May 2020 timetable changes

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IrishDave

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Some considerable changes to the Brighton Main Line in May 2020: the Gatwick Airport station upgrade commences, resulting in Platform 7 being taken out of use - though it appears the track is still available for passing trains, and is used as such in the evening peak.

The opportunity has been taken for a slightly wider recast of the Brighton Main Line: all overtaking moves, splits and joins at Haywards Heath have been removed. This has been achieved by the following:
  • Removal of Southern services between Brighton and London Victoria off-peak (currently xx:25/55 off Victoria).
  • Southern services between London Victoria and Eastbourne move to xx:24/54 (as they currently are in the peaks), with no portion working.
  • Southern services between London Victoria and Littlehampton move to xx:15/45 (currently xx:16/46), with no portion working.
This reduces Brighton-London to 6tph (from 8tph) off-peak, as well as removing all direct trains between Clapham Junction and Brighton. Curiously, however, this does not reduce the quantum of trains through Gatwick off-peak [EDIT: see below], but by rejigging the Thameslink services to avoid overtaking moves at Haywards Heath, I guess GTR hope to improve the robustness of the timetable.

The off-peak pattern of departures from Brighton towards London thus becomes:
  • xx:09/39 [currently xx:18/48] Gatwick Express to London Victoria, calling Gatwick Airport
  • xx:12/42 [currently xx:08/38] Thameslink to Cambridge, now calling Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Balcombe, Three Bridges, Gatwick Airport, East Croydon, London Bridge etc.
  • xx:25/55 [currently xx:26/58] Thameslink to Bedford, now calling all stations to Gatwick, except Balcombe
  • [Existing xx:03/33 Southern to Victoria removed]
Journey times between Victoria and Brighton increase to 58 mins down / 60 mins up (up from the present 53 mins down / 55 mins up), mostly down to no longer overtaking Thameslink services at Haywards Heath.

Changes in the peak are more limited, since there the Southern services to Eastbourne / Littlehampton already operate separately with no split/join. The main changes are to remove the need for overtaking moves at Haywards Heath; note however that Brighton retains 8tph to and from London in the peaks.

A number of additional trains now non-stop Gatwick in the evening to account for the closure of platform 7:
  • All Victoria-Littlehampton trains from 16:54 to 18:54 (fast East Croydon-Haywards Heath)
  • 16:45 and 17:45 Victoria-Ore (calling Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Horley, Haywards Heath, etc.)
  • 17:32 and 18:32 London Bridge-Eastbourne (fast East Croydon-Haywards Heath)
The 15:45/16:45 Bedford-Littlehampton services and the 17:02/18:02 London Bridge-Portsmouth Harbour services continue not to call at Gatwick. Most of the southbound non-stopping trains are booked to use platform 7 at Gatwick, which is logical since it is the one not available for trains calling.

Bizarrely, the 16:43 Victoria-Brighton is currently in as a Q path (run as required), being booked through platform 7 at Gatwick - I presume this is pending a solution being found to allow this to be platformed at Gatwick.


EDIT: I missed the fact that the Gatwick Express services that run between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria only are not in the timetable - hence there is a net reduction of 2tph through Gatwick.
 
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Welshman

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Although I have always thought a direct Wakefield to Manchester service would be popular. No idea if one ever run in the past. Seems odd for that part of West Yorkshire to be isolated from Manchester.
It rather depends on how far back you want to consider!
The old L&Y line saw a service between Wakefield Kirkgate, Mirfield, Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge to Manchester Victoria via the Calder Valley. Some were extended back to York via Castleford, and in their heyday there was also a Liverpool Exchange-Newcastle service via this route which contained a restaurant car.
The service was modified in 1962 when the line was turned-over to dmus, and the through services had ceased entirely by 1970.
Unfortunately, I remember them well. You might not do!
 

