Thameslink train pulling into a station Image: Thameslink

Passengers urged to check online before travelling

Train times on Thameslink will change from Monday 22 February as Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) introduces a new, reduced weekday timetable. This, GTR said, will better match current demand and times when key workers and others make essential journeys.

The new timetable focuses services on early morning, late evening and peak-time. School travel is also accommodated in anticipation of the potential reopening.

There are fewer trains than normal pre-COVID levels, to keep services running as reliably as possible. GTR said this is at a time when far fewer people are travelling and when railway employees, like everyone, are affected by coronavirus.

Weekend timetables won’t change but may be affected by planned engineering work.

GTR chief operating officer, Steve White, said:

“I’d urge people to remember you should only be travelling at the moment if your journey is essential. We are all being asked to stay home instead to protect the NHS and save lives.

“Our priority is to maintain a safe and reliable service for those making essential journeys who are keeping our country running through this difficult time. Those who do have to travel can be reassured that we’re regularly sanitising our trains and stations with a long-lasting viruscide.

“With only 15% of our normal passenger numbers, this new timetable will provide trains when they are most needed at a time when our colleagues, like so many others across the country, are affected by coronavirus.

“Please check ahead online, as the service changes are being updated at National Rail Enquiries to allow you to plan your journey with confidence. We will continue to review and improve our service based on feedback from our passengers, hospitals, vaccination centres and schools, to ensure we best meet their needs in the future.”

Changes for the first two weeks commencing 22 February are now available in journey planners. The process of making the changes for future weeks to online journey planners such as National Rail Enquiries will be completed as quickly as possible.

A summary of the main changes can be found online on the Thameslink website where full timetables will be available from 19 February.

GTR has also made changes on the Great Northern and Southern routes. A summary of the changes from 22 February can be found here.