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Govia Thameslink launches third consultation phase on once-in-a-generation timetable restructure

Press Release   •   Nov 24, 2017 10:07 GMT

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has today opened the third phase of public consultation on the once-in-a-generation timetable transformation made possible by the £7 billion Thameslink Programme.

The first two phases attracted over 20,000 responses on the rail operator’s proposals for new and extended routes, and on details of weekday timetables. This third phase focuses on weekend and late night services, and runs until 20 December.

The proposed changes are a key part of modernising the rail network in the south east, taking advantage of the new infrastructure and trains provided by the Thameslink Programme. This major rewrite of the timetable will provide new journey opportunities, better intervals between trains, improved reliability, and more capacity, responding to the growth in passenger numbers, which have doubled in just 12 years on some parts of the GTR network.

Highlights of the proposals [see editor’s notes below for further details] include:

  • doubling Saturday services for Hertford North, Welwyn Garden City, Reigate, and all stations between Bickley and Denmark Hill
  • new Sunday services for Belmont, Banstead, Epsom Downs and Reigate
  • doubling Sunday services for stations from Radlett to Mill Hill Broadway (and increasing Saturday services from 4 to 6 per hour)
  • late-night Thameslink service between Bedford and Three Bridges stepped up from hourly to half-hourly
  • Phil Hutchinson, GTR’s Head of Strategic Planning, who is leading the timetable development and consultation, said: “Our timetable consultation with passengers and stakeholders has been very positive so far. Phase 2 generated over 10,000 responses and we are working to incorporate as many suggestions as possible. We are very grateful to those who have taken such an interest and are helping to shape the new timetable.

    “This is a fundamental part of our plans to modernise the railway, creating better connections and more capacity. It’s a once-in-a-generation opportunity to restructure the timetable to give passengers more trains and the much better reliability we all want. Ultimately it will put the Thameslink route at the heart of the UK rail network.”

    For phase 3, as with the earlier consultations, anybody with an interest will be invited to comment on line at a dedicated website Passengers are able to view full timetables, as well as search for specific times on a journey planner.

    The website is being promoted through posters and announcements at stations, by announcements on trains, as an email to GTR’s customer database, through media outlets, via the train operator websites and on Twitter. The consultation closes on Wednesday 20 December at 12:00 noon.

    Further details of the overall improvements planned for introduction by May 2018 can be viewed here.

    Confirmation of the Monday to Friday daytime timetable that was consulted on in phase 2 will be available in the New Year.


    Editor’s notes

    For more information email or call

    Southern and Gatwick Express press office: 0203 750 2030

    Thameslink and Great Northern press office: 0203 750 2031

    Timetable proposals

    Highlights of the weekend and late night timetable proposals include:

    Saturday timetable:

    - broadly the same as the off-peak weekday timetable

    - more services, especially for the Saturday evening timetable

    - doubling Thameslink services for Bickley, Bromley South, Shortlands, Ravensbourne, Beckenham Hill, Bellingham, Catford, Crofton Park, Nunhead, Peckham Rye, Denmark Hill stations to 4 trains per hour

    - doubling Southern services for Reigate to 2 per hour, and new evening services after 1900

    - doubling Great Northern services for Welwyn Garden City and Hertford North route to 4 per hour

    - additional semi fast Thameslink services for Radlett, Elstree & Borehamwood and Mill Hill Broadway from 4 trains per hour to 6

    Sunday timetable:

    - additional early service from Uckfield to Oxted

    - new Southern Sunday service for Belmont, Banstead and Epsom Downs every 30 minutes (no Sunday service currently)

    - new Southern Sunday service for Reigate every hour (no Southern service currently)

    - doubling Thameslink services for Radlett, Elstree & Borehamwood and Mill Hill Broadway to 4 trains per hour

    - London Victoria to East Grinstead services half-hourly in the evening (currently hourly)

    - Southern trains between London Victoria and Portsmouth Harbour to operate via Horsham to match the weekday and Saturday route

    Late night:

    - since May 2017, overnight services from London Victoria on Sunday to Thursday nights have been removed to provide Network Rail with additional access. This consultation proposes making most of those changes permanent, although the late trains from London Victoria to Gatwick Airport via Redhill (the former 0014) and London Victoria to East Croydon (the former 0016) would be reinstated from May 2018

    - to provide alternative journey opportunities it is proposed that a half-hourly Thameslink service between Bedford and Three Bridges (currently hourly) will be introduced

    Early Sunday morning Thameslink services:

    - to provide Network Rail with credible access to maintain the tracks through central London, cross-London routes will be operated in two parts with services from the north terminating at St Pancras International and those from the south terminating at London Bridge until approximately 0930 on a Sunday morning

    Govia Thameslink Railway

    Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) operates Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express services as follows:

    • Thameslink – services between Bedford and Brighton, Luton/St Albans and Sutton, Wimbledon 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

    GTR is the largest rail franchise in the UK in terms of passenger numbers, trains, revenue and staff. The operator carries about 326 million passenger journeys per year, and employs around 6,500 people. Its aim is to improve services across all four networks.

    Ticket revenue is passed to the government, which pays GTR a fee to operate the franchise. The fee is adjusted according to how well the train service is performing.

    Southern has the fastest passenger growth in the UK with numbers into London having doubled in 12 years - compared with the industry as a whole doubling over the past 20 years. To meet this growth and to future-proof the network, GTR is modernising the rail service for passengers.

    GTR has introduced more new trains in the past year than all other franchises put together, with 500 new carriages so far.

    The transformative £7bn Thameslink Programme will bring hundreds more daily services from 2018, increasing the number of trains though the central London core from up to 15 to 24 trains per hour. Network Rail has also launched a £300m programme to improve resilience across the GTR network.

    GTR is modernising how it works, with new technology in use at our stations and on our trains, smartcard ticketing and a new, flexible on-board role on many Southern services. This ensures fewer cancellations, and with more staff on board our trains now than ever before, passengers are enjoying a much better level of on-board customer service.

    The GTR investment programme for stations includes funding for more CCTV, toilet refurbishments, new retail facilities, help points and car park improvements – as well as plans for increased motorcycle storage and improved transport integration.,,,