Southern to reinstate full timetable by end of the month

The full Southern timetable is set to be reinstated by the end of October.

Thursday, 20th October 2016, 3:29 pm
Updated Friday, 8th June 2018, 3:12 am

Rail operator Govia Thameslink Railway brought in the revised temporary weekday timetable back in July, cancelling more than 300 services a day to deal with the effect of staff shortages.

It has been gradually reinstating services, but Southern is set to restore 63 to the timetable, including 34 West Coastway trains to destinations such as Hove, Bognor, Barnham and Worthing next Monday (October 24).

A further 46 services will follow on October 31 when services between Brighton and Southampton and Hastings and Ashford will return.

GTR has been embroiled in a bitter dispute with the RMT union for months over plans to change the role of conductors to on-board supervisors, with drivers opening and closing train doors.

The union has objected to the potential to remove the second safety-critical member of staff on Southern trains, and has already held seven walkouts in 2016, with another three planned between now and Christmas.

Charles Horton, chief executive officer of GTR, said: “I’m delighted for our passengers that we will be restoring more services to the timetable. This is what our passengers deserve and I thank them for their patience during what has been a difficult time for everyone. Clearly the industrial relations issues we have are, regrettably, continuing, but we are pressing ahead with our plans and are committed to delivering a better service for everyone.“

GTR has also announced that 33 Gatwick Express services will not return until December 12 as part of autumn leaf-fall arrangements.

In line with the rest of the industry, GTR is taking steps to better manage the impact of leaf-fall seasonal conditions on passenger services and is leaving these services out until the end of autumn which it says will help reduce congestion and reactionary delays on the busy Brighton mainline route.

During the leaf-fall period, with challenging slippery rail conditions, trains take longer to reach their destinations, leading to congestion, cancellations and delays.

In recognition of this from Monday 24th October until Friday 9th December, weekday Southern and Gatwick Express trains arriving or departing from London Victoria or London Bridge may have their journey times extended by between one and three minutes.

Weekday Thameslink trains on the busy Brighton mainline from Three Bridges to Brighton and from Brighton to London Bridge will also have their journey times extended by up to three minutes.

These changes will result in more reliable journey times, giving greater certainty for passengers.

Mr Horton added: “Challenging conditions during the autumn mean that train services across the country become vulnerable to poor weather and slippery rails, compromising performance and certainty for passengers.

“We, like other train operators in the UK, are taking steps to reduce the risk of disruption during the period.”

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