Rail passengers urged to check train times as new timetable comes into effect
Rail passengers have been warned to check new train timetables before travelling with a winter version set to come into effect from tomorrow.
The new timetable is aimed at trying to cut journey times and increase the number of services.
It will see an additional 1,000 extra weekly services on top of 4,000 that have been introduced in the last two years, according to the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).
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The changes to the timetables take place twice a year – in May and December – but the transition has not always been smooth.
Train timetables are changed twice a year, in May and December.
Chaos ensued in May 2018 in parts of north and south east England, which left some services crippled. The blame was attributed to Network Rail, train operators and the government.
Anthony Smith, chief executive of the passenger watchdog Transport Focus, told the BBC: “This time around, passengers need the rail industry to deliver a smooth set of timetable improvements – so they can reliably use both new and existing services.
“Many passengers should have a greater choice of services with more seats as result of these changes. However, there will also be some who lose out, with fewer or slower services.”
The RDG sought to reassure passengers over the upcoming timetable, stating that the industry had put “years of work into drafting, consulting and planning for these changes”.
The changes are less dramatic than those which caused problems 18 months ago, although the RDG’s director of nations and regions urged passengers to check for changes in advance.
“Train operators and Network Rail will be working together to run a reliable service and respond quickly to any teething problems as people get used to the change,” Robert Nisbet said.
While in some areas there will be minimal changes, Great Western Railway is set for the biggest timetable overhaul since the 1970s as they look to take advantage of the electrification of the line between London and Bristol as well as the operator’s new intercity express trains.
It will see the quickest services between Paddington and Bristol Parkway take one hour and eight minutes, 12 minutes less than the existing quickest time.
Journeys to Bristol Temple Meads will also be reduced by 17 minutes to one hour 19 minutes and the frequency of trains will be increased from two to three an hour during peak times.
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There is also set to be major improvements on ScotRail network with extra services and seats between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
A new station will be opened in north-east Glasgow called Robroyston.
Other operators introducing new services are Greater Anglia, London North Eastern Railway, Northern, TfL Rail, Thameslink, Transpennine Express, Transport for Wales, West Midlands Railway and London Northwestern Railway.