Peter Bonner

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It rather depends on how far back you want to consider!
The old L&Y line saw a service between Wakefield Kirkgate, Mirfield, Brighouse, Sowerby Bridge to Manchester Victoria via the Calder Valley. Some were extended back to York via Castleford, and in their heyday there was also a Liverpool Exchange-Newcastle service via this route which contained a restaurant car.
The service was modified in 1962 when the line was turned-over to dmus, and the through services had ceased entirely by 1970.
Unfortunately, I remember them well. You might not do!
Very interesting comments indeed. Given through traffic avoiding Leeds by say one train per hour might not be a bad idea! Whether it came via Sowerby Bridge or Huddersfield I dont know but it might avoid the Leeds bottleneck. Either way cd avoid pinchpoints at Batley and Crossgates.
 

DaveN

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I've had a look at the weekday Midland Main Line Thameslink services.

The 07:22 ex Bedford Thameslink Express service now goes to Brighton instead of Littlehampton.
The 07:52 ex Bedford Thameslink Express now goes out of service at Gatwick instead of continuing to Three Bridges
The 03:10 ex Bedford now runs 5 minutes later until St Pancras as it no longer waits there for 5 minutes.

9R40 14:32 Gatwick to Bedford seems to be missing in the data ( 15:35 St Pancras)

There's a few minute differences here are there
 

tbtc

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Some considerable changes to the Brighton Main Line in May 2020: the Gatwick Airport station upgrade commences, resulting in Platform 7 being taken out of use - though it appears the track is still available for passing trains, and is used as such in the evening peak.

The opportunity has been taken for a slightly wider recast of the Brighton Main Line: all overtaking moves, splits and joins at Haywards Heath have been removed. This has been achieved by the following:
  • Removal of Southern services between Brighton and London Victoria off-peak (currently xx:25/55 off Victoria).
  • Southern services between London Victoria and Eastbourne move to xx:24/54 (as they currently are in the peaks), with no portion working.
  • Southern services between London Victoria and Littlehampton move to xx:15/45 (currently xx:16/46), with no portion working.
This reduces Brighton-London to 6tph (from 8tph) off-peak, as well as removing all direct trains between Clapham Junction and Brighton. Curiously, however, this does not reduce the quantum of trains through Gatwick off-peak [EDIT: see below], but by rejigging the Thameslink services to avoid overtaking moves at Haywards Heath, I guess GTR hope to improve the robustness of the timetable.

The off-peak pattern of departures from Brighton towards London thus becomes:
  • xx:09/39 [currently xx:18/48] Gatwick Express to London Victoria, calling Gatwick Airport
  • xx:12/42 [currently xx:08/38] Thameslink to Cambridge, now calling Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Balcombe, Three Bridges, Gatwick Airport, East Croydon, London Bridge etc.
  • xx:25/55 [currently xx:26/58] Thameslink to Bedford, now calling all stations to Gatwick, except Balcombe
  • [Existing xx:03/33 Southern to Victoria removed]
Journey times between Victoria and Brighton increase to 58 mins down / 60 mins up (up from the present 53 mins down / 55 mins up), mostly down to no longer overtaking Thameslink services at Haywards Heath.

Changes in the peak are more limited, since there the Southern services to Eastbourne / Littlehampton already operate separately with no split/join. The main changes are to remove the need for overtaking moves at Haywards Heath; note however that Brighton retains 8tph to and from London in the peaks.

A number of additional trains now non-stop Gatwick in the evening to account for the closure of platform 7:
  • All Victoria-Littlehampton trains from 16:54 to 18:54 (fast East Croydon-Haywards Heath)
  • 16:45 and 17:45 Victoria-Ore (calling Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Horley, Haywards Heath, etc.)
  • 17:32 and 18:32 London Bridge-Eastbourne (fast East Croydon-Haywards Heath)
The 15:45/16:45 Bedford-Littlehampton services and the 17:02/18:02 London Bridge-Portsmouth Harbour services continue not to call at Gatwick. Most of the southbound non-stopping trains are booked to use platform 7 at Gatwick, which is logical since it is the one not available for trains calling.

