Big changes to UK rail timetables come into effect on Sunday

“Big cuts to rail services will hit communities across the North,” says Labor Transport Spokesperson Louise Haigh.

On Sunday, May 15, a wide range of changes took effect across the country, with some services that were withdrawn during the coronavirus pandemic being restored.

But Haigh said in a social media video: “This weekend, we will miss vital rail routes to cities and communities in Yorkshire and the North as Northern Rail is introducing no-consultation cuts to the services people depend on.

“Places like Sheffield are losing our services to places like Wakefield, Pontefract, Leeds and York, and the government is completely absent from action.

“The Transport Secretary [Grant Shapps] didn’t say a word about these cuts in Northern Rail’s services.

“This is a blatant violation of promises made by conservatives. Grant Shapps must show some responsibility, step in and defend passengers.”

A government spokesperson said: “To say that the government does not care about the North is simply nonsense.

“Our £96 billion Integrated Rail Plan, which will better connect communities in the North and Midlands, is the biggest rail investment in UK history. No government has ever been more committed.

“It will include a new Northern Powerhouse Rail network connecting Liverpool, Manchester and Leeds, with more frequent, faster and more reliable services.”

Northern, which is run by the government, says “a small number of services” have been removed from the Leeds-Sheffield-Nottingham and Leeds-Sheffield lines via Dearne.

There are also cuts in service from Leeds and Bradford to Ilkley and Skipton; on the York-Harrogate-Leeds line; and on the Hull-Leeds-Halifax route.

Tricia Williams, Chief Operating Officer at Northern, said: “Customers are at the heart of everything we do, and the new hours are designed to deliver high levels of reliability.

“We make decisions about our schedules based on the levels of resources we have available and prioritizing routes with the highest customer demand and that support the region’s economic growth.”

Elsewhere, Northern removed “a small number of services” at Manchester-New Mills and between Whitby and Middlesbrough.

More trains will run between Hull and Bridlington, on the Hope Valley line in Derbyshire and between Darlington and Saltburn. There will be an increase in seating capacity on the Settle and Carlisle lines.

Transport for Wales has re-established a large number of trains on passenger lines and added services to resorts such as Llandudno, Aberystwyth and Tenby, as well as Snowdonia.

On the West Coast mainline, Avanti West Coast now operates four direct services between London Euston and North Wales each day, up from two. It also re-established a third train every hour for most of the day between London Euston and Manchester.

London-Birmingham calls remain at two an hour, one below pre-pandemic frequency.

The first day of the updated schedule got off to a bad start for Avanti West Coast, with Euston’s first three matches – for Manchester, Liverpool and Lancaster – all canceled due to staff shortages.

On the Great Western network, a seaside summer special is being reintroduced from London Paddington to Newquay in North Cornwall through September.

GWR is cutting its Portsmouth-Brighton service, saying the rolling stock will be used to “reinforce the busy service from Cardiff to Portsmouth to five carriages”.

On the newly restored Exeter-Okehampton line on Dartmoor, services will double.

Further changes will take place on Monday, May 23. The long-delayed and over-budgeted Elizabeth Line, through central London, will begin operating a partial service from London Paddington to Abbey Wood in south east London.

At the Scottish borders, a new station will open on the East Coast Main Line in the village of Reston, north of Berwick-upon-Tweed. It will connect to Edinburgh and Newcastle five times a day by the TransPennine Express.

In addition, a northbound LNER service and a southbound train later in the evening will stop there – although neither service London.

Leave a Comment