Thameslink launches new train timetable Credit: Govia Thameslink Railway

Changes are to prepare for rail expansion

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) today (24 April 2018) advised passengers to plan for the biggest timetable shake-up in UK rail history. The new schedule will operate from 02.00 on Sunday 20 May across the GTR network.

GTR’s new timetables will affect almost a million rail journeys a day in the southern half of the UK. The network runs up to 3,200 trains a day, one every 27 seconds. The times of all these will change under the new timetable.

Charles Horton, GTR 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.”

Increased capacity for peak-time services

Space for 40,000 more passengers into London at peak times will be added next month. This weekly capacity boost equal to the population of Bristol.

Major upgrades have been introduced as the GTR network (Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express) is the UK’s most congested railway. Almost a quarter of all rail journeys are taken on the GTR network. Some parts of the network has seen a doubling passenger numbers in the last 12 years.

Expansion is part of the Government-sponsored £7bn Thameslink Programme. This upgrade project includes Network Rail’s recently-completed £1bn upgrade of London Bridge Station.

Self-drive mode through London

Network upgrades include platform extensions, rebuilt stations and power supplies boosted. Other upgrades will allow trains to travel at high-frequency through central London in “self-drive” mode.

“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.”

Bedford Station will have 32% more carriages and 33% more seats. There will also be an half-hourly overnight train service between Bedford and Three Bridges, serving Luton and Gatwick Airport

The new timetables have been published here.