Bizarrely, the 16:43 Victoria-Brighton is currently in as a Q path (run as required), being booked through platform 7 at Gatwick - I presume this is pending a solution being found to allow this to be platformed at Gatwick.


EDIT: I missed the fact that the Gatwick Express services that run between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria only are not in the timetable - hence there is a net reduction of 2tph through Gatwick.
Thanks for taking the time to explain all of this - seems rational changes (given the capacity constraints etc) - interesting that Southern are getting rid of a large number of splitting/joining services (at a time when other TOCs are introducing them - e.g. the GWR IET300s) - but I guess that's a debate for another thread!

Very interesting comments indeed. Given through traffic avoiding Leeds by say one train per hour might not be a bad idea! Whether it came via Sowerby Bridge or Huddersfield I dont know but it might avoid the Leeds bottleneck. Either way cd avoid pinchpoints at Batley and Crossgates.
The problem is that it'd be significantly slower (to go Huddersfield - Wakefield - Castleford - York) than via Leeds - and, given the high frequency of Huddersfield - Leeds - York services, you'd be getting overtaken by at least one (maybe two), so you'd have to flog bargain basement tickets to try to entice longer distance passengers away.

What really needs doing or capacity through Crossgates is a rationalisation of the current nine passenger trains per hour (as TPE and Northern both try to compete for the ORCATS cash) plus freight/ECS
 

Failed Unit

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Just take a look at the Great Northern timetable from WGC,
The Moorgate service reverts to standard, in the peak all trains stop at all stations to Alexandra Palace, then Finsbury Park
The x02 and x32 lose thier Hadley Wood stop (wonder what the reaction to this will be) - but better spread of trains.
Interesting is that both the x02 and x32 are double entered to run to Sevenoaks (as are the return services) so even if they stay at Kings Cross we can see what is to come if they ever link them. If you are heading to Kings Cross it is a slight speed up as the arrivals / departures from St Pancras is better.
I also spotted a service from London Kings Cross - Baldock calling a WGC only - I am not sure if that will stay but it at WGC for 5 minutes waiting to get over the viaduct so maybe it will.
 

EGKK26L

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Some considerable changes to the Brighton Main Line in May 2020: the Gatwick Airport station upgrade commences, resulting in Platform 7 being taken out of use - though it appears the track is still available for passing trains, and is used as such in the evening peak.

The opportunity has been taken for a slightly wider recast of the Brighton Main Line: all overtaking moves, splits and joins at Haywards Heath have been removed. This has been achieved by the following:
  • Removal of Southern services between Brighton and London Victoria off-peak (currently xx:25/55 off Victoria).
  • Southern services between London Victoria and Eastbourne move to xx:24/54 (as they currently are in the peaks), with no portion working.
  • Southern services between London Victoria and Littlehampton move to xx:15/45 (currently xx:16/46), with no portion working.
This reduces Brighton-London to 6tph (from 8tph) off-peak, as well as removing all direct trains between Clapham Junction and Brighton. Curiously, however, this does not reduce the quantum of trains through Gatwick off-peak [EDIT: see below], but by rejigging the Thameslink services to avoid overtaking moves at Haywards Heath, I guess GTR hope to improve the robustness of the timetable.

The off-peak pattern of departures from Brighton towards London thus becomes:
  • xx:09/39 [currently xx:18/48] Gatwick Express to London Victoria, calling Gatwick Airport
  • xx:12/42 [currently xx:08/38] Thameslink to Cambridge, now calling Burgess Hill, Haywards Heath, Balcombe, Three Bridges, Gatwick Airport, East Croydon, London Bridge etc.
  • xx:25/55 [currently xx:26/58] Thameslink to Bedford, now calling all stations to Gatwick, except Balcombe
  • [Existing xx:03/33 Southern to Victoria removed]
Journey times between Victoria and Brighton increase to 58 mins down / 60 mins up (up from the present 53 mins down / 55 mins up), mostly down to no longer overtaking Thameslink services at Haywards Heath.

