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  • GWR Timetable recast: December 15, 2019 - December 16, 2019
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Author Topic: December 2019 timetable recast  (Read 21366 times)
IndustryInsider
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« on: April 05, 2019, 12:51:42 pm »

So, the biggest shake up of the Great Western timetable in a long, long while is happening on 15th December.  I thought it deserved a thread of its own for general discussion, even though some specialist routes and services have been, and might continue to be, served on their own threads.

Here’s a (lengthy) summary of what we’ve been promised, what we’re expecting and what we’re hoping for as GWR and TfL Rail start to do the haggling with Network Rail to try and get a workable timetable implemented that ticks as many boxes as possible.  It is inevitable there will be some losers as well as plenty of winners.

A pledge was made, several years ago, that all IET services arriving into London in the morning peak and departing London in the evening peak will be either 9 or 10 cars.  We will see if that pledge is honoured. 

We do know that there will be many more scheduled 5-car services during the day to justify and provide for the increased number of trains on many routes.  Many extra services are also planned at weekends, especially on Sundays which will resemble the weekday service on many routes.

Here’s a route-by-route summary of what GWR and TfL Rail are hoping to provide where there are significant changes, gleaned from a variety of resources.  NONE OF THIS IS CONFIRMED AND SOME IS SPECULATION!

LONDON to WEST OF ENGLAND:
A more standardised timetable, with fewer stops and faster journeys.  London to Plymouth will become hourly calling only Reading, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St. Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth, with services continuing to Penzance at least every other hour. 

To serve the intermediate stations there will be a 2-hourly service off-peak, with an extra one in the peak, from Paddington to Exeter (with the odd extension to Paignton/Plymouth), calling Newbury, Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary and Taunton.

There will also be the odd extra peak train running between Frome and Paddington.
Excluding (presumably) the peak extras, this service pattern is expected to also apply on Saturdays and Sundays.

CORNWALL:
As well as the Paddington services above, Monday’s to Saturday’s see Cornwall getting a further boost on the extra services starting this May as they will become more properly spaced out to give a more even interval service from Penzance to either Plymouth, Exeter or Cardiff, mostly formed by Castle Class HSTs or Class 158s.  With the odd extra CrossCountry service this means some hours will have a 3tph (trains per hour) frequency, but it will be at least 2tph.

Sundays see an improved frequency, but not to the same extent as above.

There is planned to be a standard hourly pattern service between Liskeard and Looe, with other Cornish branches unchanged.

LONDON to KENNET VALLEY:
On Mondays to Saturdays, the existing hourly service between Paddington and Bedwyn will continue, but served by 5-car IETs with a journey time improvement of between 5-10 minutes over the current schedules.
The Reading to Newbury stopping service will continue as now on an hourly frequency, with a 4-car Class 387, but will hopefully be more standardised and slightly quicker owing to using Sectional Running Times for EMUs.

Newbury sees a real boost in services as it also gets the two-hourly Paddington to Exeter service calling, and on the intermediate hour gets another fast Class 387 service running Paddington<>Newbury only calling at Reading.

Sunday is planned to be very similar to the above.

LONDON to BRISTOL:
On weekdays and Saturdays services via Bath run at 2tph frequencies as now, but with modest journey time improvements.  On weekdays there will also be peak hour extras (hopefully three in each direction) which will run fast Chippenham<>Paddington – though there may also be the odd Swindon call.

On Sundays there will be additional trains in the morning.

There will also be, on weekdays only, two more additional services running via Bristol Parkway from roughly 9am-6pm (up direction) and 8am-4pm (down direction) which will be timed in 1h 20m or even slightly less between Bristol TM and Paddington, over 20 minutes quicker than today.  Just over 1 hour from Parkway to Paddington.  Though it is NOT expected that these services will start in December, but instead at some point during the validity of the timetable.

LONDON to SOUTH WALES:
Paddington to Cardiff and Swansea services continue as now on weekdays, (1tph to Swansea and 1tph to Cardiff) but with journey time improvements.  Though there will be three or four peak hour additional fast services running non-stop between Paddington and Bristol Parkway.

