To follow up on previous emails about changes to the timetable in February, I wanted to confirm the plan. We will be amending our timetables from Monday 28 February, following a period of significant staff absence due to Covid and a major blockade of engineering works on the Brighton mainline between 19-27 February.
While the picture is improving overall, and the direct impact of Covid on colleagues is reducing, its legacy continues to have an impact on our business and services. One example is a backlog of driver training due to previous social distancing requirements where, for example, two people were not permitted to be in a train cab together.
So, in the short term, we have taken a prudent approach to adding services, with the aim of ensuring we can offer reliability, rather than having to cancel trains last minute and create large gaps in the service. We want to thank customers for their patience and understanding throughout this period.
We are now starting to see more people return to rail, albeit in much lower numbers than before the pandemic, particularly as people continue to work from home some of the week. We will therefore be introducing a new timetable from Monday 28 February to ensure our services and resources are the best possible fit. We are focusing on providing more capacity for commuters returning to the office. Our February timetable change includes more direct services to London Victoria and London Bridge, increases to peak services, especially in the early morning and in areas where there are no other public transport options.
In terms of what this means specifically for your constituency, Southern services will return to the timetable used in the Autumn of 2021 from the 21 February. This means that the direct routes to London Victoria from Epsom via Hackbridge and Epsom Downs via West Croydon will resume, as will Tattenham Corner’s fast trains to London Bridge.
As in the Autumn, something to be aware of is while the service from Epsom to London Bridge will resume, there will be a reduced frequency in the morning. Trains from Epsom to London Bridge will depart at 05:45, 07:16, 08:15 then every 30 minutes until 22:45. The reason being, as in September, the morning peak is the busiest point on the network and we will be seeking to spread our available crew resource as best we possibly can.
Individual journeys for the timetable of 28 February are due in journey planners this week and we will be increasing customer communications about the changes. We advise customers to plan their journeys in advance and re-check before they travel, especially the weeks commencing 21 February and 28 February.
Senior Stakeholder Manager