Further to my previous email regarding the local train service I am writing again after an update from GTR regarding the Summer Timetable.
I copy below their update. It highlights improvements across the region. The bottom line is that Horsham is closer to its pre pandemic service levels than most other stations. However Horsham is still below the previous level of service - and this remains even more the case for other stations in the constituency.
Pre pandemic the commuter services required the maximisation of trains on the lines during peak hours and cross subsidised non-peak travel.
Post pandemic, as more people work from home more often, passenger numbers remain below 70 per cent of the previous levels. The Government has put in place a multi-billion extra funding package for the next three years to mitigate the impact as passenger numbers revive.
While services are closer to those we were used to, the "new normal" is not the same as the historic service. Where there are specific issues or concerns I would be grateful if these could be raised with me - if there are particular widespread passenger demands that are not being reflected in the current timetable I want to raise these with GTR.
Secondly the argument as to why we suffered disruption in the past was around the extraordinarily tight timetables and pressure on the network. With much of this pressure lifted I am looking forward to far fewer delays and "skipped" stations. If commuters have fewer services than pre pandemic these must be reliable. This is something in which I am sure GTR will take pride - and on which we will be holding them to account.
If you have any comments on the service please do let me know - and likewise please do let me know if you would rather not receive any further emails on this topic.
MP for Horsham
Update on Southern, Great Northern and Thameslink services - Train times will change from 15 May 2022
I am writing to update you on the Summer timetable change on Sunday 15 May 2022. Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern will be running more weekday trains in its summer timetable, targeted mostly on commuters returning to the workplace.
Over the past two years we have made over a dozen timetable changes - your input and feedback as a stakeholder has been essential each time to support us to meet our customers’ needs.
We are now looking towards the future, establishing a new base timetable to take us into a more stable period of fewer timetable changes that better meets the current demand for services and the resources we have available. The timetable we are introducing in May will develop in the years ahead as demand and travel patterns continue to evolve alongside customer needs.
Our customer numbers have now stabilised at approximately 65 to 70 per cent of pre-pandemic, with notable differences between days of the week and times of day. We are now seeing commuter passenger volumes and travel trends similar to those seen last Autumn, following the easing of working from home advice.
Trends suggest that people will continue to work from home more regularly in the future. The railway therefore needs to adapt to lower passenger numbers and the impact of reduced commuting on the industry’s finances, while at the same time, encouraging passengers to return when they are ready.
This is a difficult balance to strike. As with all of our timetables, we are prioritising our available resources to support as many customers as we possibly can – safeguarding key services such as those for schools and rural communities with limited public transport alternatives, meeting demand for commuting and leisure, and then supporting the largest off-peak service that we can.
As a result, the May timetable increases weekday services across the network where there is significant passenger demand, with many routes increasing in frequency. It will also see the introduction of cross-London Thameslink services between Sevenoaks and Welwyn Garden City for the first time, preparing the London area for the opening of the Elizabeth Line.
The timetable also makes other important changes to reflect the change in travel demand. The Class 455 train on the Southern Metro are over 40 years old and will be replaced with the younger Class 377 electrostar fleet. Currently undergoing a £55m upgrade, the more modern trains will provide passengers with a more comfortable onboard experience including accessible toilets, air conditioning, improved lighting and the more popular 2X2 seating layout.
Regrettably, as fewer people are regularly commuting we have had to make some difficult choices.
As a result, we have made changes to our Saturday services to two short distance routes in the inner-London area and two in the Brighton area where there is overlap with other services. We have focused these changes to ensure that we maintain a minimum of half-hourly frequencies and increased the length of trains where needed, but we recognise changes like these are a disappointment.
We will keep a watching brief and continue to work with stakeholders and partners to monitor, evaluate and adjust the future timetables according to demand levels.
While the effects of the pandemic remain with us, this timetable is a starting point to begin rebuilding the railway following the disruption of the past two years. The new timetable from Sunday 15 May 2022 is part of this change. As customers return to rail in the years ahead and the time is right, we want to see more services added in, so we can build a thriving railway, meeting the needs of our customers.
A briefing on the main changes is available below and customers can plan their journeys at www.nationalrail.co.uk
As always, if you have any questions, please let us know.
Briefing: Timetable changes from 15 May
From Sunday 15 May, a new timetable will be introduced across Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern railway services.
For Thameslink and Great Northern services, this is a weekday only change; there is no change to weekend services.
On Southern there are changes to both weekdays and Saturday services.
