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Winter Timetable – Thameslink services from 10 December 2018
Current timetable - Monday to Friday, Saturday and Sunday timetables
Download full timetables below. There may be additional on-the-day alterations, so it is essential that you recheck your journey at nationalrail.co.uk immediately before travelling, particularly if travelling overnight and at weekends when engineering work may take place. A list of planned engineering work is shown here this work may not yet be reflected in journey planners.
Monday to Friday
From Monday 10 December, we will begin to introduce 200 additional weekday services on Thameslink and Great Northern routes. 30 additional services will operate during the morning and evening peak and 170 services off-peak.
There will be some timetable revisions until the end of the holiday period, Monday 7 January. This is to allow a bedding in period for the additional services and is to accommodate planned Network Rail engineering work over the Christmas and New Year period.
Most current services remain unchanged but please check your journey as new services may provide additional journey options:
- You can check your journey now at nationalrail.co.uk
There will be no change to the timetable on Saturdays or Sundays, however please regularly check for alterations before you travel, as engineering work often takes place at weekends.
If severe weather is forecast, please check our website as services may be subject to alteration.
Winter timetable FAQs
What is happening in the winter timetable?
The winter timetable starts on Monday 10 December. From then we plan to add around 200 extra weekday services into the Thameslink and Great Northern timetable, providing more capacity and greater connectivity through the day. This is made up of 30 peak and 170 off peak services.
Where can I find details of the changes?
You can search for your individual journey in online journey planners such as nationalrail.co.uk and those already include the amendments from Monday 10 December. Updated timetables are available to download from our websites and printed copies will be at stations from early November. We encourage you to check before you travel so you become aware of the additional services that may be suitable for you.
Are there changes to the Southern & Gatwick Express timetable?
On Southern, most services in the winter timetable remain unchanged with just some timing improvements for connectivity particularly on the East Coastway.
There are no changes to the current Gatwick Express timetable.
What are you doing for the weekend timetable?
The weekend timetable will continue in its current format for now, with more services planned by May 2019.
Our current simplified weekend timetable means engineering work alterations can be overlaid in a shorter than usual timeframe. There is every intention of returning to normal industry agreed timescales and both planning teams in Thameslink Railway and Network Rail continue to work to achieve this as quickly as possible.
When travelling at weekends we encourage you to check close to your time of travel to see the most up to date service plan.
When will you increase the weekend timetable?
We are planning to introduce additions to the weekend service in May 2019 and further increases at future timetable changes. Further details will be shared once the final timetables have been determined and agreed with industry partners.
Is it all going to go smoothly?
Unlike before, we have had the time to plan for this timetable in cooperation with Network Rail.
This means that we have been able to better optimise the use of our train crew.
In addition, most additional December services are in the off-peak and the new timetable does not involve operation over new infrastructure or change of timings to most existing services.
Why won’t the Winter Timetable deliver what was announced earlier in the year?
Industry leaders have agreed it would be sensible and prudent to complete the introduction of the May timetable before making any further changes. The May timetable that will effectively be delivered in December, will deliver 70% of the total capacity benefits of the Thameslink Project.
Will there be further timetable changes?
We have submitted our plans for the next timetable change in May 2019. Weekday improvements are mainly focussed on the Cambridge to Brighton corridor. These plans are subject to industry approval.
Why can’t you add another stop on a service – it will only take a minute or two longer?
If we add additional stops to a service we need to allow additional time. This may not be permitted under the industry timetable planning rules or may import a risk to the performance of the timetable as a whole which would lead to delays for passengers across the network.
There are so many inter-dependencies throughout the Thameslink Railway network that a delay can quickly spread so we need to make sure that any requests for additional stops go through the agreed industry validation process to confirm if they can be accommodated without impacting on performance.
Have you got enough drivers?
Yes. Across GTR we currently have approximately 2000 qualified drivers. To deliver our services of circa 3600 trains per day we have 910 driver diagrams (work schedules). The overall ratio of drivers to diagrams is 2.19 (the highest it has ever been with GTR and in line with industry best practice).
The breakdown of qualified drivers to diagrams is:
- Thameslink and Great Northern have 947 drivers for 442 diagrams per weekday
- Southern and Gatwick Express have 1052 drivers for 468 diagrams per weekday
How long does it take to train a driver?
After a robust selection process driver training consists of classroom training which lasts six months. Thereafter training involves a minimum of 250 hours of actual driving time with an instructor on a 1:1 basis. This will typically take a further 6-9 months to become a qualified driver.
Why don’t you have more trainees?
We are currently undertaking the largest training programme in the industry with over 250 trainees on GTR. We have expanded all resources including the classroom facilities, simulators, trainers and instructors to accommodate this programme. We do not need any more trainees at this point.
Does this mean Thameslink will not have cancellations due to a ‘lack of a drivers’?
No, whilst that is our aim we cannot guarantee this. The GTR resourcing team work very hard, seven days a week, to ensure there is a driver on every train. However, from time to time we have to cancel trains due to the following:
- An increase in the levels of Driver sickness at a depot
- A number of drivers temporarily unable to drive (e.g. following an incident such as a fatality)
- During service disruption (e.g. a signalling fault) it is also likely that a delayed driver may not arrive on time to take his or her next train
- A planning error that means we do not have the right driver with the right route or traction to drive the train
- A lack of volunteers working their rest day
Why don’t you have spare drivers?
We do. Across our depots we have an appropriate level of qualified drivers. We roster a number of “spare” drivers each day. These are utilised to provide resilience against late notice sickness and / or minor disruption.
Why don’t drivers work extra shifts?
Many do. In line with other Train Operating Companies we have a voluntary rest day working agreement where drivers can volunteer for additional duties which either avoid cancellations or provide additional resilience.
Why does GTR use “Rest day working”?
Despite operating the largest training programme in the country, it is not possible to train enough drivers quickly enough to simultaneously expand our services and eliminate rest day working. The number of drivers on Thameslink and Great Northern has increased by 50% since 2014 to reflect our expanding services. The basic working week for drivers is four days a week meaning that many choose to work some additional shifts.
Do you have many female drivers?
Not enough! But the situation is improving. Out of the last 100 trainee drivers that we have recruited, 20 are women. We are actively promoting an increase in diversity across our business. You can hear the story of one our female drivers in this Evening Standard article. (We are not responsible for the content on third party websites).
How do I claim additional compensation for the disruption that followed the introduction of the May 2018 timetable?
We know many passengers across the country were affected by the earlier disruption to rail services, including ours, following the introduction of the May timetable. As our way of saying sorry to our customers, additional industry compensation is being offered to qualifying Thameslink and Great Northern season and non-season ticket holders most severely affected between 20 May and 28 July 2018. More information is available here
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