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Changes to Southern services – GTR announce biggest ever timetable shake-up

The timetable which will operate as from next month will mean changes to trains running through Gatwick and to the Brighton mainline as a whole.

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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.

More news: New Careers Expo for Crawley residents comes to Manor Royal

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 joins money-saving initiative

Crawley Borough Council has become one of the founding members of the Local Government Mutual, helping to save money every year.

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The mutual aims to save its members money by offering an effective alternative to the conventional insurance products and services available to local authorities.

Any surpluses the mutual generates may be used to reduce the cost of insurance, improve the claims process or returned back to members as income.

The structure of the mutual means the council will not pay insurance premium tax, currently set at 12 per cent, on the vast majority of insurance products.

As well as saving money, the mutual puts councils in control by working together, sharing knowledge of best practice and reducing members’ risk exposure without increased costs.

Leader of the Council, Councillor Peter Lamb, said:

“It’s great to see Crawley Borough Council become a founding member of this initiative. The mutual is another way the council is saving money to put back into services and to reduce the forecasted budget gap.”

As a member, the council can still choose between the mutual and private companies for its insurance. However, the mutual can offer price matching or better cover that is up-to-date with changes in local authorities’ organisational and operational activities.  

The council can insure through the mutual from 1 April 2020.

Find out more about the Local Government Mutual here: www.local.gov.uk/new-local-government-mutual


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