Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR), which includes Thameslink, Great Northern, Southern and Gatwick Express, has advised passengers to plan ahead for the biggest timetable shake-up in UK rail history in a month’s time.
Ahead of the new schedule, which will operate from 02.00 on Sunday 20 May, the UK’s largest rail franchise, GTR has published the new details of train services that will affect almost a million rail journeys a day in the southern half of the UK and includes changes to trains running along the Brighton mainline.
GTR runs up to 3,200 trains a day – one every 27 seconds – and the times of all of these will change under the improved timetable.
GTR passengers will benefit from more frequent services and the shake-up will mean changes to the Brighton mainline too.
A new all day direct service between Brighton, Gatwick Airport, Central London, Stevenage and Cambridge will be introduced. This will be phased in as 1 train per hour until Dec 2018 when the frequency will increase to 2 trains per hour.
The full timetable changes can be seen here.
Space for 40,000 more passengers into London at peak times will be added next month, a weekly capacity boost equivalent to the population of Bristol.
Expansion of service is a major step forward in the Government-sponsored £7bn Thameslink Programme, the upgrade project which includes the recently-completed £1bn upgrade of London Bridge station by Network Rail.
Over more than a decade, platforms have been extended, stations rebuilt, and power supplies boosted for longer trains. Signalling has been upgraded and track reworked to improve reliability and allow trains to travel at high-frequency through central London in “self-drive” mode. GTR has also undertaken the UK’s biggest driver recruitment and training campaign.
Charles Horton, GTR Chief Executive, said:
“A huge number of passengers will notice the benefits in terms of new journeys, better intervals between trains, improved reliability, and more capacity across a wide region.
“We are redeploying trains and crew and there may be some disruption, so we ask passengers for their understanding during the transition period of several weeks during which time a very small number of trains will not run.
“Almost a quarter of all rail journeys are taken on the GTR network and because of the necessary scale of the change we strongly urge passengers to check ahead as to how their journeys will be affected.
“Introduction of the new timetables is a major milestone in the delivery of RailPlan 20/20, our programme to modernise rail services, taking advantage of the new infrastructure and trains provided by the Thameslink Programme.
“These changes followed the biggest and most effective consultation of its kind during which we made hundreds of amendments, some substantial, in response to 28,000 responses.”
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Crawley drug dealer jailed
Dealer gets four and half years in prison.
A man has been jailed for four and a half year for drug dealing and possession of knives and a CS canister in Crawley.
Michael Murray, 26, of no fixed address, had pleaded guilty to possession with intent to supply cocaine, money laundering, possession of a CS canister and one count of possession of a bladed article at an earlier hearing on 26 March.
He was sentenced at Hove Crown Court on Friday (18 May).
The court heard that police were called to a hotel in Goffs Park Road, Crawley on 27 February this year to a report of an aggressive guest who was refusing to leave.
When the officers went into his hotel room they found Murray with drugs and a subsequent search of the room found an envelope containing several hundred wraps of cocaine with a street value of approximately £9,000, a quantity of cannabis, nearly £10,000 cash, drug dealing paraphernalia and a canister of CS gas.
Murray was arrested and later charged.
Detective Constable Melanie Fox said: “Murray was found with a substantial quantity of drugs, cash and weapons. We are committed to disrupting the supply of drugs in Crawley. This sentence shows that anyone convicted of dealing drugs in Sussex can expect a jail term.”