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BBT March/April 2019 cover
March/April 2019

Govia Thameslink timetable off to rough start

Govia Thameslink train at Blackfriars station

A new timetable that will eventually bring more capacity to the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail lines has caused disruption for some commuters this morning as Govia Thameslink cancels some trains.

Passengers faced chaos on Sunday as the new timetable began, with dozens of trains cancelled or delayed. Disruption is expected to continue today, but Govia Thameslink maintains that the new schedule will benefit passengers in the longrun.

The company calls the timetable switch-up one of the “biggest in a generation”. It will introduce up to 400 extra trains a day across the network with space for an additional 50,000 passengers in peak time.

Govia Thameslink says it has to redeploy drivers and trains, as well as amend operating practices in order to achieve the increase.

However, passengers have taken to social media to complain about the disruption, with some pointing out that their service had actually been reduced, causing even more problems on their lines.

It has also been reported that along with the new timetable, staff have been told not to help disabled passengers onto the train if they feel it would cause a delay to the service.

Passengers on Arriva's Northern rail lines have also been affected by delays owing to a new timetable, with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham taking to Twitter to call the service "appalling". Dozens of trains were fully or partially cancelled this morning.

A statement on the Great Northern website says: “Whilst the train operators go through this transitional period, the long-term impact of all the changes they are making will enable the service to have greater resilience and reliability but also aid in minimising the ripple effect of any incidents that occur across the network. The full benefits of the timetable change will become apparent in the coming weeks as they progressively expand the services.”

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