Winter timetable change on hold for many operators after May disaster


A selection of train operating companies will not be changing timetables as usual this winter following the summer debacle that saw chaos across the network. 

The industry plans to take a ‘cautious approach’ to the changes on 9 December, with many operators keeping the May timetable with ‘minor adjustments’.

Network Rail and the Rail Delivery group have issued a statement that 2018 December timetable changes will ‘be of a similar scale to the smaller changes of recent years’ with planned improvements being introduced ‘gradually’ to maintain a reliable service.

Others will continue with their May timetable - keeping it for a full 12-month period - which ‘will still require additional work to be done'.

Where this is the case, minor adjustments and small locally based changes that have limited wider impact may be made if possible. 

The May 2018 timetable change was the largest in recent railway history and was branded ‘chaotic’.

Sir Peter Hendy, Chair, Network Rail, comments ‘Taking into account recent painful lessons, the industry has scaled back its ambition and tempered it with a more cautious, phased approach to introducing the new timetable.’

This approach is supported by Network Rail, the Rail Delivery Group and train operating companies and has been accepted by the Government.

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, added ‘As part of our long-term plan to change and improve, we will still be introducing thousands of new carriages and delivering a 10% increase in the number of trains running.’

Freight operators are liaising directly with Network Rail over decisions about their timetables.

Every year the national timetable is routinely changed twice – for the summer (in May) and for the winter (in December) to allow services to adapt for seasonal variations and to enable new services to be introduced as a result of investment in the infrastructure and in new trains.

Operators introducing a new December TT:

  • Arriva Trains Wales
  • c2c
  • Caledonian Sleeper
  • Chiltern Railways
  • East Midlands Trains
  • Grand Central
  • Greater Anglia
  • Heathrow Express
  • Hull Trains
  • London North Eastern Railway
  • Merseyrail
  • Scotrail
  • South Eastern
  • TfL Rail
  • Virgin Trains West Coast

Operators continuing with the planned May TT:

  • CrossCountry
  • Govia Thameslink Railway
  • Great Western Railway
  • London Overground
  • Northern
  • South Western Railway
  • TransPennine Express
  • West Midlands Trains

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