Changes in the peak are more limited, since there the Southern services to Eastbourne / Littlehampton already operate separately with no split/join. The main changes are to remove the need for overtaking moves at Haywards Heath; note however that Brighton retains 8tph to and from London in the peaks.

A number of additional trains now non-stop Gatwick in the evening to account for the closure of platform 7:
  • All Victoria-Littlehampton trains from 16:54 to 18:54 (fast East Croydon-Haywards Heath)
  • 16:45 and 17:45 Victoria-Ore (calling Clapham Junction, East Croydon, Horley, Haywards Heath, etc.)
  • 17:32 and 18:32 London Bridge-Eastbourne (fast East Croydon-Haywards Heath)
The 15:45/16:45 Bedford-Littlehampton services and the 17:02/18:02 London Bridge-Portsmouth Harbour services continue not to call at Gatwick. Most of the southbound non-stopping trains are booked to use platform 7 at Gatwick, which is logical since it is the one not available for trains calling.

Bizarrely, the 16:43 Victoria-Brighton is currently in as a Q path (run as required), being booked through platform 7 at Gatwick - I presume this is pending a solution being found to allow this to be platformed at Gatwick.


EDIT: I missed the fact that the Gatwick Express services that run between Gatwick Airport and London Victoria only are not in the timetable - hence there is a net reduction of 2tph through Gatwick.
Just had a cursory look myself and there are 3 or 4 Southern joiners still remaining at Haywards, at least in the morning-peak, as well as some passing moves. I imagine there will be some potential for frequency downgrade from Brighton itself northbound, and hope those passengers won't be penalised by having pay a GX premium to travel into Victoria!
 

Peter Bonner

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Thanks for taking the time to explain all of this - seems rational changes (given the capacity constraints etc) - interesting that Southern are getting rid of a large number of splitting/joining services (at a time when other TOCs are introducing them - e.g. the GWR IET300s) - but I guess that's a debate for another thread!



The problem is that it'd be significantly slower (to go Huddersfield - Wakefield - Castleford - York) than via Leeds - and, given the high frequency of Huddersfield - Leeds - York services, you'd be getting overtaken by at least one (maybe two), so you'd have to flog bargain basement tickets to try to entice longer distance passengers away.

What really needs doing or capacity through Crossgates is a rationalisation of the current nine passenger trains per hour (as TPE and Northern both try to compete for the ORCATS cash) plus freight/ECS
Re Crossgates. I wonder if the through line(s) cd be reinstated to allow for overtaking? Probably not enough to increase paths though.
 

Fred26

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Just take a look at the Great Northern timetable from WGC,
The Moorgate service reverts to standard, in the peak all trains stop at all stations to Alexandra Palace, then Finsbury Park
The x02 and x32 lose thier Hadley Wood stop (wonder what the reaction to this will be) - but better spread of trains.
Interesting is that both the x02 and x32 are double entered to run to Sevenoaks (as are the return services) so even if they stay at Kings Cross we can see what is to come if they ever link them. If you are heading to Kings Cross it is a slight speed up as the arrivals / departures from St Pancras is better.
I also spotted a service from London Kings Cross - Baldock calling a WGC only - I am not sure if that will stay but it at WGC for 5 minutes waiting to get over the viaduct so maybe it will.
They've also retimed two of the four Moorgate - Welwyn trains, off-peak. The xx20, xx50 are now xx17, xx47. It might not sound a lot, but it means the Welwyn trains are more evenly spaced. The last job of the off-peak is to move the other two Welwyn's two minutes later - xx02, xx32 instead of xx00, xx30. That would give Welwyn an even service pattern, and Moorgate northbound would have an even timetable, with gaps of 7, 8, 7, 8 etc.
Inner services at the weekends remain a disappointing 2tph to each of Welwyn, and Hertford.
 

