Rail industry works together to deliver better services with new winter/sping timetable
The new winter/spring timetable has come into effect across Britain’s rail network as of Sunday 8 December, with the industry working together to deliver even better services for passengers and businesses.
The timetable is the product of two years of collaborative working between the central operational planning teams at Network Rail’s national centre in Milton Keynes and their colleagues across the devolved routes and within the train operating companies.
Michael Roberts, director general of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG), which speaks on behalf of the rail industry, said: “Close working across the rail industry on the new timetable means more passengers, businesses and communities across Britain will get the benefits of better rail services and improved journey times.
“While we are always looking to improve, passengers are already making 500 million more ‘good’ or ‘satisfactory’ journeys each year than in 1999 according to the independent passenger watchdog. Our railways are now busier than they have been for over 80 years, generating revenue to sustain the significant investment in more trains, faster services and better stations that will benefit rail users now and into the future.”
Fiona Dolman, head of capacity planning at Network Rail, explained: “The rail industry has worked hard to create a timetable that performs as expected and where possible makes greater use of the network capacity. I think in many instances we have achieved this.
“Across the network, we have together found scope for new services. This is no mean feat and more often than not requires all our teams to work together in close partnership to find the capacity needed.”
Some examples of this work include:
- The introduction of new Grand Central services from Bradford to London, on weekdays and at weekends, increasing the reach and business potential for open access operators on the network.
- A large increase in services across the weekend in Scotland, with hourly services now helping connect the Edinburgh lines with Perth and Helensburgh lines.
- In East Anglia, Network Rail has worked with Greater Anglia to further utilise the capacity on the Great Eastern Main Line. This has resulted in an additional 37 services between Liverpool Street and Shenfield and between Ilford and Gidea Park over the course of a week.
- First Capital Connect identified an additional nine services a week on the LNE South area which we ratified, increasing options for FCC passengers travelling to and from London to East Anglia and Cambridge, where we are now using the Hitchin flyover.
- A new whisky freight path in Scotland – allowing for the rail transport of thousands of litres of whisky to and from Elgin Yard.
Fiona continued: “Building the working timetable is not only about finding the capacity to run more services; it is also about making use of the opportunity to further improve the existing base, whether by improving journey times, altering stopping patterns to drive operator revenue or changing timings to accommodate the introduction of improved rolling stock. Network Rail continues to make every effort to use the timetable process to bring about these changes.”
Some further highlights that demonstrate how the timetable helps the industry grow:
- Network Rail has worked with the LNE and East Midlands route and East Midlands Trains to make sure that the infrastructure work completed this year bring benefits in terms of improved journey times for passengers travelling between London, Derby and Sheffield. London to Sheffield now takes 120 minutes, with Leicester to London taking only 64 minutes.
- The service for passengers travelling to and from Birmingham has improved, with Chiltern Railways now able to offer their commercially key leisure market a Sunday timetable that matches their Saturday timetable.
- TransPennine Express have worked with both the LNW and Scotland route teams to create the timetable changes that will enable the introduction of their new rolling stock. This new stock will improve the passenger experience for TPE in the highly competitive Anglo-Scottish market.