Govia Thameslink Railway put on extra 1,000 trains a week after COVID-19 timetable chaos

Katherine Johnston (20 August, 2021)

The changes will be welcomed by frustrated commuters who have seen cancellations and delays on top of ‘savage cuts’ - as criticised by Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon.

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Govia Thameslink Railway says a new timetable reinstating almost 1,000 trains a week will come into force next month.
The weekday-only changes, planned from Monday, September 6, will provide additional trains across Southern, Thameslink and Great Northern lines.

The changes will be welcomed by frustrated commuters who have seen cancellations and delays on top of ‘savage cuts’ – as criticised by Liberal Democrat Caroline Pidgeon.

Almost 200 extra trains compared with the current timetable, introduced in July as a result of COVID-19-related shortages, will be running from Monday to Friday.

Pandemic timetable chaos: Trains cut by half in south London blamed on COVID

Govia Thameslink Railway’s chief operating officer Steve White said: “In anticipation of the return of schools and more passengers returning to the office, much of our service will be expanded from September 6.

“Like many other businesses our staffing levels continue to be affected by the pandemic but the new timetable has been planned to make better use of the drivers we have available, providing more trains, more reliably.

Back to normal: Train shortage blamed on COVID but we all remember how problems predate the pandemic

“The COVID third wave this summer has been the most challenging throughout the pandemic to balance the availability of our resources with the needs of our customers. We apologise if you have been affected.

“These changes will ensure we provide you with an increase in trains and provide a more reliable service as we steadily work to overcome the legacy of the pandemic. As people come back to using the railway, we will continue to adapt our services to match demand.”

The changes include:

Bedford to St Pancras International and Gatwick Airport

Two services per hour will run all day between Bedford and Gatwick Airport via Redhill from September 6. In combination with Thameslink services between Bedford and Brighton, there will now be up to four services per hour between Bedford and St Pancras International.
Four services per hour will run between St Albans and Sutton from 6 September, resulting in more stopping services across the route.

Gatwick Airport to London Bridge via Redhill

There will be an additional two trains per hour on this route.
Two services per hour will run all day between Bedford and Gatwick Airport via Horley, Salfords, Earlswood, Redhill, Purley, East Croydon and Norwood Junction. These trains continue to Bedford as described in the section above.

Sutton to London Blackfriars (Sutton to St Albans)

There will be an additional two trains per hour on this route, to four trains per hour in total. Two trains per hour will travel via St Helier and Tooting, and two via Hackbridge to combine to four in the Streatham, Tulse Hill, Herne Hill to London Blackfriars / Sutton section.

Orpington to Luton / London Blackfriars

Fewer peak-time-only services will run between Orpington and Luton. Stations between Luton and St Pancras International have stops on the Bedford and Gatwick Airport via Redhill or St Albans to Sutton services referenced above.
Customers at stations on the Catford Loop should use the all-day service between Sevenoaks and London Blackfriars.

East Grinstead to London Bridge

The one morning and evening peak Thameslink service will not run on this route from Monday 6 September. Southern services will continue to run. Customers travelling to/from London Bridge will need to change trains at East Croydon.

Caterham and Tattenham Corner to London Bridge

Direct fast services to London Bridge will be reintroduced on this route on an every 30 minute basis.

Beckenham Junction to London Bridge

Services will run between Beckenham Junction and London Bridge every 90 minutes throughout the day. Additional services will run at school times to provide improved connections in the Dulwich area.

Customers at stations such as West Norwood and seeking to travel to or from London Bridge should use the “via Norwood Junction” option in www.nationalrail.co.uk journey planners to show additional journey options.

London Bridge to London Victoria

Most services will not run on this route. Two morning peak services will operate (07:50 and 08:20 London Victoria to London Bridge) plus some late evening services. Customers should change at Norwood Junction for fast services to or from London Bridge.

Epsom to London Bridge via Carshalton Beeches

Fast services between Epsom and London Bridge will run every half-hour, the exception being a reduced frequency in the early morning. Trains from Epsom to London Bridge will depart at 05:45, 07:16, 08:15 then every 30 mins until 22:45.

Uckfield to London Bridge

The hourly service from Uckfield will run as half-hourly between 06:33 and 07:33 to support peak time and school travel on the route. The service will be hourly at busy times, but will reduce to every two-hours in the middle of the day when trains are quieter in the following periods:

Uckfield to London Bridge: 10:30-16:30
London Bridge to Uckfield: 09:07-15:07 and 21:07-23:07

Sutton to London Victoria via West Croydon

Up to four trains per hour will run between Sutton and London Victoria via West Croydon at busy times, with two trains per hour at quieter times. There will however be a change at busy times, with fewer trains running where there is less demand such as away from London Victoria in the morning rush hour, or towards London Victoria in the afternoon.

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