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You are here: Home > Your journey > Plan your journey > Timetable changes May 2017

Timetable changes from 21 May 2017

Southern and Network Rail deliver plan for better reliability and punctuality

Changes to overnight services out of Victoria will give Network Rail time to improve track and signalling to make passenger journeys more reliable

Southern and Network Rail are working hard to improve reliability and punctuality. Passenger numbers have doubled in the past two decades and Network Rail needs additional time to carry out essential maintenance and improvement work to give passengers at busier times of the day a better journey across the congested Southern network.

From 21 May 2017, to coincide with the launch of the new timetable, there will be a key change to overnight train services from London Victoria and return.

  • Southern trains departing after 00.05 and before 04.52 from London Victoria and return will not run on Sunday to Thursday nights (i.e. the early hours of Monday to Friday mornings) when passenger numbers are lowest.
  • Passengers with Southern tickets will be able to use Thameslink services from London Blackfriars or St Pancras International to travel between central London, East Croydon and Gatwick Airport/Brighton; late evening and overnight Thameslink services will call additionally at Purley, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill and Horley as appropriate with some trains also running further than normal, to Haywards Heath and Brighton, to provide an alternative to Southern trains that will not run
  • The Southern night service will be retained on Friday and Saturday nights (i.e. the early hours of Saturday and Sunday) when there is most demand
  • Current arrangements whereby Gatwick Express has no overnight services between 23:30 and 05:00 will continue

The initiative will give Network Rail more time to carry out essential maintenance and improvement work overnight on the very congested Brighton Main Line, one of the UK’s busiest rail networks.  It will also help Network Rail deliver critical elements of a £300m improvement plan that was announced by the Government in January. Ultimately it will help provide a more reliable and punctual train service and reduce delays for more than 300,000 commuters each day on the Southern network. 

Check our timetable page

Passengers are advised to check train times and station stops before they travel by checking our timetable page. For stations between London Victoria and East Croydon, please use the Transport for London (TfL) journey planner at www.tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey.

Tell me more about the work Network Rail is doing

Network Rail is responsible for operating, maintaining and upgrading the railway infrastructure – the tracks, signals, power supply, bridges, tunnels and embankments – on which we run our trains. With more trains on the network than ever before, this additional overnight access will give Network Rail the time they need to fix unavoidable wear and tear on this busy route, reducing delays to passengers by keeping the railway in the right condition.

The £300 million funding package for Network Rail was announced in January and is aimed at reducing delays on the Southern and Thameslink rail networks. Ageing signals and points will be replaced. It will fund the replacement of elderly tracks, better drainage and structural repairs in tunnels, plus work to prevent lorries striking bridges, another frequent cause of delays. Embankments will be shored up to prevent landslips during bad weather and fencing will be improved to deter trespassers.

How does this affect me?

You will still be able to get home from central London at night to stations south from East Croydon – and back in the other way via London Blackfriars – as long as you plan your journeys accordingly.

We're running everything we normally would on Friday and Saturday nights when most people go out on the town.

On top of that, we have made sure that every station south from East Croydon is covered by an alternative Thameslink train, with additional stops at Purley, Coulsdon South, Merstham, Redhill and Horley as appropriate and some trains also running further than normal, to Haywards Heath and Brighton.

What about stations north of East Croydon, to Victoria?

North of East Croydon to Victoria, Clapham Junction will not have overnight trains (see below) and the other stations (Battersea Park, Wandsworth Common, Balham, Streatham Common, Norbury, Thornton Heath and Selhurst) will lose the 00.16 and the 00.42 from Victoria – there is only one train towards London that is affected, which calls at Selhurst and Balham.

We advise passengers to use the TfL journey planner at www.tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey.

There will be a direct bus between Clapham Junction and East Croydon connecting with the overnight Thameslink trains.

At Clapham Junction there is a TfL night bus which takes about half an hour to and from London Victoria compared to the six minutes normally by train. We're very sorry. We know this is far from ideal but the work Network Rail can do to improve the track, signalling and power supplies will benefit the vast majority of the 300,000 passengers who travel with us at other times of the day.

The 00.14 London Victoria is my last train back to Purley, Coulsdon South, Mertsham, Redhill and Horley. What should I do?

From 21 May, this train will no longer run Mondays to Fridays. However, Tuesdays to Fridays Thameslink services leaving London Blackfriars will stop additionally as follows:
The 00.05 will stop additionally at 00.40 Coulsdon South, 00.46 Merstham and 00.50 Redhill (continuing to Gatwick Airport for 00.59 and Three Bridges for 01.03).
The 00.35 will stop additionally at: 01.12 Purley; 01.17 Coulsdon South; 01.22 Merstham; 01.30 Redhill and 01.37 Horley (continuing to Gatwick Airport 01.40 and Three Bridges 01.46). On Mondays this train will depart London Blackfriars at 00.25. For more information visit www.nationalrail.co.uk.

