Train timetable changes: Rail passengers urged to check journeys as major shakeup comes into effect

Jacob Jarvis
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New train timetable changes: UK commuters hit by delays on key London route on start of new summer schedule

Train passengers are being urged to check their journey times due to a major timetable shakeup coming into effect today.

The new summer timetables, which will introduce 1,000 extra services each week, begin across the UK’s railways and last May’s caused major issues for customers.

Train companies have been urged to have a "robust contingency plan" in case Sunday's timetable change, leads to a repeat of the meltdown.

Darren Shirley, chief executive of the Campaign for Better Transport, said: "The railway has a long way to go to win back passenger confidence, but we hope that the lessons of last year have been learnt and the introduction of the new timetable on Sunday will improve people's perceptions of the railways, rather than further damaging them.

"In the event that things do go wrong, we would expect the rail industry to have a robust contingency plan so that passengers aren't left stranded again."

The change last May led to weeks of disruption on large parts of the network that saw the number of trains cancelled each day by Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) and Northern reaching up to 470 and 310 respectively.

GTR was fined £5 million by the rail regulator over its poor communication during the fiasco.

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR) found the company "failed to provide appropriate, accurate and timely information" to passengers for an eight-week period.

Among the operators adding extra services from Sunday are South Western Railway, GTR, Northern, Scotrail and Transport for Wales.

Industry body the Rail Delivery Group (RDG) insisted lessons have been learned from last year.

It added that train companies and Network Rail have worked together to ensure changes are only being made where there is a "high confidence" the necessary infrastructure, rolling stock and staffing plans are ready.

RDG chief executive Paul Plummer said: "Introducing 1,000 more services a week to meet demand on a congested network poses a significant challenge but we are working together to ensure improvements are introduced with the absolute minimum of disruption."