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Major TOCs including Northern and GTR scrap plans for winter timetables

Winter timetable changes for some major TOCs have been cancelled to prevent disruption similar to the May chaos marred by delays and cancellations.

Every year, the national timetable is routinely changed in order to adapt to seasonal changes and to enable new services. These changes take place in the months of May and December.

May this year saw the greatest change in recent rail industry, which ultimately resulted in ‘’chaos’’ which particularly effected Northern and Govia Thameslink Rail (GTR) passengers.

Passengers were faced with a high level of delays and overcrowding on trains.

In response to the issues faced by the rail industry after the May table, plans for the December timetable have been thoroughly looked over. The Rail Delivery Group have said they will be taking a "more cautious" approach to the timetables to prevent another tumultuous timetable change from hitting the nation's railways. 

Eight franchises, including Northern Railway and GTR who are both currently in the public eye, have postponed their plans to change timetables in time for the Christmas period.

The industry’s decision to return to normality is supported by both Network Rail and TOCs. The government has also pledged its support in favour of the new December system.

The rail industry has reviewed its December plans to ensure passengers experience a reliable train service.

Sir Peter Hendy, chair of Network Rail, said: “The railway industry has taken a long hard look at its plans for the next timetable change in December and, 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.

“The majority of rail operators will introduce the December timetable while others will continue to use the May timetable, which is still undergoing improvement.”

Paul Plummer, chief executive of the Rail Delivery Group, said “In parts of the country, many people have suffered unacceptable disruption following the introduction of the new timetable in May for which we are sincerely sorry.

“The industry is determined to learn the lessons from what went wrong. After careful consideration, Network Rail and train operators are acting now to make sure people get a reliable service when the December timetable is introduced, which means some improvements will be delivered more slowly than originally planned.”

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, and Virgin Trains West Coast will operate on new timetables come December.

Cross Country, Govia Thameslink Railway, Great Western Railway, London Overground, Northern, South Western Railway, TransPennine Express, and West Midlands Trains will remain on the current May timetables.

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Image credit: georgeclerk


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