Times for every Southern and Thameslink service to change

A Thameslink service. Photo by Eddie Mitchell
A Thameslink service. Photo by Eddie Mitchell

The biggest timetable shake-up in UK rail history affecting Southern, Thameslink and Gatwick Express services will be introduced next month.

Rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway runs up to 3,200 trains a day and the times of all of these will change under the new timetable, which will start on 2am on Sunday May 20.

The changes are part of major improvements to the GTR network, which include the Government sponsored £7bn Thameslink programme, to cope with a huge increase in passenger numbers, doubling in the last 12 years in some areas.

Although most routes will operate the new timetable next month, a small number of services will be introduced before June 11.

Passengers are being urged to check the new timetables here.

Charles Horton, GTR’s chief executive, said: “A huge number of passengers will notice the benefits in terms of new journeys, better intervals between trains, improved reliability, and more capacity across a wide region.

“We are redeploying trains and crew and there may be some disruption, so we ask passengers for their understanding during the transition period of several weeks during which time a very small number of trains will not run.

“Almost a quarter of all rail journeys are taken on the GTR network and because of the necessary scale of the change we strongly urge passengers to check ahead as to how their journeys will be affected.

“Introduction of the new timetables is a major milestone in the delivery of RailPlan 20/20, our programme to modernise rail services, taking advantage of the new infrastructure and trains provided by the Thameslink Programme.

“These changes followed the biggest and most effective consultation of its kind during which we made hundreds of amendments, some substantial, in response to 28,000 responses.”

Space for 40,000 more passengers into London at peak times will be added, while by next year 80 more stations will have direct services to central London stations such as Farringdon, City Thameslink and Blackfriars.

Over more than a decade, platforms have been extended, stations rebuilt and power supplies boosted for longer trains. Signalling has been upgraded and track reworked to improve reliability and allow trains to travel at high-frequency through central London in ‘self-drive’ mode. GTR has also undertaken the UK’s biggest driver recruitment and training campaign.

In Sussex passengers will see:

• A new half-hourly cross-London service from Horsham via Redhill to London Bridge, Blackfriars, Farringdon, City Thameslink, St Pancras International and beyond to Stevenage and Peterborough

• New half-hourly cross-London service from Gatwick Airport via Redhill to London Bridge, Blackfriars, Farringdon, City Thameslink, St Pancras International and beyond to St Albans, Luton Airport Parkway, Luton and Bedford

• Littlehampton via Hove to London Bridge peak services transfer to Thameslink, with a new timetable and cross-London travel opportunities to London Bridge, Blackfriars, Farringdon, City Thameslink, St Pancras International and beyond to St Albans, Luton Airport Parkway, Luton and Bedford

• New half-hourly peak-time cross-London service from East Grinstead via Oxted to London Bridge, Blackfriars, Farringdon, City Thameslink, St Pancras International and beyond to St Albans, Luton Airport Parkway, Luton and Bedford

• At Brighton – 15 trains to London Bridge in the morning peak compared with five today

• Direct Thameslink services from Cambridge and local Great Northern stations to Brighton via London Bridge and Gatwick Airport

• Direct Thameslink services from Peterborough to Horsham via London Bridge and Gatwick Airport

• Improved morning peak mainline services from Eastbourne to London Victoria with three additional peak arrivals at 0705, 0735 and 0754 filling an existing two-hour gap

• The first train to London Victoria from Eastbourne will depart 20 minutes earlier providing an earlier arrival into Gatwick Airport

• An improved half hourly evening peak train will be introduced between London Victoria and Eastbourne with an additional train at 1815 reducing two 45-minute gaps

• Increased frequency (six trains per hour instead of five trains per hour) between Brighton and Lewes with increased stops at Falmer and Moulsecoomb

• Increased frequency (four trains per hour instead of three trains per hour) between Eastbourne and Hastings

• Improved all-day service every 30 minutes and faster journeys for some trains between Brighton and Hastings

• A doubling the length of most trains along the most popular sections of our east coast route, between Brighton and Hastings (especially busy in the summer). Increased frequency of services by a third between Eastbourne and Hastings. Trains will also connect better with the high-speed services at Ashford International, saving passengers time, for example a 99-minute journey time from Bexhill to St Pancras changing at Ashford International

• Improved connections with Southeastern high speed services at Ashford International for Ebsfleet International and London St Pancras International

• New late evening train one hour later than current, from Ashford International to Hastings via Rye

• New later weekday, later evening and Sunday services for Normans Bay

• An earlier first and later last train from East Grinstead to London Victoria will be introduced on weekdays and Saturdays and on Sundays the half hourly frequency will be extended for more of the day.

• An additional evening peak train will be introduced from London Bridge to Uckfield on weekdays and earlier Sunday morning trains will be introduced on the Uckfield route

• On the West Coastway route, additional peak trains to London will be introduced.

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