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Timetable information

The current rail service

Since the timetable change in May, the level of service our Great Northern and Thameslink customers are currently experiencing falls far below the standard that we expect to deliver. On behalf of Network Rail, ourselves and the rail industry we apologise unreservedly for this.

It was the biggest timetable change ever and four times bigger than industry processes had coped with before. We anticipated some degree of disruption to services while we made the huge changes in operational processes that the new timetable required.

However, the impact of the late delivery of the timetable by Network Rail has been significantly more disruptive than we expected and only a few days before launch, it was determined that there was a mismatch between the final timetable and the required route knowledge skills of drivers.

As a result of this disruption, we introduced an interim timetable on Sunday 15th July which is delivering a more consistent and more reliable service.

We still believe that the intended May 2018 timetable will bring huge benefits to you, so once the current interim timetable is bedded in, we will look to introduce more services to complete the intended May 2018 timetable and we will keep you informed at every step along the way. Please be assured that we are doing all we can to bring this about as swiftly as possible.

Again, we apologise wholeheartedly for the issues have experienced across the network since May.

Travel advice for passengers

We have now introduced an interim timetable. This timetable is intended to deliver a consistent and more reliable service. This revised timetable will be in place until we introduce the full timetable, delivering additional capacity, more frequent trains and new routes across the network.

How do I plan my journey?

An interim timetable will be introduced from Sunday 15 July. Journey planners will be updated by Monday 9 July for customers to plan ahead.

You can view and download PDF timetables on the timetable page. Please continue to check online at nationalrail.co.uk before traveling on the day of your journey.

Please always check your journey before you travel if you are travelling overnight and at weekends when engineering work may take place. These alterations may not be reflected in journey planners until 20.00 one day in advance. A list of planned engineering work is shown here.

What alternative routes are available?

Although we expect the service from 15 July to be much more reliable, we will keep all existing ticket acceptance and alternative routes in place to make your journey as easy as possible until further notice. Replacement buses will also be kept on stand by and any use of these will be advertised in online Journey Planners or Live Departures.

Valid ‘Thameslink Only’, ‘Southern Only’ and ‘Not Gatwick Express’ routed season, single and return tickets can be used on any Gatwick Express, Southern or Thameslink train service at all times until further notice.

Tickets can be used at all times until further notice to complete your Thameslink or Great Northern journey as follows:

  • London Underground 
  • London Buses 
  • London Overground
  • London Tramlink between East Croydon and Wimbledon
  • Docklands Light Railway 
  • South Western Railway between London and Wimbledon
  • Southeastern. This includes the High Speed services between Rainham and Gravesend ONLY. However if you are travelling to/from Higham or Strood you may use High Speed services between Strood and London St. Pancras. As High Speed services do not call at Higham, a replacement bus service will operate between Higham and Strood.
  • Greater Anglia between Ely / Cambridge and London Liverpool Street
  • CrossCountry
  • East Midlands Trains between London St Pancras International and Bedford, Ely and Peterborough
  • London North Eastern Railway between Peterborough and London
  • Metro Buses between Horsham, Gatwick and Redhill
  • Uno Buses between St Albans, Hatfield and Welwyn Garden City (routes 601, 602, 653)
  • Arriva Shires Routes 321, 100, 101, 300 and 301 between Luton / St Albans and Watford / Stevenage
  • Arriva Greenline Route 724 between Hertford, Welwyn Garden City, Hatfield and St Albans / Watford. You may also use these buses on route 757 between Luton and London
  • Metroline Bus Route 84 between Potters Bar and St Albans

Additionally, we have arranged for standby buses to be based at key locations on the Thameslink and Great Northern parts of the network to provide extra services in case of any unexpected cancellations that leave gaps in the train service. These buses will be advertised in the online Journey Planner and Live Departures.

What are you doing to fill any remaining service gaps?

Ticket acceptance with other operators will remain in place where it is still required. Replacement buses may operate on some routes so please check nationalrail.co.uk for information on the current arrangements.

The primary focus of Great Northern, Thameslink and our industry partners in the past few weeks has been on creating a timetable that will provide customers with a reliable and robust train service.

We are conscious that some stations will see a reduced service from 15 July and passengers have our assurances that every effort is being made to improve that service, with additional services being added where we are able.

In order to achieve a consistent service, special stop orders (arranging for a train to stop at a station it is not scheduled to, often at short notice) will not be issued other than during times of disruption or if there is a particularly large gap in service.

Are you continuing to support passengers who require assistance?

Passengers travelling with accessibility requirements can still expect the same level of assistance and support from our staff as before. Our travel policies have not changed - we continue to recommend that customers contact us the day before travel if they are pre-booking their assistance.

Passengers can continue to travel without booking assistance or can pre-book their assistance, it is their choice. Passengers can also contact our Assisted Travel team if they simply want advice before they travel.

