Rail users set for “biggest shake-up in history” as new timetable looms

The new Govia timetable will come into effect from May 20.

The new Govia timetable will come into effect from May 20. - Credit: Archant

We’re three weeks away from the new Great Northern timetable being rolled out – which operator Govia Thameslink Railway is hailing as the “biggest timetable shake-up in UK rail history.”

Govia has now published details of train services that will affect almost a million rail journeys a day in the southern half of the UK – including Herts and Cambs services.

GTR runs up to 3,200 trains a day and say “the times of all of these will change under the improved timetable” – the new schedule, part of the RailPlan 20/20 programme, will operate from 2am on Sunday, May 20.

GTR chief executive Charles Horton 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.

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“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.”

GTR says there will be “improved evening services” between London and Hitchin, Letchworth and Baldock, as well as changes to calling patterns for Royston and Letchworth “to better match demand.”

However, the new timetable – which had been released in waves to the public before Govia’s official launch this week – has been met with significant criticism from commuters. This prompted rail user groups in towns affected to lobby for further changes, and a story about this can be found here www.royston-crow.co.uk/news/royston-and-letchworth-rail-user-groups-pleased-with-latest-timetable-1-5438740

To see the new timetable go to www.railplan2020.com/timetables

Email your thoughts on the changes to bianca.wild@archant.co.uk