What’s happening with the rail service?
From Sunday 11 December 2022 we will introduce a new timetable. You can plan your journey at www.nationalrail.co.uk. You can also check when the quietest services are by using our ‘Find a quieter train’ tool.
What's happening in the new timetable?
The new timetable is designed to
- Introduce a more punctual, and reliable service with a closer match to a “clock-face timetable”, where each station has more consistent arrivals, departures and connections that then repeat each hour, making public transport more attractive and easier to plan
- Reduce platform crowding and improve punctuality across the wider network by using more platforms and new track at Gatwick Airport railway station from early January
- Prepare services on Thameslink routes connected to St Albans for the introduction of a new station at Brent Cross West in the future
- Add more space for customers at the busiest times of day, alongside some journey time improvements to services running via Gatwick
Many network-wide changes relate to the upgrade underway at Gatwick Airport Railway station. From January 2023, all seven platforms are in use as well as a new track upgrade, so trains can approach the station at higher speeds. Newly widened platforms alongside changes to how we run trains through the station, will mean less busy platforms, improving the experience of using Gatwick Airport and helping trains to depart on time. The seven hundred trains that pass-through Gatwick station daily will run more punctually, more reliably, and in some cases such as to Brighton in the rush hour, the journey will be 10-14% faster, benefitting hundreds of thousands of customers every day.
To deliver these improvements, we are making some changes to our timetable, reordering how trains across the network approach and leave Gatwick Airport railway station. We have done this by ensuring that each station has more consistent arrival and departure times and connections which then repeat each hour. The aim is to attract more customers to our rail network by making public transport more attractive and easier to plan.
This means that almost all stations with services connected to Gatwick Airport will see slight changes to departure and arrival times, often by a few minutes. It also means that stations on the Brighton Main Line, such as Balcombe and Wivelsfield have seen changes to which individual services call at each station, but we have sought to keep this type of change to a minimum and retain a similar number of services in each hour compared with today.
Changes also relate to the new station under construction at Brent Cross West. Thameslink trains that run on the Midland Main Line to St Albans City and Luton will see some timing changes, so the new station can be brought into use as soon as possible without needing to wait for a future timetable change date.
Finally, as with all our timetables, we are continuing to track passenger numbers, listen to your feedback and respond where we can to changes in demand. As examples, this timetable will see the introduction of additional Thameslink services to East Grinstead to provide more cross-London journeys, all-day Thameslink services at South Croydon and changes to the use of our trains, such as more twelve carriage trains in peak hours Tuesday-Thursday as well as slight changes elsewhere.