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Last updated: 02:40

Latest on our rail service

Last updated: 4 August 2022

What’s happening with the rail service?

From Sunday 4 September 2022 we will introduce a new timetable. You can plan your journey at www.nationalrail.co.uk. You can also check when the quietest services are by using our ‘Find a quieter train’ tool.

What's happening in the new timetable?

Following a sustained period with significantly fewer people using the railway, our customer numbers have now plateaued at around seventy percent of pre-pandemic levels.

This matches the trend seen last Autumn.

Trends suggest that people will continue to work from home more regularly in the future. The railway therefore needs to adapt to lower passenger numbers and the impact of reduced commuting on the industry’s finances, while at the same time, encouraging passengers to return when they are ready.

This is a difficult balance to strike. As with all of our timetables, we are prioritising our available resources to support as many customers as we possibly can – safeguarding key services such as those for schools and rural communities with limited public transport alternatives, meeting demand for commuting and leisure, and then supporting the largest off-peak and weekend service that we can.

As a result, the timetable from Sunday 4 September continues the changes introduced earlier this summer by:

  1. Increasing weekday services where there is significant unmet demand from customers wanting to travel.
  2. Using our trains as efficiently as we can to fill seats.
  3. With fewer people travelling throughout the week, reducing frequency off-peak on a small number of our routes, or overlap between routes where an alternative service exists.

While the effects of the pandemic remain with us, 2022 is a starting point to begin rebuilding the railway following the disruption of the past two years. The new timetable from Sunday 4 September 2022 is part of this change and is designed to provide room for growth.

As customers return to rail in the years ahead and the time is right, we want to see more services added in, so we build a thriving railway, meeting the needs of our customers.

Why are you making changes to services now?

Regrettably, as fewer people are regularly commuting we have had to make some difficult choices.

As a result, we have made changes to four short distance routes in the inner-London area and one in the Cambridge area. We have focused these changes to ensure that stations maintain a minimum of half-hourly frequencies at peak commuting times, as well as increasing the length of trains where needed, but we recognise changes like these are a disappointment.