On weekends the existing hourly Swansea to Paddington service is supplemented by an hourly Cardiff to Paddington service (all day Saturday, and from lunchtime Sunday) to give a similar service to current weekdays, again with reduced journey times.

LONDON to CHELTENHAM/GLOUCESTER

The existing 2-hourly Paddington to Gloucester train, with peak hour extras is increased in frequency to every hour throughout the day with removal of the existing local Swindon to Gloucester DMU.  There will be modest journey time improvements.  The hourly service will also operate on Saturdays and Sundays.

LONDON to WORCESTER/MALVERN/HEREFORD
The service pattern continues at roughly the same levels as now, but with more standardised timings and modest journey time improvements.  The hourly service will also run on Saturdays and Sundays which will improve frequencies.  I’m not sure how many services will go beyond Worcester to Malvern and Hereford yet, though the opening of the turnback facility at Henwick (near Worcester Foregate Street) will make scheduling services in the Worcester area easier.

Some services will call at the new Worcestershire Parkway station.

OXFORD to PADDINGTON
Weekday services will continue at 2tph as now with the odd peak hour extra and modest journey time improvements.  A couple of them are planned to start from Banbury.

Sunday will see an extra fast train per hour, to also increase that up to 2tph (with the other service coming through from the Cotswolds).

DIDCOT/READING to PADDINGTON stopping services
TfL Rail take over many of the suburban services between Reading and Paddington using 9-car Class 345s.  It was planned they would use the Crossrail tunnels, but for the time being will run into the existing Paddington station on a 2tph frequency off-peak and 4tph frequency in the peaks calling all stations from Reading to Southall and then Ealing Broadway.

8-car Class 387 GWR services from Didcot to Paddington continue to operate off-peak at 2tph frequency, though some calls are removed between Reading and Paddington so that they only call at Twyford, Maidenhead, Slough, West Drayton, Hayes and Ealing Broadway.  Peak trains will operate as they do now running fast between Maidenhead or Slough to Paddington with some formed of 12-cars as now.

TfL Rail services continue as now between Paddington and Hayes/Heathrow, including the extra Sunday services starting in May.  Not sure if they all become 9-car or stay as 7-cars.
Weekends see a TfL Rail 2tph service operating Reading to Paddington calling all stations Reading to Southall and then Ealing, so Taplow and Iver should be getting a Sunday service at last, twice an hour no less. 

GWR operate a 2tph Didcot to Paddington service as above on a Saturday, and on Sundays a 1tph service (calling at Southall instead of West Drayton), meaning there will be a 3tph suburban service between Reading and Paddington up from 2tph now.

READING to GATWICK
No sign (yet) of the aspirational 3tph service, so timetable continues as now though with extra capacity as many trains should be operated by 4-car Class 769s

READING to BASINGSTOKE
Weekday peaks see an increase from 2tph to 3tph.

CARDIFF to PORTSMOUTH
All services on weekdays should be operated by 5-car Class 165/6 trains, though some Saturday trains remain in the hands of Class 158s due to problems caused by overnight possessions.

EXETER AREA 'WEST' SERVICES
There is a 2tph service operating between Exmouth and Paignton, which increases the frequency of trains between Exeter and Paignton.

Barnstaple line services run to/from St. James Park and become more clockface with modest journey time improvements, and are generally operated by Class 158s



There are numerous other little changes.

If anyone has any extra details, or questions, then shout them out!
« Last Edit: October 31, 2019, 11:13:49 am by grahame » Logged

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grahame
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« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2019, 01:09:28 pm »

So, the biggest shake up of the Great Western timetable in a long, long while is happening on 15th December.  I thought it deserved a thread of its own for general discussion, even though some specialist routes and services have been, and might continue to be, served on their own threads.

[snip]

If anyone has any extra details, or questions, then shout them out!