bramling

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Just take a look at the Great Northern timetable from WGC,
The Moorgate service reverts to standard, in the peak all trains stop at all stations to Alexandra Palace, then Finsbury Park
The x02 and x32 lose thier Hadley Wood stop (wonder what the reaction to this will be) - but better spread of trains.
Interesting is that both the x02 and x32 are double entered to run to Sevenoaks (as are the return services) so even if they stay at Kings Cross we can see what is to come if they ever link them. If you are heading to Kings Cross it is a slight speed up as the arrivals / departures from St Pancras is better.
I also spotted a service from London Kings Cross - Baldock calling a WGC only - I am not sure if that will stay but it at WGC for 5 minutes waiting to get over the viaduct so maybe it will.
The Baldock service to which you refer is an ECS, it simply stops at Welwyn for pathing reasons.

I wouldn’t be surprised the Sevenoaks services don’t happen at this visit. It’s rather ominous that they’re only in there as placeholders, if they do materialise then there would need to be some other changes as it affects the KX-Cambridge services due to inter-working at KX. No doubt time will tell but I wouldn’t hold breath!
 

Failed Unit

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They've also retimed two of the four Moorgate - Welwyn trains, off-peak. The xx20, xx50 are now xx17, xx47. It might not sound a lot, but it means the Welwyn trains are more evenly spaced. The last job of the off-peak is to move the other two Welwyn's two minutes later - xx02, xx32 instead of xx00, xx30. That would give Welwyn an even service pattern, and Moorgate northbound would have an even timetable, with gaps of 7, 8, 7, 8 etc.
Inner services at the weekends remain a disappointing 2tph to each of Welwyn, and Hertford.
Doesn't look like any new services entered into the timetable - so do you know if Harringey and Hornsey are now covered by extra stops in the Hertford branch. I see the evening peak northbound is at exactly 5 minute intervals. (1709 for example is now 1710 from Moorgate)

I don't know the frequency on the Hertford branch, but it looks the same as the last timetable. Big change is the return of the direct trains to Stevenage in the off-peak following the completion of platform 5. Half hourly off-peak all day.
 

bramling

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They've also retimed two of the four Moorgate - Welwyn trains, off-peak. The xx20, xx50 are now xx17, xx47. It might not sound a lot, but it means the Welwyn trains are more evenly spaced. The last job of the off-peak is to move the other two Welwyn's two minutes later - xx02, xx32 instead of xx00, xx30. That would give Welwyn an even service pattern, and Moorgate northbound would have an even timetable, with gaps of 7, 8, 7, 8 etc.
Inner services at the weekends remain a disappointing 2tph to each of Welwyn, and Hertford.
They've also retimed two of the four Moorgate - Welwyn trains, off-peak. The xx20, xx50 are now xx17, xx47. It might not sound a lot, but it means the Welwyn trains are more evenly spaced. The last job of the off-peak is to move the other two Welwyn's two minutes later - xx02, xx32 instead of xx00, xx30. That would give Welwyn an even service pattern, and Moorgate northbound would have an even timetable, with gaps of 7, 8, 7, 8 etc.
Inner services at the weekends remain a disappointing 2tph to each of Welwyn, and Hertford.
Another change related to this is that Welwyn to Moorgate services now all go from platform 4 or occasionally 3, with regular use of platform 1 ceasing. This might prove a mixed blessing as the current arrangement is good from a resilience point of view.

Any trackbashers who need platform 1 have until May! There is an evening 700 booked to run via platform 1, but I’ve never seen it run that way in reality. One very early morning service continues to run ex platform 1.
 

Failed Unit

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The Baldock service to which you refer is an ECS, it simply stops at Welwyn for pathing reasons.

I wouldn’t be surprised the Sevenoaks services don’t happen at this visit. It’s rather ominous that they’re only in there as placeholders, if they do materialise then there would need to be some other changes as it affects the KX-Cambridge services due to inter-working at KX. No doubt time will tell but I wouldn’t hold breath!
I will be amazed if either the Sevenoaks - Welwyn Garden City or Cambridge - Maidstone service ever happen, seems to be no desire anymore. (Unless the Kings Cross rebuild forces them to vacate the platforms)
 

Failed Unit

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Another change related to this is that Welwyn to Moorgate services now all go from platform 4 or occasionally 3, with regular use of platform 1 ceasing. This might prove a mixed blessing as the current arrangement is good from a resilience point of view.

