providing 29 new services overall.
*At Ashwell & Morden the Cambridge – Brighton service will be half-hourly in the peak and hourly off peak. At Hassocks and Preston Park this Cambridge – Brighton service will replace stops on the current Bedford – Brighton service.
On Gatwick Express, an earlier 0430 service from London Victoria to Gatwick Airport will be introduced, as will a 0541 Gatwick Airport to London Victoria.
Working with stakeholders
As well as introducing extra services, we have been working with local stakeholders, identifying opportunities to improve existing timetables by adding calls or adjusting stopping patterns. The strategic planning team at GTR continues to gather feedback from our stakeholder events and at local meetings, reviewing options for future timetables. As a result, a number of amendments will be made from 19 May including:
- Additional am peak stops for Letchworth to London at 0704 and 0734; pm peak stops for Royston & Letchworth on services departing Kings Cross at 1612, 1639 and 1709; an additional early morning Saturday stop to London at Royston 0554 and Letchworth 0604; with changes at Ashwell & Morden
- Additional stop for Knebworth on 1957 service departing Kings Cross
- Additional stop at 0710 at Hassocks in a Southern service providing a direct service with Clapham Junction, and in the 1724 leaving London Victoria, leaving Clapham Junction at 1732
- Additional peak stops at Preston Park at 0616, 0646, 0716, 0746, 0816, 0846 Gatwick Express am services, and on departures from London Victoria at 1713, 1743, 1813, 1843
- Two additional evening stops at Berwick on Southern services from London Victoria at 1916 and 2016, and one late service on Sunday from London Victoria at 2246
- Additional pm peak stop at Hackbridge on 1855 service from London Victoria
- Additional stop at 1537 at East Worthing in the westbound direction for local school children; additional stops at West Worthing, Durrington on Sea, Goring by Sea and Angmering in the 1546 departure from East Worthing
The 0852 Bedford to Three Bridges, which arrives at London St Pancras at 0939, will depart from Bedford earlier at 0846 and call additionally at Flitwick at 0856 and Harpenden at 0913
Stevenage Turnback Platform
Great Northern will operate a rail replacement bus service between Watton-at-Stone and Stevenage to replace weekday train services from 20 May while Network Rail works on the Stevenage train turnback facility. The project will deliver a fifth platform at Stevenage and associated infrastructure. Once completed, the train turnback will enable the separation of Hertford Loop train services from the East Coast main line improving reliability and allowing for an increase in services in this area.
Thameslink services will be significantly enhanced including direct services between Cambridge, Gatwick Airport and Brighton on Saturdays and between Cambridge and Gatwick Airport on Sundays, connecting the East Coast and Brighton main lines at weekends for the first time. This service will call at Royston, Baldock, Letchworth Garden City, Hitchin, Stevenage, Finsbury Park, London St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, East Croydon, Gatwick Airport, Three Bridges, Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill, Hassocks and Preston Park.
The Bedford route will see two more trains per hour to London, and on to Gatwick Airport or Three Bridges, restoring a 15 minute frequency. This service will call at Flitwick, Harlington, Leagrave, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, Harpenden, St Albans City, London St Pancras International, Farringdon, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, Norwood Junction, East Croydon, Purley, Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords, Horley and Gatwick Airport.
To Three Bridges on Sundays the Bedford service will call at Flitwick, Harlington, Leagrave, Luton, Luton Airport Parkway, Harpenden, St Albans City, West Hampstead Thameslink, London St Pancras International, Farringdon, London Blackfriars, London Bridge, Norwood Junction, East Croydon, Purley, Redhill, Earlswood, Salfords, Horley and Gatwick Airport.
The Kentish Town to Rainham route will increase from one to two trains per hour.
The Sunday Sutton to London Blackfriars service is re-timed and will continue to St Albans (after 12 noon) calling additionally at Kentish Town, West Hampstead Thameslink, Cricklewood, Hendon, Mill Hill Broadway, Elstree & Borehamwood and Radlett.
There are no significant changes planned to Southern, Great Northern or Gatwick Express at weekends.
Govia Thameslink Railway
Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:
- Thameslink – cross-London services between Bedford/Peterborough/Cambridge and Brighton/Horsham/Littlehampton/East Grinstead, and between Luton/St Albans and Sutton/Wimbledon/Rainham; plus services between London and Sevenoaks
- Great Northern – services between London and Welwyn, Hertford, Peterborough, Cambridge and King’s Lynn
- Southern – services between London and the Sussex coast (Brighton, Worthing, Eastbourne, Bognor Regis, Hastings) and parts of Surrey, Kent and Hampshire (Ashford International, Southampton, Portsmouth)
- Gatwick Express – fast, non-stop direct services between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria