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The new December railway timetable for Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset has been made public for the first time, offering faster journey times, more seats, and more frequent services to key locations.
Regular users are being asked to check their new journey times ahead of the biggest timetable change on the network since 1976. GWR’s Intercity Express Trains (IETs) will take advantage of infrastructure improvements to run to a fully electric timetable between Bristol and London for the first time
Train services between Devon, Cornwall, Somerset and London will be restructured to deliver a more consistent service pattern throughout the day, offering faster journey times and more frequent services to key locations from Sunday 15 December this year.
The planned improvements are so significant, especially for those who travel regularly and used to catching a particular service every day, that GWR has launched an awareness campaign to highlight the changes ahead, and make sure customers are prepared. It is encouraging customers to find out more at www.gwr.com.
It is the biggest timetable change on the network since 1976, GWR’s Intercity Express Trains (IETs) will take advantage of recent infrastructure improvements to deliver a series of improvements.
Richard Burningham from the Devon and Cornwall Rail Partnership said:
“It is not just the journey time savings in long distance journeys to London, it is also about the significant improvement to many local trains across the two counties. It is no exaggeration to say that Devon and Cornwall local services will be the best they have ever been.”
Three more services a day will run between Paddington and the south west, running non-stop between Reading and Taunton. Exact times are still going through final industry approvals, however GWR now expects journeys times to improve by as much as 11 minutes between Paddington and Penzance and 8 minutes between Paddington and Plymouth.
A two-hourly semi-fast service between Paddington and Exeter St Davids will call at Reading, Newbury, Pewsey, Westbury, Castle Cary, Taunton and Tiverton Parkway.
GWR Managing Director Mark Hopwood said:
“It’s just 12 weeks until Sunday December 15, and we have been working hard behind the scenes to prepare to implement the biggest timetable change on this network since 1976, enabling us to take advantage of the full benefits that new Intercity Express Trains are bringing.
“In providing more frequent and quicker journeys, our new timetable will for the vast majority of users quite literally mean ‘all change please’ and we are pleased the new timetable has now been published.”
Changes will also take place to branch line services, designed to improve capacity at the busiest times of the day and provide a more consistent service throughout the day:
- Longer, more modern trains will replace Class 143 Pacer trains on the Barnstaple line, giving a 17% increase in seats
- New earlier first train to Exeter with an arrival time at Exeter St David’s of 07.31, in line with customer aspirations and an hourly calling pattern throughout the day, including the evening peak
- Some intermediate station stops altered or removed to deliver the standard service pattern
- Devon Metro timetable recast to two trains per hour between Exmouth and Paignton, operated by four car services, with all Exeter Central services extended to Exeter St Davids
- Saturday services for Dawlish Warren increased to half hourly
- Timetable significantly recast to enable an hourly service to operate throughout the day between the busiest stations on the line. This will allow 15 round trips throughout the day on the line, in place of current 12, with off-peak services operating every two hours at intermediate stations.
Mike Gallop, route managing director for Network Rail, said:
“The timetable change this December will be the biggest since 1976 and will mean faster journeys and more frequent services for passengers.
“It follows unprecedented investment in railway infrastructure including electrification, improved signalling, upgraded stations and much more which together with the introduction of new trains will transform rail travel.”
The planned improvements are so significant, particularly for those who travel regularly and used to catching a particular service every day, that GWR is launching an awareness campaign to highlight the changes ahead, and make sure customers are prepared.
The timetable will come into effect from 15 December.