Any trackbashers who need platform 1 have until May! There is an evening 700 booked to run via platform 1, but I’ve never seen it run that way in reality. One very early morning service continues to run ex platform 1.
I must admit I will be happy about this. On a number of occasions I have stood on platform 1 - no train. As the staff they assure me it will come onto platform 1. You can see a 717 on platform 3/4. Then about 1 minute before departure the suddenly ask everyone to rush over the bridge. I guess is made sense to someone to do the shunt, but too often resulted in last second changes to the platform at a station that isn't designed for it (because of the barriers at the foot of the bridge)
 

bramling

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I must admit I will be happy about this. On a number of occasions I have stood on platform 1 - no train. As the staff they assure me it will come onto platform 1. You can see a 717 on platform 3/4. Then about 1 minute before departure the suddenly ask everyone to rush over the bridge. I guess is made sense to someone to do the shunt, but too often resulted in last second changes to the platform at a station that isn't designed for it (because of the barriers at the foot of the bridge)
The shunt was essential with the old timings as the inbound and outbound timings didn’t match up. It was great from a performance point of view as it gave one of the two services an excellent turnaround time, with the second service having a shorter turnaround but not a problem as it had a long turnaround elsewhere on its next trip.

Welwyn to Moorgate is an arse in that there’s no other unintrusive way to easily resolve late running. An up train can reverse at Drayton Park albeit awkward with the frequency of service operated, but there’s no convenient way of reversing a down train short of Welwyn. So unless things can be “made up” with crew changes this change will have a slightly negative effect on performance IMO.
 

Failed Unit

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The shunt was essential with the old timings as the inbound and outbound timings didn’t match up. It was great from a performance point of view as it gave one of the two services an excellent turnaround time, with the second service having a shorter turnaround but not a problem as it had a long turnaround elsewhere on its next trip.

Welwyn to Moorgate is an arse in that there’s no other unintrusive way to easily resolve late running. An up train can reverse at Drayton Park albeit awkward with the frequency of service operated, but there’s no convenient way of reversing a down train short of Welwyn. So unless things can be “made up” with crew changes this change will have a slightly negative effect on performance IMO.
GTR already have this sorted - more than 5 minutes late? non-stop from Finsbury Park - WGC. ;)
 

bramling

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I will be amazed if either the Sevenoaks - Welwyn Garden City or Cambridge - Maidstone service ever happen, seems to be no desire anymore. (Unless the Kings Cross rebuild forces them to vacate the platforms)
I suspect things will go one or two ways. Either Welwyn to Sevenoaks peaks only happens (at some point) and that’s the end of it, or both are dropped and instead things are recast to do an all-day Cambridge to Sevenoaks service.

The KX turnaround issue could be eased by reworking the timings slightly so the Cambridge service works off one platform. Currently at most times one arrives just before the other leaves and then waits for half an hour, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to alter this so that the arrival occurs immediately after the departure, this saving a complete platform for the entire day - and still having a highly generous turnaround time of up to 27 minutes.

If Cambridge to Maidstone never happens then I can see no reason for keeping the 700/0s on this route. Some kind of shuffle involving 365s and/or 387s would surely happen.
 

Failed Unit

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I suspect things will go one or two ways. Either Welwyn to Sevenoaks peaks only happens (at some point) and that’s the end of it, or both are dropped and instead things are recast to do an all-day Cambridge to Sevenoaks service.

The KX turnaround issue could be eased by reworking the timings slightly to the Cambridge service works off one platform. Currently at most times one arrives just before the other leaves and then waits for half an hour, but it shouldn’t be too difficult to alter this so that the arrival occurs immediately after the departure, this saving a complete platform for the entire day - and still having a highly generous turnaround time of up to 27 minutes.

