As you’ll be aware, GTR are working with Network Rail on plans to improve reliability and punctuality on GTR's network. From 21 May 2017, to coincide with the launch of the new timetable, there will be a key change to overnight train services from London Victoria and return. This will give Network Rail more time to carry out essential maintenance and improvement work overnight on the very congested Brighton Main Line.
Here is an overview of the changes:
- Southern trains departing after 00.05 and before 04.52 from London Victoria and return will not run on Sunday to Thursday nights (i.e. the early hours of Monday to Friday mornings) when passenger numbers are lowest.
- Current arrangements whereby Gatwick Express has no overnight services between 23:30 and 05:00 will continue.
- Passengers with Southern tickets will be able to use Thameslink services from London Blackfriars to travel between central London and East Croydon, Gatwick Airport/Brighton; late evening and overnight Thameslink services will call additionally at Purley, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill and Horley as appropriate with some trains also running further than normal, to Haywards Heath and Brighton, to provide an alternative to Southern trains that will not run.
- The Southern night service will be retained on Friday and Saturday nights (i.e. the early hours of Saturday and Sunday) when there is most demand.
With more trains on the network than ever before, this additional overnight access will give Network Rail the time they need to fix unavoidable wear and tear on this busy route, reducing delays to passengers by keeping the railway in the right condition.
A £300 million funding package for Network Rail was announced in January and is aimed at reducing delays on the Southern and Thameslink rail networks. Ageing signals and points will be replaced. It will fund the replacement of elderly tracks, better drainage and structural repairs in tunnels, plus work to prevent lorries striking bridges, another frequent cause of delays. Embankments will be shored up to prevent landslips during bad weather and fencing will be improved to deter trespassers.
Passengers are being advised to check train times and calling patterns before they travel at www.nationalrail.co.uk. For stations between London Victoria and East Croydon, passengers can use the TfL journey planner at www.tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey to find alternatives. Online journey planners should be updated by 3 May.