The most notable changes to services are shown in the summary below. However, the times of trains and station calling patterns will change slightly across the entire network, it is therefore important that customers check their journeys before travelling at www.nationalrail.co.uk
The changes from Sunday 15 May 2022 will do four things:
- Increase weekday frequencies where there is significant unmet demand.
- Use our trains as efficiently and as intensively as we can.
- Reduce overlap where an alternative service exists.
- While the Saturday service will remain larger overall to reflect the leisure market, some shorter distance routes will be reduced.
Great Northern - Weekdays
Welwyn Garden City / Stevenage to Moorgate
Five trains per hour will run on each branch at busy times, combining to provide up to ten trains per hour between Moorgate and Alexandra Palace.
At quieter times, two trains will run on each branch per hour as today.
Thameslink - Weekdays
London King’s Cross to Cambridge – stopping service via Potters Bar
The stopping service between London King’s Cross and Cambridge will increase to provide two trains per hour across the entire route.
This means that services at Meldreth, Foxton and Shepreth will increase from one to two departures per hour, as well as providing additional services between Royston and Cambridge.
Welwyn Garden City to St Pancras International and central London – peak only
Two additional peak services per hour will run between Welwyn Garden City and Sevenoaks, providing additional services at Hatfield, Potters Bar, New Barnet, Oakleigh Park, New Southgate, Finsbury Park and additional cross-London connectivity between St Pancras International and London Blackfriars.
This change is introduced by extending existing Sevenoaks to London Blackfriars services through to Welwyn Garden City during peak hours.
Sevenoaks to London Blackfriars
As detailed above, during peak hours, the existing Sevenoaks to London Blackfriars service will be connected to Welwyn Garden City. This will provide more direct cross-London services for stations to the south of London Blackfriars.
Off-peak, the service will continue to run between Sevenoaks and London Blackfriars only.
Orpington to Luton – peak only
Peak only services between Orpington and Luton via Catford will be reintroduced, providing two services per hour.
Sutton to St Albans
Four trains per hour will run between Sutton and St Albans via central London.
Luton to Rainham
Two trains per hour will run between Luton and Rainham.
East Grinstead to Bedford
One peak service AM and PM in each direction will run between East Grinstead, central London and stations towards Bedford.
05:55 St Pancras International to East Grinstead
07:15 East Grinstead to Bedford
17:17 Leagrave to East Grinstead (18:10 London Bridge)
19:17 East Grinstead to West Hampstead Thameslink
Littlehampton to Bedford
One peak service AM will depart Littlehampton at 05:52 calling at London Bridge at 07:34before continuing to Bedford.
A return service will depart Bedford at 15:43, calling at London Bridge at 16:54 and arriving at Littlehampton at 18:37.
Bedford to Three Bridges
Additional peak services will run between Bedford and Three Bridges, departing Bedford at 05:43, 06:45 and 07:15 in the AM and departing Gatwick Airport at 16:57 (17:56 St Pancras International) and 17:24 (18:10 St Pancras International).
Between Bedford and St Pancras International in the AM these services will provide additional services at Flitwick, Luton, Harpenden and St Albans. In the PM these services will also call at Luton Airport Parkway, Leagrave and Harlington.
Southern / Gatwick Express - Weekdays
Brighton to Hastings
Additional services will run to provide a 30-minute frequency at busy times.
Brighton to Portsmouth and Southampton
Direct services will run between Brighton and Portsmouth and Brighton and Southampton.
Beckenham Junction / Crystal Palace to London Bridge via Tulse Hill
Services will run every 30 minutes during busy times, with an hourly service off-peak.
Watford Junction to Clapham Junction
An hourly service will run between Watford Junction and Clapham Junction. Customers for stations between Watford Junction and Milton Keynes Central should change at Watford Junction.
One AM service will start from Hemel Hempstead at 07:31.
Southern – Saturdays
Watford Junction to East Croydon
An hourly service will run between Watford Junction and East Croydon. Customers for stations between Watford Junction and Milton Keynes Central should change at Watford Junction.
London Victoria to London Bridge
Direct services between London Bridge and London Victoria will not run.
Sutton to London Victoria via West Croydon and Norbury
Services will reduce from four to two trains per hour in each direction. Longer trains will run on this route.
West Worthing to Brighton
West Worthing to Brighton services will not run. Customers should use longer distance Brighton to Portsmouth / Southampton services, or Littlehampton to London Victoria services changing at Hove.
Lewes to Brighton
Lewes to Brighton services will not run. Customers should use Hastings to Brighton or Seaford to Brighton services.