Wow - that is excellent, thank you.  I have some further information regarding Bristol operated more local services (such a Severn Beach, Taunton, Weymouth, Great Malvern, Warminster) which I will post later.   Also a couple of notes where long distance changes might significantly effect local journeys.  These may indeed have their own thread too - but good to have a summary all in one place?
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PhilWakely
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2019, 04:12:22 pm »

LONDON to WEST OF ENGLAND:
A more standardised timetable, with fewer stops and faster journeys.  London to Plymouth will become hourly calling only Reading, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St. Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth, with services continuing to Penzance at least every other hour. 

To serve the intermediate stations there will be a 2-hourly service off-peak, with an extra one in the peak, from Paddington to Exeter (with the odd extension to Paignton/Plymouth), calling Newbury, Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary and Taunton.

Do you anticipate/has it been confirmed (delete as appropriate) whether Tiverton Parkway will be served by the 'fasts' or the semi-fasts?
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« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2019, 04:19:26 pm »

Can I ask what, if anything, is happening to the Reading - Didcot - Oxford -Banbury stoppers?

Since Oxford electrification was stopped/postponed it appears to have become the forgotten service; maybe everybody is so embarrassed by what has happened they think it is best not to mention it.  Grin Grin Grin
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Richard Fairhurst
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« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2019, 04:25:30 pm »

Great post - thank you.

LONDON to WORCESTER/MALVERN/HEREFORD
The service pattern continues at roughly the same levels as now, but with more standardised timings and modest journey time improvements.  The hourly service will also run on Saturdays and Sundays which will improve frequencies.  I’m not sure how many services will go beyond Worcester to Malvern and Hereford yet, though the opening of the turnback facility at Henwick (near Worcester Foregate Street) will make scheduling services in the Worcester area easier.

I recall there was a plan for an extra evening service from Paddington to the Cotswolds. Any idea if this is likely to surface in December (or indeed ever)?
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« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2019, 04:31:05 pm »

Thanks very much to II for his comprehensive post.  A quick question for II.  Are the Paddington departure times (e.g. xx03 for WoE) likely to change from the current pattern due to the speed up of sectional running times?
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: April 05, 2019, 05:07:06 pm »

Thanks very much to II for his comprehensive post.  A quick question for II.  Are the Paddington departure times (e.g. xx03 for WoE) likely to change from the current pattern due to the speed up of sectional running times?

You're likely to have an 11:03, a 12:03, a 13:03 ... etc ... but the arrival times in to Plymouth are likely to range from a little sharper to a lot sharper than today (or 25 minutes better in cases such as the current 15:03 which calls at little wayside halts like Westbury  Grin )

Oh - sorry - noted that was from II ... my data comes from timetable 'snagging' meeting of a couple of months back, but pretty sure it won't have been rewritten since.
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« Reply #7 on: April 05, 2019, 05:08:13 pm »

This is very much what was in Modern Railways, August 2017 I think it was or was it 2016.

The Devon Metro at last! I wonder how late into the evening the half hour service will run. Will IC91 still make up one of the services?  The Sunday service needs to run a lot earlier. 0949 from Paignton is far too late.

A point re the Barnstaple-St Jame's Park. I think this will be like now Exeter Central as it is easier to detrain there then run empty to Morrisons (Exmouth Junction siding) to reverse. In the longer term I think there is enough space at Exeter Central station to have a centre siding.
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« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2019, 05:29:05 pm »

"LONDON to WORCESTER/MALVERN/HEREFORD
The service pattern continues at roughly the same levels as now, but with more standardised timings and modest journey time improvements.  The hourly service will also run on Saturdays and Sundays which will improve frequencies.  I’m not sure how many services will go beyond Worcester to Malvern and Hereford yet, though the opening of the turnback facility at Henwick (near Worcester Foregate Street) will make scheduling services in the Worcester area easier."


Does this mean the remaining two hour gaps will be filled? And the benefits of the double tracking finally realised....?
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« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2019, 05:37:31 pm »

Faster journey times to Plymouth noted, but  "calling only Reading, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St. Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth"  - not really much different, missing out only the odd Westbury/Newbury/Castle Cary stop on some services?

