Southern owner Govia Thameslink Railway unveils next details of mass timetable restructure including late night services

 
Rebecca Smith
GTR is the parent firm of Southern rail
GTR is the parent firm of Southern rail (Source: Getty)

Southern rail owner Govia Thameslink Railway has announced proposals for a massive timetable restructure, and wants passengers' opinions on the latest stage of it.

It has already carried out two phases of consultation, but this latest is concentrating on weekend and late night services.

Proposed changes 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 four to six per hour)

• Frequency of late-night Thameslink service between Bedford and Three Bridges increased from hourly to half-hourly

Phil Hutchinson, GTR’s head of strategic planning, said the second phase of consultation had attracted over 10,000 responses and the train firm is "working to incorporate as many suggestions as possible".

The consultation will be open until 20 December.

Hutchinson said:

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.

The timetable changes come due to the £7bn Thameslink programme to improve journeys, though plans to almost double the number of Thameslink trains running through the capital have been delayed by a year.

The National Audit Office said this week the timetable of up to 24 trains per hour at peak times, which was due to start by the end of next year, will be delayed until December 2019.

Thameslink services run from Brighton to Bedford via central London.

Passengers that have suffered significant disruption, with work also going on to rebuild London Bridge as part of the programme, are expected to see some benefits from May though.

GTR said 70 per cent of the overall capacity benefits of the programme will be delivered - including the full implementation of a "more reliable Southern timetable".

Southern passengers in particular, have suffered ongoing disruption to their routes, with long-running industrial action affecting the network.

Earlier this month, members of train drivers' union Aslef accepted a deal to bring their dispute with the company to a close, though the RMT union remains embroiled in a row over the role of the guard.

Read more: Southern rail saga: Drivers accept deal to bring bitter row to a close

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