If Cambridge to Maidstone never happens then I can see no reason for keeping the 700/0s on this route. Some kind of shuffle involving 365s and/or 387s would surely happen.
I will need to look for conflicts, but Saturdays's the turn arounds are much less.

Arrivals are x20 and x50 but departures are x28 and x58

Looking at the current timetable it could work, off peak, but peak looks a lot more challenging as I understand that the 1721 for example is at that time so the 1724 can use the slow between Kings Cross and Finsbury park to take a fact path at Finsbury Park. Saving that leaving at 1728 would have it behind but then at Finsbury Park it would be tangled up with the 1715 Moorgate - WGC.

But as you say just take connect the Sevenoaks - Welwyn together you still have a train at Kings Cross constantly.
 

TheBigD

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One sensible change for Cambridge - Ely in the evening peak from May.

The 1639 Kings Cross to Kings Lynn has the portions swapped over. The Ely portion now departs first at 1738 with the Kings Lynn portion following at 1743.
I assume that the Ely portion will be 8 cars as it doesn't stop at Waterbeach and the Kings Lynn portion 4 cars.
 

Class 170101

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At Least two changes Monday to Friday:
17:47 Southampton to York is extended to Newcastle and is faster after Birmingham.
06:45 York to Plymouth starts back at Newcastle at 05:35
If you need the rare track that the 17:47 provides North East of Birmingham or just north of Sheffield you either need to get in before the timetable change or find an alternative train. This train has been made faster by running direct instead of via Coleshill Parkway and north Sheffield running the normal route instead of via Tinsley and Thrybergh Jn.
 

Ianno87

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One sensible change for Cambridge - Ely in the evening peak from May.

The 1639 Kings Cross to Kings Lynn has the portions swapped over. The Ely portion now departs first at 1738 with the Kings Lynn portion following at 1743.
I assume that the Ely portion will be 8 cars as it doesn't stop at Waterbeach and the Kings Lynn portion 4 cars.
Currently, loads of people don't seem to realise that *both* parts serve Ely, so everybody piles on to the packed front 4 car....

This going 12 car (hopefully) is long overdue - been packed for years. Scheduled in Platform 8 at the 'Cross as well, which supports the theory.
 

IrishDave

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Thanks for taking the time to explain all of this - seems rational changes (given the capacity constraints etc) - interesting that Southern are getting rid of a large number of splitting/joining services (at a time when other TOCs are introducing them - e.g. the GWR IET300s) - but I guess that's a debate for another thread!
No problem! I suspect part of the motivation may be to increase the number of 8-car trains from Eastbourne and Littlehampton which would otherwise have to remain 4-car to allow a join/split. As a commuter on Thameslink I will be very glad to be rid of (most of) the overtaking moves, the overtakes on the up never run with both trains on time at the end of it!

Just had a cursory look myself and there are 3 or 4 Southern joiners still remaining at Haywards, at least in the morning-peak, as well as some passing moves. I imagine there will be some potential for frequency downgrade from Brighton itself northbound, and hope those passengers won't be penalised by having pay a GX premium to travel into Victoria!
Well spotted, and thank you for pointing those out :) The double whammy of frequency reduction and loss of direct trains to Clapham Junction is a big blow for Brighton passengers, getting to most of the SWR network will be harder come May.
 

MikeWM

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Ely
Currently, loads of people don't seem to realise that *both* parts serve Ely, so everybody piles on to the packed front 4 car....
Also that the 4 car portion usually serves Ely platform 1, which is a quick exit. The 8 car serves platform 3, which adds a good few minutes walking to get out of the station. I imagine this 'laziness' factor doesn't help.

I imagine 'Back 4 to Kings Lynn' will no doubt confuse a lot of people who have been used to it having been the front 4 for decades!

I see the 1739 ex-KGX remains the usual way around, probably due to increased platform use at Ely around 1900 (eg. with an Ipswich-Peterborough to thread across).
 
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