Frequently asked questions
Find out more
Want to know more about RailPlan20/20?
You can find all the information on this website, however, we have put together a list of frequently asked questions to help give you all the information you need.
What's happening at my station?
You can find a summary of changes to your station in the PDFs below.
Why the changes?
Which routes are changing?
What is happening and why?
A modernisation programme is now happening – as part of this we have rewritten our timetables.
This change will help deliver:
- a new expanded Thameslink network to give 140 stations (80 more than today) direct access by December 2019 to:
- St Pancras International,
- City Thameslink and Blackfriars in central London,
many of them via London Bridge, relieving the Piccadilly, Victoria and Northern Tube lines
- Interchange for all 140 stations with Elizabeth line services (Crossrail) at Farringdon, beginning in December 2018
- 70% more peak time seats between London Blackfriars and St Pancras International across Central London
- New direct Thameslink routes through London between:
- Cambridge and Brighton (via Gatwick)
- Horsham and Peterborough (via Gatwick)
- Cambridge and Maidstone East (with some extensions to Ashford International)
- Luton and Kent Medway Towns (e.g. Greenwich and Dartford)
- Littlehampton and Bedford (via Gatwick)
- East Grinstead and Bedford
- Faster, seamless journeys: Cambridge to Gatwick Airport 20% faster, Greenwich to Luton Airport 37% faster, 10-15 minutes quicker to Canary Wharf and Paddington via Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) at Farringdon
- More spacious trains: 115 new Thameslink trains, many big enough to carry up to 21 double decker buses.
Why are we changing the timetable?
The timetable is changing:
- to bring in the expanded Thameslink network
- to ensure a reliable service across the GTR network
Are these changes being brought in to help reduce delays and cancellations?
The changes are being brought in for two reasons:
- firstly, to bring in the expanded Thameslink network
- to ensure a reliable service across the GTR network
Will these changes help reduce overcrowding on trains?
Why aren’t the changes taking place as previously published (i.e. phasing)?
Will my journey now be longer and if so why?
Yes, some journeys will be longer but we’re working to make our services more reliable.
We have completely re-written the timetable to add in extra time at stations now needed for additional passengers to board.
We’ve also reviewed all the intermediate running times between stations to make sure our timetable is realistic. We know this sometimes means journeys are timetabled to take slightly longer in some circumstances but passengers will be able to rely on them.
Will there be new routes and destination choices?
Yes, there will be new routes and destination choices, on the Thameslink routes there will be:
- Cambridge to Brighton
- Horsham to Peterborough
- East Grinstead to Bedford
- Littlehampton to Bedford
- Luton to Medway towns
- and from Dec 2019 there’ll be a new Cambridge to Maidstone East service
What are the changes at Harpenden station?
What is happening at Harpenden?
- East Midlands Trains will not be stopping their peak trains at Bedford or Luton from May 2018 until 2020 reducing capacity at these stations and significantly extending journey times to London. The Department for Transport requested a rail industry solution which has ultimately meant that Govia Thameslink Railway is required to ‘fast-track’ some of its Thameslink services in the peak to maintain a journey time averaging 47 minutes from Bedford (which is still longer than the current average of 38 minutes). These trains will not stop at intermediate stations including Harpenden. Due to this, it is expected that there will be a redistribution of passengers from Bedford onto these fast services in preference to the services that stop at Harpenden, which will reduce the numbers on services arriving at Harpenden.
- When Network Rail completes its route modernisation of the Midland Main Line north of Bedford in December 2020, with additional tracks and electrification this, together with new trains, means that East Midlands Trains will be able to call once again at Bedford and Luton in the peak. At this point we will be able to reinstate our original plans to significantly increase the number of trains and carriages at intermediate stations, including Harpenden.
How will the number of fast/semi-fast trains change in May during the morning peak (industry standard for the peak is trains arriving in London between 0700 and 0959)?
- During the entire morning peak (for trains arriving in London between 0700 and 0959, which is the industry standard), there are the same number of fast and semi-fast trains (25, which will rise to 26 in December) and 12 more carriages. We have removed two early stopping trains (the 0650 and 0708 from Harpenden) but added two additional semi-fast trains, at 0839 and 0909 to better match passenger needs.
- There are two fewer fast trains overall in the morning peak (the current 0712 and 0810 will no longer operate). However, thanks to longer fast trains, Harpenden will have almost the same number of carriages in total running from the station as before between 0700 and 0959 (just four carriages fewer) and in December, an extra semi-fast service at 0725 will run with eight carriages, to give the station four carriages more than before May’s timetable change.
How many fast/semi-fast trains are there going to be from 0600 to 0959 from May?
- If one takes into account the extra hour between 0600 and 0659, when many commuters travel, there is one more train in total (31 vs 30 today or 32 vs 30 today from December).
- Harpenden will gain 32 Thameslink carriages on its fast/semi-fast services in the morning arriving in London between 0600 and 0959
- PLUS, from December, we will introduce another 8-carriage semi-fast morning train at 0725.
What happens in the evening peak (trains departing London between 1600 and 1959)?
