Train service changes from Sunday 13 December 2020

The Winter timetable at a glance

The Winter timetable maintains the coronavirus adaptions introduced in previous step-up timetables such as longer formation trains operating at an hourly frequency on the Southern Marshlink, limiting Moorgate to 8 trains per hour and longer turnarounds at terminus stations to support social distancing.

On Great Northern, we are doubling the length of trains between King's Lynn and Cambridge to eight carriages following the completion of the £29m Fen Line upgrade this autumn. On the Great Northern Metro from Moorgate, we are introducing additional off-peak calls at Brooksmans Park and Welham Green as well as additional evening services between Moorgate and Welwyn Garden City.

To prepare for the three-month partial closure of King's Cross from March 2021, we are making a set of changes to Great Northern and Thameslink services that use the station. This includes additional evening services between King's Cross and Peterborough and Baldock, while peak time services will remain the same as they are today. You can find out more about the King's Cross upgrade at: www.eastcoastupgrade.co.uk


On Thameslink for services that use the route through London, we are introducing additional peak time services between Bedford and East Grinstead and between Orpington and Kentish Town to provide additional capacity and new journey options.

Several Southern routes, including East Grinstead to London Victoria, Seaford to Brighton and Brighton to Portsmouth Harbour will see an earlier start to weekday services. We are also responding to greater demand for Saturday services by increasing services on the Brighton to Lewes, Brighton to West Worthing, Sutton to London Victoria and London Victoria to London Bridge via Crystal Palace routes.

To support these changes, the frequency on some routes will reduce for a few hours during the middle of the day when trains are quieter. For example, between 12:00 and 15:00, the frequency of trains between London Victoria and Eastbourne will change from half-hourly to hourly, before returning to half-hourly at busier times.

The Gatwick Express brand remains suspended with trains and crew supporting their Southern colleagues on the Brighton to London Victoria route.

Summary of December 2020 timetable - detail by brand


Great Northern

  • Trains on the Fen Line, between King's Lynn and Cambridge, will double in length to 8 carriages weekdays and weekends following the completion of a £29m upgrade to platforms on the route and a new siding at King's Lynn. 
  • The number of Great Northern Metro trains calling at Brookmans Park and Welham Green will increase from two to three trains per hour, off-peak, Monday-Friday.
  • Additional evening and early morning trains between King's Cross and Peterborough, calling at Stevenage, Biggleswade, St Neots and Huntingdon.
  • Six additional evening trains between King's Cross and Baldock, calling at Welwyn North, Knebworth, Hitchin and Letchworth Garden City. However, two existing departures (17:24 & 18:24) will be removed as part of the preparations for the upgrade at King's Cross.
  • Additional AM and PM trains between Cambridge, Ely and King's Lynn.
  • Seven additional evening trains between Moorgate and Welwyn Garden City.


  • Additional weekday peak services including:
    • Fast and semi-fast Midland Main Line services providing additional capacity and journey options at Bedford, Flitwick, Luton, Harpenden and St Albans.
    • East Grinstead to Bedford services, providing additional capacity and journey options at stations such as Oxted, South and East Croydon.
    • Early AM services between West Hampstead and Orpington in both directions, providing additional capacity and journey options at stations within the M25 area such as Kentish Town, Elephant & Castle, Catford and Bromley South.


  • Earlier start to weekday train services on several Southern routes, including East Grinstead to London Victoria, Reigate to London Victoria Tonbridge to Redhill, Seafordto Brighton, Brighton to Portsmouth Harbour and Brighton to Hastings.
  • Additional peak trains on Southern Metro routes including Beckenham Junction to London Bridge, Epsom to London Bridge and Purley to London Bridge.
  • Additional peak trains and change to train timings on the Redhill to Tonbridge route.
  • Additional AM and PM trains between Redhill and Gatwick Airport, providing new journey options for Earlswood, Salfords and Horley as well as additional capacity between Redhill and London Victoria.
  • Removal of select services during the middle of the day and late evening on routes such as London Victoria to Eastbourne and Brighton to Seaford to release train crew to support the operation of busier services during weekday peak times.
  • Additional Saturday services between Brighton and Lewes, Brighton and West Worthing, London Bridge to London Victoria via Crystal Palace and Sutton to London Victoria to support additional leisure travel.
  • A set of changes to improve punctuality and reliability across the wider network:
  • Eastbourne / Littlehampton - The 05:20 Eastbourne and 05:44 Littlehampton to London Victoria services will be removed. This is to further reduce the number of trains that split and join at Haywards Heath and to release train crew to support school services. The change at Eastbourne will support a new earlier start to services at 04:50, while Littlehampton will retain the 05:55 departure.
  • Portsmouth Harbour - The hourly London Victoria to Portsmouth Harbour service will terminate at Portsmouth & Southsea to create a more resilient service across the West Coastway, Arun Valley and Brighton Main Line through a longer turnaround time of fifteen minutes. This is because the current service has a turnaround time of six minutes, which is not enough to recover from any delay on its two-hour journey from London Victoria. This means that a delayed arriving service will depart late, inflicting delays on other trains across the network in the other direction. Customers for Portsmouth Harbour should change at Portsmouth & Southsea for Southern, South Western Railways and Great Western Railway services.
  • Newhaven Harbour - Newhaven Harbour station is lightly used and is 0.4 miles from Newhaven Town station which is the ferry and bus terminal for foot passengers. To provide a more resilient service on the Seaford to Brighton route by creating a slightly longer turnaround at Seaford than the current five minutes, we will trial a peak-time only service at Newhaven Harbour.
  • Wandsworth Common - To improve the punctuality and performance of all trains operating on the route between Clapham Junction and Balham, the number of services that call at Wandsworth Common will reduce to six trains per hour in each direction, by removing stops on two slow "all stations" services.


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