Is anything being done in terms of more Sunday services to ease the appalling Eastbound overcrowding (especially) between Plymouth and Paddington?

Thanks.
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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2019, 05:56:28 pm »

I have seen almost nothing about Sunday plans other than a recognition that Sundays are getting to be the busiest days for services from the West Country but without an appropriate service to match.  That is largely due to constraints caused by engineering works (or the potential for such works).   How easy it will be to add extra services remains to be seen.
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2019, 06:31:16 pm »

Do you anticipate/has it been confirmed (delete as appropriate) whether Tiverton Parkway will be served by the 'fasts' or the semi-fasts?

Served by the fasts according to what I've seen.  Not sure whether it's served by the semi-fasts as well.

Can I ask what, if anything, is happening to the Reading - Didcot - Oxford -Banbury stoppers?

Don't think anything is happening there I'm afraid.  There has been no talk of 769s being used between Reading and Oxford other than for ECS moves for stabling.  Hopefully all will be 3-car Turbos, but with six daily 3-car diagrams and nine daily 2-car ones expected to be required for LTV services, there will still be more two cars than three in daily operation for the LTV services!

Thanks very much to II for his comprehensive post.  A quick question for II.  Are the Paddington departure times (e.g. xx03 for WoE) likely to change from the current pattern due to the speed up of sectional running times?

As Graham says, still likely to be xx:03 (from 07:03 to 21:03), with the semi-fasts to Newbury/Exeter/Plymouth/Paignton departing at xx:37.

The Devon Metro at last! I wonder how late into the evening the half hour service will run. Will IC91 still make up one of the services?  The Sunday service needs to run a lot earlier. 0949 from Paignton is far too late.

Sorry, I don't know yet.

Does this mean the remaining two hour gaps will be filled? And the benefits of the double tracking finally realised....?

I recall there was a plan for an extra evening service from Paddington to the Cotswolds. Any idea if this is likely to surface in December (or indeed ever)?

From what I know it will be hourly between Paddington and Worcester all day, all week.  There is no mention of anything in addition to that (other than the 'Halts' service), but that doesn't mean it won't happen of course.

Faster journey times to Plymouth noted, but  "calling only Reading, Taunton, Tiverton Parkway, Exeter St. Davids, Newton Abbot, Totnes and Plymouth"  - not really much different, missing out only the odd Westbury/Newbury/Castle Cary stop on some services?

Is anything being done in terms of more Sunday services to ease the appalling Eastbound overcrowding (especially) between Plymouth and Paddington?

To agree with bobm, I've seen no mention of any more Sunday services other than the hourly 'fast' and two-hourly 'semi-fasts', which isn't much different to what operates currently.  If all are operated by 9 or 10-car trains east of Plymouth that will see a modest improvement in the number of seats compared with the current timetable, and more trains operating between Penzance and Exeter will help spread the loads a little, but no massive increase in provision from what I can see.

It will be interesting to see what savings time wise are made on a service-by-service basis, when the timetables are finalised.
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2019, 06:40:36 pm »

All long distance services from / to Paddington should have frequency increases of some sort on Sundays. For the West of England, my understanding is that the service will be similar to Monday to Friday's off peak pattern, though I don't know when services will start.
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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2019, 07:44:54 pm »

Thanks for your responses, II.
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« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2019, 08:30:42 pm »

LONDON to BRISTOL:
...
There will also be, on weekdays only, two more additional services running via Bristol Parkway from roughly 9am-6pm (up direction) and 8am-4pm (down direction) which will be timed in 1h 20m or even slightly less between Bristol TM and Paddington, over 20 minutes quicker than today.  Just over 1 hour from Parkway to Paddington.  Though it is NOT expected that these services will start in December, but instead at some point during the validity of the timetable.
Will these also call at Swindon and Reading or are they going to run direct Parkway to Paddington?
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