BRITISH TIMETABLE REVIEW – December 2016
by Alan de Burton
Overview and Timetable Format
Unless otherwise specified, the text refers to Monday to Saturday timetables. This is very much a ‘marking time’ timetable before major changes in many parts of the country later in 2017 based on either new trains or infrastructure improvements. The main landmark this time has been the extension by Chiltern Trains of their service from Marylebone to Oxford Parkway on to Oxford.
C2c’s ‘start again’ timetable in December 2015 hadn’t worked well on Monday to Friday peaks and has been subject to frequent changes. In January 2017 they implemented another version this time bolstered by some extra rolling stock.
Cross Country (dmus and a few HSTs)
Completion of the flyover at Norton Bridge north of Stafford has enabled acceleration of trains from Bournemouth to Manchester by about 10 minutes.
Great Western (HSTs, dmus and diesel loco-hauled sleepers)
From September 2016, a few peak dmu services between Paddington and Greenford were diverted to Hayes & Harlington as emus and replaced by shuttles between West Ealing and Greenford. This arrangement now applies for the full working day.
Merseyrail (all emus)
Although not shown in the published timetable, engineering works are interrupting Wirral Line services under the Mersey between January and June 2017. At some periods trains are terminating at Birkenhead Central or North, at other times only the Loop under Liverpool is closed and trains are terminating at James Street.
ScotRail (emus, dmus and diesel loco-hauled)
The new station at Edinburgh Gateway has opened. On Mondays to Saturdays, half the trains that used to call at South Gyle now call here instead. However, the hourly faster trains from Edinburgh to Perth and to Dundee now call as well. The only other improvements of note are the through early morning trains on the Highland Main Line at 05 08 from Perth to Inverness and at 05 36 from Inverness to Edinburgh.
South West Trains (emus and dmus)
In December 2016 there were further improvements to the additional diesel services west of Salisbury which commenced in December 2015. Notable is a new Sunday train at 18 04 from Frome to Waterloo as an extension of a train previously starting at Salisbury. There are various other minor improvements.
TransPennine Express (dmus and emus)
The present hourly service 7 days between York and Newcastle has been supplemented by an extra train every 2 hours all 7 days, although on Mondays to Fridays there are some gaps. Pathing difficulties impose some curious stopping patterns, and most of the extra trains on Mondays to Saturdays run northbound non-stop from York to Durham.
Virgin Trains East Coast (electric loco-hauled and diesel HST)
This time there are some extra off-interval trains on Saturdays and Sundays between Kings Cross and mainly Leeds.