Planning approach to winter timetable
The rail industry took the decision to limit the number of changes made to the winter timetable which starts on 9 December, taking a more cautious approach and seeking to learn lessons given the disruption resulting from the timetable implementation in May.
A new industry ‘Project Management Office’ (PMO) has been set up with an umbrella view across timetable planning nationally, and all amendments must pass through this organisation for approval. This team sits within Network Rail and is reinforced with independent assessment and review.
Given this revised approach, some changes originally planned on the network for this December won’t be included, however, in line with the new PMO timescales, we’ve already progressed plans for the timetable change next May, engaging with stakeholders and passenger user groups so that they help us shape the proposals. GTR will continue to encourage these discussions as they confirm plans for May, and move on to planning December 2019.
Over Christmas and New Year Network Rail will remodel a major junction and renew signalling at Battersea, just outside London Victoria. From 23 December to 1 January, this work will mean that Gatwick Express services will not run and Gatwick Airport will instead be served by Thameslink services from London Bridge. Southern services will also use London Bridge or turn at Clapham Junction with buses replacing trains for local journeys. Works at Kentish Town will mean an amended service on Thameslink from 23 December, and whilst there are no major works on the Great Northern route, an amended holiday timetable will be in place as normal.
In the half term from 16 to 24 February, the closure between Brighton, Lewes and Three Bridges is a key part of the Government’s £300m investment boost to tackle delay hotspots on the Brighton Main Line, focusing on Victorian era tunnels and the track that runs through them. An alternative train and bus operation is in planning, alongside ticket acceptance on other operators, parking alternatives and station operations at each of the impacted stations.
Customer communications are underway to keep passengers informed of these works.