What is the effect specifically on services between Brighton and Three Bridges?

All the stations between Brighton and East Croydon that normally have a Southern train will have a Thameslink alternative to and from London Blackfriars.

Southbound
- The 01.00 from Victoria to Brighton will be covered by the 01.05 from Blackfriars which is being extended from Three Bridges to arrive in Brighton just five minutes later than the Southern service was due to arrive, at 02.30 instead of 02.25.
- The 04.00 Victoria to Brighton will be covered by the 04.05 London Blackfriars service which arrives at 05.37 (14 minutes later than the Southern service which would have arrived at 05.23).

Trains don't run overnight from Victoria to Balcombe, Wivelsfield, Burgess Hill, Hassocks or Preston Park.

Northbound
The last Southern train from Brighton to Victoria, the 23.10, is removed but there are the 23.05 and 23.37 Thameslink services to London Blackfriars instead. The only other train removed is the first train from Brighton to Victoria, the 03.50, which is replaced by a new Thameslink service (starting from Brighton instead of Three Bridges) which leaves the same time and arrives in Blackfriars at 05.41 - 11 minutes earlier than the Southern service it replaces. The next train from Brighton to Victoria is Southern's 05.23 which will run as normal. 

Where can I get a timetable?

Printed pocket timetables will be available in time for the timetable change. In the meantime, all the information is available online on our timetables page and, from Thursday 4 May, in online journey planners at www.nationalrail.co.uk where you can plan journeys and create your own personal timetables.

I have already bought a ticket for one of these specific trains from your website. Can I get a refund?

Yes. Please get in touch with our Customer Service team who will be able to help.

Ticket Acceptance

From 21 May, on Sunday to Thursday nights (i.e. the early hours of Monday to Friday mornings), the following ticket acceptance is in place:

• Rail tickets routed ‘Southern Only’ or have a destination of London Victoria or London Terminals can be used on the trains that start from Brighton at 23:05, 23:37, 00:10 and 04:15. Passengers travelling on these trains with a ticket to London Victoria or London Terminals can use either London Blackfriars or London St Pancras stations.
• Rail tickets routed ‘Southern Only’ or have a destination of London Victoria or London Terminals can be used on the trains that start from Three Bridges at 01:16, 02:16, 03:16, 03:46 and 04:16. Passengers travelling on these trains with a ticket to London Victoria or London Terminals can use either London Blackfriars or London St Pancras stations.
• Rail tickets routed ‘Southern Only’ or have an origin of London Victoria or London Terminals can be used on the trains that depart from London St Pancras at 23:54: 00:24, 00:54, 01:54, 02:54 and 03:24 as far south as Three Bridges. Passengers travelling on these trains with a ticket from London Victoria or London Terminals can use either London St Pancras or London Blackfriars stations.
• Rail tickets routed ‘Southern Only’ or have an origin of London Victoria or London Terminals can be used on the trains that depart from London St Pancras at 03:54 and 04:24 as far south as Brighton Passengers travelling on these trains with a ticket from London Victoria or London Terminals can use either London St Pancras or London Blackfriars stations.

Why are the 21.58 Brighton to Victoria and 23.07 Victoria to Brighton being cancelled when the others being cancelled are past midnight?

Network Rail will be given two tracks of the four-track Brighton mainline from 22.45 and there is not capacity in the timetable to accommodate these two services. There are later trains after each of these services – the 22.26 and 22.55 from Brighton to Victoria; and the 23.17 from Victoria to Worthing via Hove, the 23.32 Victoria to Worthing via Brighton and the 00.05 from Victoria to Brighton.

Why can't the 00.14 and 00.16 run – they run just 9/11 minutes later than the 00.05?

The 00.14 has, on average, 66 people on board when it leaves Victoria. The train before (0005) has 168 people.  We have already included trains up to five minutes past midnight and to include any more would reduce the time Network Rail has to undertake the significant amount of overnight engineering works planned on the tracks between London Victoria and Croydon. The longer Network Rail can get access to the tracks, the more they can get done to improve the service for passengers during the busiest times of the day - and they have a lot planned.

We're maximising access to the track whilst maintaining as many journey options as possible which, on the whole has been achieved. We will also continue to operate night services on Fridays and Saturdays when demand is much higher with most services having over 200 people on board.

How long are these trains cancelled for?

Until Dec 2017 when a new timetable starts. Any continuation of these changes would be subject to review/consultation.