Luton and Bedford commuters advised of weekday timetable changes that will provide more trains to London
Additional trains and service better suited to current travel patterns
Trains between Bedford and London will double across all-station and fast train services to meet the needs of passengers as the impact of the pandemic recedes.
The changes, which affect the timetables of Great Northern, Southern and Thameslink trains mostly come into affect on Monday, September 6, although some alterations may be brought in earlier.
The new timetable is designed to meet the needs of customers across the network and support schools, colleges and those returning to the office.
Almost 1,000 trains per week will be reinstated with changes across the network.
Looking forward, Govia Thameslink Railway will continue to adapt the timetable as it receives further feedback and monitors the return of customers and their new travel patterns.
Train times have been updated on the National Rail website and passengers are urged to check and plan ahead.
Some of the changes planned from September 6, are as follows:
Bedford to St Pancras International and Gatwick Airport
There will be an overall increase in both all-station and fast trains on the route.
Two services per hour will run all day between Bedford and Gatwick Airport via Redhill from 6 September. In combination with Thameslink services between Bedford and Brighton, there will now be up to four services per hour between Bedford and St Pancras International.
Four services per hour will run between St Albans and Sutton from 6 September, resulting in more stopping services across the route.
Gatwick Airport to London Bridge via Redhill
There will be an additional two trains per hour on this route.
Two services per hour will run all day between Bedford and Gatwick Airport via Horley, Salfords, Earlswood, Redhill, Purley, East Croydon and Norwood Junction. These trains continue to Bedford as described in the section above.
Orpington to Luton / London Blackfriars
Fewer peak-time-only services will run between Orpington and Luton. Stations between Luton and St Pancras International have stops on the Bedford and Gatwick Airport via Redhill or St Albans to Sutton services referenced above.
Customers at stations on the Catford Loop should use the all-day service between Sevenoaks and London Blackfriars.
Govia Thameslink Railway Chief Operating Officer Steve White said: “In anticipation of the return of schools and more passengers returning to the office, much of our service will be expanded from 6 September.
"Like many other businesses our staffing levels continue to be affected by the pandemic but the new timetable has been planned to make better use of the drivers we have available, providing more trains, more reliably.
“The Covid third wave this summer has been the most challenging throughout the pandemic to balance the availability of our resources with the needs of our customers. We apologise if you have been affected.
“These changes will ensure we provide you with an increase in trains and provide a more reliable service as we steadily work to overcome the legacy of the pandemic. As people come back to using the railway, we will continue to adapt our services to match demand.”
There are no change to weekend services, although passengers are always advised to check ahead so they won’t be disrupted by planned engineering work.
The new timetable uses drivers more efficiently allowing GTR to run almost 200 more trains each weekday.
Some individual routes will see a reduction to help GTR target train services where they are needed most at a time when staff continue to be affected by coronavirus and the legacy of the pandemic.