Airport station upgrade allows faster journeys in GTR’s winter timetable

Published: 05 Dec 2022

Govia Thameslink Railway (GTR) has announced timetable changes to be introduced from Sunday 11 December 2022. While changes to individual services will be small, a large proportion of the operator’s trains will have slightly different departure times, particularly on Southern, Gatwick Express and Thameslink, so it will be very important that customers check their journeys in advance of travel.
Platform and track improvements at Gatwick Airport station, due for completion early next year (see press release), provide an opportunity to shorten journey times and boost punctuality on most routes using the Brighton Main Line. To take full advantage, the times of all trains serving the Airport station will be adjusted to “clock-face” patterns – that is, with departures at the same times each hour throughout the day.
About 700 trains - a quarter of GTR’s total weekday services - will be affected by these slight changes. As a result, peak-hour journey times between Brighton and London Bridge will reduce by up to 10 minutes.
The times of Thameslink’s Luton to Rainham, Luton to Orpington and St Albans to Sutton services will also be adjusted slightly, in readiness for the opening of the new Brent Cross West station expected later in 2023.
Some additional changes build on improvements made earlier this year to match services with new patterns of demand since the impact of the Covid pandemic. For instance:

  • between East Grinstead and London Bridge, two additional Thameslink services will run in the morning and evening peaks;
  • all Bedford to Gatwick Airport services will be extended through to Three Bridges, and will call additionally at South Croydon, providing an all-day Thameslink service there for the first time;
  • more Peterborough-London and Cambridge-London midweek peak-time Great Northern services will run with 12 carriages instead of eight.

Angie Doll, GTR’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “This new timetable brings improvements on several fronts. Many of our customers can look forward to faster and more punctual trains, and some routes will have more capacity at busier times. Many departure times will change by a few minutes, so if you’re planning to travel after December 11th, please check the new timetable in advance.
“We’ll continue to monitor how passengers are using our services, and we’ll make more adjustments to balance demand and resources across the network when and where practical.”

Journey planners have already been updated with the changes, and new downloadable timetables will be available from Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink websites from 5 December.
The RMT union has also announced industrial action in December. We are working closely with the wider rail industry to determine how this will affect our train service, but the network is expected to be severely reduced. More information will follow.

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