- In the evening, the number of trains stays the same but with an increase of 20 more carriages
- There are 1,242 more standard class seats included in the 3,040 additional capacity (increasing to 1,896 more standard class seats out of 4,794 additional capacity in December 2018)
- Fast trains running during this period reduce from 17 to 15, however there are 4 additional carriages on these trains
- Nearly all the fast trains back to Harpenden (12 of the 15 trains, rising to 13 in December 2018) will be 12-carriage trains (compared with 7 out of 17 in the current timetable)
- Semi-fast services in the evening will have to stop at three additional stations but this increases journey time by only around five minutes. This is to make best use of the fast and slow paths available on this route for other trains whilst providing the best improvement in capacity for the entire route
From December 2018 additional services will be introduced:
- 0725 which is a semi-fast service to London St Pancras with 8 carriages and
- 1713 which is a stopping service from London St Pancras with 8 carriages
- In addition the 07.34 Harpenden fast service and the 17.11 St Pancras fast service from London will be increased to operate to 12 carriages thereby providing further capacity
It’s said that a third of fast/semi-fast Harpenden trains will be cut in May
- This is not the case. These figures have been cut using a very specific timeframe which presents a misleading picture. They also include the ‘loss’ of semi-fast evening trains which will still run but simply stop at three additional stations, taking only around 5 minutes longer than they do today.
It’s said that seven fast/semi-fast trains have been taken out of the timetable between 0630 and 0830
- This is not the case. There are actually just four fewer fast and semi-fast trains in this period and this is only a section of our busy morning peak. There are the same number of fast/semi-fast trains during the entire morning peak (industry standard for the peak is trains arriving in London between 0700 and 0959).
Have you consulted people?
- We've carried out the biggest consultation exercise ever on the changes originally planned, which will still be implemented by 2020 when the route modernisation programme north of Bedford is completed
- During this consultation, which lasted over 18 months, we received 28,000 responses and made hundreds of significant changes
- East Midlands Trains only announced their changes at the end of last year which was when we were asked by the Government to make up for the loss of EMT fast services at Bedford and Luton by fast-tracking some of ours
- From May we'll have two express services trains an hour from Bedford and Luton but by increasing the number we're running in total, Harpenden will not be losing anything like that number – plus we’re lengthening those that remain
- And once we get those stops put back on at Harpenden, in 2020, we'll be able to give our Harpenden passengers the big increase in services we had originally envisaged, with over 4,000 extra seats in the morning peak
- Fast services are those that run non-stop or call only at West Hampstead Thameslink between St Albans and London St Pancras
- Semi-fast trains are those which call at Radlett, Elstree and Borehamwood, Mill Hill Broadway, West Hampstead Thameslink between St Albans and London St Pancras
- Stopping trains are those trains that call at all stations between St Albans and London St Pancras
- Figures compare with the last timetable change in December 2017
Station and train information
Where can I find a copy of the new timetable?
What are the changes to my journey?
Will there be more or less stops on my journey?
Travelling to and from London Bridge
From 2nd January 2018 until 20th May 2018
Customers travelling from Thameslink North stations to London Bridge who hold a London Thameslink ticket. These tickets continue to be valid for use on the Northern line between St Pancras International and London Bridge.
Additionally, as Thameslink services will not be running between London Bridge and London Blackfriars until 20th May, customers with a valid ticket travelling between London Bridge and London Blackfriars, City Thameslink, Farringdon and St Pancras International may use the following routes:
- Northern Line between London Bridge and St Pancras International;
- Southeastern service to London Cannon Street then District or Circle Line to London Blackfriars. Customers can resume their journey from London Blackfrairs
Buses will no longer accept tickets.
These arrangements will come to an end on 20th May when Thameslink services are reinstated.
What ticket will I need from 20 May 2018?
Great Northern Route
London Terminals tickets
London Terminals tickets are valid for travel to London King’s Cross, Moorgate and now London St Pancras.
Travelling beyond London St Pancras?
Customers who wish to travel to any London Thameslink station including London St Pancras, Farringdon, City Thameslink, London Blackfriars, London Bridge and Elephant & Castle may do so by purchasing a London Thameslink ticket. Customers with London Thameslink tickets may also break their journey at Kings Cross to provide greater flexibility, however they are not valid on the Moorgate branch.
Great Northern only routed tickets
Tickets routed Great Northern only are now also valid on Thameslink services along the same line of route.
Thameslink Route (North)
There are no changes to fares on the Thameslink route (North) where customers should continue to purchase the London Thameslink ticket.
Southern and Thameslink (South) route
London Terminals tickets
London Terminals tickets are valid to London Victoria, London Bridge, London Blackfriars, City Thameslink, London Charing Cross, London Cannon Street and London Waterloo (as long as this is not prohibited by the routing of the ticket).
Travelling beyond London City Thameslink?
Customers who wish to travel to any London Thameslink station including City Thameslink, Farringdon, London St Pancras, London Blackfriars, London Bridge and Elephant & Castle may do so by purchasing a London Thameslink ticket. This ticket will not allow customers to travel to other London Terminals such as London Victoria.
Ticket restrictions to note
- Tickets routed Southern only are valid only on Southern services
- Tickets routed Thameslink only are valid only on Thameslink services
- Tickets routed Not Gatwick Express are valid on Southern and Thameslink services but not Gatwick Express