On some routes trains will be busier at peak times and all passengers, if they have flexibility in when they travel, may want to consider when they travel.

We recommend that all passengers continue to check before they travel.

More detail is available on the assisted travel pages:

Why will this timetable work when the previous one didn't?

The primary focus of GTR and our industry partners is to deliver a timetable that will provide customers with a reliable train service.

The interim timetable introduced from 15 July matches our available resources (drivers and trains). The interim timetable aims to reduce late notice cancellations and amendments that have been experienced in the past few weeks.

How long will this interim timetable be in operation before the full timetable promised for May is introduced?

Once this interim timetable is bedded in, we will look to introduce more services to complete the intended May 2018 timetable and we will keep you informed at every step along the way.

Why do the changes disproportionately affect off-peak trains or remove a service that was running until 14 July?

We have adjusted our resources to ensure trains operate at times that benefit the largest number of customers and proportionately, more off-peak services have been removed from the interim timetable. We hope to minimise the impact by advertising these changes in advance and providing alternatives where possible.

Will there still be shorter trains?

We aim to run all trains with the maximum number of coaches possible, however the length of trains may be restricted by the physical constraints of the route they are operating on e.g. platform lengths.

Are all your drivers trained now?

The training of drivers is continuing, however we are confident that the current resource will allow us to operate the timetable we are now advertising.

Is first class no longer available to holders of standard class tickets?

First class accommodation will only be available to first class ticket holders from 15 July.

We will continue to monitor train loadings and at times of disruption we will advertise locally if first class is declassified.

Can I now rely on the information screens at the station?

The primary focus of GTR and our industry partners in the past few weeks has been on creating a timetable that will provide customers with a reliable and robust train service.

The interim timetable matches our available resources (drivers and trains) and customers will not see the late notice cancellations and amendments that have been experienced in the past few weeks.

Can I now reliably plan my journey in advance at nationalrail.co.uk or should I still check before I travel?

Once this interim timetable is bedded in, we will look to introduce more services to complete the intended May 2018 timetable. Therefore, we advise that you continue to check your journey before you travel.

Will alterations because of engineering works be reflected in the journey planners in advance?

If you are travelling overnight or at weekends, information on engineering work alterations may not be available until later. We will bulletin services that we expect to be altered by engineering work, and in these cases you should re-check your journey before you travel.

Will existing ticket acceptance still be in place from 15 July?

Ticket acceptance will remain in place until it is no longer needed and we will continue to explore ways to extend it where appropriate. Please check the live running page for the latest information.

Compensation arrangements

What compensation are you providing?

Applying for compensation

Please see our websites for more information and to claim:

A background to the changes

What did you need to change the timetable in the first place?

Demand for rail services have doubled in just 16 years on the Govia Thameslink Railway network and 12 years on Southern routes into London. While this has been very welcome, it has also brought its challenges and some of our busiest routes are operating at capacity, particularly during peak times. To facilitate the extra services to satisfy the huge growth in demand, the railway is undergoing its biggest modernisation since the Victorian era. And the new timetable, introduced on Sunday 20 May, was planned to be the most ambitious in recent railway history, providing additional capacity for 50,000 more peak-time commuters into London.

In order to make space on the network for hundreds of extra services, the timing of all GTR services had to be changed. All of these new journeys needed to be individually approved by Network Rail to ensure the national rail network runs safely and smoothly. Unfortunately, as a result of the sheer number of changes required and the late running of some engineering improvements, the process took longer than anticipated, approvals for service changes were delayed and some timetable requests were changed.

This meant that Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) had much less time to prepare for the new timetable which required trains and drivers to run on different routes. The differences between the timetables submitted and those approved created a requirement for training that had not been anticipated. This meant that the necessary specialist training was not able to be completed in time for drivers to learn new routes and for GTR to address all the logistical challenges.

Why didn’t you delay the changes?

The new timetable had to be implemented because it is an integral part of a UK-wide rail plan, dovetailing with other train operators’ timetables as well as future engineering schedules.

What are you doing to put this right?

We fully understand that passengers want more certainty and we are working very hard to make changes that this week should bring greater consistency to the timetable with fewer unplanned cancellations. This will minimise service gaps wherever possible and allow passengers to arrange their journeys with greater confidence.

This means passengers will be able to plan journeys ahead of time although they are still advised to check for any alterations that have to be made on the day of travel.

We will also be working with industry colleagues to establish a new temporary timetable that will progressively deliver improvements.

Have you got enough drivers?

We have enough drivers. The significant delay in Network Rail agreeing the timetable has directly impacted our ability to re-work train crew schedules, work locations and some new route training.

Why did you continue to promote the new timetable and not advise of the issues before the 20 May?

The implications of having only just over two weeks to prepare a plan rather than three months meant that the full impact of the timetable was not known until it was introduced. We had to implement the new timetable because it dovetails with other train operators across the country and future engineering work.