RAIL fares expert Barry Doe catches up on the latest National Rail Timetable developments.
EAST Midlands Trains provided full breakfast on six southbound trains on Mon-Fri, but only on one northbound service. A reader pointed out that both the National Rail Timetable and EMT’s timetable no longer show it on any northbound service, and wondered why it had been abolished.
EMT confirmed that this is an error. The catering team on board the 0531 from Sheffield returns on the 0831 from St Pancras, and does offer a full breakfast service. I assume that the other five teams return ‘on the cushions’, which seems a wasted opportunity.
Turning to my review of the National Rail Timetable in RAIL 855, I pointed out that Table 78A, which is meant to show the infamous weekly Stockport-Stalybridge service, omits it altogether - adding that it now runs Saturdays only at 0945, arriving Stalybridge 1006.
Several readers have pointed out to me that it actually starts at Stalybridge at 0846 and reaches Stockport (with the usual intermediate calls) at 0910. This is the first time in years that it has run both ways.
Regarding Table 180, I wrote about the new late-evening services to Horsham formed by extending Victoria-Dorking services. I pointed out that despite it being a wholly Victoria-Horsham service, the operator would appear to be Thameslink.
Victoria was, of course, always a divided station historically, with (using today’s operator names) Southeastern services in one half and Southern in the other. Each still has its own departure screens, and I am told that for some reason these Horsham services only appear on the Southeastern screens, meaning that many people in the Southern section don’t see them.
I wonder if this is some blip generated by the possibly erroneous operator description of showing Thameslink rather than Southern. Whatever the reason, it’s something that should have been sorted weeks ago and not left to confuse people.
While on the subject of Southeastern and Thameslink, I have to say that although the new London Bridge station is a vast improvement on the old, it does have two distinct deficiencies.
The first is only having toilets outside the
barrier line. This is a nuisance if you’re changing trains and using Oyster, because if you touch out and back in it will charge two separate journeys.
More serious, however, is the lack of sufficient escalators to the terminal Platforms 10-15. There are only single escalators to the platforms, and these tend to work in the direction of the major flow at the time.
On several occasions I have arrived from East Croydon and wished to proceed to Waterloo East, which can only be done by going down to the concourse and back up to the relevant through platforms, only to find that the escalator is only working up.
There is a lift, but this is frequently out of use - indeed, one of them hasn’t even been completed yet. This means I have to use steps. That is only a minor inconvenience while I have a faulty knee joint, but is serious for those who cannot use steps.
I ended my review by saying that although the NRT no longer has a Sleeper table, one does appear in the printed version because Middleton Press has constructed a version, duly numbered T400. I should have made clear that Middleton Press did not actually construct the table but, courtesy of the publishers of the European Timetable, used theirs.
In addition, the printed version has added a Table 167A, showing the ferry connections between Portsmouth Harbour and Ryde Pier.
In their haste to extinguish anything from the NRT that isn’t a train, however useful it might be for connections and through journeys, the NRT team has removed all such links.
They did plan a Table 167A to show the ferries (Table 167 being the Ryde-Shanklin Island Line table), and it was even shown in the index last December, but never actually appeared.
Again, Middleton Press has come to the rescue by adding the table, again reproduced courtesy ‘European Timetable Ltd’ from their version.
Isn’t it extraordinary that two totally independent publications show tables of great use, yet which the official NRT itself isn’t interested in providing?
London Bridge station on May 11 2017. Barry Doe has criticised the fact that toilets are available only outside the barrier line, thereby penalising any Oyster users who wish to ‘spend a penny’ - they will have to spend many more as they will be...